Off the Wall

When the North Queensland town of Innisfail was devastated by Cyclone Larry just over a year ago, Peter Beattie called in General Peter Cosgrove to oversee the cleaning up of the mess, and rebuilding the town.

Today the Australian Rugby Union is calling in the same General Peter Cosgrove to clean up the devastation that is everywhere in the rugby union scene in Australia today.

Rugby league administrators need to grasp the unique opportunity the mess rugby union has got itself into. And what a mess it is?

The traditional states, NSW and Queensland, wallow at the bottom of the Super 14 table. Only the ACT Brumbies are a chance of making the finals.

And the bottomless financial pit that union has used to raid the ranks of league players seems to be like our water supply - drying up rapidly.

And there is growing evidence of a grass roots revolt against the code spending millions enticing league players to switch codes.

And who can blame the grass roots. While the ARU dangles millions in front of our players - and our former players - the ARU distribution to each Premier club in Sydney and Brisbane is being cut from $80,000 this year to $60,000 next year and $40,000 in 2009.

It has not gone unnoticed that Lote Tuqiri