Off the Wall

The Parramatta Eels CEO, Paul Osborne, used to be a politician - a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Some of his political experience, and cunning, may well have been at work on Sunday when confronted with the news that his start player, Jarryd Hayne, had been involved in an incident in Kings Cross late on Saturday night.

Osborne not only declared Hayne's total innocence, and that he was the "victim", they trotted off to the police station to make a formal complaint that Hayne had been "assaulted". And most of us probably felt sorry for him...another case of a high profile player being "targeted".

By Monday afternoon things had sure changed. Complaint withdrawn, total innocence and being the "victim" no longer the story.

The person who really has to answer the questions arising from this matter is Osborne, not Hayne.

What attempt did he make to ascertain the full truth before his wholly unqualified comments in the media and then making a complaint to the police?

Has he been taking "crisis management" lessons? But for yesterday's rather spectacular change of events, his management of this one would make the text books!

It may well be that Osborne did satisfy himself the version he was given was accurate - but the question remains whether he, or another CEO, should be put in that position.

This incident will probably go nowhere, and maybe it should go nowhere at least as far as Hayne is confirmed.

But it once again highlights the absolute hopelessness and lack of credibility and transparency of the NRL policy on how off field incidents are "managed".

The responsibility for investigating the matter should be taken out of the hands of the clubs, and put in the hands of an experienced and qualified "investigator" employed by the NRL.

That will end talk of cover-ups, allegations of bias, and claims of botched or half hearted investigations.

The dogged persistence of the NRL in insisting clubs investigate their own players causes situations such as we have seen in the last couple of days.

There is one way, and only one way, to fix the matter once and for all is to take investigations out of the hands of clubs and club officials.

And that is for the NRL to employ a qualified investigator to take over the task!

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