User:Crampj01/Rugby league is turning a corner.

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Rugby League is Turning a Corner

Rugby league is turning a corner.
With the introduction of eight powerful figures to lead the NRL into a newly formed independent commission to unite several bodies, under one banner of rugby league.

For Many years there has been a power struggle between the various boards, a Struggle with media, pressure by clubs, player groups and sometimes even fans. What the independent commission aims to do is bring all these factors that make the game it is today and put them under one governing body.

When forming the commission the first step is to find the influential figures to form the group. All 16 clubs have agreed to the process as long as the individual has not been involved with a club or News Ltd within the last 3 years. The commissioners will be required to gain a 75% vote by member clubs to be approved for the board.

The next step for the commissioners is to obtain the best Broadcasting rights deal in 2013. The current number is 1 billion however with the new commission put together and talks with the likes of channel 9, channel 7, Channel 10 and Fox sports the figure could be pushed to 1.5 billion. There are further calls for the commission when introduced to push the sport abroad to the likes of the Americas and England.

The game is about to head into its most important era in history. The gaming is now stepping over the crisis that the super league has caused. The Commission can now move the game forward into the future ensuring all aspect form the grassroots, to the clubs, can financially compete, keeping rugby league on top in Australian sports.


As the 2012 season looms, NRL is turning a corner. Eight prolific people have been chosen to run the sport that so many Australians love. However will this change be for the best? There are many factors that will contribute to a ‘smooth take over’ and these aspects will be described throughout this article. Statements from prolific people in the game will be analysed. With this being the biggest event for the sport of Rugby League since it began in 1908, there are five major areas which the independent commission must address and improve, these various aspects will be key to proving if the formation of a commission was beneficial to the game. The first is the new broadcasting rights need to be maintained with the current contract drawing to an end the commission will have to gather as much revenue from this a possible. Secondly the issue of the salary cap with more money begin produced for Rugby League. Having the correct salary cap will give a stronger base to compete with rival codes. Thirdly International Rugby League will need to be addressed and the duration of the NRL season needs to be looked at in order for other rival countries to be able to field competitive teams and thus ensure a competitive international competition. Fourthly, player welfare needs to be looked after for current players if they are set up for a life after football and fully retired players are supported well through the men of league program. Finally junior development, there are currently several development bodies working for the Rugby League these programs must be sought or combined to create the pathways for kids to play the game. So as Rugby League turns the corner will it spin out into the wall?

The Independant Commission[edit]

The NRL first announced the independent commission on the 14th of December 2010 where they agreed to terms for the new commission to run the game at the start of the 2011 season. The move was believed by many to be the event that would extinguish the countless controlling bodies currently in the NRL. This plan was described by the current Newcastle CEO Steve Burraston as "...undoubtedly the most important day in the history of Rugby League since the game started, and it has the potential to take the game to a new level."[1]On July the 21st the NRL named the first eight commissioners that would take the game to new heights. This was an historical step for the NRL and an independent commission seemed closer than ever. The Eight people chose were former Australian back and IT guru John Grant, former Qantas and Billabong chairman Gary Pemberton, Leighton Holdings Chief Financial Officer Peter Gregg, former Australian forward Wayne Pearce, Harris Farm Markets founder Catherine Harris, advertising heavy Ian Elliott, CSR director Jeremy Sutcliffe and finally former Australian of the year nominee Chris Sarra. Each individual was chosen for their various expertise and various Rugby League backgrounds. John Grant then took the opportunity to be the inaugural chairman with David Gallop stating on behalf of the NRL“It is certainly important that we do all we can to ensure that the Commission is in a place to make decisions from the earliest possible opportunity”.[2]After announcing the eight commissioners in July, they immediately gathered plans to change the salary cap and said that they had plans to lift it by at least $100,000 with third party agreements. With this immediate announcement it gave fans, clubs and players trust in the new commission.

Broadcasting Rights[edit]

As the Television rights for the competition come up for grabs, the Rugby League community is turning to the newly formed commission. The commission has formed a precise team to help with this deal, both IT guru John Grant and Gary Pemberton who looked after the 2000 Olympics Television rights are the men on the commission ready to gather a large some of money to lead the sport into the future. The deal is said to be worth around $1.4 billion over 5 years, it has been compared to the recent AFL Broadcast rights worth around $1.2 billion. Although it should be noted that comparing the two contracts is not ideal. Both sports are similar however an AFL match can go for well over two hours whereas a NRL match is not quiet two hours, this means the Broadcasting time slots are vastly different. While the contracts should not be compared the commission will be using the Rugby League, which has more breaks of play to lure advertising companies into the deal. Another alarming statistic the commission will use is the huge number of viewers that watch the State of Origin each year, with almost 11 million watching the encounter in 2011.

Salary Cap[edit]

The Salary cap will be vastly affected by the type of revenue created by the broadcasting deal. As mentioned earlier the commission has already announced plans to increase the salary cap in 2012, with a $100,000 increase. However a large broadcasting deal could see the salary cap could rise from the modest $4 million in 2012 to around $6.6 million by 2013, this would be a huge increase. The benefit of all this will be the fact that NRL Clubs will have more money left to keep star players with a strong hold in the NRL to fight off rival codes. Third party deals will be considered an option for stars to stay in the game or at their desired club, furthermore club juniors will be given better options to stay with the club they first played for. This will mean ‘one club players’ such as Steve Menzies and Darren Lockyer will be almost overlooked under the salary cap depending on the games you have played for that particular side.

International Competition[edit]

The Rugby League community has been calling for a stronger International competition, somewhat like a Rugby Union one, with the obvious fact is that rugby union has been around for a lot longer. Although it’s believed that the NRL competition has a strangle hold on the International game, with NRL being the strongest completion in the world, it’s only natural for the best players across the globe to want to play in the best competition. While this is great for the NRL, the game of Rugby League is suffering. As players come to play in the NRL they then start to play for the Australian Rugby League side leaving their nation in the lurch. Many fans believe the competition can become stronger if it is devised around the international game so that more players can play in the NRL and then play for their home country, this then may build a ‘state of Origin’ like rivalry. The commission has began to create this, in the 2013 State of Origin series they are pushing for a New Zealand Origin, before New South Wales takes on Queensland. As the international game then grows, a competition like the NRL will be seen similar to The English Premier League (EPL) in soccer or the Indian Premier League (IPL) in cricket.

Player Welfare[edit]

1930's western suburbs player Jimmy Sharman

With Former players such as John Grant and Wayne Pearce on the Board, the commission has created a great avenue for player welfare and they have already showed this with the schedule of the 2013 Origin Series as standalone weeks with games been played on Monday nights. Mr Nathan McGuire spoke on behalf of the commission as Director of Football Operations stating “There is still a lot of work ahead and areas of debate but the important things are that it is scheduled in a way that retains eight-day camps for Origin and it gives players more time to back up after Origin”.[3]It is certainly important that we do all we can to ensure that the Commission is in a place to make decisions from the earliest possible opportunity” The independent commission will need to look after the current players as well with life after football. Both John grant and Wayne Pearce are members of the Men in League program where this committee raises funds for previous players of the game to look after them when they are ill or unwell in some form. It is believed that the Men in League Program will be given grants in the same form as the development areas will be which will benefit all past players.

Junior Development[edit]

As well as the past players begin looked after the future players will be to. This development scheme that will look after the men in league program will form all current development programs from several into one area working directly for the NRL. Previously there were various boards such as the ARL, NSWRL, QRL, CRL, etc, which all worked towards one goal to develop the game however in a way competed for revenue. By merging these into one area further costs will be saved by making one streamlined organisations by merging these bodies. The development area is a key area for the commission to look after however they will not be able to give money directly from the top as other league bodies were able to do. This means all the funding will be controlled by a separate entity, merged from the various other development bodies


When the independent commission finally takes over in the coming season it may well be the biggest event in the game since the first match played in 1908. The independent commission will be looking closely at the five aspects the Rugby League community wants to see change in the NRL. It seems they know what they are doing with the small changes already made even though they haven't fully taken control yet, suggests that they too are fans and want what is the best for the game. Whether that begin huge name signings at their club. An international competition that rivals the other codes. Greats of the game, both retired and current, looked after so they can be seen play the game by as many as possible and flamboyant Rugby League from youth coming through. Finally these changes are starting to happen, as small as it may be for a start, all of a sudden NRL fans can see a great competition ahead of them and Rugby league on the ‘up’. So as Rugby League turns the corner it might just coast right on past the other codes and take the chequered flag.