However, the NRL has seen firsthand how difficult it is to get things done when the union is involved, choosing to act first and consult later. This put the nose out of place for the RLPA, who believe they deserve a place at the table when it comes to the game’s big decisions.
“The RLPA wants to have a say in the game and Peter has to resist it,” South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett told the Herald Sunday night. “Their job is to manage the players, not the game. It’s the job of Peter V’landys and the board to do that. In South Sydney, we fully support them on this point.
In this column last week, it was revealed that the RLPA had banned its players from answering questions in the annual player survey, which was due to be revealed in the Herald after State of Origin I.
There is a belief within the NRL that the leaders of the RLPA are afraid that the views of the players are different from those of its own officials. The RLPA argues that players think the game is too fast and want the six times rule removed. Some in the RLPA might be disappointed reading what over 100 players have to say in a week.
That’s why RLPA boss Clint Newton’s comments on Triple M yesterday raised a few eyebrows.
“There will always be different opinions and perspectives between individual players,” Newton said. “I’m not going to muzzle the players, because as soon as you do that, you take away the right to speak from people.”
The comments contradict a text message the RLPA sent out last week, demanding that players not complete the survey. The NRL also claims to have made several offers to the RLPA to meet senior players, who have fallen on deaf ears.
“I have an ongoing dialogue with Clint Newton,” said Abdo. “I talk to him regularly. I constantly offered to engage directly with the players. I am delighted. We want to listen to them and update them on what’s going on. I’ve been asking for it for a while now. “
Bennett is one of V’landys’ biggest supporters and urged the NRL to continue to be courageous in making the tough decisions.
“About 10 years ago we had a big CEO meeting with all the coaches in Sydney,” recalls Bennett. “We all decided there were too many tops in the game and too many guys were knocked out. We all agreed at the meeting that we would apply it more. It never happened. This never happens in a meeting. Meetings take minutes, but they waste hours.
“One of my favorite lines is if Kevin Humphreys (former NSWRL chairman) and Ron McAuliffe (former QRL chairman) got together tomorrow to decide on the home state and they bring all the delegates, think you know that we would have the original state? ? It wouldn’t happen. It would never have happened. The best administrators I know make decisions. They don’t go to big committee meetings on everything. What is the game for? The game does this to protect the players. “
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