Regular readers will know that I have generally resisted the
temptation, and urgings by some readers, to respond to AFL writers who
seem to spend almost as much time writing about rugby league (The Australian’s writer Patrick Smith being pre-eminent among them) as they do their own game.

But the piece of fiction in The Weekend Australian
by Cameron Stewart, “High goals rule out bad boys”, simply cannot go
unchallenged. The basic argument advanced by Stewart is that the AFL
has banished the biff, it has shown rugby league that clean cut and
articulate young stars are part of a winning formula.

Of course Stewart centres his article on the Hopoate incident. That’s
to be expected – but it’s hardly fair. Is Hopoate representative of the
image of rugby league today? Fortunately not.

The best answer to this piece of nonsense in which Stewart has
claimed the AFL has fixed all the on field behavioural problems, whereas
the NRL has not, so much so that it’s no longer a contest, is to have a
look at the respective judiciary processes.

Stewart’s claim that the AFL has led the way, leaving the NRL (and the
ARU) quivering in its wake, is made to look quite silly by one simple,
irrefutable fact.

The AFL, from the start of the 2005 season, has adopted, lock stock and
barrel, the Judiciary system of the National Rugby League! A system
that has been used by the NRL since 1999. So much for the AFL leaving
the NRL stranded at the starting blocks!

When it comes to on
field, and off field, bad boys no footy code can claim the the “high
moral ground”.

The full column is on the site here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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