Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Rugby League - Drama is thy middle name (2018)

2018 has been a rather topsy-turvey season emotionally for many fans and commentators. The hatred over refereeing has seen some people claim they aren’t watching the games anymore. They say this every week, all but suggesting that they are still watching.

It reminds of another great Frontline quote about outraged people.

“They’re watching…they’ll be the first people to tune in next week looking to be outraged.”

And what exactly is getting everyone so vehemently upset with the NRL? Referee mistakes and indirectly the boss of the NRL, Todd Greenberg.

No one is perfect. No one.


So it amazes that there are so many perfect humans, who have never been an NRL referee, or run a major sporting organisation, who seem to be so proficient in how both roles should be carried out.

It’s time for a bit of perspective. Has this been the most controversial year in regards to officiating and/or administration.

In 1908, the game’s founding fathers, politician Henry Hoyle (President), businessman James Giltinan (Secretary) and Test Cricket legend Victor Trumper (Treasurer), were so busy in the game’s birth that they were unable to produce a basic balance sheet in the General Meeting at the start of 1909. At that meeting in 1909, they were all removed from office with politician Ernest Broughton elected to take over as President.

Broughton lasted 22 days before stepping down due to work commitments and health concerns. He was replaced by another politician, Edward O’Sullivan, who last slightly longer before resigning upon learning about the League’s secret plan to sign the Wallabies. He was then replaced by Sir James Joynton-Smith, the man who funded the purchase of the Wallabies. The year ended with Balmain forfeiting the final for a number of reasons, the main one being that they didn’t think the Premiership final should be the undercard for an exhibition game between the Kangaroos and the Wallabies.

In 1917, one player appeared in one game for Glebe. He was Dan Davies from Newcastle and he was living in the region set aside for the Annandale club, under the residential rule that existed at the time. What transpired was Glebe losing 2 competition points and Davies banned for life. Glebe players protested their treatment later in the year over a number of matters by fielding a reserve grade team against defending premiers Balmain in what should have been a huge game. Balmain won 41-2. Glebe’s first grade players who refused to play were all handed lengthy suspensions.

Meanwhile, Dan Davies returned to Newcastle and began playing in the local competition. Once the NSWRL found out, they banned nearly every player, club and administrator in the Newcastle competition for life. They then set up a rebel league and continued playing the game outside of the control of the NSWRL. All the bans and suspensions were eventually repealed and Newcastle returned to a unified competition in 1920

This article could go on a lot longer, but the fact is, Rugby League will always find a way to have drama. Some of it is excessive by the game itself, other is blown out of proportion by the media, but all of them have only served to see the game grow stronger and bigger and better.

The petulant whines of a few sooks about referee blunders and how they are going to walk away from the game for good are coming from people with very short memories.

I urge those people to stop and ask yourselves this:

Is my constant whinging about the refereeing standards, the bunker and the assumed lack of leadership at the NRL really that bad. Would I prefer another Super League war instead?

This is solely a piece to offer some perspective. There’s no need to run with fearmongering rubbish, running stupid boycotts or blindly agreeing with everything some crisis merchant in the mainstream media constantly dribbles out.

If you want to genuinely help the game out, then be productive and offer solutions to issues.

If you hate the game, then please, stop watching it and go away.

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