RED herrings abound, but it’s fairly certain the new rugby league commission will be up and running soon.
Thank goodness for that, because like most others with a vested interest in the sport, your scribbler has grown weary of the game playing, empire building, back stabbing, seat warming, fence sitting and all the other manipulations and machinations that help turn the game into a circus.
Looking back on 103 years of history, the code has all too often been a ship commanded by fools – especially at state and regional level – with us poor buggers at the bottom treated like galley slaves.
One wishes for two bob every time somebody asks what the commission will mean for bush footy.
On the evidence so far, probably not much at all, because Country Rugby League has been left in charge at our level.
It has already been announced that the new regime will not wave some magic wand that will deliver a bucket filled with gold, so that grass roots development plans can be implemented.
There don’t appear to be any “spade ready” plans to implement – like this fabled “backyard footy” project one’s spies keep talking about, which the NRL owns the rights to but keeps sitting on.
And those nasty types from the AFL and soccer, who are invading our space, won’t be told to pack up and shoot through back to south of the border down Mexico way – or Pommyland – or wherever else they come from.
While our esteemed blazer brigade was busy creating its little power bases, the invaders swept over and around us and there are now just too many to eradicate.
Take the street corner tip.
If bush footy sits on its haunches waiting for the new commission to be the saviour our world has been waiting for, buy a book about basketball, tennis, golf or whatever, and start studying your soon-to-be new interest.
Unless we get off our backsides and save ourselves, nobody will save us.
The new commission will spend time studying its new domain and bet your bottom dollar that long after the TV rights question is settled, its focus will be on the current NRL premiership, salary cap, NRL expansion, State Of Origin, fixing the anomalies in the Toyota Cup and rebuilding the feeder comps in Sydney and Brisbane.
It will create strategies for the Pacific Rim and New Zealand and there won’t be enough time or money left over to bother about country New South Wales or Queensland. Again, it will bludge – an ugly word but appropriate – on the good graces of volunteers.
And with league so slow to respond to changing times, rival codes are always going to beat us to the punch.
Take the case of the recent two-page spread in a Sunday newspaper, where Phil Gould suggested a scaled-down version of the game for kids, with a reduced team size on a smaller field.
A similar scheme was mooted in that fabled “stakeholders review” our readers were told about recently, which attracted so much heat for your scribbler.
Don’t contemplate your navels too long and be accused of making snap decisions.
Small-sided soccer was introduced here three years ago and it has helped North Coast Football introduce 32 extra teams this year.
Shucks, curses, beaten to the punch, foiled again.
Bring on the commission by all means but don’t expect it to work miracles.
That’s our job.