What does an NRL fan think of AFL fiasco?
James Hird (L) and Dean Robinson (R) look on during an Essendon Bombers training session at Princes Park, Melbourne. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
It would be great to be a fly on the wall and listen to the bartering, the give, the take, and the promised speeches. It would have made for reverting reality TV.
The average rugby league fan could not give a drop kick and punt about Essendon and James Hird except that now that the southern circus is over, will the ASADA focus turn to the Cronulla Sharks next?
Are the Sharks still certain to play in the finals this year after reaching a season high on Monday night defeating the hot pot Roosters?
If the rugby league world is to learn anything from their southern cousins then it is to plan for a quick win/win solution. The AFL and the Essendon Board looked to have achieved a very professional end solutions that, if allowed to, could have dragged on for possibly years.
James Hird was brilliant in launching a Supreme Court action against AFL alleging league boss Andrew Demetriou and his deputy Gillon McLachlan “tipped off” Essendon that its players had taken performance enhancing drugs.
This shock tactic gave Hird great bargaining power which he has now miraculously dropped after being handed down his sentence, which given the accusations is in reality somewhere between a kick up the back side and a slap with a feather.
The AFL commission have outed Hird for 12 months, but hang on, he still will be able to lead the Bombers into the Finals next year and even be the head coach should they win the flag.
The $2m fine handed down to the wealthy Bombers will be a piece of fluff off one of their black and red socks, but will save Hird’s reputed $1m salary.
All legal bills by all Essendon personnel are expected to be met by the Bombers.
The Bombers will suffer from draft picks over the next two years which is their harshest punishment, which is why they have been relegated to ninth this season.
Bombers assistant coach Mark “Bomber” Thompson has been hit with a 30k fine which again the Bombers are expected to pay, but he will likely end up with a substantial raise if he becomes the head coach in 2014 while Hird jogs on the spot in the stand at Windy Hill.
It really is a circus, and if this happened in the corporate world head coach James Hird, assistant coach Mark Thompson and football manager Danny Corcoran would all be gone forever.
Sporting bodies are a forgiving group, more so if you happen to be talented or even a living legend, and more so if you are smart enough to launch a Supreme Court action.
ASADA has interviewed 11 Sharks players, but the NRL has indicated that they will not act until the final report is completed.
Should ASADA find a case against the Sharks, who are certain to win a top eight finals birth, they could be disqualified from this year’s competition, which opens up a new opportunity for the ninth placed club.
The Sharks could do worse than hire the now unemployed James Hird as a consultant.