Rugby league has been accused of selling its soul.
Sponsorship names on sacred jerseys, iconic grounds such as Lang Park being renamed after a corporate brand, a plug for a sponsor each time a score is given out on radio, mindless betting ads before, during and after a game – the list goes on.
When money comes into the fray, you sell a little bit of your soul. When large amounts of money come in, you can sell a lot.
Not that I’m against all progress and change that has come in. While the neanderthal in me sometimes pines for the days of ‘the biff’, the reasonable side of me knows that cleaning up a lot of the cheap shots and deliberate coat-hangers is ultimately going to be better for the game we love.
Indeed, I like the current Roosters logo (the angry-cool looking bird with just the shoulder up view) more than the old logo which I grew to love.
Despite the rapid change that professionalism has wrought, there have been a couple of changes which brought back some soul.
The most obvious is the naming of the premiership trophy, which was known as the JJ Giltinan Shield but in the early 1980s got replaced by the Winfield Cup, which morphed into the Optus Cup and then the Telstra Cup.
However, the NRL did the right thing by calling it the Provan-Summons Trophy. A bit of soul. And might I say that – in my totally biased point of view – it is the best sporting trophy on the face of this Earth!
So can we do something similar with the State of Origin shield? It currently features some Manga-type footy players having an arm wrestle. It’s a bit lame.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there an engraving of the great Brett Kenny and the great Wally Lewis in a similar pose? If so, why don’t we transpose these icons over the cartoons and call it the Kenny-Lewis Shield?
Surely a great event such as Origin deserves a great trophy with two of the greatest ever players?
The Kenny-Lewis Shield.
I’m even willing to call it the Lewis-Kenny Shield just to appease the banana benders.
Bring back the soul!