By STEVE MASCORD WE are one week away from the play-offs in the NRL and have two major controversies hanging over rugby league. Both of them had their origins in the pre-season. Call them slow-burners. The announcement in February that Australian sport had been infiltrated by organised crime and performance-enhancing drug use shocked everyone. But […]

BONDI BEAT: September 2013

By STEVE MASCORD THE big debate in Australia at the moment is on how the State of Origin juggernaut is completely overshadowing, and causing serious damage to, the NRL. Attendance figures at club games have plummeted over the six weeks that the interstate series occupies and a week or two either side of it, when […]

THE JOY OF SIX: Round 21

By STEVE MASCORD PILLAGED RAIDERS DO the mechanisms which give us an even competition also give us even games, or are there completely different influences at work? Melbourne’s 68-4 win over Canberra was the eighth largest margin in premiership history. But the result was not the product of any obvious competitive disparity; Canberra had not […]

DISCORD 2013: Edition 27

By STEVE MASCORD THE return of Saturday afternoon football will be confirmed on Wednesday with five games kicking off at 3pm (NSW) time to finish the regular season. Discord has been told Melbourne will get their wish of a blockbuster game against South Sydney on Friday, August 9, at AAMI Park. The five Saturday afternoon […]


By STEVE MASCORD BY the time you read this, the first interviews involving NRL players and ASADA should have taken place. The uproar over Friday’s Jon Mannah story is irrefutable evidence that this has gone on far too long. People with “inside knowledge” are saying the evidence gathered by the Australian Crime Commission is damning […]


By STEVE MASCORD THE relationship between rugby league in Australia and its former overlord, News Corporation, changed significantly at the beginning of the week. Players across the game were upset with a story last week in News’ Sydney tabloid, The Daily Telegraph, which quoted from a leaked report into alleged drug use at Cronulla in […]

DISCORD 2013: Edition 18

By STEVE MASCORD HERE’S what happened at Tuesday’s National Rugby League chief executives’ conference. NRL chief executive David Smith told the club bosses that a players representative had told him he wanted the three journalists involved in last week’s John Mannah story banned for a period. After some discussion, it was determined that this would […]

Battling The ASADA Armada

By STEVE MASCORD EVERYONE has already just about forgotten Curtis Johnston. The 23-year-old winger actually liked playing reserve grade for South Sydney – because the Rabbitohs’ feeder team is North Sydney, with whom he and his family have an affinity. That all ended in early February, when he became the first – and so far […]

THE JOY OF SIX: Round Seven

TOUGH ON EVERYONE AT this point, three days later, debating the merits of Friday’s Jon Mannah/ASADA story would probably only serve to reheat an emotional imbroglio which should be just started to cool down. That’s the last thing anyone needs. If Cronulla have written to ASADA, effectively dobbing themselves in over the administering of Peptides […]