BY CURTIS WOODWARD
“Nothing will survive or grow in International rugby league until the NRL leads the way and determines the schedule.” This was Phil Gould on Twitter on Friday night as he continued his bombardment of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. Yes, he actually said that.
He finished his post with, “Don’t blame the messenger for the message. But this is absolutely true.”
Well is who your message from, Mr Gould?
What a crazy, spasmodic haymaker in a fight ‘Gus’ has been losing on his preferred social media platform.
Since the NRL confirmed Australia and New Zealand weren’t going to the World Cup, fans have been in uproar. Players want to go. Trent Robinson, Wayne Bennett and Michael Maguire support them going too.
The RLPA admitted they weren’t even consulted in the decision.
Gould has been on a one-man mission ever since to drag a few opinions back.
Now he wants the board that runs the international game to “disband”.
It’s a far cry from the guy that publicly hammered the NRL for years – particularly the CEO of the time, David Gallop.
He also smashed Todd Greenberg.
Just prior to the independent commission coming together in 2011, Gould was part of a vital meeting with all the power brokers of the NRL clubs back in 2010 in his role with the Penrith Panthers.
He skipped out after an hour with The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield famously reporting at the time that Gould was “disinterested and distracted”.
But then on opening night of the 2012 season, Gould told Channel Nine viewers that the independent commission was a ‘pivotal moment’ for rugby league.
Time for the game to take back the power from NRL clubs.
Now, the same person, wants the NRL to run the international game.
And here is the thing.
The NRL is the clubs.
Clubs are the NRL.
There’s no such thing as an independent commission.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has less power than most Sydney club bosses.
It’s all a myth.
Now we’re meant to believe that Peter V’landys is putting player welfare ahead of the World Cup in the United Kingdom without, at the very least, speaking to the players?
Some would speculate that there is no money in it for V’landys so why would he bother?
The UK Government has guaranteed millions of dollars for the English game if the World Cup goes ahead. They have promised far safer bubbles for players than what is currently being stuck together with duct tape on the Gold Coast by the NRL. An organisation that has leaked several breaches in recent times including the infamous Dragons party, Jai Arrow, Api Koroisau and James Roberts.
On Friday night, a report came out from News that ‘biosecurity experts’ were “almost certain” that players would contract COVID if they went to England – despite the security measures and millions of funding pumped in by the government.
Are they expecting players to stroll freely through London or Leeds asking randoms on the street to cough into their open mouths?
Number obtained by the81stminute.com show 30,000 new cases of COVID in the UK.
Down from 46,000 cases ten days ago.
That’s the thing.
Yeah the numbers still appear huge.
They should considering there’s 67 million people living in the United Kingdom.
But these players are going into hubs.
Safer than anything they’ve experienced with their current NRL clubs.
In another strange tweet by Gould on Friday night, the great coach used the example that the Tokyo Olympics moved their event back by 12 months as he continued to push forward with his argument that the RLWC should be postponed.
“I’m not digging holes,” he responded to a punter.
“If the Olympics can see it wasn’t the right time, and defer, then surely the UK can do the same. You wanna play the RLWC in Tokyo? Good luck with that. UK is not safe right now. Postpone it.”
All well and good if the Olympics wasn’t on… right now.
Japan had 1800 cases a month ago.
They currently have 11,000 but the Olympics still went ahead.
The next power play was all 16 Australian clubs coming out together to say they supported the NRL’s decision.
“We all want to see a strong, safe and successful Rugby League World Cup,” Raiders CEO Don Furner said.
“It’s clear that cannot be achieved in 2021 [sic], but we are in strong support for the tournament to be held in 2022. We want the players to come home healthy.”
This is all so very rugby league.
Politics and gruff old men toying with things they have no right abusing.
And when the players need support?
The RLPA is nowhere to be seen.
Haven’t made a statement in eight long days.