Tom Waterhouse
Tom Waterhouse Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Why so much hate for Waterhouse? He's part of the game

THE level of antagonism and venom aimed at bookmaker Tom Waterhouse seems implausible, and I keep asking myself what he has done to deserve the vitriol.

Waterhouse has invaded the Channel 9 telecasts this season no more than betting agency TAB Sportsbet did last year.

And, in my book, he is no more annoying than the various spruikers from that organisation.

Admittedly, young Tom did appear on screen a little more than those faces of the past in the opening couple of rounds.

But to his credit, and obviously in counsel with the Channel 9 hierarchy, that was pulled back considerably after a barrage of complaints from viewers.

But all I see now during the live telecasts on Nine is an immaculately-dressed, well-spoken young man delivering betting odds - something the laws of the land and the game permits.

And what he does is exactly the same as the TAB Sportsbet people now deliver during the live Fox telecasts.

If people have a problem with Waterhouse throwing a fortune of his own money at both the NRL and Channel 9, that issue should not be with him.

The government sanctions betting on rugby league, does not outlaw the promotion and advertising of betting agencies during the game, but obviously prospers handsomely from the fees and taxes paid.

And the game - and its clubs - is no different.

Thirteen of the NRL clubs are sponsored by a betting agency or gambling establishment, with eight of them graphically promoting that business partnership on their jersey.

So is the Tom Waterhouse vilification simply a result of the tall poppy syndrome, where the so-called blue-collar game is being advised by someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth?

Or could it be that because he has is not an ex-NRL star, young Tom suffers from the 'what would you know' attitude?

My mail is that Waterhouse - who puts his money where his mouth is - loves the game and is a diligent researcher.

To me he merely adds colour and information to the telecast.

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