What The?!

By Daniel Andruczyk

Once again it seems that for all the good that Rugby League does, the steps forward it makes, it then seems to take several steps back. England tied up the European Tri-Nations this weekend against France with a big 44-6 win. Izzy Folau came back to the NRL this week, leaving the AFL after being less than successful in that code. However its the referee situation in the NRL that has me scratching my head once again.

The Positives

England have continued their form on the weekend beating the French 44-6. Though it seems as a big score, it does not underline that the French were impressive none the less with their skills. They lacked that last execution to get over the line. One thing is clear that in Europe at least, the French are the number two team behind the English and have put in a lot of hard work and effort to recover from their shock loss to Wales two years ago. As some have stated, a France versus Papua New Guinea Match (the last time they met was in 2007) would be very, very enticing indeed.

Team P W D L B PF PA
England 3 2 0 0 1 106 4
France 3 1 0 1 1 -24 2
Wales 3 0 0 2 1 -82 0

England will once again meet the French this weekend in Salford for the Final of the European Tri-Nations. England are going in as favourites and will field a strong team. Will we see an improved result from the French team?

Australian Rugby League Confusion (ARLC)

OK, what the hell is going on in Australia? Seriously, I am here in the USA and so am forced to only real the online media stories, but in reality they are as biased and all about being shock jocks to sell papers rather than anything of substance. I of course refer to the crazy news from the other day that the NRLs top two whistle blowers have been sacked. I don’t mean Mr. Hollywood and Stuy, but two of the actual referees, Steve Lyons and Tony De Las Heras. Apparently there was meant to be a clean out of the referee ranks to get standard up, but by actually getting two of your best out, the ones that were not stuffing up, is beyond me? It means that no one and nothing is safe from this “Independent commission” and they are almost acting like a single authoritarian Communist Party from the 1930’s!

Read the article here.

“Send them to the Gulags” I can almost her them say. I am positive when fans,  players and clubs wanted to have an independent commission free of the reigns of New Limited, they did not mean to literally have an “Independent Commission” that really answers to no one and does as it pleases. Earlier in the year I was critical of the Clubs forming their own group to be able to “counter” the ARLC on certain issues, but you know what in hindsight now, it was a stroke of genius from them, they have a body at least to protect their interests.

As with the whole David Gallop sacking affair, weather you agree he had to go or not, everyone agrees it was handled badly and since then finding his replacement has been also shoddily run. This latest run where the referees were just brought in and sacked without making a case shows again how much the new ARLC is out of touch with the game. Lyons will be going to court and rightly so.

John Grant and the ARLC have been very disappointing in my eyes so far. Yes its early days and I am not calling for any heads… yet… but there have been some truly bizarre decisions being made that seems to go against everything the commission was meant to be. The sacking of David Gallop as I mentioned was done poorly and with no replacement in mind or ready to step up has been a real worry. People have seen this and its why there are no candidates putting their hand up. The NRL does not have anyone to run it full time at the moment. Similar with the sacking of the Referees bosses, we still have no replacement there with Russel Smith only and acting head of referees.

The $1 billion deal, was not the ARLC’s work, that was all David Gallop and his team, getting the sport to that point and them essentially taking the credit and the way they treated him has been a travesty. As a scientist, this is essentially what we call plagiarism, taking credit for someone else’s work. With that as well, we now know that expansion is off the cards, well what a waste of money that has been now for all the clubs involved. It seems that channel 9 still dictates the fortunes of the sport where Gyngell says that with expanded teams there would be no bigger deal… sure now, but down the track there will be, and its now that we need to start to get teams established and not a year out from the next TV contract. In some ways we are being short changed by our own people once more.

I was hoping the ARLC was going to have a long term vision of where the sport should be going. Sadly I think the farthest they is the dollar signs in front of their eyes, we need a vision of the future. Not 1 or 5 years down the track, we need one for 20 and 30 years down the track.


Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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10 Responses to “What The?!”

  1. Brad says:

    By the sounds of it, if the ARLC keeps going the way it is, by the time they start looking towards the future we will already see problems with the game in Australia and New Zealand, but with 10 teams in countries like Poland (go Magpies!) and teams in places like Panama, Colombia and Cuba!

    • druzik says:

      Look Brad, its a bit worrying the trend at the moment. Maybe its teething problems, but seriously we have had the sport for 100 years, its taken that long to have one governing body etc… its real poor. To put things into perspective. We are jumping up and down about the $1 billion pay deal, but there are clubs in other sport around the world that are worth over double that alone.

      Manchester Utd are worth $2.6 Billion, Dallas Cowboys are worth $2.3 Billion and the Yankees I think are about $2.1 Billion. But they have strong governing bodies in the EPL and NFL that support and allow them and their sports to grow.

      • Brad says:

        Having a strong base to develop is important! Look at Canada and the USA. The Canadian League seems to be coming on leaps and bounds, while the US seems to be stagnant (in the “official” league). I think we can put this down to a difference in govering bodies. The ARLC need to help grow the sport, not sack the top referees, lest they become like the AMNRL!

      • druzik says:

        Interesting comments Brad… Canada though I think are a very different case. Their domestic and junior base is not overly strong, but they have two guys with the money and drive to make is succeed, they are full time and have pumped everything into the sport, they use their considerable contacts in the sports and entertyainment industry to promote the sport and get it going. They have the top-down going. It seems to work for them, but it does not work for 90% of the nations out there which start of poor.

        Brad, considering you are in the AMNRL, is this an opinion you have observed from dealing with them? Is this an opinion shared with many of the development sides? Certainly that is what the USARL saw and hence one of the reasons they broke away and are doing their own thing.

        The ARLC is very much in danger of getting back to where they were, a poorly run and frozen entity that had trouble making decisions, which surprises me considering John Grant, though a League layer is also a Businessman. He was the hope, the right mix we needed, sadly he seems to be lacking.

  2. dragons4eva says:

    Dan i read your whole blog and you have some good points. I’ll try comment on each point raised as best as i can.

    1. David Gallop: This really splits people down the middle. You have people who despised him who believed he didn’t do much for the game. Look he didn’t revolutionise the game however when he worked basically his boss was his best mates because remember he was appointed by News Limited.

    However he did do the best he could to expand the game like the Gold Coast titans and he did have a lot of media experience. But i think it came down to the fact that “change” was needed. Yes the ARLC doesn’t have a CEO now and they could have handled it a bit differently…but i think there was a general consensus between Gallop and the ARLC that it wasn’t really working between the two which is common in many work places.

    2. Referees being sacked: Yes i totally agree with you. The referee saga is a disgrace as the people who really needed to go were the previous bosses…not the experienced whistle blowers themselves! Hopefully the ARLC realize their mistake and overturn their decision.

    3. $1b TV rights deal: I think we deserve what we recieved from the tv networks. To go from $50 million to 20 times that is sensational! Yes we didn’t get as much as the AFL…however it is the biggest deal RL has ever received and will go into developing grassroots footy here in oz!

    4. ARLC/John Grant: I think the ARLC so far has been a HELL of a lot more positive than negative. Yes there was the issue with Gallop and the Referees recently…however RL needed an overhaul.

    Basically the guys who were running RL weren’t doing enough for the game and were treating the games and the game in general with little respect. Gallop was best friends with his bosses and there was constant infighting within the game.

    The ARLC has now gotten rid of all of that. We now have a more clear idea of the game and have a more efficient board where better financial and business decisions for the greater good of the game can be made. News Limited have been forced to surrender their first and last rights negotiations and this wouldn’t have happened if the ARLC was put into power.

    Here (in my opinion are the positives and negatives of the ARLC;


    1. $1b rights deal. (Yes Gallop had a lot to do with getting RL to what it was before the ARLC came into power, however the ARLC were free to approach other networks too without News Limited interfering in the process).
    2. 5 year strategic plan to help spread the NRL brand across the globe and spread the game in both the pacific Islands and Australia and NZ!
    3. International game: John Grant seems to be a big fan of the international game and has made it his mission to work with the RLIF in helping to make the International game the pinnacle of the sport.
    4. From the RLIF AGM in May there seemed to be a greater co-operation between member nations as the ARLC are independent business people like the RFL and NZRL.
    5. The game has grown in the last 12 months with the game expected to grow across Australia.
    6. People across Australia now can watch NRL live when previously under the old News Limited and ARL powers this wasn’t possible.


    1. David Gallop: The way it was handled wasn’t done very professionally and yes we are still trying to find a CEO.
    2. Referees: basically what i said and what you said sums it up!

    Look overall i think the ARLC has made the game more professionally run. We aren’t tied down to pity political infighting and the game has strategic plans and has ambitions to help grow the game both domestically and internationally!

    • druzik says:

      Some good points there, I’ll just make one comment, I never said that Gallop didn’t have to go. All I said was that the way it was done and handles has been very poor.

      As much as you may not want someone, if you are going to sack them you need to have your plan A in place.

      If I were grant, I would have allowed Gallop to stay on till the TV rights were announced, those rights were in no small part because of how he grew the game in the last 10 years. Give the guys a bit of dignity, I would have then let him have his time in the sun and use that to Allow Gallop to say he was now leaving on his terms… not march him in and sack him the way it was done.

  3. Leigh Howlett says:

    Daniel, I am reading on another site that England again put the cleaners through the opposition on the weekend.
    Clearly Wales and France have Failed to step up in was was a disappointing tournament, not sure what the crowd figures were but where has all the development Euros gone in helping these Nations.
    I am far happier on a Monday reading the results of Serbia V Norway, Malta V Montegnegro, Poland V Morocco & the Czech Rep V Germany than the lop sided scores provided in the 3 NATIONS.
    What do the higher powers have to do to provide a level competitive series, it’s not all about throwing $$$ & Euros at it, we should see more sides travel to the far flung reaches to give the fledgling nations an incremental level of competitiveness.
    We can’t have sides that go over to Europe and beat the locals 100-0, lets have the ARLC give a helping hand to Country clubs from NSW or Qld or the Developing States with some assistance and incentive to forgo the Annual pissup to Bali or the Gold Coast and continue their season in exotic locations throughout the former Iron Curtain countries, what a great Ambassador Rugby League has the potential to be.

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