August 8, 2018 by admin
Andrew Demetriou Andrew Demetriou
If the ARL Commission is so intent on hiring an AFL man as its chief executive, maybe it should wait until its leader, Andrew Demetriou, becomes available.
Rugby league needs a dictator and Demetriou has proven he can control AFL clubs, their Players’ Association and extract superior deals from stadiums and broadcasters.
The ARLC is pursuing his deputy, Gillon McLachlan, who shares many of Demetriou’s traits but not his “take no prisoners” approach.
While McLachlan is being portrayed as a polo playing son of one of South Australia’s most patrician families, the real question is: could he stand up to Nick Politis and Phil Gould?
Both are entitled to their strong views.
Politis, as the longest serving club chairman, has probably poured about $30m of his private wealth into the Roosters over his near 40 years in control at Bondi Junction.
ARLC directors lauded his business negotiating skills during his term on the NRL Partnership Committee.
Gould has demonstrated his great love for the game by turning his back on the rich rewards and comparably relaxed life of the media to return to his first club, Penrith, and basically fix it.
Indications are he has met most of his objectives inside a year: resurrected their junior representative teams, rid the Panthers of some of ther bloated contracts to create salary cap space and even rationalised the number of licensed clubs they control.
If he returns to a full time job in the media, as expected, he is will join his close friend, Politis, in maintaining a vigilant watch over the ARLC chief executive.
If it is McLachlan, good luck!
Indications are Politis has already sought a meeting with him.
McLachlan must also deal with an empowered QRL which has half the commissioners either living in or supporting Queensland, setting up potential conflict with Sydney NRL clubs and the NSWRL.
There is evidence the net cast by the ARLC’s executive search team, Spencer Stuart, has not been very wide.
The ARU boss, John O’Neill, did not receive a phone call.
This is not surprising, given he has signalled his retirement and John Mumm, the boss of Spencer Stuart, sits on the ARU board.
Nor has Ian Robson, chief executive of AFL club Essendon and formerly with Hawthorn, been approached.
Robson is one of the guesses as the mysterious “third candidate”, with Racing NSW boss, Peter V’Landys, named as the second choice behind McLachlan.
Nor has Brian Cook been head-hunted.
Cook is the chief executive of Geelong, a man widely credited with eradicating the Cats’ $7m debt, turning the club into a premiership force and winning grants for the redevelopment of their stadium.
Cook was the AFL Commission’s preferred choice as executive commissioner when Demetriou, then the AFLPA boss, won the job.
The AFL’s then chairman, the late Ron Evans, lobbied hard for Demetriou and was supported by the ACTU’s Bill Kelty, who wanted a union man.
Demetriou’s pay rose with his achievements to reach $2.2m a year, something which caused the NRL’s then chief executive, David Gallop, much grief.
Gallop was receiving $750,000 when he left the ARLC and could not win another cent from chairman John Grant.
Now, it appears, the ARLC is willing to pay McLachlan twice the money it paid Gallop.
Clearly, Gallop was not wanted but surely McLachlan must be causing the ARLC some concern over his reservations about accepting the post.
If he does not give a yes this week, my guess is the ARLC will wait until a better candidate appears and work with its compliant acting chief executive, Shane Mattiske.
This will suit the commission’s reform agenda and its need to be seen as relevant, even making rulings on the run.
They have referred shoulder charges direct to the judiciary, increasing the seriousness of the offence without considering the pressure it places on referees.
If a defensive player makes contact front-on with his shoulder but doesn’t use his arms, is it a shoulder charge?
It certainly doesn’t constitute a classic one in terms of intent, but if the shoulder makes contact with the head, then it must be deemed dangerous.
Referees, along with policing double markers, the wrestle, the strip and the 10 metres, must now cope with attacking players screaming “shoulder charge” every time a player hits the ball carrier high with his shoulder, whether he uses his arms or not.
It’s a question which will perplex McLachlan who comes from a code where even a bump is illegal.
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