BY CURTIS WOODWARD – EDITOR
Ignore what you think you know about Cameron Smith and the Melbourne Storm. Remember what rugby league was in Victoria before Smith came along. It was The Lion King’s elephant graveyard.
Hell, they even called their old home ground ‘the graveyard’.
The NRL was nothing in Melbourne.
You want to talk market share? The Storm had nothing.
Smith has been the anchor for the Storm for so long. And in turn, NRL officials in Sydney owe Smith everything. Without Smith, what is Craig Bellamy? What is Billy Slater? What is Cooper Cronk?
The Storm would have got a new stadium eventually but you can see why the NRL are so grateful to Smith. The first 400 gamer, arguably the best player to ever play the game. A leader amongst men. AAMI Park was built on the shoulders of Cameron Smith.
But…there’s always a but.
What about a $15,000 diamond ring?
Is it about a $15,000 diamond ring or is it a symbol of the divide between the fat cats and the punters in the real world?
The question for rugby league tragics out there in Minto, Wisemans Ferry, Junee or Bathurst, wherever they are… is why?
Why does the top end need anymore?
Nobody is disputing Mrs. Smith’s contribution to her husband’s epic career.
Ironically, many women out there can relate to her struggles and the things she has had to give up while Cameron Smith is out there being Cameron Smith.
The issue is, rugby league people in heartland Australia are starving.
Money doesn’t grow on trees for these people.
These men and women, who already work Monday to Friday to make ends meet, then give up the rest of their time to run local footy clubs. These clubs are folding. But here they are, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Todd Greenberg presenting such a present to Mrs. Smith is a lovely gesture.
But come on.
Read the room.
The NRL is nothing without it’s legs.
Our legs are shaking. They’re wobbling. People are pissed and rightly so.
Some have come out in defense of Greenberg’s extravagant gift.
Those, unfortunately, have a vested interest to do so.
“Some of the comments in and around this story today are completely uncalled for,” RLPA CEO Ian Prendergast tweeted on Friday.
“Especially when they focus on a player’s partner in a week where we are celebrating the important contribution of women in the game.”
Is it just about Mrs. Smith or the thousands of women struggling to make ends meet but still put footy first every single weekend?
If the NRL can afford $15,000 for the wife of a player just to put a ring on their finger, why is it so difficult to give a little more for the battling rugby league clubs around the country?
That’s what they’re asking.
If a kid wants to play footy, why should their parents have to spend their own hard earned cash on insurance, socks, shorts, trophies?
Why should mum and dad drive three or four hours each way in the middle of the outback just to get their kid to a game? Petrol costs money.
They do it because they love the game.
But it’s hard to take when the NRL is buying $15,000 diamond rings.
Rugby league is starving.
The legs are shaking.
Read the room.