Mark Levy is the host of 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio show. Tune in from 6pm-7pm, Monday to Thursday!
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys is still considered the “godfather” of rugby league for staring down the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and if this senior group of players think they are going to bully him out of the job, they are kidding themselves.
If it wasn’t for V’landys and the hierarchy at Rugby League Central, these blokes would have been lined up at Centrelink with the rest of the population at the height of the global health crisis; yet 12 months ago, the ARLC Chairman ensured they kept their hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages.
It might be worth reminding them of the old saying: “Never bite the hand that feeds you.”
Nine rugby league reporter Danny Weidler broke news of a player revolt in The Sun Herald, writing that the future of V’landys as the game’s leader could be under threat as he faces a revolt from a group of high-profile players for his handling of the high-tackle crackdown.
Some leading players are so angry they want him out of the game now and they’ll be using the State of Origin camps to formulate the best course of action, with discussions in full swing about potentially challenging and even trying to remove V’landys.
These unnamed players must have an exaggerated opinion of their power and standing in the game when there’s nothing in the constitution to indicate they have a leg to stand on. They’ve got about as much power as the paper it’s written on.
If the players think that throwing the toys out of the cot and creating some negative headlines about the ARLC chairman is going to remove him from the position, they ought to seek some better advice from whoever is pushing their agenda.
They’re entitled to put forward their arguments and unhappiness with the crackdown on high contact but here’s a tip: organise a meeting with V’landys and work through your differences privately.
They’re apparently seething about the lack of consultation from the ARL Commission, which they claim “imposed a raft of changes that have altered the way the game is played at NRL level”.
These senior players are suggesting the game’s fabric has been changed without discussion, which is an insult to them, and they cannot comprehend how the sport can be changed in a space of a couple of weeks without thinking of the impact it has on the players. The players think V’landys has totally misread what they want from the game of rugby league and they’ve lost faith in him as an administrator.
Could you imagine walking into your boss at work and carrying on like this?
There’s a pecking order in any workplace across Australia and the same goes for the National Rugby League; if you’re not happy with the changes or the way in which the game is being run, find another job and enter the REAL WORLD.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect what the players do each and every weekend. But they need to be reminded: they PLAY the game and the administrators RUN the game.
There’s nothing new about the crackdown on high contact and I think we’re starting to see a more common-sense approach in the policing of the rules which have been enforced by the match officials since 1908.
The only difference this season is the tougher penalties imposed on the players for hitting an opponent in the head or neck.
Peter V’landys is protecting the players from themselves by eliminating high contact and he’s also safeguarding the game against the financial ramifications of a legal case which could be brought against the league because of concussion.
The ARLC chairman is right to suggest it’s “short-term pain for long-term gain”.
A leading horse trainer contacted me over the weekend, saying: “You get a lot further working with Peter V’landys. Time and time again, he brings great ideas to the table that might not always seem ideal at the time.”
Plenty of people have come off second-best waging war against someone like V’landys, who wields plenty of power with political and business leaders across Australia.
The Racing NSW CEO and ARLC chairman is prepared to make tough decisions for the good of the sport. He speaks his mind, which often rubs people the wrong way, and I’ve never seen him back down from a fight; in fact, I think he thrives on it.
These rugby league players would be better off retreating with their tails between their legs, because they’ll get nowhere standing up to the man who rescued the game just 12 months ago.
Peter V’landys runs rings around some of the other people we’ve had in the position, so before the players start campaigning against him, think about the alternative.