Off the Wall

The media today is alive with reports Bulldogs players have been interviewed by NSW Police over the alleged betting "sting" in the Bulldogs v Cowboys match towards the end of the premiership rounds.

All this really confirms is that charges are not going to be laid this week against anyone as the email rumour round claimed last week. We are simply going to have to be patient - an outcome is probably weeks away.

What the police are clearly doing is doing what investigating police always do, gather evidence, interview people who may, or may not, be involved, and then decide what action should be taken.

This will take time - Cowboys players are yet to be interviewed - and one assumes the punters caught on candid camera in their local TAB etc plunging on what the first Cowboys scoring point would be are going to be questioned as well.

In the meantime the NRL needs to work closely with other major sporting bodies, notably the AFL, to ensure that a better surveillance regime on sports betting, and the involvement of players and officials in sports betting, is put in place.

The massive plunge on the "Cowboys to score first by a penalty kick" option was not uncovered by the NRL. It was uncovered by betting agencies who obviously noted the extraordinary amount wagered on one of the lesser betting options.

If there was a "sting" then it was discovered because those involved were too greedy, or too clumsy.

What we don't know, and will never know, is whether or not a similar "sting" has been successful because it slipped under the radar of betting agencies - either because the amounts invested were small or they were invested on one of the major options, such as the winning margin.

I had a look at the betting spread options on Sunday's grand final. I was staggered at the number of options available - I stopped counting at 30.

When bets can be taken on that many options, or more, the opportunity for rorts is surely increased.

The NRL needs to put in place its own monitoring system - along the lines of the system the racing industry has had in place for years.

But on the particular matter under investigation patience will be required, no matter how unfair that might be to players, and others, who are under a cloud of suspicion.

It is obviously in the interests of the Bulldogs and the Cowboys, and the NRL, for the matter to be resolved, one way or the other.

In the meantime if you read emails, or hear rumours, that a dramatic conclusion is imminent, I think you can safely discount them. This will all take time...frustrating though that undoubtedly is!