Danny Buderus did an amazing about-face this week after originally signing on as the ACT Brumbies' tackling coach. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
THE CASE FOR
Rugby union 1, rugby league 0.
Danny Buderus might have only lasted four hours as an ACT Brumbies collision coach, but the NRL's embarrassing reaction will linger for much longer.
Amazingly, some people think the NRL made the right decision.
What a warped and incorrect view.
The reality is they came across as petty and as if Super Rugby was launching an all-out attack on rugby league.
So a bloke who is nearing the end of his NRL career wants to test himself in coaching in another sport. He's even happy to juggle the workload.
Somehow, Buderus' decision put the NRL on red alert when in fact they should have been sitting back and lapping up the praise Jake White and the Brumbies were heaping on rugby league.
''Rugby league is light years ahead of rugby in terms of tackling,'' White said. RED ALERT, RED ALERT.
That kind of praise must have caused major dramas at NRL headquarters.
This Buderus saga was never meant to be a cross-code war.
It was about White trying to make the Brumbies even stronger by enlisting the help of a rugby league legend.
The fact the NRL blocked the move and kicked up a stink over Buderus wearing a Brumbies training top shows how short-sighted officials were.
Buderus has enough respect in rugby league and the sporting world to make his own decisions.
Fair enough the NRL ''owns'' his image, but to stop a bloke from exploring life after rugby league is ridiculous. I've got no doubt he could have helped the Brumbies.
Does that then look bad on rugby league for a player having a positive impact on a rugby union team? Obviously not.
In fact, I hope Jake White calls David Furner and asks if Josh Papalii can take a session with the Brumbies to show them how to hit.
Yes rugby league and rugby union compete for crowds and market share.
But in Canberra, there's a core group of followers for each and the rest migrate between the Raiders and Brumbies when either team is winning.
Since arriving in Canberra, White has consulted with cricket coaches, rugby league mentors and AFL gurus.
Hardly a crime. White is just trying to make his team the best it can be.
Buderus will go down as having one of the shortest coaching careers on record.
But if the NRL thinks that's the end, it is wrong. White knows rugby league's tackling strength can help the Brumbies.
The sooner rugby league realises this is good publicity, the better. CHRIS DUTTON
THE CASE AGAINST
Former Australian Rugby League skipper Danny Buderus can at least boast his career as a tackling coach for the ACT Brumbies lasted longer than Mal Meninga's tilt at politics.
Those who have been around in Canberra long enough would recall just how short Big Mal's life in politics was.
In a radio interview to announce he was throwing his hat into the ring for a seat in the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2001, it was only 28 seconds before Meninga had thrown his hands in the air.
''I'm buggered … I have to resign,'' a flustered Meninga said.
On Thursday, just hours after being announced as the man to show the Brumbies how to put their shoulder into a tackle, Buderus did not even get the chance to whisper a word of advice into their cauliflower ears.
''I've stuffed up and feel full-on silly,'' Buderus said after the NRL had stepped in to block the appointment.
Some may accuse the NRL of being petty, that Buderus is nearing retirement and the game deserves to give him the best chance at a career beyond the paddock.
But even Buderus can admit he was in the wrong - and it's rugby league that has given him everything.
Nothing personal against Buderus, but rugby league simply had to protect its brand.
Here was one of their marquee players - to be paid next season from a billion-dollar television rights deal - parading in front of television cameras in a rival code's T-shirt and in front of a rival code's sponsors.
The Australian Rugby Union will probably never say it publicly, but behind closed doors it was admitting it would never let one of its contracted players do the same.
I would like to think it was just a naive mistake, that Buderus and the Brumbies simply saw it as a win-win situation. Buderus would get his foot in the door with some coaching experience and the Brumbies would get some advice from a different coaching voice, which often has a positive impact.
But the cynic in me suspects there was an element of theatre to this.
Why were the Newcastle Knights not informed? Why did the NRL only find out once the press conference was aired?
The Brumbies were aware that there was NRL protocol.
Even the title ''collision coach'' seemed geared to maximise attention. Buderus, an unqualified coach, was going to fly into town once a week in pre-season to give the Brumbies tips on how to topple an opponent. Brynne Edelsten works harder.
Let's face it, this was the speed-dating version of Israel Folau's farcical switch to AFL. And in the end, they all end up back in rugby league. CHRIS WILSON