The latest proposal from the Australian
Rugby League only confirms that it has totally lost the plot.
The plan to stage the 2008 World Cup BEFORE the start
of the 2008 NRL premiership is outrageous. Instead of representative players
being burned out at the end of the season, they will be burned out before the
premiership season starts! Novel, yes, but ridiculous!
How can the NRL premiership clubs expect to be at full
strength for the start of what will be a sixteen team competition when 30 to 40
players will not take part in pre-season trials because they’ve been
representing, Australia, NZ, England, and maybe even Tonga and Lebanon, in a
World Cup competition played in the summer heat?
The NRL clubs are in revolt over the proposal and so
they should be. The case for the NRL to take full control of the game gets stronger
by the hour. Promoting the game at the international level is
important, but the game’s heartland is the premiership and the State of Origin series.
If the ARL has doubts, it should look at the television ratings for 2005. The
top ten programs in South East Queensland for the year were:
1. Rugby League Grand Final
2. State of Origin One
3. State of Origin Two
4. State of Origin Three
5. NRL Grand Final Entertainment
6. NRL Prelim Final
7. Lost – the Finale
8. Rugby League Grand Final Presentation
9. Big Brother – Winner Announced
10. 2005 Riverfire
The Sydney figures might differ, but the trend is the same. Why fiddle with a
spectacularly successful formula? It’s time the NRL, backed by the premiership clubs,
put the ARL out of its misery.