DISCORD 2013: Edition One

meprofileBy STEVE MASCORD

DISCORD is sick of hearing how rugby league “bungled” the return of Israel Folau.
Why are we so insecure a sport that our athletes become more important to us AFTER they leave? From all accounts, Folau was no better than a fair Australian Rules player. Shouldn’t his stocks in our game have slumped in his absence, not risen to the point where rules should be bent to get him back?
There are many of you who don’t believe the salary cap is responsible for the NRL having crowned nine different premiers in 15 years. I don’t agree with you. I think is is easily the biggest contributing factor to that parity, which is an even more remarkable achievement in the absence of a draft.
The salary cap is rugby league’s most successful construct – and stripping two premierships because it was cheated only makes it stronger and more influential because there is now an even greater deterent to breaking it. The salary cap is more important than any individual – including Israel Folau and Sonny Bill Williams. As Adrian Morley writes in his new biography, the even-ness of the NRL is a rarity in world sport. Its rarity makes it precious.
Sure, if would have been nice if the salary cap increase had been introduced before Folau decided to go to rugby union. But I don’t think the ARL Commission should give a tinkers cuss about the plans of an individual player. Nor should they give a tinkers cuss about what I write in this column.
They are there to do what is in the interests of the game, and they are there to do it when it can be accomplished without complications.
Its a matter for Israel Folau to wait around for them to do it or to go and do something else. That’s what he’s done and good luck to him.
This tendancy to fawn over those who leave rugby league and beg them to come back is unseemly and even a little pathetic.

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CONGRATULATIONS to Paul Sculthorpe and Graham Lowe for their New Years honours.

Former Great Britain captain Sculthorpe was made and MBE and Lowe – who’s done just about everything in the game – was afforded the New Zealand Order Of Merit.

Terrible news for the talented Ben Jones-Bishop at Leeds: he’s out for six months due a scary blood clot affecting his lungs. Will Australian trialist Joe Vickery get a start in the World Club Challenge against Melbourne?

Here’s some more news: expect Japan to tour Australia in the pre-season, with a Test in Sydney against Portugal and an appearance at the Cabramatta Nines.

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COMMENTS now and RottenRonnie is like many of you – he wants the scrum to be a contest again.

read on

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