The sacking of Stephen Kearney absolutely stinks

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ou would be hard pressed to find an NRL fan whose adopted second team for 2020 wasn’t the New Zealand Warriors.

The entire rugby league community has been moved by the sacrifices the club has made to keep the competition going, not least relocating the playing group to Australia so the competition could progress.

The sports media must promote inclusivity

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t’s rare I choose to tune into Q+A on the ABC, but with a topic like the future of sport, this week was hard to miss.

On this week’s show there were panellists from a variety of sports covering the spectrum of sport, from players and administrators to journalists. One of the panellists was Andrew Abdo, acting CEO at the NRL.


Not expendable: NRL’s strong message on women’s sport

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Confirmation the NRLW will go ahead in 2020 sends the message that women’s sport is not expendable and is worth investing in.

You can imagine my happiness on Tuesday night when my social media feed lit up with fans, administrators and players celebrating the news the women’s premiership would return.

As I scrolled through posts of Kezie Apps, Ali Brigginshaw, Corban McGregor and Meg Ward sharing their excitement about getting out on the field, I had feeling of both joy and overwhelming relief.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that most sports and industries have faced very real financial pressures.

The NRL and the clubs have not been exempt from this. Earlier in the year, there was some speculation about whether the NRLW would go ahead.

The statement by the ARLC on Tuesday signalling its intent to help fund the competition demonstrates rugby league’s commitment to the women’s game and shows that the women’s game is a key part of rugby league’s future.

This is a message that all sports should commit to. Even though there remains a lot of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the future is brighter when there is a place for everyone to participate in our sports.

What we know is that the competition will run in the same format as last year. The Broncos, Dragons, Roosters and Warriors will field teams and the competition will run alongside the men’s finals, most likely in a double-header format.

In March I attended the T20 Women’s World Cup Final between Australia and India at the MCG. On International Women’s Day, 86,174 fans set a world record for attendance at a women’s cricket match and a record for attendance at a women’s sporting event in Australia.

On that day, there was a sense that this could be the start of a new normal and recognition of what could be achieved when women’s sport has appropriate investment and is taken.

Build it and they will come.

Despite the events of the last couple of months, this is a message worth remembering. This is not the time to be reducing funding, cutting teams or giving women less opportunity to participate.

This is our opportunity to recommit and make sure that women’s competitions are given the chance to thrive.

I know there will be some who still want more for the women’s game in this country. I do.

Had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred, I am confident that we would have seen the competition expand to two rounds of regular season games this year.

Last year, there was also discussion around the next group of clubs to field teams.

The Eels, Raiders and Knights all demonstrated interest and my understanding is that an announcement about which teams would be granted entry into the competition from 2021 and onwards was imminent just before the coronavirus changed the world.

The pandemic will mean our plans to be bigger and better need to wait another year. That’s OK.

This year’s NRLW will give fans an opportunity to continue to support the women’s game and demonstrate how important it is to us. When the time is right, that means turning up and tuning in to games, purchasing memberships and getting behind the four teams participating in the competition this year.

And if last year was anything to go by, Broncos and Dragons fans might have something to cheer for in 2020 after all.

McGregor’s got to go – but he shouldn’t go alone

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here are many things that can be said about St George Illawarra Dragons coach, Paul McGregor.

But even the most hardcore Dragons fan must admit that he showed courage, passion and honesty in fronting up to the media shortly after his team’s abysmal performance against the Canterbury Bulldogs on Monday, a performance which saw the Dragons slump to their fourth straight loss this year and become the only team that remains winless after four rounds.

NRL refs are victims of dinosaur fans and gutter journalism

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ver my many years of watching rugby league, I have always thought that there is no other sport on the planet where referees are treated with the derision and lack of respect that we see on display each week.

That suspicion has been confirmed over the last week with the reaction from the media and some fans in response to the referees threatening industrial action in response to the quick-fire decision by Peter V’landys and the ARLC to move from two on-field referees to just one.

Reflecting on the legacy of Todd Greenberg

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hen a new Chairperson is appointed to any company, it is not uncommon for there to be a change in Chief Executive Officer.

For some reason however, I was still shocked when it was announced yesterday afternoon that CEO of the NRL, Todd Greenberg would be stepping down effective immediately.

When this is over, will we all be more grateful for live sport?

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grew up as a Parramatta Eels fan in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Some of you may pity me, given Parramatta’s lack of success during that period, but for a child who was just beginning to develop a love of rugby league, the thrill of watching my team play finals footy was almost exciting enough.