While I have some sympathy for the public outing by the NRL of six clubs for allegedly having some link to some shady bods in white coats I just think some of these coach characters could be pinged for laying the cream on a bit too thickly. Coach of the Cowboys, Neil Henry claims the naming of the club is a “slight on the integrity of the club”. Do I hear the name Ryan Tandy echoing down the hall of mirrors?
And as the Cowboy’s football manager, Peter “Putter” Parr negotiates with player manager, Sam “the Sham” Ayoub over the wonderful JT‘s contract, I wonder, post the indignation if Henry asks the question, in the quieter moments, is “irony” just another player supplement?
I have a sliver more sympathy for Journeyman John Fahey, whose thankless task is to the roam the world, business class, wagging his finger at a sporting bodies who have to be dragged screaming to the table to begin to get their anti-dping strategies up to scratch. I also feel sorry for John because he was once a New Zealander as well as allegedly being a bit of a pro-lifer in the past. Fahey is right in wondering why sports like rugby league have failed to have a regime of athlete biological passports in place for at least the past decade even if they struggled to spell it.
The reason is that most sports go softly softly until the dope hits the fan. So what the ACC Report has achieved for rugby league is the establishment, under the artful eye of beak Antony “Gough” Whitlam QC, of an Integrity Unit.
How long it would have taken Archie and the Jugheads at the ARLC to set up such a Unit? The percentage of budget the NRL spent on systematic prevention of doping and corruption over the last ten years gives an idea of how seriously all administrations took these issues until the ACC Report. Until now a bit of Black Angus claret injected into the bumholes of boofheads was just an old fashioned way of having fun and perhaps getting a bit of an edge on the day.
But now if they get it right we can avoid going back to the black days of the lightly framed bulking up mysteriously in the “off” season under the instructions of chemists and charlatans who have as their only consideration a fat fee. Now we can hopefully see clubs think less about untried chemistry and more about the welfare of young blokes who just want to get onto the paddock and “go hard and straight”.