The Roar
The Roar

Ball Burster

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Joined April 2019

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The umps will only be truly accountable once there’s a weekly analysis of all potential and actual free kicks in every game. For potential free kicks: why wasn’t a free kick paid and was the decision correct, wrong or borderline. Similar for free kicks paid. The players are closely scrutinised (clangers, 1 percenters, etc). Why not the umps too? Perhaps theres’s a highly paid job in this for me!

What ever happened to interpretation?

He

'He flopped!' Pie fumes as Tom Papley milks another free kick

No. They’re not.

Are ruckmen the most important players in our game?

“Football boots with exposed metal studs have the potential to cause injuries…”. Potential? They actually caused an injury. The Swans at first lied about the boots. Now they are questioning whether the studs even caused the gash. Weak from the AFL and a disgrace from the Swans. But then we see cynical rubbish from them nearly every week.

Sydney Swans debutant escapes metal studs sanction after Magpies’ injury

The table of Harding data is useful HTB per tackle is not the best way to analyse what it’s telling us. If you look the data on a percentage basis it tells me that a player who is tackled after taking possession is highly unlikely to cop HTB: it’s 6.9% for 2020 (up a bit from 5.7% for the whole period). I can’t accept that the game was formulated on the basis that a player caught with the ball would be penalised fewer than one time in ten. I believe it was formulated on the exact opposite basis – kick it, handpass it or knock it on but do not get caught with it. Others have commented about players accepting the tackle to re set, somehow managing to bumble the ball to a team mate, etc so I won’t repeat it. There should be no “prior opportunity” – if you get caught with the pill it’s HTB.

AFL coaches should learn the rules before complaining about them

It will have been driven by the broadcasters and by a corporate type who believes that steady-as-she-goes is death. And by the way, if it’s such a ripper idea why only for 5 minutes a quarter?

Super Netball doesn't need to change

I agree completely. It’s really about codifying the old principles: never get caught with the ball; given the choice between a long and a short option, take the long one; never kick backwards, etc. These things made the game what it was. So get rid of “prior opportunity” and penalise blokes that get caught with the pill. This will encourage blokes to knock it wider or deeper into space where there should be one of yours. Make the minimum distance for a mark 30 metres. This will cut down on fiddle farting. Make it mandatory to kick the ball forwards, except in your own attacking 50. This will cut down on defensive play.

How to fix the congestion that's ruining the AFL

This article certainly provides a useful perspective on what went ok and what didn’t – the trouble with that is that it’s rarely clear whether what went down was due to the Board or the CEO: was it a great idea dreamt up by the Board and well (or poorly) implemented by the CEO, a daft idea from the Board faithfully implemented by the CEO, or a daft idea from the CEO that the Board went with? Or was the CEO’s great idea undermined by the Board?

Of more interest is this: what were the distinctive skills, experience and capabilities that RC had that marked her as the best person for the job? What did they think RC brought to the table that no-one else did?

Fast forward to RC’s demise. I for one would have accepted the Board saying that “RC was the best person for what we saw as the challenges three years ago. But RC and the Board have agreed that the challenges are now so different that we need a different skill set, blah blah.” Instead they jibber about clear air. The Board can’t even produce decent spin.

The siege on Castle in review

Geoff, I should have said at the outset that your article was very well written. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. As I’ve posted previously, there is an alternative explanation for Wiggs’ ultimatum, ie it wasn’t a miscalculation, but a test of the Board’s resolve. But be that as it may.

I have no particular axe to grind with Castle – I assume that she acted on all important matters with the Board’s imprimatur. It seems to me that a procession of RA Boards and CEOs have managed to squander the windfall broadcast rights deal. Every single decision after that windfall should have contributed to building a war chest, All Blacks style. Instead every decision seems to have been made on the basis that the last broadcast deal would be matched or bettered.

There is no better example than the +$1 million reportedly paid by RA to a couple of consultants to come up with fatuous advice to “create some competition for the broadcast rights”. Good grief. Shouldn’t a CEO paid $800,000 a year be qualified to advise the Board? You know your’e in trouble when the CEO’s main contribution is the choice of consultant, rather than choice of strategy.

Everyone wants the Wallabies to be competitive on the field, even the Kiwis. And I suspect most Australians barrack for the All Blacks when they play against anyone other than us. Their system and culture is the gold standard.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

Also known as “unearned revenue”, ie RA owes products/services to someone in 2020 to that value.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

Because we know from the leaked financials that cash/ce is at $12m, down $6m from $18m in 2018. Apply a similar reduction to the balance ($24m) for a WC year, subtract some more for Folau and that’s the region your in. But let’s say I give you back $10m and we settle at $30m – it’s still nowhere near the Kiwis.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

That’s the crux of it – a failure to manage the windfall. NZ was sitting on a $147 million war chest in 2016 ($136 million in 2019) while RA had $18 million in 2016 ($X million in 2019). RA could have decided to set sail towards that sort of war chest, which would have meant managing expectations. Easier said than done, but that’s what good governance and strong leadership is actually all about. I’d rather have $100 million in the bank and failed on the field than bugger all in the bank and failed on the field. Which ever way folks want to look at it the All Blacks, in the immortal words of Paul Keating, are stripped down and ready to go.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

As I observed in another post, NZ had Current Assets of $136 million as at 31 December 2019. So it’s possible to be successful without being compelled to spend nearly every dollar of revenue that comes in the door. I acknowledge that the Kiwis have some important competitive advantages: rugby is a key destination of Pacifika talent (although that’s changing a bit); and NZ rugby has long been tightly managed from the centre (about all the provinces get to do is declare local public holidays).

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

What was unlikely became an absolute non starter is how I read it.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

The reason NZ is better placed is that they had $135 million in Current Assets (ie cash, cash equivalents, term investments, etc) as at 31/12/19. The equivalent figure for RA in 2018 was $36 million, so it’s reasonable to assume that the 2019 number was perhaps $20 million.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

This is what Bayliss is quoted as actually saying on the Big Sports Breakfast radio show.: “I think the speculation was out there (about signing a deal with RA) but, to be honest, we weren’t particularly close, nor was it going to happen given COVID.”

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

Let’s put it another way then. If RA had spent 10% less in that period they would have $50 million more in the bank than they do today.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

So it’s ‘steady as she goes’ and stick to the governance handbook?

A quick interview would have been window dressing. It would on the other hand have have been reasonable for the board to have insisted that the arrangement be reviewed after 12 months, with either side able to walk away and no contract payouts.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

He’d pulled the books apart and sniffed the wind. He set a test, the Board failed it. He didn’t see the point of continuing.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

An alternative explanation is that Wiggs didn’t miscalculate at all. He wanted to test whether the Board members really understood what was required or whether they were stuck in the ‘steady as she goes’, ‘she’ll be right if we follow the governance book’ world of ineffective box-tickers. He was spot on, if so. Without a white night, it’s voluntary administration for RA.

The Wrap: Overreach stops Rugby Australia coup dead in its tracks

An entity with revenues of around $120 million a year is just not a big deal. And I think the backgrounds of Board/CEO are quite narrow – banking, finance and marketing types predominate. They tend to want to “grow the business” and “close the deal”. They aren’t much interested in the nuts and bolts of success, the sorts of things that put points on the scoreboard.

It would be useful to know which decisions were RC’s alone and which were RC executing board instructions. For example not producing audited financial statements (for reasons we can guess) would surely have been the Board.

Australian rugby has its problems, but Raelene Castle was not one of them

RA’s chaotic decision making is beyond belief. The Board, having given Castle the push to allow it ‘clear air’, then has McLean emerge to bellyache about “abhorrent bullying from faceless people”. Throwing more guano at the fan doesn’t produce clear air.

Australian rugby has its problems, but Raelene Castle was not one of them

A careful reading of the letter makes it clear that the NRL is just being told by the wallopers what the rules are. It is by no means an all clear. Besides, my understanding is that it’s only the NSW Health Minister that can issue a specific exemption under the orders.

NSW government letter outlines NRL return

Can you provide some proof that youse are “…punching well above our weight…”?

Why rugby league is an essential service

The NRL seems to have confused wishful thinking with innovation.

The NRL also has a rather tenuous grasp of it’s place in the great order of things. As the Commonwealth deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says: “I don’t think they are a law unto themselves. Some of the players and coaches may think so, but they’re part of society and they have a part – as we have all done – to support not only safety for themselves but for all of us.”

Why rugby league is an essential service