SATIRE The NSWRL Digest - Get the news straight from the source

Morkel

Morkel

International Captain
Contributor
Jan 25, 2013
25,356
29,208
NSWRL Digest


Welcome to the NSWRL Digest, where you can get the scoop unfiltered, unbiased, and direct from the NSWRL itself. We will take on some of the hardest hitting questions, from what the NRL does to remain the pinnacle of sport in Australia, to some of the biggest concerns plaguing the game. This episode we celebrate Rugby League by acknowledging the issue of diversity.

-------------------------------------
NSWRL 001: Diversity

NSWRL declares it has always championed diversity, points to Broncos & Warriors


This last week we saw a Rugby League player sidelined for four weeks due to a homophobic slur, and while on the surface it may seem a harsh penalty, it’s not that surprising when the NSWRL has always taken diversity extremely seriously. We asked Douglas Herron, long-serving staff member of the NSWRL, to outline his thoughts on the matter.

“Yeah we have always strived to embrace diversity”, he said.

“Casual punters may think that this is just a recent thing, what with the way the world is changing, but if you look back through our history you’ll see it’s something we have always done. It’s not just the sheilas running round in the girls comp, or the gays which we have let play this great game despite how uncomfortable it makes the straight guys feel whenever they get tackled”, he explained.

“When you talk about us letting some of the more undesirable people of society play this game, you have to think back to 1988 when we let those guys up north, the Broncos, join the comp”.

“There was a lot of backlash at the time”, said Herron, who was part of the administration at the time, and experienced the upheaval that it caused. “A lot of noses were put out of joint, and rightly so, because this is our game (NSW), it will always be our game, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t let others have a go at it”.

bennet-johns--walters-9302.jpg

Dark days for NSW fans

“There were some dark days there for a while”, he conceded. “A few of us were wondering if we had done the right thing. The Broncos ended up going pretty good there, which was a real concern. There was almost a whole decade there where they went really good, too good, to the point that they were actually starting to deny Sydney teams their right to a premiership, and let me tell you there were a lot of upset clubs in those days”.

“But an organisation like the NSWRL doesn’t concede that easily. We tweaked a few things. We worked with a few clubs there to make sure the NSW teams didn’t lose their stars. Joey Johns, for example. He was really close to leaving for the Broncos, but we worked hard with him. We left no stone unturned. As it was, we actually got a bit lucky in the end, found some incriminating footage involving him, some illicit drugs, and a shipping container full of lubricant destined for the Newcastle mines, and in the end we were able to convince him to stay below the Tweed”.

“There were some other things too. Introducing the Storm was great. We told them to keep their mits off the best NSW talent, but they could have their pick of the Queensland blokes. The proof is in the pudding for that one, the Broncos haven’t won a premiership since 2006, which has really brought a great sense of relief for us NSW boys”.

“And even now, these last few years, we’ve been working hard to make sure they know their place, that they are welcome to play in the comp but they shouldn’t forget that they are there at our discretion. We’ve introduced a few things, like the 6-agains, that make it really easy for the refs to manage the games on the run, quick enough that they don’t get bogged down in replays and analysis, which means that even if they are able to attract a decent squad, there is always a way to keep them out of games and ensure they don’t go stealing points off our core clubs”.

6-again.jpg

The 6-again has been incredibly successful in helping the NRL manage games

When pressed on the Warriors, Herron was much more confident.

“That one’s been easy. I mean, sure, let those guys play, that’s fine. Like we always say, Rugby League is the people’s game, even if those people are, you know, different. But thankfully they have Union there as the top sport, so the best talent goes there and it’s only the meatheads and the losers that end up playing for the Warriors. They’ve made a Grand Final I think, that was a scare, it was like “Oh no, it’s the Broncos all over again”, but thankfully that was just a fluke and they were back to making mistakes and getting themselves in strife again the next year”.

Asked if there were any new innovations the NSWRL was looking in to, Herron was quick to respond.

“Crims, mate. Yeah guys just out of the slammer, on probation, whatever. Diversity goes two ways. If you have to let the girls and the gays play, it would be unfair to exclude other minorities that people would normally want kept quiet or out of sight. We’ve actually been trialling this the last few years with Parra, they’ve got some really hardened guys in that team, many of whom built their physiques in the prison training yard, and it’s been going good. I’d like to think that in a few years time we’ll be able to introduce an 18th team that’s calls the NSW Correctional System home. I mean, just because you stabbed a guy because he owes you drug money doesn’t mean you should lose the opportunity to make a living via the Greatest Game Of All”, he said.

r0_0_486_314_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

Manu Ma'u, reveling in the opportunity to bash people up and be paid for it.

So there you have it, folks. An eye-opening insight in to the NSWRL and how we should be thankful for the work they do in opening its arms to anyone and everyone.
 
Morkel

Morkel

International Captain
Contributor
Jan 25, 2013
25,356
29,208
nswrl_digest-png.17885

-------------------------------------
NSWRL 002: NSWRL Plans For Success

NSWRL should not be criticised for pushing for its own success.


This week we speak to long-time shadow NSWRL administrator, Don Corruptnado, about the NSWRL's efforts in to making the NSWRL as successful as possible as a competition.

"We cop a bit of flak from the fans, to be honest", claimed Don, "they really should be thanking us for making the competition that they play in as successful and profitable as possible, otherwise, if the comp goes down, where are they going to play?" he questions, as he quickly covers up a copy of Super League '97 magazine.

"The way I see it, the premiership needs to mean something - it's a win for a club but it also needs to be a win for the NSWRL. I make no apologies for that. It's being called self-interest by some, but you have to remember that while they're competing with other clubs, we're competing with the AFL, Rugby, UFC, and Real Housewives for revenue from viewers, corporate sponsorships, and broadcasters. It's no different".

Asked how the competition's administrators have gone about ensuring each premiership benefited the NSWRL, Don was quite proud.

"It's twofold, actually. We have to keep the fans engaged, while also pushing strategically for outcomes that benefit the game. Let's look at the Storm, for instance. The NSRWL absolutely has to have a foothold in Victoria, otherwise the AFL win. We can't have that. The problem is that no one in Victoria gives a shit. The only way to make them relevant is to keep them at the top. Not just consistently in the finals, we have to make sure they are winning the comp every few years, otherwise their fans will be turning away from them and that isn't an option".

1650859361057

Storm fans - most have visited Melbourne at least once.

If you look at the recent statistics, Don and his team have been doing a great job. The Storm are now one of the top supported clubs in the country, despite very few of their fans actually residing in Victoria. Their achievements on the field have resulted in a new generation growing up, looking for any tentative link to Melbourne in order to justify being a fan.

"Yeah I'm a massive Storm fan", declares Archerfield resident Chris Dudgeon. "My uncle lives down there and we're really close, so it was only natural that we'd end up supporting the Storm. They are the pinnacle of a professional sports team".

When asked who his favourite player from the Storm was, Chris had too many options to choose from.

"How do you pick just one? It's a team of Superstars. Cameron Smith is the best to ever play the game, and they have some really talented backs like Abdocar and Vusivusi, but I think my favourite is Christian Winch. He is really under-rated and puts them on the front foot every set. He reminds me of a young Ryan Tandy and I'm sure his career will end up just as successful".

Don backs up these sentiments. "Punters love a winner" he grins. "And if we can turn that in to a gain for us, like in this case the viability of a team in Melbourne, we'd be doing a dis-service to ourselves to overlook that opportunity".

Asked what other initiatives the NRSWL had pushed for, Corruptnado was able to rattle off a list of teams that had been extremely important to the game's continued success.

"We had a great program for a few years there called the Fairytale initiatives. We saw how much the fans loved the Dragons' victory in 2010, and how the love of the game was rekindled in a dwindling fan base, and decided that that would be an excellent move forward. We had to get through a couple of other token premierships, like a routine Storm one and obviously Sonny Bill needed a sweetener to return to League so we made sure he got a ring. But from there it was a really good run".

1650859460030

SBW throws another cracker of a forward pass.

"The Rabbitohs was a great push for League in general, everyone loves the story of a struggling club coming out on top, and the exposure it gave us around the world with good old Rusty vindicated that one, we knew we made the right decision".

"We learned from that that bringing a win to a long-suffering fanbase was a real boost to numbers and dollars, so after a few years of making sure of tight scorelines between the Broncos and Cowboys, we set those two up in 2015 and made sure the Cows got theirs. Again, these premierships can only be handed out once a year, so they need to count, this one had the added benefit of gifting Thurston his victory, as well as shutting Paul Green up".

"We looked at a few for 2016. The Cowboys one really showed the benefit of an inaugural premiership, so we had to weigh up the Warriors or Sharks. We looked at them both, but eventually we got a call from Buzz (Phil Rothfield, chief writer for a top NSW based newspaper). He said that he had a heap of dirt on then CEO Todd Greenberg, mostly from his days at the Bulldogs. He was right too, some of the stuff he had would have buried him and really hurt the competition as a whole, so we agreed to push the Sharks that year in order to keep him quiet.

1650859576481

Phil Rothfield celebrates while sitting atop a mountain of evidence against NSWRL Ceo Greenberg

"2017 had to be another Storm year to keep the quota up. That just really left the Warriors, we all chucked about that before moving on".

"So we needed a new strategy. The fans were on board, how do we help the NSWRL itself as a whole? In 2018 Nick Politis (Roosters chairman) came to us with an intriguing offer. You see, the comp had this dreadful record hanging over it, where the last team to win back-to-back was Brisbane. We'd done pretty well to invalidate 1997 but even before that they had 1992 & 1993, and that was like a 25 year bad taste in our mouths. Politis offered to clear that headache with a Roosters double. Initially we thought it would be a hard sell, they'd won the spoon not long before but that man always has a plan. He'd already paper bagged a couple of superstars so the team actually looked pretty good on paper. A couple more paper bags later and we rubber stamped it".

1650859949556

"On the count of three, One, Two, Three, SALARY CAP lol"

"That was a great result for the record books, but not so much for the fans. Look, they were happy that the record rightfully belonged to a NSW team again, but the Roosters themselves only have a few thousand fans, and what's more, their poaching of players got the other teams off-side. We also encountered a problem where AFL was really pushing hard in to traditional NRL heartlands, and was setting up a lot of junior pathways for their code. We saw a real shift in the grassroots and development programs in those last few years, and we realised that we needed to entice NRL clubs to develop players".

"We saw that the Panthers had a pretty successful junior program going, and thought that that would be the best template to encourage other clubs to develop from within. We warmed them up a bit, gave them a few nudges and, after the Storm got one more, the Panthers got their hands on one as a reward".

Asked what the plans for the future were, the answer was more of the same.

"We're still on the Panthers for the moment. We're not yet sure if we're going to take them all the way this year. They are losing players, like all successful teams do, and we're trying our hardest to make sure they are still coming out on top, even as they roll out new, less experienced players. One win isn't going to be enough to convince teams to develop, they really need to see that you can develop, and still experience continued success, even as other teams pick their bones. We have them lined up near the pointy end for the next couple of years at least, make sure their player turnover doesn't hinder them. Let me just say that the refs are doing a fantastic job with this. Undefeated so far this year and even though the loss of players has started to hurt their squad, the refs and making sure that their opposition is kept at bay long enough for the Panthers to wear them down".

1650860146243

"Just look at how good we are".

When asked to reflect on their programs, Don is philosophical.

"Look, you can call it manipulation, rorting, corruption, I don't really care. We are a business, and we need to make sure we succeed, it's as simple as that. It's entertainment, we sell entertainment, we're not the Olympics or the World Athletics, we don't pretend to be. And don't get me wrong, all teams are on equal standing here, we're not picking teams for the hell of it. It's not all just the Storm, Panthers and Roosters. Other clubs just need to get better. They need to offer us something. We're open to ideas out there on how a victory for them can help the NSWRL as a whole. The market is constantly changing, and if there's a niche that they can fill, that's fantastic, we're happy to hear them out".
 
Jedhead

Jedhead

State of Origin Rep
Contributor
Jan 8, 2018
6,258
12,724
nswrl_digest-png.17885

-------------------------------------
NSWRL 002: NSWRL Plans For Success

NSWRL should not be criticised for pushing for its own success.


This week we speak to long-time shadow NSWRL administrator, Don Corruptnado, about the NSWRL's efforts in to making the NSWRL as successful as possible as a competition.

"We cop a bit of flak from the fans, to be honest", claimed Don, "they really should be thanking us for making the competition that they play in as successful and profitable as possible, otherwise, if the comp goes down, where are they going to play?" he questions, as he quickly covers up a copy of Super League '97 magazine.

"The way I see it, the premiership needs to mean something - it's a win for a club but it also needs to be a win for the NSWRL. I make no apologies for that. It's being called self-interest by some, but you have to remember that while they're competing with other clubs, we're competing with the AFL, Rugby, UFC, and Real Housewives for revenue from viewers, corporate sponsorships, and broadcasters. It's no different".

Asked how the competition's administrators have gone about ensuring each premiership benefited the NSWRL, Don was quite proud.

"It's twofold, actually. We have to keep the fans engaged, while also pushing strategically for outcomes that benefit the game. Let's look at the Storm, for instance. The NSRWL absolutely has to have a foothold in Victoria, otherwise the AFL win. We can't have that. The problem is that no one in Victoria gives a shit. The only way to make them relevant is to keep them at the top. Not just consistently in the finals, we have to make sure they are winning the comp every few years, otherwise their fans will be turning away from them and that isn't an option".

View attachment 18020
Storm fans - most have visited Melbourne at least once.

If you look at the recent statistics, Don and his team have been doing a great job. The Storm are now one of the top supported clubs in the country, despite very few of their fans actually residing in Victoria. Their achievements on the field have resulted in a new generation growing up, looking for any tentative link to Melbourne in order to justify being a fan.

"Yeah I'm a massive Storm fan", declares Archerfield resident Chris Dudgeon. "My uncle lives down there and we're really close, so it was only natural that we'd end up supporting the Storm. They are the pinnacle of a professional sports team".

When asked who his favourite player from the Storm was, Chris had too many options to choose from.

"How do you pick just one? It's a team of Superstars. Cameron Smith is the best to ever play the game, and they have some really talented backs like Abdocar and Vusivusi, but I think my favourite is Christian Winch. He is really under-rated and puts them on the front foot every set. He reminds me of a young Ryan Tandy and I'm sure his career will end up just as successful".

Don backs up these sentiments. "Punters love a winner" he grins. "And if we can turn that in to a gain for us, like in this case the viability of a team in Melbourne, we'd be doing a dis-service to ourselves to overlook that opportunity".

Asked what other initiatives the NRSWL had pushed for, Corruptnado was able to rattle off a list of teams that had been extremely important to the game's continued success.

"We had a great program for a few years there called the Fairytale initiatives. We saw how much the fans loved the Dragons' victory in 2010, and how the love of the game was rekindled in a dwindling fan base, and decided that that would be an excellent move forward. We had to get through a couple of other token premierships, like a routine Storm one and obviously Sonny Bill needed a sweetener to return to League so we made sure he got a ring. But from there it was a really good run".

View attachment 18021
SBW throws another cracker of a forward pass.

"The Rabbitohs was a great push for League in general, everyone loves the story of a struggling club coming out on top, and the exposure it gave us around the world with good old Rusty vindicated that one, we knew we made the right decision".

"We learned from that that bringing a win to a long-suffering fanbase was a real boost to numbers and dollars, so after a few years of making sure of tight scorelines between the Broncos and Cowboys, we set those two up in 2015 and made sure the Cows got theirs. Again, these premierships can only be handed out once a year, so they need to count, this one had the added benefit of gifting Thurston his victory, as well as shutting Paul Green up".

"We looked at a few for 2016. The Cowboys one really showed the benefit of an inaugural premiership, so we had to weigh up the Warriors or Sharks. We looked at them both, but eventually we got a call from Buzz (Phil Rothfield, chief writer for a top NSW based newspaper). He said that he had a heap of dirt on then CEO Todd Greenberg, mostly from his days at the Bulldogs. He was right too, some of the stuff he had would have buried him and really hurt the competition as a whole, so we agreed to push the Sharks that year in order to keep him quiet.

View attachment 18022
Phil Rothfield celebrates while sitting atop a mountain of evidence against NSWRL Ceo Greenberg

"2017 had to be another Storm year to keep the quota up. That just really left the Warriors, we all chucked about that before moving on".

"So we needed a new strategy. The fans were on board, how do we help the NSWRL itself as a whole? In 2018 Nick Politis (Roosters chairman) came to us with an intriguing offer. You see, the comp had this dreadful record hanging over it, where the last team to win back-to-back was Brisbane. We'd done pretty well to invalidate 1997 but even before that they had 1992 & 1993, and that was like a 25 year bad taste in our mouths. Politis offered to clear that headache with a Roosters double. Initially we thought it would be a hard sell, they'd won the spoon not long before but that man always has a plan. He'd already paper bagged a couple of superstars so the team actually looked pretty good on paper. A couple more paper bags later and we rubber stamped it".

View attachment 18023
"On the count of three, One, Two, Three, SALARY CAP lol"

"That was a great result for the record books, but not so much for the fans. Look, they were happy that the record rightfully belonged to a NSW team again, but the Roosters themselves only have a few thousand fans, and what's more, their poaching of players got the other teams off-side. We also encountered a problem where AFL was really pushing hard in to traditional NRL heartlands, and was setting up a lot of junior pathways for their code. We saw a real shift in the grassroots and development programs in those last few years, and we realised that we needed to entice NRL clubs to develop players".

"We saw that the Panthers had a pretty successful junior program going, and thought that that would be the best template to encourage other clubs to develop from within. We warmed them up a bit, gave them a few nudges and, after the Storm got one more, the Panthers got their hands on one as a reward".

Asked what the plans for the future were, the answer was more of the same.

"We're still on the Panthers for the moment. We're not yet sure if we're going to take them all the way this year. They are losing players, like all successful teams do, and we're trying our hardest to make sure they are still coming out on top, even as they roll out new, less experienced players. One win isn't going to be enough to convince teams to develop, they really need to see that you can develop, and still experience continued success, even as other teams pick their bones. We have them lined up near the pointy end for the next couple of years at least, make sure their player turnover doesn't hinder them. Let me just say that the refs are doing a fantastic job with this. Undefeated so far this year and even though the loss of players has started to hurt their squad, the refs and making sure that their opposition is kept at bay long enough for the Panthers to wear them down".

View attachment 18024
"Just look at how good we are".

When asked to reflect on their programs, Don is philosophical.

"Look, you can call it manipulation, rorting, corruption, I don't really care. We are a business, and we need to make sure we succeed, it's as simple as that. It's entertainment, we sell entertainment, we're not the Olympics or the World Athletics, we don't pretend to be. And don't get me wrong, all teams are on equal standing here, we're not picking teams for the hell of it. It's not all just the Storm, Panthers and Roosters. Other clubs just need to get better. They need to offer us something. We're open to ideas out there on how a victory for them can help the NSWRL as a whole. The market is constantly changing, and if there's a niche that they can fill, that's fantastic, we're happy to hear them out".
Would be hilarious if only it wasn’t so close to reality.
 
I bleed Maroon

I bleed Maroon

International Rep
Apr 17, 2013
15,250
19,258
*Sigh* How far has this comp fallen when intended satire is indistinguishable from reality.
 
Morkel

Morkel

International Captain
Contributor
Jan 25, 2013
25,356
29,208
nswrl_digest-png.17885


-------------------------------------
NSWRL 003: Favouritism

Claims of unconscious bias from the refs are insulting.


At the NSWRL Digest, we promised you hard-hitting stories directly from the game's top administrators, and it doesn't get any bigger than this. This week we speak to The Don himself, Peter Vlandys, as we discuss the state of the refereeing in the NSWRL.

"It's insulting, it really is", snaps Vlandys immediately. For context, we have only just sat down for our pre-interview pleasantries but already Peter Vlandys, aka The Don, is straight in to it.

"We have put so much work in to our refereeing that claims of the bias being unconscious are infuriating to me. What happens out there is deliberate, let me tell you. This is the culmination of years of planning and effort, and it's only now that we have the tactical refereeing down to an art form. No other comp can match what we are able to produce each week".

"I watched, frustrated as the two referee system brought the game to its knees. We had a ref watching the ten, and we had a ref watching the ruck, and teams were being refereed according to the rule book, and it was a fucking disaster, pardon my language. I wasn't officially a part of the administration at that point, but I was being warmed up for it, and I witnessed first hand the bullshit that the NSWRL team had to cop".

"They were just coming out of the Fairytale Initiatives, the Sharks had won theirs and Rothfield finally made good on his promise to bury the evidence against Greenberg, meaning Todd finally had some power to make some adjustments. That turned out to be the worst move for the NSWRL because Todd had no idea how to organise a complex heirarchy like the referees, and he made a mess of it".

r0_0_800_600_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg


"The Storm were in line for their allocated premiership, but the referees just did not let them play their game. It was frustrating for us, and it was frustrating for them. The calls from Bellamy were constant. "How the **** are my fucking boys able to play footy when your fucking guys won't let them", that's what he was saying, and he was dead right. They'd been trained superbly to bend the rules just as well as they'd been bending knees, elbows, and spinal columns, but when that leeway is taken away overnight it all fell apart".

"A couple of the other top teams were really struggling too, and it got to the point where we hat to lean on the media to get involved and crack down on the crackdown. It was the only way. It got fixed, the Storm marched to their premiership, but people were scared by that".

"It wasn't long before the writing was on the wall, and I finally got green-lighted to come in and stamp some authority. Covid was a blessing, that's for sure. The two refs wasn't working, and Covid allowed us to "sack" half of the refs and bring it back to a one ref system, which is way easier to work with. But the masterpiece was how we handled the video ref system. It was only intended to chime in when requested, but we saw the opportunity it presented when no one else did. We knew that with only the one ref on the field (let's not bother to call the touch judges refs) it was much easier to control, and it meant that not only did it take just one solitary person to pull the strings, it was in the comfort of a bunker, hidden away from prying eyes".

2nh_8974.jpg


"The beauty was in the simplicity. We give the video ref a tip sheet and a narrative to follow, and he does the rest. If we need to intervene, we can, and no one will ever know, but most of the time if they stick to their task it works perfectly".

Vlandys goes on to explain how this new system is so effective in controlling games.

"Say you have a team on top that really shouldn't be. Like the Warriors are really putting it to the Storm. We'll let it play out for a few sets and see if things start to correct themselves on their own, but if not we have a couple of subtle tweaks. Firstly, we'll tell the on field ref that the Warriors are creeping the ten, so we'll get him to stand back to maybe 11 or 12 metres to hold the line back a bit. When the Storm get the ball we can do the opposite, we'll say that the Warriors are coming up off the mark and they'll do their job and shorten the Storm to a 9 or 8. You'd be surprised the difference a metre or two makes to momentum, it will turn one team in to lazy, passive defenders constantly on their heels, while the other will have a heap of time and get an easy roll-on. Normally this is enough for most games to get the right team moving and the scoreboard in the right direction".

ac535fff83bcf8f3ffb30a4dd8ee0b2c


"If that's not enough, we can resort to penalties. Remember, there is no second ref for the ruck now, the on field ref is marking the ten so he has no idea. An easy one is "Hand on the ball". There's not a tackle these days that doesn't have the ball wrapped up so it's a gimme, no one will argue that. "Markers not square" is another one".

"We've gone one further with the 6-again. It's afforded us even less scrutiny as no one has time to look back at it. Ring the bell and off we go, we've given our team a fresh set and momentum".

"Look, it's a great system but it hasn't been easy. The broadcasters and do-gooders have tried to get in there and mess with it, but we've been able to keep them at bay so far. We had that situation where the broadcast was planning on showing a virtual 10 metre line, and as you can imaging, that would be a huge blow to what we're trying to do. We made that quietly go away which was great. We've now got people trying to come up with forward-pass detecting technology, which, too, has the potential to blow everything up. We have our team out there doing what they can to resist those moves".

Asked whether there is potential for match manipulation, beyond just simple win/losses, but potentially in partnership with sponsoring betting agencies, Vlandys keeps it close to his chest.

"Look, that goes beyond what we are trying to do here. We're really just looking to make sure the right teams end up the top at the pointy end of the season. What you're suggesting would have legal ramifications and we're not interested in breaking any laws here. Just because we have the perfect system to manipulate not only results, but things like margins, overs/unders, all those exotics, and just because there are betting agencies that, should they wish to align themselves with us in an official manner, be able to make millions of dollars more than their competitors, doesn't mean it's something we've put any thought in to it".

736816_640x360_large_20190628221030.jpg
 
Morkel

Morkel

International Captain
Contributor
Jan 25, 2013
25,356
29,208
NSWRL Digest




-------------------------------------
NSWRL 004: Clearing a path

Stars aren't born, they are made.


With Origin III fast approaching, we delve in to the machinations on how the NSWRL is shaping the next Immortal, and this one is definitely going to be a blue.

Long have NSW fans suffered as the Maroons have pumped out potential Immortals for the last decade and a half. Since Andrew Johns' career and subsequent inclusion (despite off-field behavior that would land most plebs unemployable), the NSWRL have watched on as Lockyer, Thurston, and Smith have torn up League paddocks across the country, highlighting just how poor the development of key NSW players have been in comparison. Loathe to induct future certainty and now-eligible Darren Lockyer, the NSWRL have instead gone back through the history books to induct players from the game's previous chapters instead of celebrate the best modern players who just happened to tear NSW to shreds.

Recent NSW player ranks look even worse when you look back on the next level down from Queensland's dominant three, and land on players like Inglis, Slater, and Cronk. All great players, and all Queenslanders. So if they aren't good enough to make the "potential" immortal list, what chance do the pick of the NSW players have? Paul Gallen? Please. James Tedesco? Unlikely. Tom Turbo may be in with a chance but he can't string more than 5 games together without copping another season-ender. So how in the world is a NSW player going to reach such heights?

The answer is easy. Manufacture one.

1657542406176


NSW have been trying to talk up the "Next Andrew Johns" since... Andrew Johns, and none have come close. In fact it's almost been a career killer, with young creative players like Jarrod Mullen, Todd Carney and (cough) Luke Brooks all falling victim to the curse. While Queensland staked their dominance on picking and sticking, with Lockyer & Thurston evolving to Cronk, DCE and now Munster, NSW's wealth of choices led to a cluttered mish-mash including Pearce, Maloney, Keary, Wighton, Walker, Reynolds, Reynolds, Soward, Campese, Finch, and who could forget Peter Wallace and he testicle rupturing glory??? The time eventually came where the NSWRL powerbrokers needed to settle on a long term NSW half, and do everything in their power to keep their position in the team safe. When emerging "talent" Nathan Cleary arrived, with the possibility of him being coached by his father, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

1657543676033


By this point there was an alignment of stars. With the NRL desperately trying to keep junior development going, and huge dollars being thrown in to the Western Sydney area by the AFL, there was a critical need to have a team like the Panthers performing. When you throw in a certain Ex Head Of The Most Corrupt "Sport" In The Country, the pieces of the puzzle were all falling in to place.

When the NRL returned post Covid lockdown, there were already new rules in place that were designed to give more time and space to the NRL's creative players, the most effective being the 6-again rule. Where previously it took some of the best halves to unlock the NRL's choking defence, it became super easy to tire out defensive lines and allow even mediocre halves to look like world-beaters. The Panthers were carried to the 2020 grand final, and though they ultimately lost on the big day, it was already clear what the NSWRL had in stall for the comp.

With the increasing involvement of the video ref, manipulating things like line speed and calling players off-side made it easy to control the flow-on effects like kick pressure, and with no pressure and unlimited time and space, Cleary's kicking game was as easy as a training drill. On the other side of the ball, in order to frustrate and wear down opposition resilience, the 6-again rule was able to be manipulated cynically, giving away a "fresh set" on the first or second tackle but with the benefit of being able to jump off the mark early and swarm the opposition in order to destroy their exit sets. 6 tackles, 8 tackles, 10 tackles, it didn't matter if the opposition couldn't get 3 metres before hitting a wall. Eventually, the refs just gave up with the 6-agains, and let the Panthers smother their opposition without penalty. The 2021 grand final was a testament to how easy it is to absolutely suffocate another team out of a game when allowed, with the Panthers rarely on-side, and the Rabbitohs enduring almost zero field position or opportunities to score.

1657545370553


Fast forward to 2022 Origin Game I, and the more open officiating exposed Cleary for what he was - without the time and space afforded in club land, his kicking and playmaking game suffered tremendously. He couldn't get kicks away cleanly, he couldn't create opportunities when in attacking position, and he looked every part one of the pedestrian halves that NSW had endured for the last 15 years.

The Blues coach dropped his bundle on the referees, the refs publicly agreed to Fittler's suggestions, and Game II became everything we had seen from Panthers club games. Queensland were held back in defence, were punished incessantly with 6-agains called against them, and eventually a player was binned for having the gall to actually try to prevent the Blues from crossing the line. Queensland quickly fatigued, and wouldn't you know it, Cleary once again looked like the Future Immortal all of NSW had been hoping for, with a pinpoint kicking game and ability to tear the defensive line apart with slick passing and incisive running.

It was gobsmacking how effectively it worked. Everyone, from the fans, to the commentators, to the most NSW-centric journalists, saw the manipulation at play. The NSWRL have their man now, and good luck to any team that intends to stand in his way.
 
I bleed Maroon

I bleed Maroon

International Rep
Apr 17, 2013
15,250
19,258
I can't read this thread. It's too depressing.
 
Morkel

Morkel

International Captain
Contributor
Jan 25, 2013
25,356
29,208
NSWRL Digest USA


Welcome to the USA edition of the Rugby League digest. Once again we are extremely lucky to have had the time to speak to the great visionary that it Peter Vlandys. We get unprecenented access to his thoughts on taking the game to the USA, the efforts of his fellow NRL administrators, and why interest in the game continues to grow.

We start with the most ambitious plan of the NRL era. No, we are not talking about the attempt to make Big Nelson to use his foot to play the ball, we are talking about the revelation that Rugba Leeg is heading to the bright lights of Vegas.

"It's ambitious, for sure, but I don't think many people have realised the opportunity it presents. We're not taking about attracting players to the game, NFL players, even second or third string players, can earn far more than most Rugby League players. And we're not even really talking viewership and subscriptions, though any increase there will be a handy bonus", he explains.

"What we are really trying to tap in to here is their betting money. It's incredible how big that market is. One hundred billion. Every year, just on the NFL. That's not an exaggeration. Even more important is that hundreds of millions of that is bet on college football. Competitions that no one would otherwise give a moment's thought about, besides talent scouts and cheerleaders. And yet here are these betting agencies raking in the cash. The money is there, more than our game has ever seen, ever even dreamed of, we just need to market ourselves as an attractive option".

"How do we do that?", he asks us. "Unpredictability. The possibility that anything can happen. Horse racing only exists due to wagering, and the main reason it's so attractive is because it's high stakes, but high return. Traditionally, League games are much lower odds - it's rare that a team at 5 :1 gets the W, but the team here is doing a fantastic job to change that".

"Sure, you have your multi's, or your exotics, that have the higher odds. There will always be people that flock to those sorts of markets. But we really want to put on a game where even despised outsiders can win a game, and in turn, give the punters a big payday".

"So, and again I can't understate how well out team are doing with this, after bringing all these great new initiatives like 6-agains, bunker control etc, we really have a great mechanism to control games. Where a single call can turn momentum upside down and change the course of a game in an instant. Let's not forget sin-binnings too. We're seeing them every weekend now, and nothing changes a game like 13 on 12, so in terms of the unpredictability, we really are starting to hit our targets".

"Let's look at the Tigers beating the Panthers", he says. "You're talking arguably the best team against the worst, and yet here we are. And when you look at the reaction to it, the public just react with "well that's Rugby League for you". You'd probably get a bigger reaction if it was someone like the Broncos beating the Panthers. It would create a much larger ripple i the standings of the comp, too. All of a sudden the Broncos are the real deal, the Panthers are on the slide. But losing to the Tigers? That is universally accepted as an anomoly. But it also shows that any team can win on the day, and more imortanty, any bet can net you the cash".

Questioned on how the manipulation of the results undermines the integrity of a professional sport, Vlandys makes his position clear. "The relevant word there is "Professional". Players are paid to play, coaches are paid to coach. The game needs money to run. Now imagine we can double the revenue. Triple it. Maybe more. We'd be doing the game a dis-service if we didn't have a serious look at it".

Pushed further on whether deliberate manipulation is going to push fans away, Vlandys claims the opposite. "The numbers don't support that claim at all. If people are so passionate as to say they they are walking away from the game, they are already emotionally invested, they're not going anywhere. If you want to know how invested some punters are, there are people out there betting on opposition teams, calling it "emotional insurance". Can you believe that? I say, dice that up in to cubes, blend it up, and hook it up to me as an IV drip, that is an astounding level of engagement".

Pushed even further, about just what level of manipulation fans would tolerate, he praises the efforts of his fellow administrators. "Let me just say that Graham Annersley has far exceeded my expectations on what can be done with that role. He plays the part so well. When he gets in front of those cameras and deadpan tells the world that left is right, up is down black is white, I can see how people can question their sanity. I mean, apparently Xavier Coates' hand is whiter than a pasty kid of irish descent, so yeah, black is white when he talks. Even better, when you get people talking conspiracies, if you cross-reference that with betting activity, you'll see that those people are by far the most profitable for betting agencies. Because they think they know better. They think they can see patterns that others can't see, that games are going to be edged a certain way because of some weird theory they have built in their heads. Bringing it back to the horses, that's like having a hot tip from someone in the know, and we know how easily those guys get fleeced, so if anything, a distrust in the officiating is good for business".

Now let's combine that with the Big Ol U S of A. A nation where people swear that elections are rigged, horse de-worrmers can cure a virus that others don't even think exists, and Elvis is still alive. If we can put ourselves in front of an audience like that, the sky's the limit".
 

Unread

Active Now

  • Jeza23
  • Sanjit Joseph
  • bb_gun
  • Galah
  • ChewThePhatt
  • Aldo
  • Fozz
  • BroncosAlways
  • ell.d33
  • mrslong
Top
  AdBlock Message
Please consider adding BHQ to your Adblock Whitelist. We do our best to make sure it doesn't affect your experience on the website, and the funds help us pay server and software costs.