Off the Wall

Not before time the 16 NRL clubs have decided to demand that the nonsense over the establishment of an independent commission to run the game must end.

They have set a deadline for the new body to be in place by 1 November and if it is not then funding to the main obstruction - the QRL - will be cut off.

The QRL is threatening legal action to block the establishment of a commission.

In the meantime the AFL - run by a single independent commission - is about to start negotiations to try and secure a $1 billion five year television rights deal.

The shambolic state of the management of rugby league simply cannot continue.

Yesterday's increase of the salary cap was really at the margins. For cash strapped clubs it will make little difference, but the Marquee Player Allowance is being doubled to $300,000 and that will help.

In 2011 there will also be increased representative player payments and concessions for long term players.

All positive - but none of that addresses the next great challenge facing the majority of NRL clubs.

The television deal will be critical. But today we read that the push is on from federal authorities - at least advisory bodies - to limit poker machine playing quite drastically.

If that happens - and it is probably only a matter of time  before it does - then the cash strapped leagues clubs will be in peril. And payments to first grade teams and funding for junior teams and junior league, will be slashed even further.

While the focus is not surprisingly on the salary cap and the television rights agreement Like

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