Off the Wall

It matters little whether the independent commission to run the game is in place on November 1 or a few weeks later. It is now clear that it will be up and running before the end of the year, and well before the 2011 season and that is all that really matters.

What now matters is the makeup of the commission - and that now represents a balancing act for those who will put it together.

It appears that anyone who has held any official position in rugby league in the last three years are automatically excluded from consideration. So are Colin Love, and  Katie Page, a current NRL board member.

While we want an independent commission we don't want one comprising only of business men and women.  We need commissioners with some rugby league experience.

The media today advances the name of Mark Coyne, the former Dragons player, who also excelled at origin and national levels.

I know Mark Coyne. He is carving out a most successful business career, he retains strong links with the game. He would be an outstanding commission member - and he brings the right mix of business experience and a rugby league background.

The test for the commission is more about what it focuses on, and what it delivers.

But if it is to address the enormous challenges the game faces we need a commission that brings together not only a strong commitment, but a mixture of business, rugby league, and wider sporting and community experience.

Getting the balance right in the makeup of the commission is vital. We cannot afford to get it wrong.

The ARL deserves credit for ensuring the commission - which will involve the ARL and News exiting ownership of the NRL - will at long last be a reality.

And the club officials who are the driving force behind the commission - the Titans Michael Searle and the Roosters Nick Politis - are deserving of the highest praise for having stuck with the task in face of opposition from here, there and everywhere!

An independent commission needs to be regarded as the end of the beginning - the really hard yards lie ahead!

But the fact we are but weeks away from a united game, and a new independent commission overseeing it, is good news.

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