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SPIRO: Aussie sport’s “darkest day” has become even murkier

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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158 Have your say

    eSports and traditional sports are also similar off the 'field'. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

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    The Roar can reveal that a year ago ASADA confirmed with the ARU it was clean, as far as doping is concerned. The doping scandal in Australian sport revealed by the Australian Crime Commission’s report is mired essentially in the AFL and the NRL.

    The NRL is particularly exposed (and this is admitted by journalists working for The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, the two newspapers that passionately support the code) because it has never had a central drug integrity unit.

    The NRL was an organisation that essentially ran the premiership tournament. The clubs were left to manage their own activities and to set up their own medical units.

    This is in contrast, say, with the ARU or the AFL which have (if they want to exercise the power) significant control over what happens to their players, on and off the field.

    There were 222 tests of Australian rugby players last season, for instance, carried out under the control of the ARU.

    The appointment of Nick Whitlam QC by the Australian Rugby League Commission to examine the medical practices of a number of rugby league clubs is illustrative.

    The Whitlam inquiry probably needs to transform into an ongoing unit after it has completed its present brief.

    The PR of the ACC’s report has been a fascinating exercise to follow, and a clue to the weight of the findings and to the report’s future impact on cleaning up Australian sport.

    The publication of the report by the Minister for Sport Kate Lundy, with the CEOs of the major Australian professional sports present, provoked headlines that one never imagined were possible in an Australian context.

    Publication day was quickly identified by the tabloids as “the darkest day” in Australian sport.

    This sense of a watershed moment in Australian sport was heightened by the sombre and almost repentant responses from the CEOs. They all promised to do everything possible to clean up whatever needed to be cleaned up in their sports.

    For their part the politicians involved, Kate Lundy and the rising federal Labor star Justice Minister Jason Clare, insisted the report was the first salvo of what was going to be a continuing bombardment against illegal doping and match-fixing, and against players and clubs that condoned the doping and, especially, against the criminal elements who were pushing the trade in the use of illegal supplements.

    The ACC said it had hard evidence to back up its conclusions and it was prepared to offer some leniency to players, clubs, doctors and sports scientists who came forward to dob themselves in.

    This initial favourable reaction from virtually all parties with an interest in the matter, however, was in danger of being overwhelmed by Saturday.

    There was strong criticism from a number of influential voices that the ACC report had not named names, either of players or clubs, and that the evidence of drug abuse was more assertion than proof.

    On Sunday, the AFL revealed the possibility of most of the Essendon club having been involved (again possibly unwittingly by the players) in the use of illegal drugs or illegal usage practices.

    The AFL insisted, however, that to their knowledge this was the extent of the problem, with the possibility of one other player from another club being implicated.

    On Saturday, The Australian newspaper, which led its sport section with several excellent pages, aside from a bizarre report on the ARU’s handling of drugs by Wayne Smith, gave this generic headline to its extensive coverage: Crime commission under siege.

    The lead story of the coverage was written by Brent Read.

    The headline of the story, “Show us the drug abuse evidence”, was an accurate summary of its content.

    A key quote in the story was this from the rugby league guru and administrator, Phil Gould: “Nobody has been named, no club has been named and no sport has been named. It’s a broad-brush condemnation of Australian sport everywhere.”

    Some of the biggest names in Australian sport, the likes of Brett Lee, Paul Roos and Wayne Bennett, were listed as supporting this Gould line.

    Bennett, in particular, questioned the work of the anti-doping authorities and suggested that they somehow allowed a drug culture to “fester”.

    Gould had also questioned the ACC’s “grandstanding announcements” in his Sunday column in The Sun-Herald.

    “I would say that at this point in time, our code of rugby league is the cleanest and most responsible it has been in the entire history of the game,” he argued.

    But the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Saturday that “seven NRL clubs, a number of AFL clubs, three A-League clubs and 90 individuals across all sports are under scrutiny.”

    There was more detail, slightly at variance with the SMH, in The Sunday Telegraph. A story written by its Canberra correspondent Samantha Maiden (perhaps explaining the seeming inside information from the ACC) and Linda Silmalis suggested that six NRL clubs have been “snared” in the ACC’s report.

    The NRL, the reporters claimed, know the six clubs which are being investigated by Tony Whitlam.

    The article also quoted the ACC chief executive John Lawler: “I am very confident in the report’s findings. This is no beat-up. We have sworn testimonies. We have corroborated evidence.”

    As an aside, there have been reports that some of this evidence has come from phone-tapping, which has been undertaken for more than a year.

    I have often been critical of The Sunday Telegraph, on a number of different issues, but on this matter the newspaper has been a model of responsible journalism.

    The Sports Editor, David Riccio, deserves a compliment on a lead story that carried the headline “The NRL has to name and shame.”

    The article made a number of important claims:

    * “Match-fixing and illicit drug connections within the NRL are the report’s main focus – and the authorities are anxious for NRL bosses to reveal the names of clubs under suspicion.”

    * “The NRL convinced other codes to appear at last Wednesday’s press conference in Canberra, even though the other sports are far less implicated in the report.”

    * “Crime Commission chief executive officer John Lawler claimed the investigation wasn’t a ‘beat-up’ despite the NSW Police suggesting there wasn’t enough evidence for charges to be laid.”

    * “Frustration is also at fever pitch among the 16 NRL clubs, with club chief executives accusing the NRL of having ‘all care and no responsibility’ over the issue.”

    These points, it seems to me, effectively kill off any suggestion by Phil Gould that the ACC report is a beat-up and that it is somehow intended to implicate the rugby league code without much evidence.

    As Ray Hadley says at the beginning of his rugby league match calls, “It’s game on!”

    For the NRL, that is.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (158)

    • February 11th 2013 @ 7:46am
      B.A Sports said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      Jason Clare said during an interview on ABC TV over the weekend that details had been handed over to “NSW and Victorian Police to continue investigations”.

      To me that clears you if your team and players are in QLD, SA or WA.

      It also means it will take longer to sort out and less likely anyone will be formerly charged because the NSW police and courts have a history of botching investigations involving football players..

      • February 11th 2013 @ 12:22pm
        matt h said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        Good point on the implications of state police forces named.

    • February 11th 2013 @ 8:33am
      james said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      this part confuses me;
      “The NRL convinced other codes to appear at last Wednesday’s press conference in Canberra, even though the other sports are far less implicated in the report.”

      why would Cricket, soccer, ARU and AFL or any other sport get caught in this whole mess because the ‘NRL convinced them’? what could the NRL say or offer to them to get the CEO’s to the press conference?

      • February 11th 2013 @ 9:48am
        Rich said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Because they’re members of a mutual body? Because they were strong armed by the government? Because the ACC was also hoping to flush out people in those sports. There are many credible explanations.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 10:50am
          james said | February 11th 2013 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          ‘members of a mutual body’ part of a mutual body, not the NRL convincing them
          ‘strong armed by the government’ the NRL is not the government
          ‘Because the ACC was also hoping to flush out people in those sports’ the NRL is not the ACC

          I ask again. why would soccer and ARU who are clean according to releases stand up and have mud thrown at them from the request of the NRL?. there is no way that the NRL has the power to convince them to get on stage, so that statement is rubbish.

          • February 11th 2013 @ 11:01am
            Rich said | February 11th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

            Stop reaching for things that aren’t there. The sports are all members of a common body which is supposed to deal with these things. Furthermore, it blows the hype if the NRL turns up on the stage all alone. You should look for a job in the media, they love people that can build mountains out of molehills.

            • February 11th 2013 @ 11:47am
              james said | February 11th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

              what am I reaching for? I’m asking why would CEO’s that have nothing to answer for according to the report be there for the release of the report at the convincing of the NRL?

              this is apparently a major point to kill Gus’s argument according to Spiro but it makes no sense.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 12:08pm
                Rich said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

                Why don’t you tell us what you think it means? For the rest of us, it makes perfect sense for the reasons that have already been given. Let me guess, you don’t think the explanation of the collapse of the WTC makes sense either?

              • February 11th 2013 @ 12:25pm
                matt h said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

                They did it in case things come out impliczting there sport as the investigations continue. They would look negligent otherwise. The investigations to date hyave focussed on two sports (presumably NRL and AFL) but that does not mean they will turn to others as issues come to light.

                They may also have felt that the federal government and all their juicy funding would like them to attend.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 12:29pm
                Ken said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                I think you’ve missed the point RIch, Spiro complimented David Riccio for a number of points in his article including:

                * “The NRL convinced other codes to appear at last Wednesday’s press conference in Canberra, even though the other sports are far less implicated in the report.”

                and this confuses me as much as it does james – the idea that any of these bodies would turn up and allow themselves to be associated with these allegations just because the NRL asked them to is ludicrous. Surely none of them, NRL included, would have been at that press conference (considering no evidence or specific allegations could be made at that point it really was just grandstanding) unless they were forced to by the relevant government figures.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 12:32pm
                james said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

                so the following conversation makes perfect sense to you;
                NRL: hey ARU, what’s happening?
                ARU: nothing much, you?
                NRL: we have been accused of drugs, criminal links and match fixing. wanna come and take some of the bad publicity?
                ARU: …..
                NRL come on, it’ll be fun

                according to Spiro/SMH the NRL convinced the ARU to go to this press conference. I would like to know how the NRL(not the government or ACC) got them there as the above conversation makes no sense to me.

                side note; I don’t buy into 9/11 conspiracies.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 12:49pm
                Rich said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Your continual obtuseness demonstrates that you’re not really interested in any explanation that doesn’t fit whatever theory you having rolling around in your head.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 12:50pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                Don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to work out if all the other codes are there, and you aint then that is not such a good look.

                that is why everyone was there IMO

              • Columnist

                February 11th 2013 @ 1:03pm
                Brett McKay said | February 11th 2013 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                James, the explanation would be that the sporting bodies were all there on Wednesday under the banner of COMPPS – the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports. The ARU, FFA, and even Netball Australia are founding members, as are CA, AFL, NRL.

                But I do take your point, it’s hard to invisage them attending just and only because the NRL asked them to..

              • February 11th 2013 @ 1:27pm
                Matt F said | February 11th 2013 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                We do need to keep in mind that, while the AFL and NRL appear to be the ones most effected at a professional level, the report also covered use in lower and amateur levels of sport. It’s possible that the other sports may have issues at lower levels which could potentially explain why the governing bodies needed to be there. Just because the elite level hasn’t been affected doesn’t mean that the lower levels are clean, though they could be of course. Until we get further information it’s all speculative.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 2:04pm
                james said | February 11th 2013 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                i don’t argue that all the CEO’s from all major sports should have attended. I’m confused/arguing about the NRL convincing them to attend in some way of spreading the blame. it doesn’t make any sense.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 2:18pm
                Matt F said | February 11th 2013 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

                Oh OK now I understand you James. It does seem strange that the NRL has apparently had to convince other codes to turn up.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 3:03pm
                Harry said | February 11th 2013 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                James, I dare say the NRL was asked by the Gov’t to attend the press conference. Maybe they said they would on the proviso that every other major sport also attend. In that case the Gov’t would have put pressure on the other sports to attend even though they were not directly implicated.

          • February 11th 2013 @ 11:02am
            nickoldschool said | February 11th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

            Maybe it was more for the match fixing stuff rather than doping? Football has been exposed lately all around the world. Maybe out of solidarity? (although agree, it’s a value that is less and less prevalent these days)

    • February 11th 2013 @ 8:39am
      eagleJack said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      “These points, it seems to me, effectively kill off any suggestion by Phil Gould that the ACC report is a beat-up”.

      I don’t think Phil Gould for one second was suggesting that the report was a “beat-up”. Just simply that it has been poorly handled. Which is hard to argue with.

      On these very pages we had Kate Lundy make the statement “Under the law, ASADA can only start working with sports on an investigation after the Crime Commission has publicly released its report. Now that the report is released, that important work can begin.”

      This was a clear attempt by the Govt to justify releasing a vague report which ultimately tarnished all Australian sports. Are you trying to tell me ASADA can only investigate drugs in sport AFTER the Crime Commission has released a report to the public? So what are they doing when we don’t see one of these reports, which I would say is 95% of the time? Clearly not investigating, as apparently they are not able to.

      What a load of bs. And political spin at its finest. These investigations could have easily continued behind closed doors until all evidence was gathered, all suspected parties interviewed etc.

      No doubt there is a problem (how big, time will tell). And as a fan of multiple sports I want to see drug cheats eliminated. But there is no denying that this whole sorry saga has been poorly handled from the get go. Which is what Gould was implying.

      • February 11th 2013 @ 8:55am
        TC said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Agreed eagleJack – I’m not sure why Spiro is letting the ACC and the government off the hook.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 11th 2013 @ 8:56am
        Chris Hardiman said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        But EJ what about finger in all the pies Goulds’ claim that the sport is the cleanest and most responsible it has ever been?

        • February 11th 2013 @ 9:22am
          eagleJack said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

          The full quote from the Gould article is

          “I would say that at this point in time, our code of rugby league is the cleanest and most responsible it has been in the entire history of the game. It will never be perfect. Never. Put that fact down to the frailty of human nature”.

          It is probably just a frank admission that while there may be a small element of drug abusers within the game today, it is nowhere near the scale of the late 80s, early 90s.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 9:26am
          Justin2 said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          I’d say Gus is eating some pie of the humble kind this morning. 6 or 7 clubs investigated and wasn’t there match fixing last year? Clean? Wow, I’d like to hear his definition of dirty….

          Make no mistake the ACC have a stack of evidence and heads will roll and people will be charged. The Offsiders on ABC TV yesterday was brilliant.

          • Roar Guru

            February 11th 2013 @ 10:16am
            Redb said | February 11th 2013 @ 10:16am | ! Report

            Yes Gerard Whately was brilliant how he captured the mood of the minor sports, from hand wringing to hand washing.

            In the USA they have had scandal after scandal in baseball and American football, you don’t hear about the problems in the lacross league because the focus is on the major spectator sports.

            • Roar Guru

              February 11th 2013 @ 10:29am
              Redb said | February 11th 2013 @ 10:29am | ! Report


      • February 11th 2013 @ 9:18am
        Mango Jack said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        Damned if they do and damned if they don’t. This story was bound to get out soon, and if the govt had said “sorry, still subject to a crime commission investigation, blah blah blah”, there would have been frustrated outrage and demands for details.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 12:28pm
          matt h said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          Good point. They may have been notified that it was going public (obviously Essendon were).

          It also possible there is a fair bit of political motiviation here (surprise surprise). Has anyone seen Craig Thompson’s criminal charges, the failure of the mining tax, or the retirement of three ministers on the front page lately?

          • February 11th 2013 @ 1:30pm
            Matt F said | February 11th 2013 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

            Given how far away the election actually is, there isn’t really any long-term benefit to knocking off other stories for a few days. It will have no impact come polling day. If the election was in a few weeks then it would be a more believable theory

      • February 11th 2013 @ 9:22am
        turbodewd said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Right, so Phil Gould knows criminal matters better than trained law enforcement officials? You’ll tell me he is a great stockbroker and osteopath next!

        Gould has no more knowledge than you, me or my mother when it comes to law enforcement or the law in this matter. He needs to let the NSW police do their job.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 9:27am
          eagleJack said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          You have copied and pasted this same post from about 3 different articles turbo.

          I don’t think Gould is saying he knows more than law enforcement officials. Just that it should have been conducted further behind closed doors before tarnishing all Australian sports.

          • February 11th 2013 @ 10:38am
            turbodewd said | February 11th 2013 @ 10:38am | ! Report

            I dont think theyre tarnished at all. Im waiting for the specific charges from the NSW and Vic police before judging anyone.

            The ACC strategy is to try to flush out people to get them to cooperate.

            Id say they know what theyre doing, we humble sportsfans just need to wait n see.

            • February 11th 2013 @ 11:06am
              B.A Sports said | February 11th 2013 @ 11:06am | ! Report


              The CEO of the ACC said we have collected sufficent evidence for charges.
              They have handed it over to the NSW Police who have said there isn’t presently enough evidence.

              They’re clearly not singing from the same hymm sheet and as someone who lives in NSW, while i support our Police and don’t doubt they have an incredibly hard job and one which I wouldn’t want to do, they don’t fill me with a lot of confidence when it comes to their competence.

      • February 11th 2013 @ 9:35am
        Timmuh said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        The criminal side of things is far more important than the sporting side, it make perfect sense that ASADA can only investigate where the ACC and Police agree for them to do so. ASADA would only act on these particular issues after being handed a report by the ICC, presumably with more details in it regarding individuals and clubs than the publicly released version (potentially compromising the chances of successful prosecutions).

        The only real alternatove was for the report not to be made public until after police and ASADA had concluded their work. I can just imagine the media outcry from that.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 11th 2013 @ 9:26am
      c said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Spiro you could have taken a bit more effort with your cover photograph and left David out of the group picture with these other blokes thus avoiding any implication by association of these dirty activities occuring in the hal instead of copying and pasting the photo from last week. In fact I do not think FFA even gets a mention in your article?

      • February 11th 2013 @ 10:13am
        Captain Obvious said | February 11th 2013 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        He was the NRL CEO for a while.

        Unless the NRL allegations focus on the past several months, I’d argue that his inclusion is warranted.

      • February 11th 2013 @ 12:30pm
        matt h said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

        Also, the article is as much about all the CEO’s standing together, hence all the major sports in the picture. No implication at all as far as I am concerned. ARU is up there too and they appear to not be directly involved.

    • February 11th 2013 @ 9:46am
      Rich said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      I’m doubting the hype. The AFL appears to be clean of PIED and match fixing, I doubt Essendon will get in trouble for anything.

      If this end up being all about illicit drugs I’ll scream. I am so sick of the hype about illicit drugs. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to use drugs, but we have some ridiculous double standards in our society. It’s certainly not worth ruining the reputations of footballers and sports on the basis of an eccy. I really couldn’t give a damn about illicit drugs beyond how much money we waste and crime we promote trying to stop the inevitable.

      Something to justify this hysteria better turn up or Lundy and Clare should resign.

    • February 11th 2013 @ 9:49am
      Desert Qlder said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      Mr Zavos,

      It is a complete falsehood to claim the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph “passionately support the code”, in reference to NRL.

      As someone who is a media professional it reflects poorly on you that you would make this claim. As even a neville nobody such as myself can see that they use and abuse the game for their own desires.

      • February 11th 2013 @ 10:50am
        Spikhaza said | February 11th 2013 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        Maybe the reason your a neville nobody in media professionalism is that you can’t see that the two Telegraphs are always marching to the beat of Rugby League… A very slow and predictable beat, but marching nonetheless.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 10:54am
          Desert Qlder said | February 11th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          Nah. In your head that might be happening but it isn’t really.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 11:44am
          Crosscoder said | February 11th 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          if the Telegraphs are “marching to the beat of Rugby League”,they sure as hell have been out of tune for years.

          I can give examples of many incidents blown compeletely out of proportion or hardly worth the printer’s ink, by the Telegraph,since they half owned the code.Wilson ,Rothfield and even Kent have been experts with the use of literary licence for a story.

          Not taking anything away from the current ACC issue,but two things worth noting .Whose watch was the NRL operating under and since departed ,and who was 50% owner of the code ATT?.
          The code was asked to set up an integrity unit then,and stated it wasn’t needed FHS.

          The washing of hands,only needs a decent solvent to complete the picture.

          • February 11th 2013 @ 12:38pm
            Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            You probably fail to realise this, but if RL did not have all the scandals, sagas, etc then what could they actually write about, the more RL badboys there are, the better really for the code, the higher the ratings.

            In your righteous, chip on shoulder, everyone is against us quest, you actually fail to see why RL is a big game.

            RL has always run on being a down trodden underdog, and the game will not work unless it fears everyone and everything, you oughta have a think about that.

            • February 11th 2013 @ 3:11pm
              Harry said | February 11th 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

              Thats the smartest thing you have ever posted on the Roar Brewski (bar the last paragraph). Then again – you had precious little to beat.

            • February 11th 2013 @ 4:04pm
              Pot Stirrer said | February 11th 2013 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

              Thats the dumbest thing ive read by a poster on the roar. Its so stupid i cant be bothered to have ago at you over it.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 4:21pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

                RL has a seige mentality, if the big end of town and RU is not staring down their noses at them, then AF is infiltrating their Sydney heartland or soccer stealing their kids, they are not happy.

                Nothing galvinises Sydneys Western Suburbs RL fans like a story that entails poor old RL being kicked while down again, the RL media, Admin and fans thrive on it, the Daily Telegraph of course knows all this, whether it is the catalyst for this, or accuses someone else is neither here nor there, it all ends up the same.

                RL fans in general have a massive chip on their shoulder only slightly outdone by Australian soccer fans, and southern state soccer fans more specifically.

                The worse reporting, behaviour and stories whether true or false are all good for RL, because that is what the RL demographic really wants.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 4:45pm
                eagleJack said | February 11th 2013 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                Strange comment Brewski but I’m sure you feel better now that is off your chest….

              • February 11th 2013 @ 5:06pm
                Pot Stirrer said | February 11th 2013 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                @ Brewski

              • February 11th 2013 @ 5:12pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

                LOL @ pot stirrer, RL, scandal, saga, bad media reports, bad boys, high TV ratings and record media deals are all INEXPLICABLY linked mate, wake up.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 5:39pm
                eagleJack said | February 11th 2013 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

                Given the current saga enveloping both the AFL and NRL Brewski, it is strange for you to be throwing mud at the NRL.

                But seeing as you are adept at making sweeping generalisations perhaps we could also say that the AFL TV deal was big due to its own scandals, sagas, bad media reports, and bad boys. Australians love a soap opera and sport encompasses everything into one neat entertainment package.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 5:50pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

                To a degree i would agree with your comment, however their is a very different demographic in play in the southern states, which is not seen in RL.

                AF covers in the southern states the whole spectrum of society, something that RL does not do in the northern, therefore AF cannot play the woe is me, everyone is picking on us card that RL plays in the north, the middle and upper classes would not have that.

                To put it simply the AF demographic across the spectrum is indeed more sophisticated and would see through the code war rhetoric that comes out of Sydney, for what it is, and of course it is fear.

                And i also might add, you accused me of a strange comment, but indeed your own comment backs mine up.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 7:17pm
                Crosscoder said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

                We get a serious subject and then Brewski,tries to get his rocks off,with his predictable ignorant swipe at a code he detests,and is he moderated?

                Sydney western Suburbs league fans wow .Poor old Saints,Rabbitohs,Manly ,Sharks,Roosters do not exist.

                Brewski you may not have been around in the early 80s,rl was going through a violent period on the field.The media had a field day,and junior numbers dropped as a result.The code had to be rebuilt virtually in the late 80s by the Quayle and Arthurson.

                NB if you have only a rough grounding knowledgewise about another code,it pays to know a little of its history.I’m sorry to say,there apears to be a void ,when it somes to rl,as evidenced by some of your posts.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 7:47pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

                I think you take things a little to personally CC, not having a go at RL at all, my view is that the more drama, saga, drug fuelled and alcohol incidents by RL bad boys the higher the ratings and the better media deals RL will get, what you should do is scream outrage , but secretly embrace it.

                Its pretty simple, the demographic that supports RL loves bad boys and bad behaviour, and they love to be under attack from all sides, the DT gives it to them, regardless of what line the paper is pushing at the time, it still amounts to the same thing.

                NRL players reflect their supporting demographic and viccy verca.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 8:16pm
                Crosscoder said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

                My point Brewski was simply to state the Telegraph reports any incident if it deems fit to do so.It is the over the top rubbish,that is the bane of my venom.
                And if you believe all negative reporting is good for any code,you are kidding.The 80s is a classic example that.

                What an absolutely stupid ignorant and immature comment,to suggest I secretly embrace alcohol fuelled incidents by rl players..And yes I take offence for you suggesting such.
                To add to the idiocy, you say you are not having a go at rl at all.
                To use a Jack Ginbson quote.”When it comes to rl,your limitations are limitless”.

                You to put it mildly, have no idea of the current rl demographics.Maybe you should have read the Sunday papers where one observed the shire was considered the safest place in Sydney to live.The same area with the 3rd biggest junior rl.The same area with one of the highest housing costs.

                Keep living in the 70s/80s as to demographics and the NRL will get on with life.

                Have a chat with the head of WADA John Fahey a former Canterbury 1st grader, I am sure he can bring you up to speed(excuse the pun).

              • February 11th 2013 @ 8:20pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

                Is that your final word CC ?

              • February 11th 2013 @ 8:23pm
                Crosscoder said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

                I’ll give you the final word Brewski,just facts for a change.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 8:47pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

                So that is your final word then angry man !, you are not really listening …but anyways.

              • February 13th 2013 @ 2:52pm
                clipper said | February 13th 2013 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

                I think you have proved the ‘us and them’ siege mentality Brewski – I just can’t understand why it’s so hard to accept that the demographics are not the same between Melbourne and Sydney – Sydney has always had a strong Rugby presence in the North and East, now has a strong AFL presence in those areas and the inner city and a strong Soccer presence in the South West. Melbourne does not have those strong groupings in certain suburbs – it is all AFL and all the other codes followed are spread out all over the city.

              • February 13th 2013 @ 3:38pm
                Brewski said | February 13th 2013 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

                Don’t know whether anyone can prove it, but there are plenty of signs that point to RL’s seige mentality IMO.

                The constant trashing of AF in Sydney papers, ramped up last year because of GWS.

                The constant articles from old Roy, trashing the AFL over the years.

                The constant need for RL in Sydney to be looking like it is always under seige and on deaths door, which of course always rallys the troops.

                etc etc etc

            • February 11th 2013 @ 7:04pm
              Crosscoder said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

              Chip on my shoulder LOL.If you had bothered to read many of my posts in the past ,criticising players,management of the NRL ,you may have some idea.

              As you appear to be selective in your criticism of me,I suggest you have little little or no idea of my of my prevailing attitude..More so as my club is one mentioned in despatches,and should any player be involved I will be the first to push for his expulsion if found guilty.

              If a player warrants his name in the media for stupidity in the past ,I have hardly criticised the media for stating the fact.Eg Carney,Bird. You been following your code since the 70s?.

              “RL has always run on being down trodden”.Really!!! You know Dally Messenger?Think you better get something into gear,before you bash the keyboard.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 7:53pm
                Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

                Not sure what to make of this post, usually i can get bits and pieces from your posts …. ..but from this one …. nada.

              • February 11th 2013 @ 8:17pm
                Crosscoder said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

                Trolling usually has that effect.

      • February 11th 2013 @ 7:25pm
        The Great G Nepia said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

        What croc – I;ve been all round the world and Ive never seen a newspaper more biased in favour of a sport as the Telegraph is in favour of league – it’s so biased, its childish and you wonder if people actually believe league players are ‘superheroes’. Conversely, ive never seen a newspaper so biased against a sport as the telegraph is against rugby union and AFL. If it wasn’t for the telegraph, league’s support would be halved.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 7:54pm
          Crosscoder said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

          You obviously have not read much of the SMH over the last 30 years in Sydney.Even the author had a column that bagged rl .
          Fitzsimons and Carlton even to the extent of predicting rl’s demise in this country.

          If it wasn’t for the Telegraph league’s support would be halved” what the.You apparently were not around in the 80s in Sydney ,the crowds and juniors were dropping rapidly.why? Because of reporting of violence in the game by various outlest,includng News Ltd ones.The game needed cleaning up,but the News mob reported it in full.
          The same News Ltd telegraph was behind SL ,which cut the support base for the code dramatically.You are living in a bubble.

          I have also been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively ,since late 70s,and am rather bemused at ÿou have never seen bias against a sport”.I humbly suggest to have a chat with ESL supporters in the UK,and ask about a gent by the name of Stephen Jones.And he is/was hardly an isolated case .Another journo(Keating) had to apologise to rl readers ,because of outlandish claims he made.

          Plenty of blinkers sold of late.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 8:50pm
          Fred said | February 11th 2013 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

          The terrorgraph has a well documented history of hatred of football. Look at the furore they started when the Giants first came into being. They called even feared for the kids!!! Any negative football story is always reported but good news ones are rare. Now compare this to the Herald Suns treatment of rugby league.

          • February 11th 2013 @ 9:45pm
            Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

            You are correct Fred, the DT has fed the RL demo a never ending supply of fearmongering articles regarding AF in particular, they love it, the DT also bags RL from time to time, but that also galvinises the troops into being defenders of the faith.

            The DT knows their target audience, and the more controversial RL is, the better it goes, people like CC just don’t get this and run around defending the code with a blind faith.

            Head office knows better.

            • February 12th 2013 @ 4:47pm
              Crosscoder said | February 12th 2013 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

              Backing up a fellow flag waver,means little.
              WOW .
              Apparently I don’t get it,after following the code for decades LOL.Involved in SL dramas,Shark’s financial dramas to name a couple.And you come up with blind faith description,which is nothing more than usual trolling.

              If you believe incidents such as Coffs Harbour and the reporting in the DT,came under the better it goes category,you have even less of a clue about rugby league,than I first thought(which was minimal).
              If you believe the SL War( News instigated) falls under the better it goes slot,thenI recommend you get out and speak to people lost to the game.

              Show me where the fear mongering re the Swans over the last 20 years in the D.T.We get rl writers such as Kent,Rothfield giving plaudits ,in addtion to Bec Wilson.

              GWS came into town like a bull in a chin shop,we will do this we will do that,we will spend this and get the Blacktown mayor to make a decision which cost him his job(the white elephant as his testimony).
              even some AFL posters on this board ,now admit it should have been better handled.

              As the DT had a target audience of rl fans whcih I concur,why then does the SMH have regular writers serve it up to rl?Be they more ru inclined or more AFL inclined,their target audience.Both are losing readership.

              I remember when the Storm first hit Melbourne.No one cares,they will be lucky to get 3,000 in attendance,the 21,000 at their first game is a novelty factor,only Polynesian playing the game.

              You guys see and hear what you want to.

              Your fawning Melbourne media,and spin coming from AD, appears to influence a few re their commments .So much for head office.

          • February 11th 2013 @ 11:32pm
            Brewski said | February 11th 2013 @ 11:32pm | ! Report

            Fred, have a look at some of RL journo Roy Masters ARTICLES LOL 🙂


            Particuarly nasty one about Keiran Jack.

          • February 12th 2013 @ 4:13pm
            Crosscoder said | February 12th 2013 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

            There is a lady by the name of Rebecca Wilson (a Swans ambassador),who writes weekly for the DT.Now she has regularly put AD up on a pedestal,the Swans as being something out of a sunday school,she has since the ARLC inception bagged John grant,bagged the commission as being non representative.
            We have Paul Kent a supposed rl writer who hammers the NRL whenever ,and did so re the ACC announcement.Then Rothfield a rl lover,who bagged the NRL crowd at the SFS ,comparing it to the Swans crowd at the SCG.

            They have so much hatred of football???? meaning A League,rl,ru or AFL.

            if they have a hatred of AFL it sure aint showing with their coverage of the swans and coverage of the Giants.
            In fact I suggest the way the GWS came into Sydney with all the bluster and bombast ,the Blacktown white elephant and the boast about spending $20m pa ,may have had more than a little to do with it. We are coming like it or not.just the way to win teh folks.

            The Herald Sun spends the overwhelming amount of space naturally on AFL,so NRL stories are limited.

            Then to offset that you have the Age and Caroline Wilson who bags teh NRL,when teh opportunity arises,both in that oulet and teh Offsiders.

            • February 12th 2013 @ 5:02pm
              Brewski said | February 12th 2013 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

              Besides the rest of your post, which TBH i could not read, so i am only going to pull you up on Rebecca Wilson …… she ain’t no Swans ambassador, in fact i would be suprised if she was a ambassador for anything or anyone.

              Please provide proof or retract with apology.

              Many Swans fans feel ill.

              • February 13th 2013 @ 8:00am
                Crosscoder said | February 13th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

                I was hoping you would come back,and am hardly surprised re your selectivity in reading posts.We call it deflection.

                A little fireside reading as your starting point.Under the sweet heading”The women behind the Sydney Swans”.


                Now unless you are prepared to prove @ Wilson was not there.B) the blogger there had poor vision c) I make a statement with no reference point,then I suggest as someone who spends a lot of my time defending my code against trolls(no names but you can guess),you publicly retract your puerile attempt in bagging me.
                And I have more irons in the fire.

              • February 13th 2013 @ 10:27am
                Brewski said | February 13th 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

                Fair enough, i accept that Rebecca Wilson was a Swans Ambassador, although it has to be said that a link pertaining to 2007 is stretching it a bit for today.

                Much has changed regarding Wilson and her columns since then.

                And that post was obviously written a bit slower than most of your others and was actually readable.

                Once again, i am not bagging you or RL, my views are my views and maybe just maybe you take things way to much to heart.

                All these other irons you speak of, feel free to post, and we can discuss 🙂

              • February 13th 2013 @ 2:28pm
                Crosscoder said | February 13th 2013 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                So I was correct,now isn’t that amazing.One thing I have learnt on public blogs is never to lead with your chin.I have been clobbered in the past,so if I make a generalisation I now ensure whenever possible to have links.

                Let me add a few more references re the D.t /News and Rebecca Wilson et al.A couple of those irons,so to speak as follows
                Another where she admitted her ambassadorship



                Then some gushy stories by the same lady:




                Little has changed me lad,she is still ATVM an avowed Swans supporter.
                .Her story about her street after last years G/F win is testament to my argument.

                I am one of these captive sport media nutcases,and have been so for too long.

                So my views are from the heart and appear to be clouded,yet your sporting views are just your views and are valid.QED my views are not therefore able to be substantiated one assumes.

                It is extremely difficult not to write from the heart in a thread devoted to a code one follows.It is not foreign to write from the heart and be objective .If you believe I simply post to spin rl 100% of the time,you have not been watching over the years.

                I can just as easily jump onto an AFL thread and just give my view also,that is not from the heart.Then I will be accused of being just a troll and moderated or deleted.

                In my years on this rock,I have yet to read a sporting story, that does not have an element of subjectivity in it.The very author of this thread is my exhibit A.

              • February 13th 2013 @ 3:22pm
                Brewski said | February 13th 2013 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

                Yep, and she has written some ‘bad press’ stories about the AFL as well , stiff bikkies.

                You are just not following mate, my whole point …. just try and follow without flipping out, which, by my saying that will probably make you flip out !!.

                RL and its fans don’t want to smell like roses, the demo that follows it doesn’t, and the players that play in general don’t, big deal, play to your strengths, the current drug fiasco won’t hurt RL one bit, if anything it will probably be more popular, even if the whole comp took drugs together in Wayne Bennetts backyard.

                People like you who run around extinguishing little fires here and there out of the goodness of your heart and love for the game, don’t get the big picture, head office does.

                They act shocked and appalled, threaten this and that, but secretly revel in the bad boys behaviour ….ratings go up.

        • February 12th 2013 @ 6:50pm
          Renegade said | February 12th 2013 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

          I suggest you take a trip around the world again mate….

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