The world of Rugby League.

DISCORD 2012: Edition 23

SO, DAVID Gallop, eh?

If you're like me, you've read so many retrospectives on his decade in charge of the NRL that you'll be hovering somewhere between thinking he was the devil and believing he was the messiah.
DISCORD 2012: Edition 23
by NRL

SO, DAVID Gallop, eh?

If you're like me, you've read so many retrospectives on his decade in charge of the NRL that you'll be hovering somewhere between thinking he was the devil and believing he was the messiah.

If you're a fan of being hard on yobbos committing atrocities, you'll be in the latter camp. If you're a fan of, well, Canterbury or Melbourne, you'll be in the former.

Everyone else is still trying to figure out what to think.

I really enjoyed Nick Tedeschi's piece here although I agreed with the salary cap penalties and hate the way rugby league has got into bed with betting.

His best point was that the ARLC's decision on Gallop was a giant "F--- you" to News Limited. It would be interesting to see if the same call had been made if John Hartigan was till been in his chair on Mahogany Row. With television rights up for grabs, offending News could have had a much higher price in that situation.

But old powerbases have been broken up, quite independent of rugby league. Maybe there is even a tenuous link between the Leveson Inquiry and Gallop's departure! Certainly, the cartels that ran the game 20 years ago are a distant memory now and that's a good thing.

It's also true that there is a glass houses aspect to calling Gallop reactionary, since the Commission under Grant seems to react within 24 hours to what every coach and former coach says in the media.

Their problem is summed up by the way they entertained putting the mid-season Test on after the Origin, clearly unaware that we got rid of that setup because Australia beat Great Britain 64-10.

Sure, it's probably right to say Gallop loved his job too much and this is a good outcome for him - whether he realises it now or not. From an outsider's perspective, having eight people looking over your shoulder when you have been able to call the shots yourself for a decade would be no fun at all.

But clashing with players, coaches and media representatives every other day would be no fun for most of us either. Gallop loved the job so much he was able to overcome these big downers. That amount of enthusiasm for staying in a post can probably affect decision making at times.

I also found the criticism of Gallop for saying why things can't be done a little frustrating. I suppose at the bottom of this column, you think I do the same thing. "Let's have a Pacific Cup every week, let's have South Australia playing Denmark". There are good reasons why some things aren't happening now and won't be happening soon, so what's David supposed to do? Just say 'yeah, let's!" Or "I'll look into it"? I would have thought it was a strength that he was up front and honest with fans - people that other sports administrators give lip service to.

Having said all that, regardless of his strengths or weaknesses as an administrator, David Gallop - former first grade cricketer - has a ton of runs on the board. Those who seem to have forced him out currently have none.

I am more concerned with the idea of David Gallop working for another sport against us than I am about who his replacement is, actually

Please, please, please Nigel Wood, ring up David and get him to replace Richard Lewis as executive chairman of the RFL. His son is in England, he'd listen to you.

As for the new CEO of the NRL/ARLC? He needs to have a rare combination of priorities. He needs to care deeply about the code and have a vision for its future - but in actioning his vision, he needs to have no regard at all for his own job security.

The time for diplomacy is over. We need a head kicker.


FEEDBACK now, to all the comments made when David Gallop was still CEO of the NRL!

Stephen talked about Anglo-French competitions. I remember seeing Paul Sironen play for Toulouse against Lancashire Lynx! Everyone - including Australian columnist Craig Bellamy - seems to have overlook the fact the decision has already been made - Origin is on Wednesday next year. The ARLC announced it! It's worth too much to broadcasters.

Col Quinn says we have to be wary playing cross-code challenges and I agree. Globally we are a pimple on the bum of rugby union. I don't want them touching that pimple, let alone squeezing it! Bennis wants Origin played over the whole season. Commercially, you can't make money out of rugby league in Australia in February or October. It won't be worth much to broadcasters in that timeslot.

Davey G wanted Origin turned into an All Star concept with all NRL players eligible. Yes, Davey - I would HATE to see Sam Burgess playing for NSW. He's English! We already have an All Star game, I don't see why we would trash out most popular and bankable concept to have three more.

Big Al addressed our thoughts expressed last week about the developing states. He wants an Under 20s team from the rest of the country formed. I'm with you brother! Let's connect these kids to where they are really from, not teach them when they are barely out of their teens to play for someone else!

Al also gave us his season structure. Al, I think the WCC will be a one-off game in England next year but the year after will be an eight-team competition in Sydney. That's my tip. I like a lot of your ideas but again Origin in October does not sell. Broadcasters don't want it. Clearly, they don't even want it on weekends in winter! A return to provincial sides playing international teams is something I'd love but I fear you can only do it now at the level below fulltime pros because of the demands on players and the concerns of their clubs.

Sea Eagle had a question on stadium policy. The difference is that ANZ and Allianz would get DIFFERENT games than they do now. For instance, looking at last week, Manly and St George Illawarra would almost certainly be at Allianz (please don't abuse me, it's not my decision!), Gold Coast-North Queensland would stay where it is, Canberra-Wests Tigers would stay where it is, Canterbury-South Sydney would stay where it is, Warriors-Melbourne might be in Christchurch, Brisbane-Newcastle as is, Parramatta-Cronulla as is.

Steve said I hate rugby union too much. Steve is right. I know that the sports co-exist in many of our developing countries. I suppose I just try to remind Australians what it was like in places like the UK and France for the last century, where they victimised our players, kept us off pitches and - in the case of France - colluded with the Nazis to seize our assets. Someone has to remind people of these things and I've taken it upon myself to do that. But eventually I can see me treating rugby union like every other sport - ie: just having zero interest in it rather than hating it.

Gee agreed with Davey G - open Origin to all. But it's not an NRL competition. It pre-dates the NRL. The only argument for stuffing around with it is players choosing Origin for financial reasons. Then let's address that problem, not throw the baby out with the bathwater!

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