Wow just wow! What a difference less than 24 hours makes in rugby league.
As if things weren’t bad enough for the Cronulla Sharks. A quarter of a season without scoring a point ended on Friday night with 25 or so minutes of the best football Cronulla has produced all year.
A rare season highlight drowned out in the time it took for a digital shutter to close on Todd Carney’s career. The fact that Carney was the playmaking catalyst behind the upset win over the Broncos made it even worse.
Let’s see. A massive fine over the supplements scandal that the club can’t afford to pay. A coach suspended until next season. ASADA’s incompetent investigation looming large over the entire club. No major sponsor. Now no marquee playmaker and even less of a prospect of signing a new one.
Where does this really leave the Sharks? With ASADA’s investigation due to rock the club even harder in coming weeks, depending on how much evidence they can provide. Surely the NRL’s patience much be wearing thin in the Shire?
Is the writing now not already on the wall for Cronulla? Short of them producing a junior with amazing talent, 2015 looks a write off for finding a gun five-eighth.
What major sponsor is going to touch the Sharks now? As if the financial implications for the Sharks weren’t bad enough, how can the Cronulla club afford to fight any possible sanction from ASADA in the courts? Not doing so would surely mean the inability to field a side at all in 2015.
Is it not time for the NRL to cut their losses with the Sharks? I’m sure the fans of clubs with huge junior bases and no drug scandals hanging over their heads would be livid with any further financial or otherwise support for Cronulla.
They rolled the dice with Carney. They rolled the dice with Steve Dank. In both cases they rolled the dice with sponsors. They crapped out.
It’s time the NRL turned this torrid, sorry story into a positive of the future and let the Sharks die the self induced death of a self-medicating drug addict. Pun completely intended.
What a perfect opportunity to finally give an under represented area in this nation their chance to field a team as soon as possibly 2015. No major expansion or change to the current system is necessary. Surely, the neglected fans of Central Queensland, Central Coast NSW, Adelaide or Perth deserve a chance.
This isn’t on parallel with the Souths de-registration. Souths were a foundation club with a hugely rich history of success with a massive junior base. The Sharks have never won a title and it took the Super League war’s dilution of the competition for them even to make a grand final.
The teething problems of getting a fledgling club in one of these areas off the ground, in such a short period of time, would be dwarfed by the publicity, cost and sheer blight on the game a long drawn out battle in the courts that Cronulla will provide. If of course the worst fears out of the ASADA investigation come to life.
If it comes to that. I honestly think it’s in the best interests of the game for the NRL to cut its losses with Cronulla. Get rid of them and put this whole sorry affair in the past by using that licence in an area that deserves a chance to roll the dice.
It ticks all the boxes. A new area is represented. The NRL can set a precedent on the roll of clubs on the integrity of the game. They wipe the floor with the blight that the Cronulla club has brought to the game. New sponsors will flock to a fledgling club that won’t touch Cronulla. The critics of the Sydney centric nature of the NRL get satisfied with expansion coming at the expense of a Sydney club.
The NRL will never get a better chance to pull the trigger than this.