Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The ARLC faces a significant credibility test, and you could almost put your last dollar on it fluffing it badly.
The demise of Israel Folau's career in the AFL is hardly surprising. He has cost the AFL a poultice of money....money deliberately targeted at undermining rugby league in Western Sydney and to a lesser extent South East Queensland.
Folau willingly participated in that exercise and was given a contract that was wholly over the top of any reasonable assessment of his worth for doing so.
He participated in AFL stunts designed to promote the code, and undermine rugby league, especially at the grass roots level.
If the ARLC does not take these factors fully into account before he gets a free pass back into rugby league for the 2013 season then it has singularly failed in its duty to the greatest game of all.
I can recall the era when rugby was still an amateur code, and any player who had taken the dollars to play rugby league and then wanted to switch back to rugby was barred for several seasons from doing so.
I do not care a fig if this means Folau can't play for the Maroons in 2013.
What I care about is the integrity of rugby league...and about ensuring players who stick with the game are not disadvantaged by the return of code jumpers who have failed elsewhere and want an open ticket back into the game.
Consideration needs to be given to making him sit out the 2013 season, unless he can come up with exceptional circumstances that justify what he has done today.
And if that means he goes to rugby union, or takes up hockey, or basketball, then so be it.
Looking online as I write there is already speculation he is joining the Eels in 2013.
Where is the ARLC?
It needs to step in NOW and say it won't automatically approve a contract to play rugby league in 2013.
It needs to be pro-active, take control of the issue, and decide first and foremost what is in the best interests of rugby league, not Israel Folau.
If signing Folau means that one or two loyal NRL players have to be axed, then I for one believe that just should not be allowed to happen.
It is not to happen, sadly, in my view.
He will be welcomed back with open arms, and all the stunts he willingly participated in over the last couple of years will be forgiven and forgotten.
And quite frankly the officials who give him a free pass, and club officials who sign him up, will have let the game down.