Almanac Rugby League – ‘There’s got to be a morning after’*

Perhaps it was an indication of my immaturity or total lack of sophistication back in the day, but I used to like those awful disaster movies of the early to mid-70s. You know, ‘The Towering Inferno’, ‘Earthquake’, ‘The Poseidon Adventure’, et al. They were so bad they were good! ‘Cheston’ Heston, Ernest Borgnine, Steve McQueen Paul Newman… And we could all sing the songs that went with them – ‘The Morning After’, ‘We may never love like this again’ and the like.


They came to mind this week when the head honchos of the NRL finally got it through their (insert your adjective of choice here) heads around the reality that the 2020 season just had to take an indefinite break because a global pandemic, the likes of which we haven’t seen for at least a century, is just a tad more important than playing football.  Of course this hiatus places the code in jeopardy but, hey, the virus places life as we know it in deep do-do.


The maths of the total situation is pretty simple. The code survives, at the highest level, on broadcasting rights; crowds certainly don’t feature too highly as a source of revenue. No play, no broadcast; no broadcast, no money; no money, deep sh*t!


Maybe, just maybe, this thunderbolt from the blue is just what the code needed to bring it back to reality and will force fundamental changes to the game as we know it. If that’s the case, let it happen! Bloated salaries (on and off the field), Sydney centricity to the detriment of all others, gross commercialisation that presents a product when what we crave is a game, dereliction of duty to the game’s grass roots, etc, etc – it all has to change to bring the game back to its heart and soul, aka the things that are of  primary importance to the code!


Who knows what it will look like when the morning after dawns; will we ever play like this again? Whatever, you can be sure that there’ll be a whole lot of shaking’ going on between now and then! Hopefully, some of the best of all of it will happen inside the heads of those in charge at Rugby League Central.


Now sing along with Maureen by clicking here.


* With apologies to Al Kasha, Joel Hirschorn and Maureen McGovern


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.




  2. Stephen G. Nuske says

    Dear relaxed, Noosa-based retiree, and Queenslander;

    Many many thanks for this read. As one who is a distant observer of Rugby League (I am a simpleton and can only get enthralled by one code at a time – AFL), I still appreciated your comments. Especially ‘Sydney centricity’. Put a copyright on that, if it is original….
    But the hymn, to start the day, with all that is going on, you nailed it: ‘The Morning After’…There has got to be a morning after…Just hope the night is not too long.

  3. Damian Roache says

    Thought provoking read Ian.

    Do love those old disaster movies. Saw the Poseidon Adventure again on TV not so long ago. Gene Hackman at his best.

    Re the NRL and Rugby League. A shake up is inevitable. Personally i believe this will expedite the expansion argument into expansion action. All those Sydney teams can surely not exist post 2020.

    At the top tier it is time for the code to break those Sydney shackles and relocate a few of the licences. Head for the west ( Adelaide and Perth), North (Redcliffe and Ipswich) and South (NZ 2nd team – Wellington Orcas perhaps). As a St George supporter I’d happily cheer on the newly formed Adelaide Dragons.

    Then work on the tiers below with a view to some intra state and interstate competitions being held to regenerate interest in the regions.

    The 2008 Centenary Challenge gave opportunity to some regions playing against other regions that they would have never done so with before…e.g. the final between Townsville and Illawarra (won by the latter in a close game). Include the Affiliated States in here with them being matched initially against opposition befitting of their probable level and in close proximity (well close..ish !) , say NT v Mt Isa; SA v NSW Outback

    The Intrust Super Cup (QLD) and Canterbury Cup (NSW) could hold a Top 4 Challenge mid year with the Top of the ladder QLD playing the 2nd place NSW and visa versa. 2 play – offs; 1 final then back to your own comp to finish the season.

    I think the time for new formats, faces and foes is upon RL in this country.

    Will they have the courage to test the waters is the big question.

  4. Peter V’Landys likes to come across as a ‘mover and shaker’. In his time with Racing NSW he oversaw the Everest, as well as other endeavours to challenge the presence/influence of Racing Victoria. Unsure how much he eventually achieved, though the Everest is impressive.

    Where’s he taking the NRL ? Unsure if the NRL could/would be deserving of a government bail out. However considering the general lack of interest Australia wide in the NRL, even more so in the Union version of the game you wonder what future there is. Soccer is the world game, so Australia has a role in it. AFL is our home grown game; it’s ours. But the rugby codes?

    Without sounding too morose when the health crisis subsides, will the old ‘Flash & Pan’ tune, Down Among the Dead Men, be the theme for Rugby?


  5. Thanks Ian
    Was good to see the Broncs play so well in the one and only game! Sydney centricity, indeed!

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