Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
I have not the slightest idea what is behind the latest threat to the establishment of the Independent Commission - but the extensive coverage it receives in News Limited publications today is very troubling.
The out of the blue claim from the 16 clubs for a $34 million additional handout from the NRL even before the next television deal is negotiated surely points to serious divisions within the game?
The clubs would have to be aware - because they have access to details of the NRL's finances - that the NRL does not have that much cash in reserves.
It may well be they are putting in a claim for an upfront payment when the TV deal is concluded - but it is hardly going to be concluded when there is a dark cloud over the game!
Early this week we were told "legal details" might delay the start of the IC.....a start which has been delayed numerous times already.
Now there is a real spanner in the works - much more serious that delays caused by "legal details"....
Today's coverage contains predictable threats that either News, or the ARL, might pull out of the merger arrangements, sabotaging everything.
And then there is the veiled threat that the clubs might, and I stress might, form a breakaway game.
That must not be allowed to happen. We survived, albeit bruised, the Super League "war" but I don't believe the game could survive another division of the kind that would happen if the 16 clubs went their own way.
As fans, we are entitled to ask - how has this been allowed to happen?
If the 16 clubs are behind the demand, then surely David Gallop and the NRL, and Geoff Gallop, and the ARL, had heard about it....especially as it seems to have its genesis at a meeting of the clubs three weeks ago?
Are relations between sixteen clubs and the NRL so poisonous that not one official hinted to the NRL what was happening?
Maybe they are - and maybe that is the problem?
Or is this merely confirmation of just how desperate the finances of the majority of clubs is?
What the real story is, every effort must be made to end the divisions, and get the IC up and running. Now!