New Years Resolution

Rugby League’s Resolutions For 2016

By STEVE MASCORD WHEN News Corporation gave up its first and last rights over NRL satellite TV, we heard the expression that rugby league was "in control of its own destiny". The decision to surrender those rights supposedly cost Rupert Murdoch's righthand man in Australia, Kim Williams, his job. We had heard the same thing when News stopped being a half-owner of the game in Australia. Yet we still had games being shown on delay, in low definition, on Channel Nine. We still had the Fox Sunday games kicking off at 2pm so they could be over before Nine's delayed telecast started at four. It didn't feel like rugby league was in charge of much at all. At least not the NRL, which still seemed to be run for the sake of the broadcasters. In England, the recent Baskerville Shield series was a success with good crowds - but the days of three Tests being played at Wembley, Old Trafford and Elland Road seem long gone. With new streaming opportunities, British rugby league also believes it has "control of its own destiny". But what does that actually mean? Put another way, if you were rugby league, what would your New Years Resolutions be? Let's have a shot. A WORLD NINES CIRCUIT IT was interesting that the recent RLIF strategic plan, 'World Rugby Nines' got a mention. Given that rugby union don't play nine-a-side, perhaps we are about to make an attempt to reclaim that word that makes up half of our name. Semantics aside, we've now been talking about an off-season circuit for long enough to have acted upon it. The blueprint is already there - rugby union sevens. We use second tier players and those who are recently retired or off-contract. The developing nations pick their best and the games are therefore competitive. I am sure Duco Events, the smart people behind the NRL Nines, would love to be involved. Maybe the first year there are only two or three events - Abu Dhabi, Perth and Las Vegas - but it builds. And the beauty of it is that we use our other properties to leverage nines carnivals "You want an NRL match? An Origin? Let's see how you go with a Nines tournament first". As Hot Chocolate said, everyone's a winner! GIVE THE RLIF MORE AUTHORITY THE appointment of the RLIF's first full-time CEO was another milestone for the game - and we can't expect miracles from David Collier overnight. But the spectacle of Super League CEO Blake Solly trying to get the first Anglo-New Zealand Test on Australian television a few hours before kick-off, and the feudal nature of refereeing appointments for those games, were rather unedifying. There are two countries with power in international rugby league - Australia and Britain. And if the Australians have little appetite for that side of the game, then there is a danger of the RLIF office being dominated by the country in which it resides. A real RLIF with teeth would be able to censure the RFL, something which is hard to imagine under current circumstances. Get rid of bilateral Test series completely. Have them run by the RLIF, with profits passed onto the countries involved as required. We need something more than a front for government funding. FIX THE NEW END-OF-SEASON SCHEDULE JAMES Lowes complained that The Qualifiers put too much pressure on his part-time players in one game but isn't that what professional sport is all about? Most of our leagues worldwide have a final rather than handing out trophies on a first-past-the-post basis. The real problem with the new system in the UK in 2015 was that clubs were able to stockpile their teams at the end of the season, employing the same degree of cynicism that always swarmed around promotion and relegation like flies at a litter bin. The Super League teams absolutely should not get stronger when they are about to play opposition that was already spending less money. You would not be able to sign a whole new squad of players for the NRL semi-finals, would you? The bottom of the top division was also a little ho-hum for the tail end of the season, wasn't it? Solutions on a postcard, please. A CEASE-FIRE BETWEEN PLAYERS AND AUSTRALIAN AUTHORITIES THREATS of awards night boycotts and even industrial action are almost annual events these days in Australia, where players complain they are overworked. Never mind that those in Super League play 10 more games a year. The NRL agreed to a 25-game schedule, still with five-day turnarounds, without consulting them and now the RLPA has hired a high-powered AFL man as its new CEO. In Australia, rugby league is a grab for cash. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement is ... well, it's not an agreement at all. When the NRL tried to mandate a 30-game season for all players, the players mocked Shane Richardson for trying to help them. A few months later, they're screaming the house down because the season's too long. Any cease-fire is certain to be temporary. SEPARATE ORIGIN AUSTRALIAN SELECTION FROM ORIGIN THE old school coaches and administrators Down Under are scared. While many other … [Read More...]

The A-List: Josh Hodgson (Canberra & England)

By STEVE MASCORD HAD Hull Kingston Rovers not tried to extend their contract with hooker Josh Hodgson some 18 months ago, he might be still playing for them. You read that right. The 26-year-old returns to Canberra this month for his second season a player transformed. From a solid first-teamer in Humberside who’d had a taste of international football, he kept the legendary James Roby on the bench for the entire winning series against New Zealand. One popular narrative is how he's still breaking down barriers a year after smashing through a door at a Dunedin student dorm. But had the Robins not tried to secure him to a long-term contract in the middle of 2014, Hodgson’s career may have not taken the … [Read More...]

WLF TV!

Danko Jones - Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

Album review: DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue By STEVE MASCORD THIS reviewer first saw Danko Jones opening for Hardcore Superstar in Manchester a decade ago. It was spellbinding, this swaggering braggart sweating all over the first 10 rows as he tore through impossibly catchy tales of road life. It was […]

Slash

SLASH, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, 2012

Live review: SLASH at Thebarton Theatre, August 28 2012 By STEVE MASCORD NEW Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. A Tuesday night in Adelaide. After just three songs, they are neck-and-neck. This reviewer did not set out to compare the Slash show at Thebarton Theatre last night to Guns N’Roses all-bells-and-whistles outing at the Hard Rock Hotel […]

Video: Eleven-year-old drummer nails “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

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WHITE LINE FEVER Podcast: Episode 83

LOUDMOUTH: January 2013

@Loudmouthcolumn DRUMMER Brian Tichy and guitarist Rob Caggiano have quit Whitesnake and Anthrax respectively on a seismic news day for hard rock and heavy metal. Tichy, who dislocated a shoulder in a mountain biking accident before New Years, wants to devote more time to his Something Unto Nothing (SUN) project with Sass Jordan – but […]

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BONHAM: Mad Hatters Tea Party (1992)

By STEVE MASCORD FOR TWO members of a gold status rock band, Ian Hatton and Daniel MacMaster aren’t exactly megastars yet. Bonham guitarist Hatton sits across from me in a Sydney coffee shop with vocalist MacMaster. Unless you were a bigtime fan, you wouldn’t even recognise either of them in the street. When it comes […]

Hoad brothers

Kings Of The Sun Hit Back At Axl Rose, Search For New Singer

By STEVE MASCORD AFTER finally responding to Axl Rose 24 years after the Gunners front-man kicked him out of the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Kings Of The Sun drummer Cliff Hoad is looking for a new singer – to replace his brother. The Gold Coast rockers wrote themselves a little piece of Oz Rock history in […]

WLF TV: The Union – Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder interview

NRLbripar

NRL round five 2014: PARRAMATTA 25 BRISBANE 18 at Suncorp Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD SIX hundred and thirteen days after their last away away, Parramatta were teased, prodded and eventually rewarded by football fate at Suncorp Stadium. Coach Brad Arthur was in the job for the first time when the Eels beat Parramatta at the same venue in July 2012. During an enthralling 80 minutes on […]

New Years Resolution

Rugby League’s Resolutions For 2016

By STEVE MASCORD WHEN News Corporation gave up its first and last rights over NRL satellite TV, we heard the expression that rugby league was “in control of its own destiny”. The decision to surrender those rights supposedly cost Rupert Murdoch’s righthand man in Australia, Kim Williams, his job. We had heard the same thing […]

Hodgson, Josh

The A-List: Josh Hodgson (Canberra & England)

By STEVE MASCORD HAD Hull Kingston Rovers not tried to extend their contract with hooker Josh Hodgson some 18 months ago, he might be still playing for them. You read that right. The 26-year-old returns to Canberra this month for his second season a player transformed. From a solid first-teamer in Humberside who’d had a […]

New Years Resolution

Rugby League’s Resolutions For 2016

By STEVE MASCORD WHEN News Corporation gave up its first and last rights over NRL satellite TV, we heard the expression that rugby league was “in control of its own destiny”. The decision to surrender those rights supposedly cost Rupert Murdoch’s righthand man in Australia, Kim Williams, his job. We had heard the same thing […]

FullSizeRender

@therealsteavis’ Highlights Of 2015 (Aside From The NRL Grand Final)

By STEVE MASCORD SO the guys from the Full 80 Podcast are calling it a day. “Do you think some of the passion has gone out of the game?” one of them asked me on their last episode. “Like, we still follow our teams, but……” You’ll hear plenty of people say the game is going […]

RLW Nov 2015

BONDI BEAT: November 2015 – The differences in RL media between Australia and the UK

By STEVE MASCORD I’VE held off writing about this subject for years now because I feared offending colleagues: the different ways in which rugby league is covered in Australia and Britain. But this year’s Super League grand final presented a couple of extremely stark examples of the contrast and I just couldn’t let the opportunity […]

Dorn, Luke

Australia Needs A Challenge Cup, Says Luke Dorn

By STEVE MASCORD OK, the NRL schedule is already so full that we didn’t even have a room for the All Stars game this season. But according to former Northern Eagles, Manly and Sydney Roosters utility back Luke Dorn, what it really needs is not more games, but more occasions. Standing in the players’ race […]

P1070312

Live Blog: SOUTH SYDNEY v SYDNEY ROOSTERS at ANZ Stadium

Fulltime: SOUTH SYDNEY 28 SYDNEY ROOSTERS 8 SOUTH Sydney overpowered their mortal enemies in a sizzling, incident-packed opening to the 2014 NRL season. Broadcaster Channel Nine reported the NRL launched an investigation while the match was still in progress into a tackle by Sydney Roosters’ Sonny Bill Williams and Aiden Guerra on Rabbitoh Ben Lowe, […]

Hodgson, Josh

The A-List: Josh Hodgson (Canberra & England)

By STEVE MASCORD HAD Hull Kingston Rovers not tried to extend their contract with hooker Josh Hodgson some 18 months ago, he might be still playing for them. You read that right. The 26-year-old returns to Canberra this month for his second season a player transformed. From a solid first-teamer in Humberside who’d had a […]

Discord

DISCORD 2009: Edition 6

By STEVE MASCORD A COUPLE of weeks ago, British league legend Mike Stephenson let a pretty staggering development seep out onto the world, in the middle of his weekly magazine column. Stevo wrote in Rugby League Express that he knew of two Leeds businessmen who wanted to enter a team in the NRL. Not a […]

RLW January 2016

Bondi Beat: January 2016

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S a rather strange dichotomy: players in Australia have never been better paid yet nor have they ever been more militant. Since the last Bondi Beat, the National Rugby League has secured a satellite TV deal with Rupert Murdoch’s FOX Sports which has taken the total television rights contract to A$1.8 billion […]

New_NRL_logo

THE WRAP: NRL Finals Week One

By STEVE MASCORD MY furry colleague at Rugby League Week, the Mole, last week wrote that Greg Inglis was unlikely to play in the World Cup due to his ongoing knee problem. So when the finals series kicked off on Friday night, a couple of hours before kick-off between South Sydney and Melbourne at ANZ […]

RLW 19 2012

RLW MEDIA RELEASE: Issue 19

POORE OUT, RAP FOR JT AND MANGO, DEFIANT SEARLE, STUART LINKED TO DRAGONS, TARIQ DETERMINATION, AGENTS OF CHANGE PARRAMATTA prop Justin Poore is set to leave the club before the June 30 deadline, the Mole reports in today’s Rugby League Week. Canberra are favourites to sign Poore, who hasn’t really settled in since moving from […]

The Big Issue

THE BIG ISSUE: #60

By STEVE MASCORD EVERY year, around this time, a column like this appears that critiques the NRL finals format. This year, the concerns are not on the field. Sydney Roosters and South Sydney have been the best sides all year and they are facing opposition this weekend in the preliminary finals that most people expect […]

The Big Issue

THE BIG ISSUE: #60

By STEVE MASCORD EVERY year, around this time, a column like this appears that critiques the NRL finals format. This year, the concerns are not on the field. Sydney Roosters and South Sydney have been the best sides all year and they are facing opposition this weekend in the preliminary finals that most people expect […]

Far & Wide

Far & Wide: July 27 2015

By STEVE MASCORD OFFICIALS are hailing this year’s Ohana Cup at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium as the best yet, with Samoa thrilling around 8000 fans in their 20-4 win over Tonga. The Hawaiian Rugby League are still trying to lure Penrith and Brisbane to the holiday isle, despite the reservations of the NRL, and plan to […]

therealsteavis - View my recent photos on Flickriver
Hodgson, Josh

The A-List: Josh Hodgson (Canberra & England)

By STEVE MASCORD HAD Hull Kingston Rovers not tried to extend their contract with hooker Josh Hodgson some 18 months ago, he might be still playing for them. You read that right. The 26-year-old returns to Canberra this month for his second season a player transformed. From a solid first-teamer in Humberside who’d had a […]

NRLbripar

NRL round five 2014: PARRAMATTA 25 BRISBANE 18 at Suncorp Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD SIX hundred and thirteen days after their last away away, Parramatta were teased, prodded and eventually rewarded by football fate at Suncorp Stadium. Coach Brad Arthur was in the job for the first time when the Eels beat Parramatta at the same venue in July 2012. During an enthralling 80 minutes on […]

Rugby_league_world_cup_logo

World Cup first quarter-final: NEW ZEALAND 40 SCOTLAND 4 at Headingley

By STEVE MASCORD SCOTLAND deliberately maximised the embarassment of rugby league officials by announcing as the most important game in their history kicked off that their funding had been completely withdrawn. New Zealand cruised through the World Cup quarter-final at Headingley as expected, winning 40-4 to set up a semi-final appearance with England with centre […]

NRLmelsgi

NRL round six: MELBOURNE 28 ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 24 at AAMI Park

By STEVE MASCORD VICTORIAN junior Young Tonumapea called it dream-like experience while St George Illawarra coach Steve Price immediately started asking why his own nightmare was allowed to happen. Melbourne Storm produced the season’s greatest escape when Tonumaipea scored after the siren, with the ball swept from sideline to sideline, to beat the Dragons 28-24 […]

Melbourne - Craig Bellamy

Bellamy Says Some Aussie Clubs Still Don’t Take WCC Seriously

AS the World Club Challenge looks to return to Australia and then expand, victorious Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy last night admitted some NRL premiers still don’t take the concept seriously. Bellamy was speaking after the Storm held off Leeds 18-14 at Headingley, making them the first Australian club to win a WCC decider three times […]

New Years Resolution

Rugby League’s Resolutions For 2016

By STEVE MASCORD WHEN News Corporation gave up its first and last rights over NRL satellite TV, we heard the expression that rugby league was “in control of its own destiny”. The decision to surrender those rights supposedly cost Rupert Murdoch’s righthand man in Australia, Kim Williams, his job. We had heard the same thing […]

US Tomahawks

American Civil War Wages On

By STEVE MASCORD YOU know how it was supposed to happen. The United States Tomahawks would shrug off criticism that they were just a bunch of Aussies who went to a bucks weekend in Vegas, capture the hearts of everyone at the World Cup, make the quarter-finals and with the glow of their success still […]

KC Stadium, 4.45pm

Four Nations: ENGLAND 28 NEW ZEALAND 6 at KC Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD THE Kiwis’ Four Nations title defence finished prematurely yesterday with no regrets but coach Stephen Kearney issued a stern warning to errant hooker Issac Luke and utility Thomas Leuluai admitted some of his team-mates may have resented Rangi Chase chosing to play for England. The World Cup holders were comprehensively beaten, 28-6, […]

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 21.36.23

BONHAM: Mad Hatters Tea Party (1992)

By STEVE MASCORD FOR TWO members of a gold status rock band, Ian Hatton and Daniel MacMaster aren’t exactly megastars yet. Bonham guitarist Hatton sits across from me in a Sydney coffee shop with vocalist MacMaster. Unless you were a bigtime fan, you wouldn’t even recognise either of them in the street. When it comes […]

WLF TV: The Union – Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder interview

Loudmouth masthead

LOUDMOUTH: July 26, 1989

Compiled by STEVE MASCORD DIESEL will drive your dollar twice as far next month following the announcement of a second show on the Rock N Roll Tour for the Hordem Pavilion on Wednesday August 16. What’s more, lasi time we looked there was still a cuppla seats left for the first gig on August 15. So […]

KISS 3

ROCK CRUISING: Going Overboard (2012)

By STEVE MASCORD ON the final night of Vince Neil’s Motley Cruise in 2008, shortly before the aforementioned peroxide imp was about to go on in front of a raucous crowd of heartland head-bangers, a representative of Carnival Cruise lines approached the stage manager. “I’d like to make an announcement,” said the uniformed official, smiling. “Sure,” […]

Motley Crue

MOTLEY CRUE: Feeling Minnesota (1990)

By STEVE MASCORD THE mercury in Minneapolis is plunging mercilessly past zero as Middle America wallows in snow. Vince Neil, however, is waltzing down the hotel corridor towards his multi-room penthouse in a sleeveless v-neck shirt and blue boxer shorts. His dirty blonde hair spews out from under a neatly reversed baseball cap, just like […]

Slash

SLASH, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, 2012

Live review: SLASH at Thebarton Theatre, August 28 2012 By STEVE MASCORD NEW Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. A Tuesday night in Adelaide. After just three songs, they are neck-and-neck. This reviewer did not set out to compare the Slash show at Thebarton Theatre last night to Guns N’Roses all-bells-and-whistles outing at the Hard Rock Hotel […]

Danko Jones - Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

Album review: DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue By STEVE MASCORD THIS reviewer first saw Danko Jones opening for Hardcore Superstar in Manchester a decade ago. It was spellbinding, this swaggering braggart sweating all over the first 10 rows as he tore through impossibly catchy tales of road life. It was […]

P1040238

MICHAEL MONROE: Finnish But Just Starting (2011)

By STEVE MASCORD THERE’s a neat news angle from this chat with Michael Monroe. But it’s only a fraction of the actual story. Read the full story at sludgefactory.com.au

18-month old Bev Risman with his famous dad Gus in 1938. "My first halftime orange," Bev just told me
WLF dinkus

WHITE LINE FEVER Column: Four

By STEVE MASCORD THIS time last year, Darren Lockyer and Jamie Peacock were tackling each other in the Four Nations. Yesterday, they met in London to tackle the vexed issue of rugby league’s eligibility rules. Of course, the retired captains of Australia and England (Peacock is still playing for Leeds) had a little prompting from […]

Travels

TRAVELS: XXVI

By STEVE MASCORD AS you might imagine, after five weeks attending matches, dinners and media events in Britain, one gains a few extra pounds – and a better understanding of the challenges facing rugby league here. What I am about to offer are a bunch of assumptions based on conversations with all manner of people […]

Puig Aubert

The Year Players And Referees Walked Off Mid-Game – Repeatedly

By LYLE BEATON A REVIEW of the French sporting press out of Paris during the early 1950s reveals an interesting story about rugby league and one of the strongest French club teams of the day, Marseille. The 1952-1953 season saw Marseille involved in something of a running battle with the French Rugby League hierarchy, as […]

Canterbury - logo

2013 Season Review: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

By STEVE MASCORD IN a way, these Rugby League Week year-enders can serve as historical records. You can leaf through old dog eared copies of the The Bible and relive what went right – and wrong – for your favourite team. But in the case of 2012 grand finalists, the Canterbury Bulldogs, the full story […]

retired - Phil McKenzie

Legend Q&A: PHIL McKENZIE

By STEVE MASCORD More than 20 years before Rangi Chase, Jack Reed and Chris Heighington, you were an Australian picked in a Great Britain squad.. “Yeah, way back in 1990, I was approached by the Rugby League over here and asked if I’d make myself available. I think that was before they even realised I […]

Hamish Neal

FIVE METRE GAP: Round Six & Rep Weekend

By HAMISH NEAL Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from round six and the representative weekend. WITH the representative weekend taking centre stage last weekend, Five Metre Gap, will take this chance to assess some of the season’s action to date, […]

McCarthy, Tyrone

Fullblood: An Englishman Who Plays For Ireland & Lives In Queensland

By STEVE MASCORD PROFESSIONAL rugby league players get a bad rap. At best, they are seen as mindless automatons, oblivous to the nuances of life around them, trained wholely to run at brick walls and tackle semi-trailers. At worse, our football stars are portrayed as oafish, neanderthal hoons with no regard for anyone but themselves. […]

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M3: The Last Of The Great Hair Metal Festivals? (2011)

By STEVE MASCORD TED Poley has a sportscar. I can only assume he wants you to know this, since the lead singer of Danger Danger has insisted he be interviewed by Classic Rock standing behind it, with the motor running. We had encountered Poley after his band’s set at M3, arguably the last pure hair […]

RLW Nov 2015

BONDI BEAT: November 2015 – The differences in RL media between Australia and the UK

By STEVE MASCORD I’VE held off writing about this subject for years now because I feared offending colleagues: the different ways in which rugby league is covered in Australia and Britain. But this year’s Super League grand final presented a couple of extremely stark examples of the contrast and I just couldn’t let the opportunity […]

Canterbury - logo

2013 Season Review: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

By STEVE MASCORD IN a way, these Rugby League Week year-enders can serve as historical records. You can leaf through old dog eared copies of the The Bible and relive what went right – and wrong – for your favourite team. But in the case of 2012 grand finalists, the Canterbury Bulldogs, the full story […]

Don Furner/ABC

Raiders’ Complaints ‘Irrelevant’, Says Slater

By STEVE MASCORD MELBOURNE fullback Billy Slater has dismissed Canberra’s complaints about his involvement in a trial match as “irrelevant” while coach Craig Bellamy says he “can’t understand” his former club’s complaint to the NRL over the issue. A joust between the Raiders and Storm has erupted over Slater playing in a trial between the […]

Hamish Neal

FIVE METRE GAP: NRL Finals Week One

By HAMISH NEAL Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from the first week of the finals. The now-legendary Geoff Toovey blow-up over penalty counts which earned the Manly mentor a $10,000 fine wasn’t needed despite the Silvertails narrow 4-0 loss to […]

sinbinsign1

SIN BIN: October 25 2013

By STEVE MASCORD THE most embarrassing bombed try in international rugby league history? Not according to those who saw Martin Offiah’s clanger 23 years ago. “Embarrassed to not score, but nothing wrong with a lil humble pie,” Sonny Bill Williams tweeted after his left foot slipped over the dead ball line as he attempted to […]

The Joy Of Six

THE JOY OF SIX: NRL Round 17 2015

THE BEAST IS COMING FOR YOU SO David Klemmer accidentally knocked out a NSW staffer who was holding a tackling bag? If he is on the field for a kick-off on Wednesday, Maroons players are best advised to stay out of his sight. The Beast Of Belmore has revealed he spots an opposition player from […]

Gold Coast - Luke Bailey

Getting The Journalism Wooden Spoon

By STEVE MASCORD COVERING a footy match seems a pretty straightforward task. I remember a Julia Roberts movie where the main male love interest was a sportswriter, depicted in the press box with a beer in hand and not a notebook in sight. Read the full story at footyalmanac.com.au

retired - Phil McKenzie

Legend Q&A: PHIL McKENZIE

By STEVE MASCORD More than 20 years before Rangi Chase, Jack Reed and Chris Heighington, you were an Australian picked in a Great Britain squad.. “Yeah, way back in 1990, I was approached by the Rugby League over here and asked if I’d make myself available. I think that was before they even realised I […]

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