DISCORD 2012: Edition 37

By STEVE MASCORD
THE Bulldogs Mad Monday debate raged so brightly and quickly that many interested parties are already heartily sick of it – but Discord wants to make just a few points.
One, it is common for the media to cover Mad Monday and most clubs do make someone available for a chat and allow a few photos to be taken and video to be shot. Despite what people believe, Melbourne and the Sydney Swans’ Mad Mondays were covered and clubs did co-operate. Yes, I have taken just about every Monday-after-the-GF off in the last 25 years and I hate working that day but it’s still a common practice.
Two, if a politician, actor or rock star was at Belmore Sports Ground wearing fancy dress and drinking you can bet there would be cameras outside as well. Footballers are in the entertainment business. Why should they be protected more than other entertainers?
Three, football clubs can’t hold sterile media opportunities and fail to allow even one one-on-one interview after the grand final and then expect goodwill in return. The Bulldogs on Sunday night were terrible in this respect, can expect to be fined and have done the bare minimum allowed under new media guidelines all year.
Four, clubs cannot talk about reporters earning their trust when they interact with the media as if they trust no-one. When we could walk onto the field and talk to anyone after training, clubs were justified in saying “we only talk to people we know”. But they have lost that right by digging a moat around their players and treating the media like cattle. Now, they have to deal with everyone.
Five, the longer abuse goes unreported, the longer it continues. If Channel Nine had not broadcast that audio, those responsible would have said it next time. Now, they’ll think twice.
And six, the mid-season departure of experienced media manager Ross Smart and failure to replace him with someone of equal experience has backfired heavily on the Dogs. Football departments have way too much power in NRL clubs and when situations arise outside their area of expertise, they crash and burn badly.
When you sacrifice everything in search of a premiership and hand too much power to the people who just know about footy, this is what happens.
 FEEDBACK time and thanks to the great response to last week’s column, which to me was pretty run-of-the-mill.
Dan Tapp asked the population of Port Vila. Dan’ it’s a bustling metropolis of 40,040. Stephen mentioned Discord’s idea of RLIF membership. Aside from raising cash, it would connect the Federation with its biggest customers, which is a massive plus. However, magazines cost money to make and circulation of almost all magazines is falling. I am not sure about the viabiliy.
Walks of Wigan has no sympathy for southern hemisphere players who wanted October and November off. As I said, Australia and New Zealand could each have played England with no extra workload on NRL players. Also, clubs want to hold their expanded World Club Challenge at the same time of year that they say players are too burnt out for Test footy!
Andrew mentioned reports that Sheens said he would stand down if Wests Tigers missed the finals. This claim was supposedly said in private. Has Sheens conceded it was uttered? Has the director involved come out and put his name to it? Ben Elias told us on the ABC a few weeks ago he had no knowledge of this conversation.
Rudy said there was no point in playing rugby league in Thailand, Greece and Vanuatu. I don’t know where you are from Rudy but this is typical of many Australian rugby league fans and people in general and is the reason why we wasted 100 years’ advantage over rugby union (open payments to players) globally. The attitude in Australia is that if you can’t be one of the top sports in a territory, it’s not worth bothering. But what is the point of being popular in a place like Australia, which has a tiny population, a modest economy and almost zero influence on global affairs? Who cares what’s popular in Australia, really? If rugby league was to pick any country in the world where it could be massive, Australia would be about 64th on the list. If a sport is not there to make profit, what is it there for? I say it is there to make sure as many people see and play it as possible – that should be the sole reason it exists and the focus of its operations every day. Australian rugby league fans have an inflated sense of their own importance. Being a big sport in Australia hurts the game internationally because of that country’s insularity. Rugby league’s is a fringe, downtrodden, rebel sport – regardless of some fans’ belief that because they happen to like it and they live where others do as well. it should be reserved just for them.

3 Comments

  1. @therealsteavis steve, i liked your piece on RL expansion this week but i think you underestimated the influence of australia. our modest economy is the 13th biggest in the world and we are the 5th richest nation per capita

    1. 84th was no doubt hyperbole. But if rugby league could choose to be big in any country … US first, UK second, maybe France, Germany, Russia and China would all come before Australia in my opinion. That’s no taking into account the very specific economic conditions right now….

  2. Rugby League does not belong to Australian rugby league fans. It should be a world game and the leading nations should take a leadership role in making the game successful all over the world.

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