Off the Wall

There has not been much positive news on the ARLC front of late - and some of it has been quite depressing.

The failure to take a stand on Sonny Bill Williams, and the Roosters, being allowed to treat the game with little better than contempt has been profoundly disappointing.

It has led to an outbreak of disloyalty, indiscipline, stupidity and dribble that has done the game a disservice. Everyone jumped on Danny Buderus from a great height when he wanted to play for the Knights and help coach the ACT Brumbies, but when you look at the disloyalty and duplicity being tolerated by the ARLC perhaps he was not that stupid after all?

Sonny Bill Williams is welcomed back with open arms, it would appear Israel Folau will be provided he can be fitted in under the salary cap and on it goes. I find it all just disappointing.

A concept that promised so much is delivering so little....so far. We don't even have a CEO......and David Gallop, after a long holiday, a trip to the Olympics and so on is already in his new role as CEO of Soccer Australia!

The ARLC is sooner or later going to have to front up to one issue that I sense is going to be the biggest challenge the game will face in the next five to ten years.

And that issue is private ownership of NRL clubs. The news that Russell Crowe plans to exit his ownership share in the Rabbitohs has sent shock-waves around the game.

As far as we know Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court have tipped something like $11 million into the club. I doubt if they have got much back. The club does not have a licensed club to buy them out - and absorb annual losses.

The Rabbitohs might find an owner - but he or she will need to have deep pockets. Then there is the ongoing saga of the Knights ownership. Despite all the assurances, can anyone really believe that the future of the Knights is secure given that its owner, Nathan Tinker, is clearly in desperate straits cash flow wise, and maybe worse?

You have to hope he offloads some more of his racing empire - in recent times he has virtually been giving it away - and that his rugby league ownership can survive.

One hopes the ARLC is being more vigilant on this issue than it is elsewhere! And then there is the situation at the Titans - again we have been deluged with assurances. But so much will depend on crowds, and team performance, in 2013.

The hope of the clubs that the new television rights deal will end their financial woes is just not realistic. Lets suppose every club gets an extra $3 million a year in the next couple of years.

That would help some clubs return to making a small profit. Some will probably not. But given how much of any increase will be taken up inn higher player payments, and operating costs, it is not going to be a windfall for any, nor a saviour for some.

And all that means is that the attraction of private ownership is not going to grow. Not good news for Rabbitohs fans - or those of a few other clubs!

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