Sport and big business are not identical, but the sooner clubs understand that the NRL is a multi-million dollar industry and they need to run their businesses accordingly, the better our sport will be.
The coaching circus was interrupted on the weekend with further developments in an intriguing premiership race. What is Todd Greenberg doing to ensure this never happens again?
Rugby league is a growing issue in the game right now, with plenty of thrillers, upsets and ladder movements leaving fans marvelling at the on-field action.
It appears this enjoyment of the actual 80 minutes has taken on a real cult following, as evidenced by matches out-rating columns about who Phil Gould is discussing real estate with, and why it’s probably BS.
But while acknowledging the entertainment value of Corey Oates or Andrew Fifita blasting the eyebrows off the Mona Lisa, such things simply delay Anthony Seibold deflecting 15 questions about his contract to Souths.
That’s why footy’s popularity is a concerning development for Greenberg – he currently oversees an administration that stands closer than ever to rugby league being about the game.
While expecting the NRL to act on major issues is usually like waiting for a pear to ripen, the CEO must respond immediately by issuing a crackdown on rugby league.
From this day forth, the administration must apply its standard demotion policy on any journalist reporting on matches, which is to be assigned any game involving the Warriors.
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This must be immediately enacted to counteract the dangerous run towards finals, when rugby league coverage unfortunately turns to the field.
Without taking action, thrilling rugby league could become a blight on the sport that detracts from the midweek soap opera of whispers, referee bashing and odds.
If Greenberg hasn’t already noticed, dangerous signs are presenting.
Some coaches are now refusing questions on the fabricated fantasies of the journalist dartboard in favour of “talking about the game”, whatever that means.
Additionally, rival codes are gaining a significant advantage, with AFL and Netflix already thriving by refusing rugby league in their products.
This demonstrates complacency on the NRL’s part, with the administration foolishly resting on the diversion of cranky coaches blasting refereeing a week after calling for their support.
But Greenberg needs to realise this; the coach of the Cronulla Goldfish will not be around forever.
While not denying the valuable contribution that rugby league makes to the game, this is a golden opportunity for the NRL to determine its place in the landscape.
The game must be strong with its message: anything that occurs on the field can obstruct guessing where a coach is headed and beating everyone else to print.
I’m not sure what Greenberg is doing to address this; I can only hope he is running up a massive bill on unnecessary hire cars in a bid to wrest attention back where it belongs.
As for the rest of us, we must remain alert but not alarmed about the threat of rugby league. Stay calm, vigilant, and if necessary, start a rumour.
If we hold our nerve and ignore rugby league, the dream of our unadulterated utopia remains alive – a TV deal without any games.