Off the Wall

It would be easy to characterise the upheaval at the Parramatta Eels Rugby League Club yesterday as simply the end game of a long, personal and increasingly vicious battle between Denis Fitzgerald and his enemies.

Easy, but perhaps not entirely accurate, for there have been signs for some time that the grass roots of a significant number of NRL clubs have become increasingly restless with the on field, and off field, performances of their teams.

The personal nature of the campaign against Fitzgerald, and his response and that of the defeated majority, would make hardened political campaigners in our major parties blush.

As political battles go, this one was about as rough as it can get. And it is not over - far from it.

The irony in the growing grass roots movement for better performances by highly paid players, and equally highly paid officials, is that the overall administration of the game - through the ARL and the NRL - is almost totally immune from any grass roots campaigning.

Grass roots campaigns are not of much use when you don