Arrival of FIFA World Cup and a Rugby Australia resurrection can be the wake up call the NRL desperately needs




High above the clouds, atop the tallest mountain in the brutal Australian sporting landscape, sit two giant codes.

Bloating, spitting and snarling.

With winter on the horizon, the mighty one they call cricket has begun its journey to challenge old foes India and England on the other side of the planet.

At the foot of the mountain, the other codes hiss and jostle for the scraps.

Occasionally one of them will begin an ascent – one baby step at a time.

While the NRL and AFL’s reign has been undisputed for what seems an eternity, one major flaw continues to hamper rugby league.

Civil unrest.

It’s the lifeblood and the kryptonite of the game all wrapped in one.

With the 2023 premiership just weeks away, NRL officials and the RLPA hug the headlines.

Neither realising that this a PR battle anyone can win.

For too long, the NRL has had its head up its own arse.

Grassroots is a dirty word.

And while rugby league dominates viewership ratings over Aussie Rules, the NRL fails to see the battles they’ve already lost and the ones they’ll lose tomorrow.

The NRL is a sitting duck for assault on several fronts in the coming years.

Nobody is saying they are going to lose their position in the food chain but they need to be on their toes.

You only have to listen to returning Wallabies coach Eddie Jones at his press conference yesterday.

Rugby union in this country has been a laughing stock but you sense that could all turn in a blink of an eye – especially so in a World Cup year.

“We want to play tough so at the end of tight games, you win those tight games,” Jones said.

“That’s the traditional Australian digger spirit. We want that in the team and that’s the opportunity for the players this year. Where can we take the team?

“If we play like that, people will want to watch rugby again.”

And the great coach wasn’t mucking around when asked about Australia’s prospects in France.

“If we win the World Cup it changes things for rugby in Australia. So our target is to win the World Cup then we’ll worry about what happens after that.”

Then there’s the FIFA Women’s soccer World Cup – hosted right here in our own backyard (and New Zealand) in July and August.

Such is the interest in the Matildas, their opening fixture of the tournament against Ireland has been switched from Allianz Stadium to the much larger Accor Stadium in Homebush.

Allocations of tickets for their other matches have also been quickly exhausted with more to be made available.

Wests Tigers fans should be demanding re-signing of Adam Doueihi instead of talk of Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses reunion

Over 500,000 tickets have already been sold across the tournament.

“FIFA’s mission is to organise the biggest and best Women’s World Cup in history this year, and fans — those who bring colour, passion, and atmosphere to stadiums — will be an integral part of the tournament’s success,” FIFA’s Fatma Samoura said.

Maybe the arrival of FIFA and a Rugby Australia resurrection might be the wake up call rugby league needs.

Then again, this is the NRL we are talking about.


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