Rugby League needs to go Mad Max and stop being a pussy

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis 

Canberra versus Manly in China, Penrith versus Brisbane in Hawaii and now England versus New Zealand in Denver. What do they all have in common? None of them happened. Lost to the rugby league world like only we can lose it.

Have no doubt – England against the Kiwis at the home of the Denver Broncos – isn’t going to happen. The drums are beating in NRL Club Land and there’s nothing us foolish fans can do. What else did we expect? We got the huff and the puff and they shined us all up real nice. We had pride and an excitement about rugby league and what it could develop into. But did we honestly expect these egotistical NRL organisations to retreat into the night?

 What’s in it for them?

 Why should they let their players travel across the world to promote the game?

It’s about player safety they say.

One man behind the game is Australian coach Mal Meninga.

“I’m an advocate of the international program, that’s where I am,” Meninga said on Monday.

“Obviously, like anyone, I’m concerned about player welfare too. At the end of the day we’ve got to look after the players. If the players want to play (in Denver that’s great).

“Back in my day we played a Test match in New Zealand and the clubs didn’t see us for three weeks. Through the year the ­English would come over and we wouldn’t play for our clubs.

“When we play Origin it still happens — they play on a Wednesday night and some players have got to play on a Friday night.”

Doctors for the NRL are set to advise that players not be released for the game due to the extent of travel and the altitude in which Denver is situated.

Altitude is 1609 metres in Denver. Rugby union sides are often forced to travel to play South Africa in similar conditions.

If Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau can do it why can’t our players?

And the travel? Really?

From Sydney to Dallas is fifteen hours. It’s then a two hour connecting flight to Denver.

On Tuesday, the Victorian government announced that the mighty USA Basketball would face the Australian Boomers in two practise games in Melbourne ahead of the FIBA Championships in China next year.

Let’s say it’s 15 hours from the United States to Australia. The Americans then have to fly to China which could be another 10 hours! And that’s not including the 12-odd hours just for these NBA superstars to make it back to the east coast, let alone the rest of America.

NBA star Steph Curry is on a salary of $34 million. Rugby league’s best players are on about a million. Yet here we are, with our insular little thinking, sucking our thumbs while the world expands and leaves us behind. And while the world expands, it shrinks. If that makes any sense. All sports are road warriors in an apocalyptic hell fight.

Rugby League needs to go Mad Max and stop being a pussy.

@woodward_curtis 

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