The Not So Independent, Independent Commission?

By Daniel Andruczyk

So you really need to have been under a rock 6 miles underground the last year to not know about the “Independent Commission” that is supposedly being set up in Australia to control the game. I say supposedly because the last few weeks I have been thinking about it, reading the various articles that are coming out etc… and well I don’t think there will be anything independent about it! In fact it will be less independent. However that is not necessarily a bad thing, you see what Australian Rugby League needs is not an Independent commission.

But first some domestic and international results that have come through the week.


Round 3 results from Lebanon came in late in the week once again, I think we will have the Lebanese results one week behind just with the way things are updated with them. So round three saw USJ go down in a tight affair to AUB, Balamand beat out the Wolves, who despite coming last are showing signs of improvement, remember they are still the new kids on the block. The AUST / LAU game has been postponed, no mention as to why and Jounieh had the bye this round. The table stands as:

Team P W D L B PD Pt
1 LAU 2 2 0 1 0 66 4
2 USJ 3 2 0 1 0 40 4
3 Balamand 3 2 0 1 0 26 4
4 AUB 3 2 0 0 1 16 4
5 AUST 2 0 0 1 1 -24 0
6 Jounieh 3 0 0 2 1 -46 0
7 Wolves 3 0 0 3 0 -78 0

Serbian University Championships

So not so much results from Serbia, but news that Round 5 of the University Championships has been postponed till next year due to bad weather, I am assuming snow, as Europe, like the Northern USA here has been hit with a particularly cold cold-snap. So yes, the last round will be played next year and also the play offs will take place next year as with any catch up games. So the Table there currently stands as:

Team P W D L B PD Pt
1 Philosophy 2 2 0 0 0 70 4
2 Organisational 4 1 1 1 1 -2 3
3 Military 3 1 0 1 1 18 2
4 Transport 4 1 0 2 1 -78 2
5 Political 3 0 1 1 1 -8 1

Schoolboy and Student Internationals

On the back of last weeks thrilling win over the Aussie Schoolboys, the English Schoolboys cam up against them once again in Castleford Friday night. In another tight affair the English lads were able to come away with another win, beating the Australian’s 34-22 and taking the series 2-0. On Wednesday night the Great Britain and Australian Universities match had to be moved to Leigh due to adverse weather. In what was a high scoring game the Australians were able to come away with a win beating the Lions 40-30.

Will Australian Rugby League Really be Better Off?

Ok So after getting through all that hopefully I still have you reading and asking what I meant by my opening comments? So what got me thinking about this in the first place. Well to start with, is this thing going to get off the ground anyway. We have been hearing that we’ll have it by last March, then by last November, now it was meant to be done a week ago and still nothing. It seems the stiffest opposition is coming from the Queensland Rugby League, that they are essentially worried they wont have enough representation in the new commission to have their views worried about. Which led me to start thinking, If its an “independent” commission then shouldn’t there be no representation of any of the states there? The very term Independent Commission means that there is a bunch of guys running the place that has no influence from any outside sources. If the QRL is worries about being under=represented with respect to the NSWRL then that mean there is not any independence there?

Also if we start to look at the people that are being tipped to in this new commission, well we actually don’t know who it will be, only some candidates have been thrown around, Allan Jones, John Quayle being a couple names thrown in. But seriously, you call them independent? Um aren’t they like life members of certain NRL clubs and give donations? Jones used to Coach Balmain and still has associations with the Tigers. Nothing wrong with them wanting to be part of the clubs, but it still it is a conflict of interest for an independent commission. However the biggest steak holders, the parties that have the greatest say in all this and are the ones that have pushed for it are the NRL clubs themselves! Wasn’t that the whole push two years ago, that the NRL clubs wanted to have a say in how the money that came into the game was distributed? Now correct me if I am wrong, just that alone renders the whole “commission” not independent.

And why the hell is it called a commission?

So as far as I am concerned this will not be an independent commission. But then again this is not a bad thing, for the simple reasons that I stated above, we have people that have a vested interest in seeing the money and resources spread about. So all the points above that I consider bad as for independence are actually good for an Australian governing body. So this is what I actually think the ARL is really looking for in all od this. What they want is not an ins=dependent commission but a UNIFIED FEDERTATION! You want one governing body, The Australian Rugby League Federation (ARLF), lets call it for this purpose, to be in charge of the sport as a whole. This mean it controls the TV and advertising right to all the domestic competitions in Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, Country NSW, the NRL, Victorian, South Australian, Western Australian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory Rugby Leagues as well.

Which bring me to me next point, has anyone noticed how the rest of Australia’s Rugby League bodies have been left out of this whole process. Its all about the QRL, NSWRL, CRL and NRL. No mention on what effect or votes the Victorians, Tasmanians, Territorians and West and South Australians will have from all this. In reality if this whole thing goes the way I think it will it will be not an NRL but an EARL (Eastern Australian Rugby league)! Alllll the detractors from allllll the other sports and organisations and journalists looking to stick another pin in the Rugby League Voodoo Doll will have a field day with this.

How could this conclude?

Now where do I think this will go? The Worst case scenario, that I can see,  is this. That’s there will be another schism in the sport within 10 years. This time in Australia, one where the control of just the NRL clubs and the changes they put on the “NRL” will change the sport so much that the QRL, NSWRL, VRL, SARL, TasRL, NTRL and WRL will all break away, create a totally separate ARLF, one where all the states have a more equal say on things. There will be a truly national sport compared to what the “NRL” will be. The NRL will become another type of AFL, only played in one country, and in one area of that country. It may get big crowds, but the new Rugby League federation will have a more even playing field internationally, it will then give the opportunity for the NZRL and other nations to start with a clean slate where they can compete on a more even playing field, where tournaments will dictate the best teams in the world, not who has the most money and thus can bribe players into pledging allegiances to them.

Right now, despite the popularity and potentially $1 billion TV contract coming up in 2012, Rugby League in Australia is balancing on the tip of a picketed fence. Which side will it land on remains to be seen… or will it slip and impale itself?

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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15 Responses to “The Not So Independent, Independent Commission?”

  1. dragons4eva says:

    Interesting blog Druzik.
    I think the biggest change for Rugby League with the commission will be direct conflict of interest. In the past we’ve seen people run the game who were directly involved with mixed duties and international duties as well. Hopefully with a new board that they’ll do what’s best for the game. And with Colin Love standing down i hope that the international games grows.

    • druzik says:

      Taaa, It’s been something I have been thinking about for a while.

      See I am not sure there will be no conflict of interest. The biggest issue will be how unifies the all the State Federations will be under this. That is my worry.

      Well, believe it or not, if CL stasys in the RLIF, he now would not have the conflict of interest… but I think you will find, who ever runs the new ARLF will most probably become the head of the RLIF and so the same issues will be there.

      • wain says:

        so true…
        its a shame to think (if expansion happens) that we will have teams in Melbourne and Perth yet they will have no representation on the commission. You could argue also for NZ but I guess they have their own sovereign body (NZRL).

      • druzik says:

        Yes, NZ are sovereign, if everyone want to start being part of the NRL or Australia, then its in everyones interest to set up a Rugby league Pacific Federation… similar to Europe.

        Again today another article on the ratification of the commission, yet no mention of any other of the state federations….

  2. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Time for a total cleanout of the game from top to bottom because the people in the corridors of power have been there far too long.We need new blood everywhere.

  3. PNG says:

    I would hate to see another split in our game I still don’t think rugby league in the region (aus,nz & pacificnations) has fully recovered after the superleague arl war we lost alot of ground to other codes at a time rugby league was starting to dominate in the region not sure if colin love’s replacement will be any better only time will tell could just be a carbon copy of love himself if love stays head of the rlif then nothing will change internationaly all if any changes will favour aus & nz can’t see the rlif change unless there is a change in there systems and decision making equal representation is needed last i heard there was love,carr & gallop all arl and nrl reps one member from nz and one from england if that is the case it’s easy to see why the game’s decisions seem to favour aus & nz at the international level would like to see a more even representation maybe one from eng,aus,nz,european fed & pacific fed maybe even one member to represent nations like usa,jamaica,canada,italy lebanon any way starting to get a little off topic hopefully a new commision will bring about good growth and developement to the game in all aspects of the game and hopefully they get it done corectly we can’t afford another war over the running of our game

    • druzik says:

      The RLIF structure is:
      Chairman: Colin Love (ex-ARL/NSWRL/)
      Vice Chairman: Richard Lewis (RFL)
      Treasurer: David Gallop (NRL)
      Board Member: Ray Haffenden (NZRL)
      Development Officer: Tas Baitieri (ARL/NSWRL)

      Out of that, Richard Lewis is also the President of the RLEF, where the sport is gaining lots of momentum. He is essentially a figure head in that organisation though, with the Executive Officer, the guy who really drives it along, being Danny Kazandjian. This position was previously held by Kevin Rudd (Of Scotland RL fame and not the Pm of Australia lol).

      • PNG says:

        so three aus one nz and one english hardly seems a fair representation of the nations and federations that take part in the game obviously not everyone can be represented but surely the pacific nations deserve a voice any way thanks for the info druzik

      • druzik says:

        Correct its not fair and that has been the issue with International Rugby League, that its been too dominated with the Aussies and Kiwis… they have been looking out only for their own.

  4. C.T.SANDERS says:

    When is danny kazandjian going to russia daniel because people there don’t know what he looks like.

  5. C.T.SANDERS says:

    And how much of that billion dollar tv deal in 2012 is going to filter back into the international game or is that a big money deal concerning the plight of the nrl clubs in australia??

    • druzik says:

      That’s just it Chris, Its the NR:’s money… it does not belong to the International game. I don;t want it in the international game because it means then the NRL and Aussies call the shots.

      The RLIF needs to get out and get its own money, not be dependent on any one country.

      Its a massive deal, its the thing that Rugby League needs to combat AFL, Soccer and Union in Australia. I have no problem with the NRL getting that money, in fact I welcome it.

      I just dont want any of the ARL/NRL people in control of the international game.

  6. C.T.SANDERS says:

    But they’re in control of the whole game and that’s the problem.So much to this commission in australia.A whitewash.
    Do you know where i can contact ya mate Gus Gould Daniel??
    Merry Xmas to you and also my mate kiev and to my other mate ryan
    A very merry xmas and a happy new year to all my fans out there.

    • druzik says:

      Not my mate and no I don’t…not sure why you wnat to contact him…. he is the last person to care about Rugby League outside of Sydney.

      You have a good Christmas and new Year as well Chris.

  7. C.T.SANDERS says:

    A person wants him as a guest speaker here in auckland and he wants to deal direct with him and not go through his manager daniel.

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