While returning from London on Sunday I made a mental note to make my first column on my report about the continuing appalling management of our greatest game of all today.
Before I could do so, the respected Daily Telegraph league writer, Paul Kent, beat me to the punch – and I don’t mind because his article today simply makes compelling reading.
I agree with Paul Kent that the ARLC is running the game – if you could call it “running” – in a hopeless way.
The game lacks leadership and its lacks authority. And that is increasingly evident in every way.
And I suspect that is why the number of on-field and off-field bad behaviour incidents is on the increase.
The ARLC is hanging its hat on the new television rights deal.
But as Kent has pointed out, it hat was hardly a rocket science achievement.
The end figure was, as I have said many times, the absolute minimum – and when you consider how dreadful the previous agreement was, then it might have been the minimum.
The death yesterday of Ross Livermore, who was the CEO of the QRL for over 30 years, reminded me of an era when the game had real leadership, flawed maybe, but firm and uncompromising.
When Livermore was appointed CEO his boss was Senator Ron McAuliffe, and the ARL and NSWRL were run by Kevin Humphreys.
And the game also had powerful officials such as Ken Arthurson, Tom Bellew, and Peter Moore to back them up.
I read a snippet at the weekend saying the administrative costs of the new structure have gone through the roof.
What a surprise!
Let there be no doubt about it – soccer and the AFL are really challenging our game in some key areas.
Here is just one example.
I have just learnt that in the Townsville and Cairns regions, the number of AFL development officers outnumbers the ARLC officers by six to one!
And I gather it is the same in regional New South Wales. But that is just one problem.
The most pressing need is leadership, and authority.
I thought the handling of the Josh Dugan issue by the ARLC as the weakest I have seen in 40 years.
Paul Kent’s piece is compelling reading.
But I wonder whether it will be read, let alone noticed, where it ought to be?