WHAT do you get when you mix a troubled Gold Coast rugby league player, illegal recreational drugs and a governing sporting body so inept and cowardly it would make Monty Python’s Sir Robin seem like Chuck Norris?
Just another day in the NRL that’s what.
And it is nowhere near good enough.
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If it is not already, the National Rugby League is fast becoming the laughing stock of Australian sport.
Their latest idiocy – the recent decision to allow Titans forward Greg Bird to play in the ANZAC Test.
For those of you who were abroad or perhaps living under a rock during early March this year, Bird and several other Titans were accused (and charged) by police not just for possession of cocaine but for supply as well.
Fed up with Bird and his off-field antics, the Titans wanted nothing more than to cut him loose right then and there, regardless of guilt or innocence.
But they couldn’t. Nor could the NRL impose lengthy punishments on the players due to the presumption of innocence and the threat of legal action by the players whose innocence or guilt had yet to be determined.
But what the NRL could have done, what it absolutely should have done, is ensure that Greg Bird was not picked for any representative honours this season (and possibly ever again).
They didn’t even need to stick their neck out to do it.
One private phone call to Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens or Blues coach Laurie Daley subtly suggesting that Bird is ‘out of form at the moment’ would have done the trick.
Had they a backbone they would just come out and say that players that bring rugby league into disrepute can say goodbye to any and all rep footy.
But the spineless secret phone call approach would have worked as well.
The end message would still have got through.
Two weeks ago the Gold Coast Suns stood down four key players for failing to meet team standards. The quartet had gone out for a few beers on a weekend when the team had agreed not to.
They broke no law, just the team rules.
It cost the Suns any chance of a win.
But it won them widespread respect.
Even in top echelon sport sometimes winning isn’t everything.
Teaching your players, the fans and society in general that if you break the rules (let alone the bloody law) then there are consequences and repercussions should be page one of the playbook on how to govern.
Instead, the whole country got to see Greg Bird swell with pride as he belted out the national anthem bedecked in green and gold.
Maybe one day the NRL will get a clue.
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