Souths are just as important as Rusty’s marriage

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    Russell Crowe - the driving force behind Souths' success. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Robb Cox)

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    Your weekly wrap of all things rugby league, including Russell Crowe and South Sydney, the NRL All Stars game and England’s Super League.

    Rusty must stay

    Russell Crowe can surely rebuild his marriage and own Souths. He’s good for the game. Nobody’s interested in buying the Rabbits, anyway: with TV rights deals generating cash for the NRL and not the clubs (unlike the American system which allows for one-team, one-city clubs to procure their own rights deals), it is very difficult for clubs to make money outside of their annual NRL grant (which is their tiny share of the rights deal), merchandising and what they collect through the gate.

    So Rusty, do whatever you have to with Danielle to make it right – but don’t ditch the Bunnies. They’re more interesting with you around.

    Hard times for Jharal

    Jharal Yow Yeh’s has suffered another setback in the rehabilitation of his ankle, after one of the worst leg injuries I’ve seen in any sport. It will be fascinating to see what kind of player he is once he does return to the field; it would be a profound shame if he cannot recover his former speed, grace and evasive skill. Still, better an ankle than a knee.

    Indigenous tension

    Okay, so there’s a dust-up between the ARL Indigenous Council and the NRL. I can’t begin to explain all the issues, but there seems to be resentment over not being consulted enough on issues pertinent to the indigenous league community. Some former aboriginal players, including Larry Corowa, are also upset over being lumped in with the multi-cultural One Community charity arm of the NRL.

    A smaller issue seems to be the move from Skilled Stadium to Suncorp, with members of the council protesting the lack of cheap accommodation options in Brisbane and the move away from a smaller, more community feel.

    Not sure what to think about that one. Are there substantially more people of indigenous heritage on the Gold Coast than Brisbane? Is Suncorp that much more corporate than Skilled? Sounds like a drizzle in a teacup.

    Regarding the NRL’s lack of inclusion in decisions, I’m sure Corowa and company are right. Big, corporate organisations rarely show enough respect or inclusiveness when it comes to involving relevant stakeholders in decisions. And of course, the Indigenous Council deserves to be its own entity and treated that way.

    But I do have one issue with Corowa: he said he and his community didn’t want to be seen “as a marketing or PR gimmick.”

    Larry Corowa needs to understand a crucial difference. If the NRL is indeed treating the indigenous council and the greater indigenous community purely as tools in a marketing gimmick, that’s cause for protest and a fair degree of upset.

    But the Indigenous All Star game itself? Sorry- it is a gimmick. It may be a terrific gimmick, raising awareness around indigenous issues (not sure how much it does that) and elevating respect for and recognition of indigenous people (more confident it may do that), but ’tis a gimmick nonetheless.

    Corowa is over-shooting if he sees it as anything more than that.

    Time for new administration in England

    Still no sponsor for the Super League in England? Yes, I know how popular the other world game (league fans need to start calling our game the world game, if for no other reason than to get rugby fans to spit out their soy lattes) is over there, but for Pete’s sake – the Super League rates well on TV, attracts decent crowds and gets a fair-to-middling amount of media exposure.

    The fact that the RFL can’t attract a sponsor is unthinkably absurd.