Rugby League Commission getting it right

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By Pete_Lock, Pete_Lock is a Roar Rookie

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    The Independent Commission appears to be ousting John Grant. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    No season of professional sport is free from controversy, but when it’s avoidable controversy then something must be done. In the case of rugby league, it appears the game’s power brokers have woken up.

    Two of the major problems that constantly reared their ugly heads during the 2012 season were related to the video ref and representative eligibility.

    Two instances of video ref getting it horribly wrong in crucial games made the NRL look like somewhat of a laughing stock: Greg Inglis’ try in State of Origin one and Kieren Foran’s clear knock on against the Cowboys in the semi-finals.

    As much as Bill Harrigan was able to put Inglis’ game securing try in slow motion, and defend his video referee on the night, at the end of the day it looked like a knock on, and should have been given.

    As for Foran’s effort, North Queensland players and supporters are unlikely to forget or forgive this howler until their team has lifted the premiership trophy.

    Benefit of the doubt seems a blight on the game, and I like many supporters am happy this rule has been changed.

    When talk arose of James Tamou being selected to play in the annual ANZAC Test match this year, curiosity followed. How can a guy who seems as Kiwi as a hangi be selected to play for Australia, particularly as he had been part of New Zealand squads in the past?

    Although his reasoning added up and was well within the rules, Tamou playing for Australia and NSW didn’t feel quite right.

    This selection more than the likes of Tonie Carroll and Brad Thorn in the past seemed to cause the most public outcry. It was as plain as day that Tamou should be playing for the Kiwi’s, and I am glad that Sam Kasiano has decided to choose the black jersey, because that is where he belongs.

    The fact that a rule has been put in place that a player must have lived in his home state before the age of 13 does bring some clarity forward on this subject, and hopefully this strengthens the New Zealand team, as it is great for the sport if the international game is competitive.

    Some might argue that if the Australian captain can lead the team in a rendition of the Queensland Origin victory song, then this probably tells us how serious our stars take representing their country.

    However now that New Zealand youngsters with dreams of playing Origin are now potentially shot, we should see some passionate Tests in years to come.

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    The Crowd Says (60)

    • December 22nd 2012 @ 6:18am
      DeanP said | December 22nd 2012 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      Tamou is entitled to play for whatever team he wants, he has lived in Oz longer than Foran, Hoffman, Beale combined have lived in NZ. Who are you to say what he should do? Unless you are a mind reader you have no business second guessing his decisions.

      • December 22nd 2012 @ 11:25pm
        Devout Saint said | December 22nd 2012 @ 11:25pm | ! Report

        I am not a mind reader, Tamou even said himself that choosing to play for NSW and Australia was a financial decision. Choosing to play for a different country should not be a finacial decsion. The ARLC should be looking to make tests 50K a game and leaving origin at 20K a game. A full strength NZ team would really e a top match for a full strengh Australian team and tests between Aust and NZ could eventually rival origin and exeed Bledisloh Cup, as long as Australia stops poaching NZ’s players. You shouldbe abe to see thebig picture.

        • December 23rd 2012 @ 9:49am
          Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | December 23rd 2012 @ 9:49am | ! Report

          A full strength NZ team would really e a top match for a full strengh Australian team and tests between Aust and NZ could eventually rival origin and exeed Bledisloh Cup,

          That will never happen in New Zealand mate, like many have mention before rugby league is a minority sport here and the fact that Origin is the pinnacle of rugby league in Australia will never see that exceed Bledisloe in New Zealand anyway.

          • December 23rd 2012 @ 1:51pm
            Ryan said | December 23rd 2012 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

            yes League is a minority sport but the times when NZ has had close to their full strength side available they have won the Four Nations and the World Cup.
            With the changing of the eligibility rules it will close the door on origin eligibility for many who will now switch their allegiances back to their homelands be that NZ or the Pacific Islands.
            Sure there are some flaws and possible challenges to come into the new guidelines set down by the ARLC and only time will tell how successful it is.
            I doubt the Aus vs NZ clash will rival the Bledisloe within the next 5 years but it has the potential to do so.
            If the NZRL manages to sort out a NZ version of SOO as they have been threatening to do for years things could become very interesting. I spoke with Jim Doyle two years ago in regards to the matter and at the time he was looking at two specific teams NZ heritage and NZ Pacific Heritage all players must be eligible for New Zealand. Earlier this year the NZO came up again and they looked at the North vs South or City vs Country basically Auckland vs the rest.
            Jim mentioned that the biggest hurdle to getting a NZO started was the NRL as all the players or 99% of them are contracted to the NRL and their clubs. Not to mention their is no stand alone weekend for SOO. All 16 clubs have issues with releasing players to play SOO then having their players back up or not back up only days later. Some teams such as Brisbane and Melbourne come SOO are decimated by players heading to the big games. Now as it stands it is highly unlikely the NRL clubs including the Warriors would be too happy about releasing another 40 players to play NZO.
            Now once they can or if they get over that obstacle I believe the NZO concept will not be too far away.

          • December 23rd 2012 @ 6:24pm
            Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | December 23rd 2012 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

            I had a feeling the NRL clubs will block any attempts for a NZO and rightly so but it should be up to the ARLC to put some of the NRL TV money from NZ broadcasters into a NZO for payments and insurance for injuries. The Kiwis winning the RLWC couldn’t compete with Bledisloe cup so there’s no chance rugby league international between the two countries doing the same. A Warriors grand final win will be the closest thing to it.

            • December 23rd 2012 @ 7:59pm
              Lippy said | December 23rd 2012 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

              Why should the NRL block the Kiwis having their own Origin Series?
              If the NRL had the rights to it you could guarantee it will start in next to no time.

              It’s bs for them to block it and only shows that the welfare of Australian League is paramount opposed to growing the game internationally.

              what a weekend it would be to have Origin New Zealand on Friday and State of Origin on Saturday or Sunday

            • December 23rd 2012 @ 10:48pm
              Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | December 23rd 2012 @ 10:48pm | ! Report

              Because the NRL clubs pay their wages and without NRL players any NZ origin will be waste of time and money. Imagine if the Pacific Islands have a union version Island of Origin in NZ using players from super rugby the NZRU won’t have any of it and will stop it.

              • December 24th 2012 @ 10:35am
                Greg said | December 24th 2012 @ 10:35am | ! Report

                Why would they? There is no island born players in the All Blacks, so I don’t know why they would be anything other than supportive

              • December 24th 2012 @ 11:29am
                Lippy said | December 24th 2012 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                Yes but if the NRL got a slice of the pie they may just be keen.
                A New Zealand Origin series or concept is no more a waste of time than State of Origin.

                It’s attitudes like yours looking to prevent the game growing that need to be changed. Have you stopped to think how a NZ origin series could promote and encourage more players to take up the game in NZ?

                An origin series can.only be beneficial for NZ league and league in General

    • December 22nd 2012 @ 6:26am
      Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 6:26am | ! Report

      Kiwis in rugby league are just as bad poachers as the aussies in rugby league.
      Nathan Cayless, Jason Cayless, Jason Nightingale, Frank Pritchard, Nathan Fien, Brent Webb , to name just a few. The problem when the aussies do it, it get more anger and emotional coz there seen as having more depth and can afford to give players up , who won’t even make the aussy team.

      But there is hypocrisy on both sides. Same with pacific island nations in rugby who complain about poaching when they do it just as much, complete hypocrisy.

      • December 22nd 2012 @ 1:14pm
        Dr Chop said | December 22nd 2012 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        It’s not hypocrisy though. Cayless (both), Nightingale, Beale, Hoffman, Pritchard, Foran and others all have Kiwi parents. These guys have Kiwi heritage, and therefore should be allowed to represent the land of their ancestors if they so desier. Tamou is not Australian. He was born in NZ, his parents were born in NZ, he first played league in NZ, he looks like a Kiwi. He is the furthest thing from Australian, and should not be allowed to wear the green and gold. He doesn’t even sing when Advance Australia Fair is playing before the game. He described his defection to Australia as a “sound business decision” at the time. Compare that to Nightingale, Beale, Hoffman, Pritchard and co who would bleed for the Kiwis. There’s no comparison. Tamou is not Aussie

        • December 22nd 2012 @ 2:11pm
          Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

          He also played for New Zeleand Maori. Funny thing was after the Townville test, he swapped jerseys briefly and put on a kiwi jersey, it looked so right and natural on him, I just kept thinking “what if” if only. A pure money decision by Tamou,. He has a lot of Moari culture tattoos , as well, just felt so right watching him swap jerseys briefly after the townsville test, then he put his green and gold jersey back on for the photo. Now rep payments have gone up, if only he hung around for 1 more year and been patient. He almost made the kiwi 2011 tri nations team, and was in the train on squad . SO its annoying, but maybe Tamou in a way instigated the change of rules , and the Kasiano saga too.

          As kiwi as you can get James Tamou

          http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/vrLNqqBWO6H/New+Zealand+Maori+v+England/B6gUQgO9vDv/James+Tamou

          • December 22nd 2012 @ 3:03pm
            Ryan said | December 22nd 2012 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

            Quade Cooper also has a ta moko on his sleeve and moved to Aus at a similar age so if we were to use your own notion he too is as Kiwi as they come right?
            Just curious as both have lived over half their lives in New Zealand yet both represent Australia now.
            I’m of the view that Tamou having been in the Maori, Junior Kiwis and Wider Kiwis squad has absolutely no place playing for Australia or NSW QC on the other hand has only ever represented Australian Rep teams so I don’t feel so strongly about him representing Australia.
            Although he was 13 when he moved to the West Island and has Tamoko like James Tamou :-)`

            • December 22nd 2012 @ 3:35pm
              Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

              Well this is it. Technuically they are both aussy too, no doubt about it as is Karmicheal Hunt , and Benji marshall. But as Tamou did so much junior squad and senior squad stuff with the kiwis, he really to me belongs in the kiwi squad.
              However I don’t believe under-20’s should be a locked in thing. if you play under-20’s you should be able to play for another country. Rugby has that rule, Benji Marshall from memory was an aussy schoolboys rep.
              He said it didn’t feel right and switched back over.

              • December 22nd 2012 @ 4:16pm
                Ryan said | December 22nd 2012 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                Unless they have citizenship they are no more Aussie than me Johnno and you can not change the blood that runs through your veins.
                Technically they will always be Kiwis with Australian citizenship. Much like my grandparents will / were always Maltese and Greek but NZ citizens.
                I could move to China and get citizenship it doesn’t make me Chinese it simply males me a citizen of that country.

                But thats just how I see it, but I do get your point.

                They will always be immigrants it’s their offspring should they be born in Australia if their parents were in Aus before Feb 2001 that will then become fair dinkum Aussies but then again Kiwi children born in Australia to parents who immigrated post Feb 2001 are not Australian citizens and it is extremely difficult for Kiwis to get citizenship now, therefore your government does not see them as Australians so it is a bit off that there are allowed to play for your national teams.

                http://www.citizenship.gov.au/applying/how_to_apply/nz/

              • December 22nd 2012 @ 4:30pm
                Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

                Yes either way it never feels right , when a kiwi plays for aussies, or an aussy plays for the kiwis.
                I still don’t feel that natural about Quade cooper, and never did about James Tamou or Karmicheal Hunt. Willie mason i never cared about as he lived here for a long time, same with digby inane, and sekope kepu.

              • December 22nd 2012 @ 6:40pm
                Ryan said | December 22nd 2012 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

                I only hvae an issue with Tamou for the reasons I stated as he had already represented NZ at some level.
                All the others yes they are Kiwis but like you said they have all lived except QC most of their lives in Australia.
                QC I don’t care too much about because firstly he has played all his rep footy in Australia and secondly I don’t actually rate the guy.

    • December 22nd 2012 @ 6:56am
      Lippy said | December 22nd 2012 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Reality us Johnno and Dean Australia has 10 x the amount of players than NZ, so should never need to poach. All the players above either have NZ parents or heritage aside from Webb who went through an eligibility period as did Fein after the granny gate scandal.
      Fact was that NZ players could be selected for Origin days after stepping off a plane as long as they swore allegiance to Australia. That is the crux of the issue.
      Sure a lot of kiwis play in the NRL however reality is there are 15 Australian teams and 1 from NZ.
      Then factor in the two Origin teams and the odds are stacked heavily in Australias favour, yet Australia still feels the need to take the talent from NZ where league is a minor sport played largely in South Auckland and small pockets of Canterbury and Wellington.
      NZ has been forced to call in players with NZ heritage to remain competitive.
      What this new ruling will do is make International league stronger and give it credibility.

      • December 22nd 2012 @ 7:12am
        DeanP said | December 22nd 2012 @ 7:12am | ! Report

        heh. You’re making things up Lippy. Name one ‘Kiwi’ who has played origin after stepping off a plane. NZ has not been ‘forced’ to do anything. In fact, going by the way the NZRL has carried on, it would seem a fair comment to call them a bunch of ungrateful bludgers. Fact is about half of the Kiwi side were either born in Oz, or received their league education in Oz. The ARLC decision to restrict origin eligibility has been hailed as a success for the NZRL, but in reality it is nowhere near what they wanted. As I recall they were talking about players having to have lived in Oz for at least 50% of thier lives (Doyles’s proposal), or even allowing ‘Kiwis’ to play origin and still be eligible for the Kiwis. The <13 rule might have excluded Tamou (I'm not sure), but few others. It's a silly, discriminatory rule that has no place in 21st centurty multi-cultural Oz. And I say that as a Kiwi.

        • December 22nd 2012 @ 7:43am
          StevenH said | December 22nd 2012 @ 7:43am | ! Report

          When I first heard of the new Origin criteria I thought it was a good step, on further reflection I think it’s a poor one. I moved to Australia as a 15 year old. I attended school here, played most of my meaningful footy here. If I’d been good I would have play in the rep sides here. Growing up here my interest is in SOO because that’s what is seen here as being the ultimate, yet I’m am denied that chance because my parents didn’t move here earlier. However I have friends whose grandparents were born overseas so those guys are eligible to play for another country (as they can in most other sports). I just feel they have gone down this path the wrong way. Rather than deny players the opportunity to play origin they (NZ) need to make it more attractive to attract players with kiwi heritage. If I have spent a god portion of my life here, I should have the opportunity to play here.

          • December 22nd 2012 @ 9:35am
            Toa said | December 22nd 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

            Under the new rules you’ll be able to play for NZ and heres why.

            Now ( Hypothetically speaking) if NZRL take the initiative to monitor all its Junior Players both in NZ & abroad, offer both training camps & Kiwi workshops would your ambitions still be with Origin? And yes this applies to all Australian born Kiwis.

            NZRL in Australia need identification programmes,workshops & camps if there’re fair dinkum about a maintaing a stronger presence.The rules are now in place I suggest NZRL use it to their advantage.

            • December 22nd 2012 @ 10:04am
              DeanP said | December 22nd 2012 @ 10:04am | ! Report

              They already do that. They call them ‘roots camps’ or something. They all sit around holding hands singing Poi E while Kemp plays his ukulele. It’s a ‘cultural experience’ that these Maori and Poly lads will not get anywhere else, according to Kemp. It might well have some attraction, especially given the attitude of many in Oz, I can see why some of these Maori and Poly players might feel a tad alienated, even in a country they might have been born and raised in. In the end, it does not reflect well on Oz. The new eligibility rules are a disgrace, IMO.

              • December 22nd 2012 @ 5:18pm
                Toa said | December 22nd 2012 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

                Your description resembles a bonding session, at best a kumbaya conference theres no mention of a programme targeting all levels base on football skills or clinics delivered by NZRL.

                Access to this “culturural experience” is rubbish, all ethics groups here in Australia practice & preserve their culture every other Sunday or any other day of the week for that matter. You don’t have to go far in Australia to find large NZ communities.

        • December 22nd 2012 @ 5:46pm
          oikee said | December 22nd 2012 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

          Lippy, you are 100% right.
          That does not mean you are correct.
          Tp understand rugby league is to think everything is perfect, then all hell breaks loose and your nothing but a pawn, a patsy.

          • December 22nd 2012 @ 9:31pm
            Lippy said | December 22nd 2012 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

            What a cowardly comment Oikee your clutching at straws and come across as rather desperate. What a joke. Play the ball not the man.

        • December 22nd 2012 @ 9:23pm
          Lippy said | December 22nd 2012 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

          Interesting how my comment about Dean making things up has been removed however his comment accusing me of making things up stays visible.
          Interesting

    • December 22nd 2012 @ 7:52am
      eagleJack said | December 22nd 2012 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      As pointed out by the QRL the new rule could ultimately have a detrimental effect on NZ rugby league. For years Kiwis have been selected in state development squads and programs as kids getting the best education in league possible. This will no longer happen as why would the QRL and NSWRL spend a cent on developing kids that are not potentially eligible to represent their state in Origin.

      The NZRL got their wish on eligibilty rules but now they will have to fill the void for hundreds of kids who will no longer be nurtured by Australia.

      • December 22nd 2012 @ 8:21am
        Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        eaglejack they still will. All the NRL teams have elite junior teams and pathways.

        SG Ball, Harold Matthews, Then under-20 Toyota cup, so don’t worry they the kiwi boys who immigrate to OZ after 13, will still be getting elite level training , at Australian club expense and investment, . And test payments have gone up too $20,00 per match. Origin is $30,000 per match.

        But I don’t mind it is a win win, The NRL should not bring in foreign import restrictions, the NRL clubs benefit by having the kiwis a it helps there club teams, and test forty and international league do better by having a competitive NZ.
        Missing out on a few under-18 or under-16 state squads does nothing, as the elite juniors still have elite junior pathways as mentioned above, as the the state matches are only laid like 1 or 2 times a year.
        And when in under-20’s there is junior kiwis, and there is also kiwi schoolboys team too, which these yon kiwis who immigrate to OZ can play for.
        So plenty of elite junior pathways for the kiwi boys eagle jack, not playing 1 or 2 junior state games or being part of a few elite junior state squads is nothing. As like i said they have things like SG Ball,Harold Matthew, and national kiwi schoolboys team to play for, and under-20 junior kiwis too.

        • December 22nd 2012 @ 8:27am
          Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 8:27am | ! Report

          “Build the Base Eagle jack” and that;s what this rule improves.

        • December 22nd 2012 @ 8:58am
          eagleJack said | December 22nd 2012 @ 8:58am | ! Report

          You are right Johnno, but it should be noted that it is performance within these squads and programs that will pique the interest of an NRL club. If they aren’t in the squads then they aren’t getting the exposure. And that is where the NZRL need to step up with their own programs within Aus.

          • December 22nd 2012 @ 9:09am
            Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

            Agree eagle jack, I wouldn’t mind a say AUckland Vulcans too set up a youth team here in OZ.
            However it could run into trouble as all clubs are given a turf area to scout players or have it ink only 1 team in the area. They can scout from wherever, but where kiwis are at a disadvantage is i’m not sure if auckland are allowed to set up junior feeder clubs in OZ. But maybe they might be allowed who knows. And i;m not sure if they could use loopholes like ethnic lines, like call it Sydney Maoris, as now ethnic based clubs in OZ based on ethnic liens seem to be banned.

          • December 22nd 2012 @ 9:09am
            Johnno said | December 22nd 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

            Agree eagle jack, I wouldn’t mind a say AUckland Vulcans too set up a youth team here in OZ.
            However it could run into trouble as all clubs are given a turf area to scout players or have it ink only 1 team in the area. They can scout from wherever, but where kiwis are at a disadvantage is i’m not sure if auckland are allowed to set up junior feeder clubs in OZ. But maybe they might be allowed who knows. And i;m not sure if they could use loopholes like ethnic lines, like call it Sydney Maoris, as now ethnic based clubs in OZ based on ethnic liens seem to be banned.

          • December 22nd 2012 @ 9:48am
            Ryan said | December 22nd 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            There are NRL scouts in NZ looking at our College rugby, league and senior competitions.
            Look at Matt Duffie for example he was picked up out of St Kentirgens 1st XV not from some NSW / QLD schoolboys team.
            You do not have to be playing in Australia to get selected and let’s get real here clubs will select who they think is best for their club. They are all privately owbed and they are worried about their bottom line before that of NSW or QLD. If the next Hodges, Thaiday, Inglis, Slater or Langer happen to be Kiwis most clubs will still select them and develop them.
            Sure some kids may not get the development but as far as I am aware this rule only prevents them from playing senior origin or does it include all age grade teams?

    • December 22nd 2012 @ 8:14am
      Crosscoder said | December 22nd 2012 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      The decision that NZ test players will receive the same monies per test as the Aussies may assist in retaining NZ players.Continuing growth in the playing numbers in NZ,is another assist.

      However long term ,a decision to have an additional NZ NRL team,will I suggest further impetus in locals wanting to play for their country.In fact the eligibility decision, may well hasten the arrival of a 2nd NZ NRL team.

      Kiwi kids like any others with a talent for the code,will want to play NRL first, because that is where the “bread”lies,and what transpires thereafter , is simply letting nature take its course.

      Eligibility rules have always been a cloudy issue,at least the latest decision whilst not the panacea of these ills,
      clears the clouds somewhat.

    • December 22nd 2012 @ 10:43am
      oikee said | December 22nd 2012 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      The salary cap has worked brilliantly. In the yearly report i read that all 16 clubs have reached the top 8 in the last 3 years.
      The top 8 has improved growth along with the even contest which has lifted all, or most teams to a stage where any team can win any given weekend.

      I have a couple of ideas to improve the game further. Shut the Gate policy. No more of this 1 year contract folly.

      And the world did not end last night, so the Mayon and their end of the world never happened, not sure if this might become a mini series and we have the end of days again next year. ?
      Anyhow, seeing we cant trust these imposters, maybe we should turn to the “Rugby League Gods”.

      Here is my surgestion. If you have a new born or up to 1 year old and take him or her to there first NRL game. You have to sacrifice them to the “Rugby League Gods”. ?
      No i dont mean hurt them or feed them to angry away fans, just lift them up while a camera ids on them and make it look like you are offering them to the League Gods. It’s a bit of fun i thought up, quiet often you see younguns at the footy.
      Get them early, nothing better than being protected by league gods. At least ours work, unlike the Mayons.

      • December 31st 2012 @ 9:57am
        Jaredsbro said | December 31st 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        But what about those of us who would be offended by the pretension that there are in fact entities which even in jest you are ‘offering’ your child to. It smells of PC-isms there Oikee…it’s not alright to treat real world religions as a serious/alive phenomenon, but it is alright to pretend that made-up religions are real, because its just a bit of a laugh. I foresee some human right issues with that actually 😉

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