When journalists turn on each other: Why rugby league’s latest feud should have our players laughing their arses off

September 8, 2020 0 By The81stMinute



Just when you thought the NRL news cycle couldn’t be dumbed-down and whored any further – rugby league gave us a new spin.

For all the game’s heroes, villains, superstars and drama queens, we’d never thought to make the journalists the headline act.

It’s alive… aliveeeee!

Come on, think about it for a second. Forget the eight games of footy being played every weekend. It’s more important we dissect the dissection, preview the pre-game and podcast EVERYTHING. We’ve got more ‘exclusives’ in 2020 than ever before but some might argue the strike rate has fallen slightly as well.

There’s the old school (who appropriately compare everything “back to their day”), new school lepers (they didn’t get a piece of paper from university) and a select few who let their talent do the talking.

Being talented once meant you reported, sometimes gave your opinion but you were never meant to be the story.

And it doesn’t help when the all-powerful ‘Staff Writers’ can bag up one pile of rubbish, put it in a fresh bag and slap their gold-plated logo on it.

Old rubbish equals new rubbish.

Click. Clicked. Dollars.

So let’s swan dive down the rabbit hole.

Enter Anthony Griffin and the shit show surrounding his appointment as new head coach of the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s (owned by Nine) Andrew Webster wrote that there were better options than Griffin. Colleague Danny Weidler said something similar. Both work with Phil Gould and we all know Gould and Griffin aren’t going to be exchanging cards at Christmas.

But that should have been the end of it.

Webster and Weidler have been around long enough to give their two cents.

That’s their job, right?

The reporting on the next Dragons coach over at News, however, was a little more pro-Griffin.

Phil Rothfield went as far to say on NRL360 that there was a smear campaign against the Dragons candidate.

“The campaign against him was very slanted – it was deliberate and it was spiteful,” Paul Kent said on the same show.

“It came at a time when he could have been particularly vulnerable when he was right at the end of this interview process.”

Webster fired back on 100% Footy.

“It’s gotten really nasty in the past few days from people at News Corp who have been saying that both myself and Danny Weidler have run some agenda against Anthony Griffin,” Webster hit back.

“I wrote a column, Danny wrote one column. That’s it. So, Fox Sports people have been running an agenda to try and get Anthony Griffin a job for two years.”

Ray Hadley (who works for Nine) loaded up and took a shot at Webster on his radio show too.

All wrapped up and reported by staff writers across the land.

Oh how vicious it all is.

Next we’ll have ‘Buzz’ Rothfield on Dancing With the Stars, ‘Staff Writers’ will bring out a tell-all book (ghost-written by Staff Writers) and Danny Weidler will be punching out Miley Cyrus hits on The Masked Singer.

The horror! The horror!

And all the while our players and the new school lepers sit at home laughing their arses off.


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