Off the Wall

Do you feel comforted by the knowledge that the Independent Commission (IC) might, and I stress "might", be in place on 10 February?

I sure don't!

The whole exercise has been a PR disaster for the game. None of the participants emerge with much credit at all.

As the weeks roll on, the issues that the IC needs to address pile up......yet it won't be in office until after the unofficial start to the 2012 season (the All Stars/Indigenous match), and just three weeks before the premiership starts!

I have lost count of the number of issues I have raised that need to be looked at, but here is another one.

The game desperately needs a consistent policy on code loyalty.

And by that I mean what approach the NRL has to former players who switched to the AFL, and rugby union, and who now want to return to rugby league.

The latest deserter who wants to make a return is Willie Mason.

It would seem that club interest in him is underwhelming, perhaps non-existent.

But that is not the question.

We must have a consistent policy on the issue - not just for Willie Mason, or Sonny Bill Williams, or Karmichael Hunt, or Israel Folau.

The recent attempt by a couple of the code's "heavies" to make it look as though any return to the NRL, via the Roosters, by Sonny Bill Williams is a "fait accompli" must not go unchallenged.

At the moment there is no consistent, transparent policy in place.

Perhaps, if the IC ever materializes, it might "poll" fans on the issue?

I know how I would vote - any player who jumped codes would have to spend at least one year on the sidelines before being able to be registered with an NRL club.

And in the case of a couple of deserters I would make it a decade just for good measure!