By STEVE MASCORD
WE don’t normally write much about the other code of rugby here but it was fascinating to see one of Ireland’s greatest-ever union players (and good mate of the Johns boys) Brian O’Driscoll sidelined by a doctor on Sunday.
At the time O’Driscoll was told he could not return to the field because he was showing signs of cocussion, Ireland was on the way to an historic win over New Zealand. Perhaps if he had returned, they may have held on.
Now, rugby union has been accused of not doing enough to protect itself against the sort of legal action over concussion that has happened in the US – but it’s still doing a helluva lot more than we are with its five-minute pitchside assessment policy.
In our World Cup, players have continued on after being assessed on the field, on the run, or seemingly not assessed at all.
Not one fine has been issued to an NRL club under the League concussion rules. The NRL’s chief medical officer, Ron Muratore, has to make an appointment if he wants to meet with … the NRL.
It looks suspiciously like our game has found itself in a legal bind – officially acknowlege any concussion and you can be sued down the track, so let’s pretend there’s none and talk our way through it.
But it won’t be long before someone with a record of being knocked around – and I am plucking Brett Hodgson’s name out of thin air here, as an example – brings the sport to account.
And the current head in the sand attitude is just going to ensure rugby league’s backside is kicked even harder.
DISCORD had the pleasure attending a Wigan supporters evening on Tuesday, when the guests included Andy Gregory, Bill Ashurst, David Furner, Michael Jennings and Boyd Cordner.
Jennings and Cordner were of particular interest to the throng because they will, of course, playing for Sydney Roosters against Wigan at Allianz Stadium on February 22.
Things started well for Cordner when he was asked about Wigan and he said they must be a good side to win both Super League and the Challenge Cup.
But things went downhill when he added that the loss of Sam Tomkins and Pat Richards would leave Shaun Wane’s side “under strength”. Boo!
And the locals became even more feisty when Michael Jennings was asked how much Super League he watched on TV and answered he made a point of seeing “mainly St Helens”. Boo!
“I told the boys on the way in that all they had to say was they hated St Helens,” Furner, the Australian assistant coach, joked.
Speaking of the World Club Challenge, we’re hearing that the proposed game against the New Zealand Warriors is back on, possibly on the Wednesday preceding the NRL Nines.
The proposed Papua New Guinea game was to be played in Cairns, not Port Moresby, and isn’t completely out of the question, either.
WE are reliably informed that Scotland’s Australian-based players – Luke Douglas, Kane Linnett and Peter Wallace – are the Bravehearts who gave back their expenses because of the SRL’s financial woes.
At the moment, Scotland can’t afford to fly them in for internationals next spring. Douglas, in particular, had an emotional journey this year in a campaign he dedicated to his late mum and wants to come back.
It certainly flies in the face of the idea that NRL players are self-centred and narrow minded, doesn’t it?
OK, let’s address some comments\
By STEVE MASCORD