NRL star and Brisbane Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford has been charged with assault after an alleged disturbance in Fortitude Valley.
As I sit here off the high of the mighty Broncos winning 37-18 over arch rivals the Cowboys, I begin to reflect on my time as a rugby league fan.
I have tuned in yearly to watch Queensland and NSW do battle in State of Origin since the late 2000s.
Five years ago, following the completion of another State of Origin series, I turned my eye to this prized competition of rugby league known as the NRL where I became a Broncos fan as they seemed closest to the mighty Maroons and my dad was already an avid fan.
A year later I had just watched my first full season of NRL from the pre-season trials right up to the final whistle, and then turned a keen eye to the World Cup where I saw the passion of rugby league truly on display and was in awe at this competition taking place in our very backyard.
Following Australia’s gritty 6-0 over England in the World Cup final I had officially become hooked on ‘rugba leeg’ as Peter V’landys puts it.
Now here I sit reflecting on my time following this great game after not just the last week of political war of words between English and Australian rugby league over the World Cup, but over the last 18 months as we navigated our way through this pandemic that pulled everything to a halt.
It wasn’t that long ago that there were discussions some NRL clubs may not survive the pandemic and rugby league as a sport would be scarred by this brutal coronavirus.
Just days ago I was bemoaning the ARLC and NZRL for withdrawing from the World Cup, believing they were too brash and were driven by pure self-interest.
Again in this time of reflection, I’ve realised that although I still think the RLWC can forge ahead this year, I will not bemoan any country who decides to pull out as this has been an extremely stressful and dangerous period for our beloved sport.
During this reflection I also ponder about the future of our great game with ambitions to make our Olympic debut in the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and the hosting of future World Cups in nations other than Australia and England favoured for the 2025 and 2029 editions.
I cannot help but have a sense of optimism for our game.
Hopefully a well-constructed calendar can be instituted for rugby league with a clear timeline of when domestic competitions occur and when representative games occur (perhaps that ever famous rolling calendar we always hear about).
Imagine a rugby league year starting with the NRL in March carrying through until September with Origin taking place in June/July and finally the international window of October/November where the best around the world can represent their nation.
Maybe this Broncos win has blinded me with senseless optimism but regardless at the worst my mood may dull to a ‘I wish these things were done better’ but I don’t think I’ll ever reach the stage of those doomsayers saying rugby league is on its last legs.
It’ll survive in some capacity, I mean come on, it is the greatest game of all.