Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Rooster, Luke Ricketson, believes rugby league is being targeted unfairly in the debate over problem gambling, despite another high profile player going public over his troubles with the punt.
Injured Warriors skipper Steve Price became the second NRL player in the space of a week to admit to a gambling problem, saying he'd had an addiction to poker machines.
"It didn't get as bad as it certainly could have and I was lucky enough to have great support around me," Price said.
His frank admission came just days after Cronulla hooker Michael Sullivan revealed he could be forced to take up a lucrative offer to play in England next year in a bid to cover his gambling debts.
But Ricketson said gambling was a problem not just restricted to rugby league players.
"I think it's a part of every bit of society at the moment," Ricketson said.
"I find it gets blown up if they're rugby league players if there's any problems.
"Throughout society there's gambling problems."
Ricketson, who said he didn't mind the occasional punt himself, said the perceived notion that rugby league players had money to burn and plenty of time on their hands made them an easy target.
"I don't think rugby league should take the brunt of it all, I think it's a problem that's probably throughout a lot of Australia," he said.
"I don't think gambling's a big issue, I think it's in the minority and obviously it's highlighted in our sport."
Centrebet's Gerard Daffy distanced his organisation from the debate, saying betting on sports didn't pose as many problems as other forms of gambling.
"It sounds like in most instances that it's a poker machine issue, spending time in TABs issue," Daffy said.
"We deal with a lot of sportsmen worldwide, and sports betting doesn't lend itself to problem gamblers because there's no instantaneous fix.
"If you've got some kind of compulsion to have a bet no matter what it's on, it's highly unlikely that you're going to have a bet on a sporting event that's on in four days time."