Reports: Number of footballers in media set to exceed number of actual footballers

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By , Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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    Faux news: A report has revealed rapid growth in the rugby league media, with numbers of players-turned-pundits on track to outgrow the amount of those actually playing the game.

    The report – compiled by little-known and untraceable data company ME – forecasts flooding of the industry to peak over the next decade, as retired footballers capitalise on a ceaseless news cycle dependent on hyperbole.

    Such is the rate of growth predicted, it could threaten the record set 60 years ago when a handful of analysts for television replaced that one speedy-pitched nasal bloke used since the 1900s.

    Rugby league’s media industry has exploded in recent times on the back of a 24-hour channel and the acute decay of traditional journalism, with upsurge icons like Matty Johns often seen on multiple platforms 28 hours a day.

    However, it appears this is only a taste of what lies ahead.

    The report predicts waves of unemployable and sometimes indecipherable footballers will flock to the industry in numbers akin to ‘a Laurie Daley Origin shortlist’.

    Many are blaming the players’ growing fear of the conventional workforce, while another factor raised is the appeal of receiving $500 per hour to cultivate content about trivial spats and horseplay.

    Radio and television are likely to feel the heaviest brunt of the growth, however print media is predicted to be initially spared, with concussion rates in the game tipped to remain steady.

    Media heavyweights have welcomed the report, with one executive claiming the figures as a significant blow in the industry’s ongoing battle with rugby league to become the pinnacle of the game.

    He believes the numbers finally underline rugby league’s transformation from a professional sport to a nursery for preparing young men to deliver overpaid hot takes.

    While acknowledging analysts’ predictions that the growth is unmanageable, the executive plans to meet supply issues by dropping recruitment standards lower – even lower than they are now.

    He declared not only will this create greater opportunities for all, it will mean “knowing nothing about football will no longer restrict you to Channel Nine”:

    “Punditry has come a long way from the days when Fatty Vautin could get by with exaggeration and a ‘whooshka’.

    “Now it will be much worse than that.”

    However, the Rugby League Players Association responded by condemning the forecasts, labelling them “The greatest threat to the game’s existence since the last threat.”

    A representative claimed there was already enough agendas, conflicts of interest and mispronounced surnames in broadcasting.

    He then urged the industry to leave the players alone and to keep the status quo, which is poaching cheap-yet-visually inoffensive talent from other lower profile sports.

    “The rugby league media was happy to lure Matt Shirvington across, and Ben Ikin from whatever industry he made his name. Why the change now?

    “Leave the players to do what they do best. Breaking curfews.”

    While acknowledging punditry’s threat to poach youngsters and outgrow actual rugby league, he said the association’s chief concern was procuring a lounge for the Fox Studios that could house the arses of 25 front-rowers.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.