Simply the best: The NRL’s vision for inclusion will outlive cranky old white men yelling at clouds



There is nothing wrong with the NRL’s brand new promotional video featuring Tina Turner and anybody writing otherwise is simply chasing clicks.

Apparently the NRL has got it all wrong.

Bringing back Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ isn’t the problem.

According to an angry few, the video is ‘too politically correct’. It’s too left for the right. Too much Latrell and aboriginal flags. Not enough Polynesian. Not enough Sharks players (Sharks fans only). Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki kissing. Ewwww, gross! Lesbians! Quick… back to the shanty!

The video highlights some of the biggest moments in the code’s history like South Sydney fans marching in 2000 for reinstatement to the sport and the Super League War. Yes they were dark moments but they made the game stronger.

Admittedly there were errors in the timeline of events in the first video released like the year of Hazem El Masri’s retirement but the spirit of the original song has been recaptured.

Most people believe it’s a bloody great video and it isn’t hard to get goosebumps when you hear ‘Simply the Best’.

The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent wrote on Tuesday that the “NRL’s new ad has failed miserably.

“It is neither courageous nor visionary.

“Instead the new ad is stale and cliched and, if you wanted to insult high schoolers, nothing better than ninth graders could trot out in film class.

“It contains none of the daring of the original ad, which took tremendous early vision from the game’s then-boss, John Quayle, and then required courage to see it through.”


So two of our women’s players embracing and kissing in front of the entire world isn’t daring enough?

What about a little girl (not boy), joyfully running toward her front door, with a Steeden tucked under her arm?

Or celebrating the indigenous culture and their positive impact on rugby league?

None of the daring of the original ad?

Like a sweaty Sam Backo sitting in a dressing room staring at a camera?

Or Turner running around on a beach with a bunch of footy players in budgy smuglers?

Very daring stuff.

Ironically, in his article, Kent recites a story of how the prehistoric Rex Mossop ripped into NSWRL boss John Quayle in the late 1980’s for going ahead with a rock queen like Tina Turner… it wasn’t traditional enough for Rex.

Makes you wonder who the dinosaur is today…

Many loved it.

“I think the good thing about the @NRL ad is it captures the perennial, generational appeal of sport. The girl watching Cameron Smith on the TV and then running out of the room as the song starts again eclipses anything in the original campaign. It borders on genius,” Steve Mascord tweeted.

While this fan tweet summed the whole thing up nicely: “People just don’t get the meaning of inclusion. It’s not “making a political statement”, it’s telling everyone they’re welcome to being rugby league fans. The old white straight males triggered by it need to realise not every NRL fan (or potential fan) is exactly like them.”

This new campaign isn’t for the cranky old white men yelling at clouds.

Rugby league will still love you and take you back no matter how hard you try and shape it in your image.

Get on board, support your team or see yourself out.

Rugby league will live far longer than you.


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