An NRL survival guide for Gillon McLachlan
The ARLC is flirting with a disaster of Hunter Mariner proportions as it continues to court the trendy, Aussie Rules spiv Gillon McLachlan for the plum NRL’s CEO role.
Running a wok eye over the shortlist of candidates yesterday I almost choked on my International Roast at the site of the nuffies it contained. Even the Blues selectors never stuffed things up this badly!
Just a bunch of faceless suits without a Test match or ounce of footy smarts between them – what, did someone lose Benny Elias’ phone number?
One name did jump out at me though, Gillon McLachlan. Ahh yes, the feisty young chap who wowed the Footy Show a couple of years back with his unique comic stylings. I liked the cut of his jib.
Alas, the Google machine computed that this was not the case, and that the man in question was actually an AFL man. From down there.
A cold sweat overcame me and I began to tremble all over, like Rod Wishart’s thighs lining up a conversion. But … how could this be? You sold us out! You maniacs! Damn you, damn you all.
Awakening several hours later in front of ‘That’s Rugby League’, completely naked except for a pair of Jonathon Docking shoulder pads and covered in deep heat, I began to take a more philosophical view of the situation.
Hey, maybe this was the future. Maybe this was progress. Maybe Gil would take our game to new heights.
Yes, I would do it. I would support this smooth talking, smartly dressed Southerner for the good of the game.
But first, he was going to need my help.
For you see, the culture of rugby league is as complex as the sport is simple.
The game does not welcome, or particularly like, outsiders. It is the chunky kid who gives you a Chinese burn and throws your bag on top of the science block on your first day of school. Sure, a couple of weeks later it will slap you on the back, tell you it was “only joking” then ask if you want to go whip rocks at a wasps nest, but still it can be bloody slow to warm.
McLachlan’s best bet is to silently assimilate. This may be difficult seeing as he would have been flat out seeing a game on telly in Melbourne, but can be done.
Firstly, the polo playing. News flash Gill, Kerry Packer is brown bread so there’s no use trying to suck up to him. Even experienced coaches can only just get away with a polo shirt, and Robbie Kearns is living testament to what can go wrong when footy people play with the horsies. Just stick a fiver on them like everyone else.
Next thing, don’t question anything. Yes we know scrums are crap. No we don’t know why Canberra have an away jersey. An obstruction is when… look just sit there and laugh at Beau Ryan’s wig, ok? If the game wanted new ideas it would be called Super League.
Speaking of the war, you’re going to have to be able to bluff your way through some general rugby league knowledge. I’ve found that the terms Andrew Johns, Sydney, big hits, 1989 and passion will cover you for most of the curly ones, or alternatively the papers will just make something up themselves in your absence.
And finally be aware that rugby league is a man’s game played by hard men. And kids. And some women. You will be tested, put under the pump, required to give 110% and take your hats off to the boys in this role.
I’m ready when you are Gill, so toughen up princess and let’s get that jersey dirty.
Or, would you prefer I just gave Benny Elias a call?
Follow Chris on Twitter: @Vic_Arious
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious