Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
There are one or two pieces of very good news for our great game to emerge from yesterday's historic meeting officials, and players, drawn from the 16 NRL clubs.
And the first is simply this - there will be no compromise when it comes to the new body to run the game.
And the first victim of the tough stance taken by the clubs will be the current Chairman of the ARL, Colin Love. It is now apparent that the "compromise" proposal to make Love the initial Chairman of the Independent Commission has bitten the dust, and so it should have.
If we are to have radical reform of the way the game is run, and structured, then such compromises need to be totally off the agenda.
Clearly the clubs agree.
The second piece of good news is that the unanimous, and strong, view of the clubs, backed by the daily press, now means there is a real prospect reform will happen sooner rather than later.
The ARL has been put in a difficult position. In the face of such a united stance by the clubs - and some skilful PR work on the financial and other benefits of an amalgamated administrative structure overseen by an independent commission - resisting reform has suddenly become a whole lot harder.
The obstruction will probably shift to "delay" mode - but one doubts even that strategy will work for too long.
I just hope the momentum for reform - and an independent commission with a strong business focus - does not overlook the reality that rugby league is a sport as well as a business.
That means we need on the commission one or two members who bring a unique and vital perspective - one from the standpoint of players, coaches, and the parents of juniors.
There are any number of distinguished former players, or coaches, who could make a contribution to the commission, and the game's future.
True it may be argued they will have some historic "bias", but I am sure one or two who have the proven capacity to put the game first can be identified.
In summary, so far so good! Yesterday was a positive step forward, even if the outcome was predictable.
What we now need is for News to put pressure on the ARL as well.
And if that happens an efficient and independent administration for the greatest game of all will arrive sooner rather than later, and perhaps much sooner!