THE NRL has taken a baby step forward by awarding Monday night football coverage rights to Triple M and two massive steps back by abandoning their heartland areas in the bush.Country folk without pay TV or internet coverage have no way of knowing who won the Monday night game until the next morning. The worst part of this debacle is that I don?t think many people were surprised by the decision of the NRL to once again shoot themselves in the foot.Outside of Sydney, you would need Austar or Foxtel to watch the game or the internet to follow it online via websites such as League Unlimited or via streaming audio on the Triple M website. For those in the bush with no pay tv or internet, well you my friends, you have been left to suck eggs once again as no one wants to know about you when it comes to Rugby League.Strangely at other times, these commercial entities claim to be champions of the battlers in the bush. Only when it suits them it seems!The NRL have again awarded 2GB the exclusive rights to call Rugby League and they treat the rights like a toy they don?t want to share with their friends. They lock it away, play with it when they want and toss it in the corner when boredom strikes knowing full well everyone else wants to play with it. We are left with coverage from a non-commercial station in the ABC while the exclusive rights holder prefers a lifestyle show over the footy.I recall Ray Hadley saying previously they (2GB) would like to open up the rights as they were that confident of their ability to retain their market share in a non-exclusive, competitive environment. Oh how the mighty have fallen! If being insulted and fat jokes are your go, then you?d better look away right about now.I suspect if the rights were non-exclusive Ray and his vaudeville sideshow may have some explaining to do to the shareholders of Macquarie Radio as to why their fortress was turned into a sandcastle in quick time. If people were given the choice I suspect they would switch off in droves to listen to something with a little more substance rather than crude humour and tired old ditties.The NRL are obviously happy with the fact 2GB give us a live call of two games per week with the Sunday game always a Sydney fixture because their head caller, Ray Hadley, now does the morning shift with 2GB and can?t travel interstate to call the game. More often than not we are left with the third choice game being called in Sydney when the match of the round is left to an around the grounds, intermittent update.Again, should we be surprised as Hadley is against a team from Melbourne participating in the NRL for what reason I have no idea. Could it be he feels a team on the Central Coast would be more beneficial to John Singleton, majority shareholder in Macquarie Radio and underwriter of the Central Coast bid for inclusion to the NRL?There is just so much wrong with the latest broadcasting rights deal that if this were a government department a royal commission wouldn?t be out of place.The AFL have set the pace by awarding commercial radio rights to four commercial stations that ensures the people in the bush get the opportunity to listen to the game on a weekly basis. Unless you live Sydney or Brisbane, as a league fan you are stuffed and this unacceptable scenario is in play for three years.The NRL have clearly failed in their duty to the fans regarding radio coverage and while the bottom line of the game is important, the expectations of the fans seem to be at the very bottom of the NRL?s list of responsibilities. Am I surprised? No.I expected nothing more and that is real crime here. Fans expectations of the ruling body are dropping by the day but so long as the powers that be continue to count their money, I doubt they would care if games were played in empty stadiums to sub-standard media broadcasts.
THE Brisbane Broncos have applied the heat to NRL administrators, claiming as premiers they deserve the right to open the 2007 season ahead of competition newcomers the Gold Coast Titans.
BRIAN Noble has named a side with a few changes for his side?s second outing in the 2006 Tri-Nations series.
AFTER the disappointment of a first round loss to England, the Les Chanticleers have put their Federation Shield campaign back on track with a convincing 28 ? 6 victory over Samoa at Colomiers.
WORLD Cup Europe Group Qualifier match, played at New River Stadium London, Saturday 28 October 2006.
BRISBANE Broncos utility David Stagg has undergone shoulder reconstruction surgery.
NEW Zealand has until 3pm (AEDT) today to explain why it should not be docked its only two Tri-Nations points for fielding former Queensland Origin hooker Nathan Fien.
THE Rugby League tri-nations competition is on the cusp of descending into a total farce on two fronts.
CENTRE Jamie Lyon will end a three-year exile after being named among five changes to the starting Australian team for Saturday's Tri-Nations rugby league Test against Great Britain.With his team unbeaten after its opening two series matches against New Zealand, Australian coach Ricky Stuart has opted to make wide use of his 23-man squad. Lyon takes over in the centres from Justin Hodges, utility back Ben Hornby replaces a resting Johnathan Thurston at halfback and Brent Tate takes over from Matt King on a wing.In the forwards, barnstorming second rower Willie Mason returns after missing game two against the Kiwis on October 21 because of concussion and Shaun Berrigan swaps his bench spot to replace Cameron Smith at hooker.Lyon has not represented the Kangaroos since 2003 after walking away from the Parramatta club in 2004 and later spending two seasons in England's Super League.Antonio Kaufusi has been ruled out of the Australian team for Saturday night's Tri Nations rugby league Test against Great Britain with a minor hamstring strain. He?s been replaced by Sam Thaiday on the bench.Australian team: Karmichael Hunt, Brent Tate, Mark Gasnier, Jamie Lyon, Greg Inglis, Darren Lockyer (C), Ben Hornby, Mark O'Meley, Shaun Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, Willie Mason, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'DonnellInterchange: Cameron Smith, Anthony Tupou, Brent Kite, Sam Thaiday.
INCUMBENT New South Wales rugby league coach Graham Murray is expected to receive the green light to re-apply for the Blues Origin job by his club North Queensland tomorrow.
NEW Zealand is in danger of being stripped of its two Tri-Nations competition points as the row over the eligibility of Queensland-born Kiwi Nathan Fien escalated today.
WESTS Tigers have confirmed the appointment of former South Sydney Sydney mentor Arthur Kitinas to their coaching staff.Kitinas will take control of the club's Premier League team, Balmain Ryde-Eastwood, next year, replacing Peter Gentle, who will work more closely with Tigers head coach Tim Sheens and assistant Royce Simmons.Kitinas served as Rabbitohs caretaker coach in 2004 following the sacking of Paul Langmack. Shaun McRae took over at Souths in 2005.Over to the international scene, Great Britain coach Brian Noble says his side will try to curb the brilliance of young Australian stars Greg Inglis and Karmichael Hunt in Saturday's Tri-Nations clash at Aussie Stadium.The Lions held their first training session on Australian soil this morning after opening their Tri-Nations campaign with an 18-14 loss to New Zealand in Christchurch. While yet to face the likes of Inglis or Hunt in an international, Noble says his side was well aware of their talent.Meanwhile, new Kangaroos halfback Ben Hornby says he is keen to make the most of his starting berth in Saturday's Tri-Nations rugby league clash with Great Britain at Aussie Stadium.The St George Illawarra utility will replace Johnathan Thurston in the No.7 this weekend with the Cowboys halfback being rested. Hornby admits the game is his chance to stake a claim for the Australian halfback spot and push for selection in the starting side for next month's Tri-Nations final.
THE Frank ?Bumper? Farrell Golf Day ? 15th November 2006
RUGBY League made its way to Athens when Greece held out a determined and much improved Serbia to win 44-26.