By STEVE MASCORD
THERE’S almost too much to talk about this week: the latest Cronulla developments, the sacking for David Furner & the possibility of Ben Barba being banned from playing against Canterbury as part of any release to Brisbane.
So we’ll give all three of them a miss for now. Not much to add on Cronulla’s ‘secret’ bank account, the exact circumstances of Furner’s removal are still in dispute and no-one actually seems to say much on the record about Barba and the Broncos.
Let’s instead talk about the mess Wests Tigers have got themselves into.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on this website in recent days, you’ll be aware that the joint venture needs an ‘urgent cash injection’ of $1 million, and that Western Suburbs will only provide this if they are handed the chairmanship.
Balmain, on the other hand, want an independent board to run the club and are interested in a funding package from the NRL.
Alan Katzmann, a well know and respected Sydney Roosters fan, writes: “As a Roosters supporter, and NRL fan, I would be appalled to see the NRL provide these funds.
“Adopting the proposal from Balmain, together with their phony altruism, will mean that the rest of the rugby league world would suffer as a result of Balmain’s petulance.
“Funds that could help junior development or keep increases in grand final tickets to a minimum would be spent instead keeping Wests Tigers afloat when they already have alternate funding readily available.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself. Balmain is lucky Wests aren’t demanding to drop the ‘Tigers’ half of their name completely.
FURTHER to our item last week about the battle for control of the game in Thailand, Andrew Charles – coach of the Thailand Stars side which played the Philippines in October – has responded to some of the claims made last week by rival – Shannon Crane.
OK, we realise this is all small potatoes given that only one game of any note has ever been played in the kingdom – but it’s an interesting microcosm of the bickering that besets our game all over the world.
Charles disputes the claim Crane registered a trademark, he says the only “legal action” initiated was having a facebook page taken down and says every player who represented Thailand Stars against the Philippines was eligible under RLIF rules.
He also disputes the amount of time Crane spends in Thailand. You’ve now heard both sides of the argument, make up your own mind.
In the meantime, more evidence of the thawing in relations between the rival AMNRL and USARL, with Boston 13s player Shane Begin picked to play for the US Tomahawks this weekend against Canada.
The 13s play in the ‘rebel’ USARL, which until recently meant he would be excluded from national selection. The international is being played as part of a double header with the USARL championship game in Pennsylvania this Saturday.
THIS week’s column comes to you from sunny London, where Wigan and Hull meet in a rematch of the famous 1985 Challenge Cup final this Saturday.
On Friday in Trafalgar Square, there’ll be a three-hour promotion for the World Cup, which I’m looking forward to. Later that night, I’ll be talking to the European Federation about media and how to get more exposure.
How do you think international rugby league could make the mainstream media sit up and take more notice? Comments below please.
SPEAKING of comments, here’s some responses to those you’ve posted over the last week.