How to anger fans and alienate major sponsors

Tim Gore Columnist

162 Have your say

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

    This proverb has been ascribed to a great many people and in general it is a good rule.

    However, sometimes saying nothing is the very worst thing you can do. The silence from NRL HQ in regards to their decision to register Matt Lodge’s contract with the Brisbane Broncos is one of those occasions.

    The moment they decided to register Lodge’s contract, Todd Greenberg and his team had to get on the front foot and say why. They had to communicate with the NRL public their justification for letting someone who pleaded guilty to assault back into the game.

    The storm that is now gathering strength regarding Lodge’s return to the game could have been quelled before it had even started if the NRL had just realised that a little bit of communication can go a long way.

    However, the NRL is not a public organisation by any stretch. Although they’ve gone under the tagline “It’s your game” in seasons past, it’s never been clear to me just who they were talking to.

    Who they are answerable to and what their primary goals are is open to speculation. Getting any information out of Moore Park can be quite the challenge.

    In this age of ever more influential social media, the NRL seemingly hadn’t considered that club sponsors could be targeted by the fans as a result of contentious player registrations.

    Todd Greenberg

    (NRL.com)

    That realisation will definitely have come home to roost extremely heavily in the last week.

    If there is one thing for absolute certain in the game of rugby league it is that money talks.

    Everything points to it: the broadcast schedule, third party agreements, the primacy of State of Origin. Everything.

    So the heat placed on the NRMA – the major sponsor of the biggest team in the NRL – because of the Brisbane Broncos recruiting, and the NRL duly registering, a convicted violent offender is not what Todd Greenberg and his posse wanted at all.

    If the NRMA gets enough backlash over the matter – and they are copping quite a bit right now – it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they will end their commercial arrangement with the Broncos.

    Rugby league in Australia really doesn’t need to lose money right now.

    And which company would want their logo emblazoned on a man who pleaded guilty to a crime in New York after he threatened the lives of two women, assaulted a man who came to their aid and then invaded a home, trashing the place and terrorising a woman and child inside it?

    The Broncos have at least 18 free-to-air games this season – more if they make the finals – where Lodge will effectively be an ambassador for the NRMA to a mass audience.

    Previously, Lodge has also been suspended for writing the word ‘c***’ on his game-day strapping.

    So what possessed the Broncos to sign him?

    It does seem odd to me that the club with the single largest pool of junior talent to draw from and develop – out of all the world’s rugby league clubs – would need to recruit the likes of Lodge. If I were a shareholder in the Brisbane Broncos Ltd, I’d want to know why there wasn’t a mass of local talent constantly coming through the ranks that made such signings unnecessary.

    However, Wayne Bennett must believe Lodge can be effective. Bennett’s job is to achieve team success for the Broncos. Since returning, he has lost a grand final and been knocked out in the semi and preliminary finals respectively.

    Now 68 years old, you can bet Uncle Wayne wants one more premiership. He clearly thinks Lodge can help achieve that goal. His club backed his recruitment.

    (AAP Image/David Clark)

    The Broncos are such a huge club in the Australian sporting landscape that they may have thought that it wouldn’t matter to their sponsors who they recruited. This incident may change their thinking.

    They do have a responsibility to the shareholders and sponsors of the Brisbane Broncos Ltd to try and avoid scandal, bad press, and to maintain the impression of team integrity. By signing Lodge, they haven’t achieved those ends.

    And then the NRL registered the contract.

    As shown by such things as their justification of the salary cap (below), the NRL considers it has a clear role to protect the clubs from themselves.

    “It (the salary cap) ensures clubs are not put into a position where they are forced to spend more money than they can afford, in terms of player payments, just to be competitive.”

    Surely then the same logic would apply to them ensuring that the clubs didn’t sign someone who could damage their reputation or lose sponsors. Or, if they did, that the NRL would have a proactive strategy to justify the registration.

    Right now the Broncos brand is being damaged, and through association, so is the NRMA’s.

    And here’s the thing. Matt Lodge may have improved out of sight as a human. He may be remorseful and have set about making wrong his rights. He may be worth a chance at redemption. The NRL may have considered all of these things in a thorough and diligent process.

    However, these are all the sort of things that the Broncos and the NRL could have told us to try and avoid having the NRMA taken to task on social media.

    Further, the registration of Lodge’s contract adds more confusion around who the NRL banish and who they allow to play again.

    Todd Carney bleeding

    (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Colin Whelan)

    The problem with the deregistering players is that once you do it, you set a precedent. De-registering Todd Carney set a precedent. But a precedent can paint you into a corner. It holds all subsequent decisions – or non-decisions – up to scrutiny.

    When compared, all Todd Carney’s crimes/disgraces combined are at worst only comparable to those of Matt Lodge. While Carney’s drink driving did risk the lives of others, his other offences – while socially repulsive – did not visit serious injury on anyone. Fortunately neither did the drink driving. A repeat offender, Carney may never have another NRL contract registered.

    Perhaps like Carney in 2010, Lodge got registered because the NRL believes in giving second chances?

    But how would the NRL supporting public know that if they aren’t told? And, as usual, they weren’t told a thing by NRL HQ.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this situation is on you, Todd. You and the organisation which you lead have to be accountable and speak up. As CEO, the buck stops with you whether you like it or not.

    Let’s hope the NRMA don’t walk…

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

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    The Crowd Says (162)

    • Roar Guru

      February 9th 2018 @ 6:27am
      The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      I’m with you on this one Tim.

      I’m happy for players to be given second chances and Lodge has been out of the game a while and has been through a legal process but I think a bit of transparency from the NRL on how they came by their decision would help.

      The only thing I’d say is that I don’t think any response would really hose down the twitter outrage.

      What Lodge did was horrible but there’s no law that says people are never allowed to work again. There’s far worse criminals going to work every day but because Lodge, the Broncos and NRMA are well known, society’s luminaries and classy individuals like “Juan Farkall” can jump on their soapbox for five minutes, rant and rage and then move on. Is Juan chasing down paedophiles and murderers in his spare time or is he only interested in Matt Lodge?

      Do you think any rationale explanation of the decision making process would satisfy Juan…?

      • Columnist

        February 9th 2018 @ 7:10am
        Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:10am | ! Report

        In all fairness to Juan, it might have, yes.
        And his major interest is NRL so that is the most likely sphere that he is likely to be offended by such things.
        But you are right, some twitterati are serial offendees.
        That doesn’t mean that a proactive media/ social media strategy for such issues on the part of the NRL isn’t a good idea.
        Believe it or not, I’m only too keen to laud the NRL for getting things right, like the handing out of 2017 NRL GF tickets to junior players, the ANZ Stadium ticket and food price drop, more games in the bush. These are all things that will drive the base popularity of the game, leading to more bums on seats at the ground and in front of the Telly. That in turn will lead to more financial interest. The game grows from the roots.
        They can’t afford to let issues like this with Lodge to happen- especially when a little bit of communication up front would have gone a long way.

        • Roar Guru

          February 9th 2018 @ 7:29am
          The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

          Why don’t you write an article about the things the NRL has got right?

          I suspect it’s the same reason Juan Farkall doesn’t tweet about them…good news stories don’t get clicks, likes or follows

          • February 9th 2018 @ 8:30am
            monday QB said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

            Bring on the regular season, when at least some of the articles of the Roar (and elsewhere) can actually be about the football!!

          • February 9th 2018 @ 8:35am
            jeff dustby said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

            whats your beef with Juan? hes on the money with this one

          • Columnist

            February 9th 2018 @ 8:46am
            Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

            They’ve got their own media division to put out good news stories Baz. And I will when they do something good enough to justify that.
            Right now I believe the NRL needs a major overhaul of their priorities and engagement. To me they seem to be hostage to the interests of money. Fair enough that it is a priority, but the money only comes with the fans, not vice versa. We need to be worrying about the fans and their teams first. Get that right and broadcast deals the size of the AFLs will surely follow.

            • Roar Guru

              February 9th 2018 @ 12:29pm
              Nat said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

              In your scenario, the NRL would hostage to the press. It seems the worst mistake they can make is not respond to the satisfaction of the press – if there is such a thing. Sorry Tim but the game would not survive without the money but has survived 110 yrs without being accountable to the press.

            • Columnist

              February 9th 2018 @ 2:49pm
              Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

              My scenario has nothing to do with being hostage to the press. That’s a massive leap Nat.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 8:50am
            Oingo Boingo said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

            Bad news goes around the world twice , before good news even gets outta bed .

          • Columnist

            February 9th 2018 @ 11:21am
            Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

            Baz, OK I’m working on that article.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 2:13pm
            nordburg said | February 9th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            I get a laugh out of people who say”why don’t you write something positive about the game”
            Do you say the same thing about the nightly news?Do you read every article written about the game?What do you think of all the stories that come out around this time of yr,saying so and so is training the house down or this club’s membership is ahead of lasts yrs figures.
            There’s plenty of positive stories,unfortunately most of the time they are puff pieces generated by clubs just to get their name in lights.Stories like Lodge are important and a reason the game isn’t in that much better shape than it was in the 90’s

            • Roar Guru

              February 9th 2018 @ 8:27pm
              The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

              Glad you got a laugh nordburg but you missed the point of what I wrote.

              I specifically said an article about what the NRL has got right. Nothing to do with puff pieces put out by clubs.

              I agree that stories like Lodge’s are important but there’s more ways to approach that story than blowing up because the NRL didn’t issue a futile media statement to stop people blowing up on Twitter.

              There are very few (any?) positive media stories about the NRL administration.

              And yeah…a lot of people say that about the nightly news.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 8:22pm
        terrence said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

        Tim and The Barry,
        Great article. Matt Lodge is an interesting case, especially as he made a plea deal with his victims with compensation (US$1.6m? plus interest?), which has been assumed/alleged by many he has no intention to pay (yet both parents have been in law enforcement…hmmm?).
        Here is a very easy solution. Very easy! The NRL reduce the Broncos salary cap by twice the amount that Lodge owes his US victims (plus interest) each year till it is paid. And also till the victims amount is paid in full with interest (after approval from the US victims), all Third Party Agreements are invalid and count under the salary cap!!! Imagine the Broncos having to shed 10 to 15 players from their top 25 to keep Lodge!!!
        But unfortunately the Broncos have weak moral/ethics (Bennett, another ex law enforcemt officer?), and the NRL poor chairmanship (Grant the QLDer has no respect from clubs, can’t even remember their names at press conferences? And incoming QLQer chairman Beattie couldn’t make a big boy decision unless instructed by the CFMEU or other useless faceless fools).
        This is an easy one, the victims get their money, Lodge pays, the Broncos/NRMA/Bennett look somewhat ethical, the NRL look slightly normal.
        Otherwise, all the NRL are doing about reduction in violence towards women, women in league, etc. looks useless and foolish. A bit like Lodge (and his parents), Bennett, the Broncos, NRMA, the NRL, Beattie, Greenberg, and Clark look right now.
        As I said everyone,. Simple. Very simple!

        • February 16th 2018 @ 9:39pm
          ken gargett said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

          i know that is is so often impossible to pick up attempted humour, even sarcasm at times, purely by the written word when you do not have the benefit of tone, inclination, facial expressions and so on, so if i have misread this and it is an attempt at humour then my apologies.
          if you are serious, it surely ranks as the silliest idea i’ve read in a very long time.
          a lot of us are rather uncomfortable at lodge playing in the NRL, but remember that he has been reinstated by the NRL. not by the broncos. he is, rightly or wrongly, entitled to play and any club is entitled to sign him. whether it was a good choice by the broncos remains to be seen. fingers crossed, though i think there are some justifiable concerns.
          but that is not the issue. the broncos signed a legitimately available player. and you want them penalised for that? that is truly beyond comprehension.
          do you intend extending it to any debts owed by any player? if not, please let us know where you draw the line?
          mortgages? gambling debts? child support?
          or is this just a dimwitted way to attack the broncos?
          the broncos have weak morals/ethics? really? weaker than the other clubs? i think you’ll find they are no better/worse than any other club. i don’t have figures but i suspect that they have moved on more players for poor behaviour than most clubs.
          you may have an axe to grind against queensland and/or the broncos (too many origins?) but at least keep it sane.

    • February 9th 2018 @ 7:26am
      Gray-Hand said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Bennett seems to have a surprisingly high tolerance for F-ups like Lodge. He tried to recruit Russell Packer too., and he’s a garbage human being.

      I assume it’s because the Broncos have been short of a hard running prop for a while and Bennett doesn’t like to pay top dollar for props (which is well known), and players with a history like Lodge and Packer are likely to be cheaper than they otherwise would be.

      To be fair, Tussell Packer has kept his nose, and pants, clean since returning to the game.

      • Columnist

        February 9th 2018 @ 7:28am
        Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

        Yes he has – and he did his time

        • February 9th 2018 @ 8:45am
          Matth said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

          Bennett is an ex-cop. I’m just speculating but maybe he fancies he can help turn guys like this around.

          • Columnist

            February 9th 2018 @ 8:47am
            Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

            Perhaps.
            I’m also speculating he wants to win more.

            • February 9th 2018 @ 10:27am
              matth said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

              Well that’s every coach. I was just wondering if there is a secondary part to it.

              • Columnist

                February 9th 2018 @ 10:54am
                Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

                fair

        • February 9th 2018 @ 9:09am
          2ndChancesForReal said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          You can’t blame Lodge for the failings of the US criminal system though.

          No one ever says anything about Packer, who reenacted a terrible scene from American History X yet everyone seems to have major issues with Lodge and Tetevano.

          Packer does seem to have shown remorse though and I do get that Lodge doesnt seem to have shown remorse, but I am all for second chances.

          If players do something wrong, I am fine for them to do their time, spend a year minimum in the lower leagues and if they can prove themselves and do quality community work in that year they can return to the game on minimum contracts. Heck if you want impose some sort of convicted felon charge on the minimum contracts. $110k on the cap and a 25% surcharge of the contract to the grassroots so clubs arent getting too much of an advantage.

          A good redemption story is good for the game. A lot of people just don’t like the fact an ex-con can earn more money than them playing a sport, but life isn’t fair.

          FWIW Part One: Todd Carney isn’t banned from the NRL. The NRL has said they will review any contracts put in front of them for him, but the onus of him behaving will be completely on the club.

          FWIW PArt Two: I want none of the above mentioned players playing for my club. I didn’t like it when Robert Lui was and I wouldn’t like it now.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 9:59am
            spruce moose said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

            The problem with Russell Packer is that according to the letter of the law, he should have been deported.

            Peter Dutton should be explaining why he gets to stay and others who have committed far less atrocious crimes and told to pack their bags.

          • February 10th 2018 @ 1:27pm
            Granter said | February 10th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

            You were there were you? If he gutter stomped someone they’d be in the past tense mate. He did his time and has turned his life around; would you prefer he’d be punished forever rather than rehabilitated?

    • February 9th 2018 @ 8:04am
      Gray-Hand said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      Out of curiosity: Lodge may have avoided prison, but If I recall correctly, the family he assaulted successfully sued him for more than a million dollars.

      Did Lodge go bankrupt?

      • February 9th 2018 @ 8:43am
        spruce moose said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        No, he fled the jurisdiction of the united states!

        • February 9th 2018 @ 9:19am
          Gray-Hand said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          A US judgment for damages from an assault can be enforced in Australia with not much difficulty.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 9:23am
            Emcie said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

            I think it was stated somewhere that he’s expected to pay it off over time rather then a lump sum

    • February 9th 2018 @ 8:09am
      bear54 said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Had the CEO, coach and player trotted out for a news conference to announce his contrition for previous offences (hoping anytime he scores a try Ray Warren’s commentary doesn’t include “convicted violent offender Matt Lodge” ) and the want to move forward in life given the physics of time travel are yet to be made available to NRL players; what could they possibly say to prevent certain circles mounting a soapbox?

      A media conference would only achieve to remind those who had forgotten and inform those who didn’t know resulting in pages of News Corp “opinion pieces” fueling the flames with a cocktail of outrage and hysteria. The fallout for the NRMA would be worse with the unwashed, ill-informed and unintelligent readers of the Courier Mail, Daily Telegraph and the Australian adding their voice to the chorus.

      Should he get the Broncos to a grand final or achieve any personal success Matt Lodge has burdened himself with his own cross and will be duly crucified by the media on more important stages than his debut as a first grade player for Brisbane.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 8:21am
        The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        I’m flipping…I’m with bear54 on this one.

        The NRL can’t hold press conferences every time Juan Farkall blows up on Twitter.

        The NRL can’t win, if they publicly back him “he’s done his time and we’re concinced he won’t offend again” they open themselves up when he does stuff up.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 8:39am
          jeff dustby said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          you have a real problem with this guy who has less than 900 twitter followers, build a bridge

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 8:48am
            The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

            No problem with Juan himself. Just using him as an example of the outraged tweeter (what a world we live in where that is actually a thing!) who will drop this issue in minutes when something else shiny catches his attention.

            I also think there’s a mildly amusing, tiny irony of someone who chooses to identify himself as ‘Juan Farkall’ being morally outraged. It makes me happy.

          • Columnist

            February 9th 2018 @ 8:52am
            Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

            It’s not just Juan, Baz.
            And my point is that they must hold a press conference when they decide to register a convicted violent offender. Explain the process they went through. Show us that they aren’t just a rubber stamp. Give us faith that they are as concerned as we are regarding the image of the game. It’s not brain science. Treat us like the stakeholders that we are. Include us.

            • Roar Guru

              February 9th 2018 @ 9:07am
              Emcie said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

              • Columnist

                February 9th 2018 @ 10:11am
                Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                Yep. Just like that Emcie. But the NRL doing it too. On a bigger stage.
                In a previous life I worked in the Parliamentary press gallery for Channel 9. Mal Colston’s handling of the travel rorts allegations taught me – and anyone who was paying attention – a huge lesson about dealing with the press. Colston tried to hide from the media. He didn’t give interviews and he stayed out of camera shot. It caused a frenzy as every news agency became desperate for the shot. Hiding added fuel to the fire until it was out of control. You don’t want to know – or maybe you do but I’m not going to tell you – what ends the media went to to get those shots.
                The lesson: if there is going to be attention get out in front of the press ASAP and talk. Give them their story. It’ll last a week at most. Try to stop it, don’t engage with it properly and it can quickly escalate.
                And Bear, it doesn’t seem anyone forgot about this one. It seems Lodge’s actions are firmly remembered.
                And the “hope no one notices” media strategy is a highly risky strategy in this age of social media.
                And, sure, there are those who will climb on their soapbox anyway. But big, upfront, transparency – which is more than justified given Lodge’s crimes – that talks of the process followed and the principles, means that it is unlikely to gather much momentum.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 10:27am
                Nat said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

                Don’t go presenting facts to Tim Emcie, they don’t suit the narrative. According to Tim, the NRL must answer to every uninformed “Juan” (thanks TB) on twitter.

              • February 9th 2018 @ 11:01am
                RandyM said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                yep, just like when the NRL had to have a press conference to tell everyone the Roosters were not cheating the salary cap, based on a silly meme joke created by a betting agency.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 11:02am
                Emcie said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                I can understand Tims position, even if I don’t neccessarily agree with its presentation. In response to Tims previous comment I agree that the NRL could have made the terms more visible to the public, but they were were availible to those that wanted to look and I would say that the timing of the official signing (mid world cup) may have dissuaded the NRL from drawing too much attention to the matter, rightly or wrongly.

                Pubic Relations is a fickle beast and what may work in one case may fail spectacularly in another, so I’m not sure anyone can suggest any sure fire way of quenching the public “outrage”. Whether a larger public engagment would have satisfied the offended parties, which is the essense of the article, is up for debate. I think the main problem here is the automatic assumption that if a club isn’t going out of its way to be “transparent” then something untoward is happening, yet if a club goes out of its way to be “transparent” it reaks of a cover up to the general public. The Broncos have reached enough of a middle ground to satisfy me personally in this issue and I can understand if people don’t agree. But like I said, the information is there for those that want it, and those that don’t bother looking are probably more interested in being offended then the whole story anyway.

              • Columnist

                February 9th 2018 @ 11:31am
                Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:31am | ! Report

                Oh SNAP RandyM!
                Look at you go!
                The NRL really need to address the widely expressed views – albeit many jokingly – that the Chooks are cheating. It was the NRL Roast – not a betting agency BTW.
                As my piece pointed out, those accusations don’t hold much water by when we’ve got the Professor joking about the Salary Sombrero and blatant memes like that it directly attacks the integrity of the NRLs salary cap auditors. It says they are crap. Or worse, that those in power don’t care.
                So yeah, I reckon the NRL should address those issues. If I was in charge of the auditing I’d sure as hell want my integrity defended by my employer.

                But maybe you’re right. Being called incompetent or a cheat in public forums is nothing to worry about at all. Who cares about reputation and integrity anyway.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 12:57pm
                The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                But the professor is a comedian. It’s his job to take the p1ss out of things.

                To suggest the NRL has to issue a public statement because the professor has cracked a joke is out there for mine.

                What will happen when Carl Baron does his next tour?

              • Columnist

                February 9th 2018 @ 2:56pm
                Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

                Baz… those are just two examples. There are multitudes of people saying it.. and unless you’ve been living on a cave, on mars, with your fingers in your ears, singing loudly you know that too.
                And frequently it’s the satirists and comedians who have the greatest impact.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 8:35pm
                The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

                I haven’t been on mars and I haven’t had my fingers in any orifices.

                But none of the opinion whether it’s the professor or internet memes or twitter users or whatever is informed opinion.

                The more the NRL responds to that rubbish the more they feed it.

                If a whistleblower comes out and says I have evidence that the roosters have rorted the cap then yes they should treat it seriously and release a statement.

                But the idea that Todd Greenberg should hold a press conference every time a bozo with a computer and too much time on their hands comes up with a lame, poorly animated internet meme is facile in the extreme.

              • Roar Rookie

                February 9th 2018 @ 8:53pm
                William Dalton Davis said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

                Damn you articulate your arguement well.

                Fully agree. The police don’t investigate and release a statement on every single tip they receive so why should the NRL be held to a higher standard over what a comedian and some Facebook/Twitter meme groups say?

                If, say, a former player or staffer came forward with claims then it’s a different story.

              • Roar Guru

                February 10th 2018 @ 8:00am
                The Barry said | February 10th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

                Press release from the Police:

                “We would like to address the internet meme that went viral yesterday. Our officers do not consume excessive amounts of donuts and do not, repeat, do not, smell like bacon”

              • February 10th 2018 @ 9:14am
                bear54 said | February 10th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

                No Tim, the only people remembering Lodges transgressions are his victims and anyone who follows this site. League fans are acutely aware because they live and breath this stuff daily but should the NRL or Broncos follow your advice with a press conference all of a sudden its on the 6pm news, its in the first few pages of the papers, the radio shock jocks will dedicate a 5 minute diatribe to it and casual observers and non-NRL types will become aware.

                Drawing a parallel between Lodge and Colston is incorrect as well. Yes, in politics you get out in front of an incident because the questions will be asked and answered. That’s how that system works. Would Colston be grilled on the subject every time he fronts Insiders, the 730 Report or the Today Show? No, they’ll talk to him about whatever the policy he’s pushing and move on.

                Don’t believe me? Follow Barnaby Joyce in a month and see how many questions he gets about his girlfriend.

                Sport is different from politics. Sporting editors and journos love a narrative. They will dredge up anything from a players past to get something other than “one game at a time” or “not getting ahead of ourselves” answers. So Lodge gets selected for NSW Origin and the first question he gets is “Can you believe you’re here after what you did in the US?” The Broncos select him to play in a grand final and he’s on the couch with Sterlo “Matt, you’ve come a long way from the incident in the US. Did you think you’d get another chance?” He plays for Australia and there’s a five minute think piece on Wide World Of Sports about “The Boy from Blacktown and his Tale of Redemption”.

                The NRL could have a media circus tomorrow and address every single question on Matt Lodges crimes and it will still get brought up every time he’s in the news until he retires.

                Don’t believe me? Google Todd Carney.

            • Columnist

              February 9th 2018 @ 10:59am
              Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

              and we were doing so well today Nat…
              I still hope we’ll be friends.
              Like me and The Barry. We never agree on a damn thing but he’s never personally attacked me. I listen to every word he says. He’s changed my mind a number of times and I suspect I’ve changed his too.
              I’m sure we can find a middle ground Nat, but what you need to understand is that my only agenda is for the game to be run well and fairly.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 11:51am
                Nat said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

                I’ve said on numerous times that I respect your statistical pieces above most. I grew up listening to Grandstand and still have it as a staple if I cannot watch the games. It is your opinion pieces that get stuck in my craw purely because they offer a lack of research or based on speculation. Twice you have attacked me personally when I disagreed with you. DCE and Soliola, your argument for both (Qld selection and the high shot), is that you’ve met them, they are good guys. Fair enough but far from the point that was being argued. I summarized your last 3 articles and IMO it boiled down to you don’t know what someone is earning so the whole thing is unfair and we should tear the whole thing down and open it up to the highest bidder but make it public just so the press can write about how unfair it all is. ‘Roosters access to TPA’s is primarily due to their CBD location’ (to paraphrase) I literally couldn’t comment at the time I was that gobsmacked. This article follows that same line, I agree with the premise but to write a piece without as much as a google? Please take it as a sign of respect that I take such notice of your articles. I’m far from the sharpest tool in the shed and can be swayed with logical, factual argument but not speculation. I really do not mean to be offensive to you, I guess I expect more from an Expert but I do keep in mind this is an opinion site.

              • Columnist

                February 9th 2018 @ 3:06pm
                Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

                You’re gobsmacked…
                where are the Roosters based: the eastern suburbs.
                Who do people most frequently go for? The team from the area where they grew up.
                Is the eastern suburbs a poor area? No it isn’t. It’s one of the richest areas in the country.
                Are people who grew up there a) far more likely to have gone to private schools b) have old boy networks c) be more likely to have money and influence and d) be more likely to have influence over the allocation of TPAs than people from most other NRL feeder areas? You better believe it!
                Not sure why you’re gobsmacked.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 7:19pm
                Nat said | February 9th 2018 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

                I am still gobsmacked because it demonstrates a distinct lack of commercial acumen and research. I have first hand experience with this but cannot speak for every sponsor. However, let’s run with your premise that Roosters TPA’s are all sourced from rich, eastern suburbs, private school, old boys. First, we are assuming that private school is where league fans congregate. Not the case in the rest of Australia but it suits your argument. Although Uncle Nick was raised in Brisbane where Nudgee, Bris Grammer St Josephs etc don’t concern themselves too much with our game. If there is one thing they teach you at these elite schools is money management so do you think that includes giving your school chum $150k each year to support a footy team he sponsors? No ROI required. Uncle Nick now has the Chairmans club. Exclusive to 30 members that includes the likes of Boris, Packer, Gyngell to name a few, all industry leaders but none of whom went to school together. So there goes your private school theory. What do we know? Front of jersey sponsors, since 2010 Steggles, based in Pendle Hill located far closer to Parramatta than the CBD and run by the Simon Camileri, 3rd gen poultry farmer. Although Steggles Chickens and Sydney Roosters, chickens/chickens, both have strong brands, it fits so let’s leave that there. TPAs require a firm to want a known ambassador because they cannot use the team brand. Who, in Sydney, do any of the Roosters do ads for? JT does Skins, Billy does Gatorade, Smithy does All Trades to name a few. None of those chose their ambassadors based on location and neither do the Roosters sponsors. TPA sponsors – Every sponsor wants some pound of flesh and for 100k you can get Hollywood A-list visit your home so to assume league players get similar sums for no return is ludicrous. Roosters can attract TPAs due to their successful brand and known players – not location. Sponsorships are not tax deductible, they come directly from the marketing budget so to assume that a CBD location and old boys club means players are granted huge amounts of money for no ROI and based on friendships is a wild assumption which has no basis in fact. What is a safe assumption is that you have no history in executive positions. How and why commercial decisions are made and who is accountable for them. These articles are based on speculation yet argued as if fact but in the case of TPAs, you said you don’t know how they work but you attacked me for disagreeing with you. If I was to write an article outlining how the media works, what would your reply to me sound like I wonder?

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 8:37pm
                The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

                Well said Nat.

                The idea that business leaders accountable to boards and shareholders would just throw company money at a footy team with no return, because they went to school with the chairman is laughable.

                Tin foil hat stuff.

        • February 9th 2018 @ 8:52am
          jimmmy said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          Good move TB. Redemption stories are the best of all. What Lodge did was reprehensible BUT he is as entitled as anyone to change his ways.
          Lodge must however PROVE by his behaviour that he has truely reformed . The smallest hiccup and my view changes completely.
          I look forward to seeing how he goes.

          • Columnist

            February 9th 2018 @ 10:12am
            Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

            Jimmmy, to be clear, I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve a second chance, I’m saying his return has been poorly handled.

            • February 9th 2018 @ 10:27am
              jimmmy said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

              Yeah Tim , I understand that but the two issues ft confused in Many people’s minds. The NRL SHOULD be out there trumpeting that we believe in redemption but that we are not fools and require anyone given a second chance must remain squeaky clean forever more.

              • Columnist

                February 9th 2018 @ 11:32am
                Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                fair

            • Roar Guru

              February 9th 2018 @ 12:59pm
              The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

              I’m the same, I’m comfortable with Lodge getting a second chance…I’m just not sure on the need for the NRL to have a press conference to announce it.

              • Columnist

                February 9th 2018 @ 3:21pm
                Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

                Because he threatened the lives of two women, assaulted a man who came to their aid, invaded a house, trashed it and terrorized a woman and child within it.
                If the NRL is going to register his contract – having deregistered a bloke for urination – they should really explain their actions – lest their be a backlash against their sponsors.
                If you can’t understand that logic and reasoning then I don’t know what to tell you.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 4:48pm
                The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                So don’t let him play then.

                The NRL doesn’t make announcements about anyone else’s contract.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 9th 2018 @ 1:31pm
          William Dalton Davis said | February 9th 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

          Juan Farkall can’t be his actual name can it?

          • February 10th 2018 @ 1:34pm
            Granter said | February 10th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

            I’d say it was a dig aimed at Cronulla pre-2016 GF

    • February 9th 2018 @ 8:41am
      jeff dustby said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      just another example of how Bennett and the Broncos play by their own rules. Anyone seen Andrew Gee lately?

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 12:40pm
        Nat said | February 9th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Hahahaha, coming from a Parra supporter. More brown paper bags than a 1950’s supermarket and documented in their board’s minutes but if the team isn’t successful – that’s fine. Semi gets shown the door over an allegation but Edwards is a stand up guy! How black is the Broncos kettle there Pot?

    • February 9th 2018 @ 8:45am
      Peter Phelps said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      I appreciate what you are saying but the way I look at these things is this.

      It is the courts and legal systems duty to punish offenders for violence and drugs et al and in general they are very good at that job. It should not be the NRL’s job to add further judgements or punishments to this process. So having served their external punishments be that gaol, fines or whatever then the NRL has no right to further punish or exclude from employment (restraint of trade).

      The ONLY exception should be where the NRL determines that such employment or lack of punishment damages its business of Rugby League in this country. In the case of Todd Carney, his crimes were minor in the scheme of things and warranted only mild public action however to the NRL, he was causing massive damage to the image of the game. Imagine being a mother of an 11 year old who has a picture of Todd on his wall and dealing with the fall out of his latest escapade. I am pretty certain that Todd has caused the loss of fans and sponsors to the sport and despite all the protestations, the NRL was right to act.

      Packer was another case, he served his sentence and the NRL put qualifying restrictions on him to allow the baying press to subside and to prove his reformation before letting him back. That was right and proper and it appears that Packer has reformed.

      And so to Lodge, is Lodge being admitted to the Broncos damaging the game and if so, is it the game in general (NRL’s responsibility to act) or to the club concerned (Broncos responsibility to act) ? That is the real question we have to ask ourselves.

      • Roar Guru

        February 9th 2018 @ 8:51am
        The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        Very good Peter…I agree with that overall

        The question is, who decides who is doing damage to the game? We can’t leave it to Outraged Tweeters!

        PS I think one of my who’s should have been a whom but I don’t know which!

        • Columnist

          February 9th 2018 @ 8:59am
          Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          Strewth Baz… social media is here. To stay. It is the new world. You and NRL HQ can dismiss it until the cows come home but any organization who doesn’t take it very seriously, and the growing ability it has to badly damage brands – and quickly at that – is making a HUGE error.
          Instant interaction must be done by any organization. The railways, police, supermarkets, etc all do it. More and more emphasis is going there for good reason: it’s really important.
          You can fob it off as a few nutters if you want. But if the NRL does it is a huge error.

          • February 9th 2018 @ 9:09am
            Gray-Hand said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

            In this case, the NRL seems to have delegated the public relations of Lodge’s return to the NRL to the Broncos. And the Broncos are doing that – there have been several stories in the newspaper and websites on the issue. None of the stories are particularly critical. It speaks volumes that the most vocal critic is some nobody on Twitter.

            Any statement from the NRL would just draw more attention to what is basically a non issue for everyone.

          • Roar Guru

            February 9th 2018 @ 9:32am
            The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            I get that social media is here to stay Tim but it’s also just full of blow hard, anonymous noisemakers.

            The issue of the day blows up, everyone vents and then moves on.

            Everyone takes extreme positions because that’s how you get noticed. Moderation and the middle ground are largely ignored.

            You’re either an apologist or you’re a hater. No time in this 120 character world for anything in between.

            I was never a John Howard fan but one thing he did exceptionally well was ride out storms.

            Something would blow up and he’d just smile and make non committal comments and wait for the next controversy to blow this one away.

            There’s no need for the NRL to be chasing their tail responding to anonymous cranks named Farkall on twitter.

            The people outraged about Lodge would still be outraged regardless of what the NRL has said.

            • Columnist

              February 9th 2018 @ 10:15am
              Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

              John Howard stopped being Prime Minister at the beginning of the social media age.

              All it took here Baz was some good front foot media strategy. That’s it. It aint rocket surgery. Own your actions up front and then stuff will blow away – and sponsors are unlikely to get harassed.

            • Columnist

              February 9th 2018 @ 11:14am
              Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              You are right though, there are a lot of blow hards. So I do understand your feelings. But we’ve got to engage as many as possible in a positive way. We (those of us who love our footy) need to be trying to set the narrative, not reacting to a negative one.

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 1:03pm
                The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                I do get where you’re coming from…I’m just unsure on how effective it could possibly be.

                I don’t know what the NRL could possibly put in a media statement that would stop the Juan Farkall’s of the world jumping on their soapbox…

              • Roar Guru

                February 9th 2018 @ 4:49pm
                The Barry said | February 9th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                And thanks for not having a tonk at my hypocritical anonymous blowhard noisemaker call
                🤣🤣🤣

              • Columnist

                February 12th 2018 @ 9:23am
                Tim Gore said | February 12th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                In spite of the fact we rarely ever agree on a damn thing, I totally respect your views and see you as a comrade – in that we both love rugby league. BTW did you see Michael Keefe’s fan piece? Really good stuff.

      • Columnist

        February 9th 2018 @ 9:01am
        Tim Gore said | February 9th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Yes Peter, the legal system has acted. and the NRL should have been on the front foot making all of those things clear. That’s my point.

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