No longer in survival mode, the ARLC needs a different approach

This article was first written for and published by the Roar

I am a firm believer in the idea that there is a place in sport for everyone.

No matter who you are, what your background or what your skill level, there is always a role for you if you want to contribute.

The roles look different. You may be best suited to sit on a board, or to volunteer or to play, but the key message is that there is room for all of us.

The trick is finding the right people for the right roles at the right time.

In rugby league at the moment, there seem to be two prevailing views about Australian Rugby League Commission chair Peter V’landys.

Either you are with him or you are against him.

Either you think he is the best chair that rugby league has ever had or you think that under his watch, the game will self-destruct.

ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

But like most issues, I don’t think that this is one with a black-and-white answer.

Rugby league was extremely fortunate to have had V’landys as chair last year during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Bully’ is a strong word, but it may be appropriate in this case. V’landys helped rugby league bully its way back into the frame.

Given V’landys’ connections, his business savvy, his supreme focus on a goal and his ability to influence key stakeholders, rugby league returned on 28 May 2020.

Rugby league was the first sport to return in Australia following the lockdowns. When V’landys first announced that he was targeting a 28 May return, people scoffed at him. Many, including myself, didn’t think it was possible.

But rugby league achieved the impossible last year and a big reason for that was the contribution of V’landys. At that time, he was the right leader for the sport.

But what’s interesting about organisations is that they behave almost like living, breathing things.

They change over time – their culture changes, their direction changes and so do the organisation’s key priorities. This is the case in rugby league too.