NRL club bosses have their say .

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The future of Pride Round, lack of support and the game's drug culture problem: NRL club bosses have their say​

Story by The Roar • 5h ago

Just days before the 2023 NRL season kicks off, the bosses have now had their say on how they feel the game is going. The Sydney Morning Herald conducted an anonymous survey of all 34 NRL club chief executives and chairmen, revealing a few surprising results.

In part one of the poll results, the biggest eyeopener surrounded the hotly debated Pride Round, with a huge 82 per cent of NRL club bosses admitting they would not support it in rugby league.

57 per cent also said they wouldn’t introduce a Pride jersey at their club, while 38 per cent said they would consider the possibility of a Pride jersey, but only of their players were on board. Five per cent of respondents said they would introduce a Pride jersey at their club regardless of the players’ views.

The controversial topic has been the centre of many debates since Manly’s Pride jersey saga last year, and despite the NBL holding their own version of a Pride Round last month, with the A-League following suit this past weekend, NRL bosses won’t be putting their support behind the initiative anytime soon.

“Given what occurred at Manly, why would you not think that would occur at the other 16 clubs given how many Polynesian players – many of whom are obviously religious – are in the NRL?” one boss told the SMH.

“If the NRL was going to consider such a round, then a round based on inclusivity would be better. You can’t have a Pride Round and promote it as being inclusive if you exclude people’s views of which you do not agree.”

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys recently promoted the possibility of a similar concept. The idea of a ‘Respect Round’ promoting inclusivity of everyone was floated around, and did not receive the support V’landys was hoping for. It seems he and NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo are also not feeling the love from the NRL club bosses, with teh pair receiving their lowest popularity rating since taking on their roles.

On a scale of 1-5, V’landys reached his peak during the 2021 season with a score of 4.6. Two years later, that number has dropped to it’s lowest ever of 3.5. Abdo reached his highest mark of 4.4 last year, but has now been give the same poor scorecard as V’landys.

36 percent of club bosses continue to feel unsupported by the NRL, increasing from 22 per cent last year and 16 per cent in 2021. While this number has continued to grow since V’landys and Abdo came into power, it is no where near the disastrous 79 per cent results that previous leaders Todd Greenberg and Nick Weeks received in 2020.

The recent CBA saga was also discussed, with 68 per cent unhappy with the way the NRL has handled negotiations with the RLPA. How long the talks have taken seems to have been the most frustrating part for the club bosses.

Continuing with the negotiations theme, more than half of bosses were also frustrated with how the NRL handled its talks with the NSW government over stadium funding. 54 per cent believed the NRL was played by the politicians after they backflipped on investing in suburban grounds, and forced the NRL’s had to sign a one year deal to keep the Grand Final in NSW.

52 percent believe the decider should remain in Sydney long-term, with 36 percent happy for the grand final to be sold to a different city each year, similar to the Super Bowl.

Club bosses were also asked if they thought their was a drug culture problem in rugby league, with the option of voting for “it’s no different to society” being given for the first time. 64 per cent placed felt that was an accurate description of the game, with 28 per cent saying no and only eight per cent saying yes.

72 per cent also in support of the no fault stand down policy, with the majority of bosses agreeing that the policy has been effective as a deterrent for bad behaviour from the playing group. While there have still be many off-field issues, the general consensus is that it could have been a lot worse if not for this system.

Other results from the first stage of the survey revealed that 62.5 per cent are now happy with the share of revenue from the NRL, with many raising it as a concern last year.

Player agents as well as the relationship between the clubs, players and the NRL were the biggest issues facing the game right now, with both polling 24 per cent of the votes. Junior development received 16 per cent with the current transfer system getting 12 per cent.

24 per cent want changes to the cooling off periods allowing players and club the chance to change to their minds of signed contract, but NRL will more than remain with the current system with 76 per cent wanting it left alone.

While the attempt to play a match in Los Angeles didn’t happen this season, 64 per cent of club bosses support the NRL taking a game to the US next year.
 
On a scale of 1-5, V’landys reached his peak during the 2021 season with a score of 4.6. Two years later, that number has dropped to it’s lowest ever of 3.5. Abdo reached his highest mark of 4.4 last year, but has now been give the same poor scorecard as V’landys.

Hey numbnut ... a rating of 3.5 is a 70% approval rating ... hardly a "poor" scorecard ..
 
When our 7 refused to wear the pride jersey I said that if any other club introduced it, it would be the same outcome with players boycotting games. I think the CEO's think the same thing,
 
When our 7 refused to wear the pride jersey I said that if any other club introduced it, it would be the same outcome with players boycotting games. I think the CEO's think the same thing,

I hope we are not part of the Five per cent of respondents that said they would introduce a Pride jersey at their club regardless of the players’ views. ...
 
Mestrov is on the record as saying that he'll be giuded by the NRL (V'Landy's) so if most of the clubs say no I think it will be killed off for now.
 
I wonder if Robinson feels the same way now as when he ripped into our Polynesian players for standing down now that he has a whole lot of them himself, I doubt it. Then again Uncle Nick could persuade them to with a healthy incentive
 
I hope we are not part of the Five per cent of respondents that said they would introduce a Pride jersey at their club regardless of the players’ views. ...
5% of 34 is 1.7.
Wonder is it was made up of more fractions or there was one plus one who almost said yes.
 
3 clubs were approached about wearing a pride jersey, the other two said no way.
Including one club that has a very outspoken player - that wants to hook up with anyone at Northies

Agree or disagree given the playing population the bosses are right to tread carefully

Meanwhile how's the CBA going
 
I hope we are not part of the Five per cent of respondents that said they would introduce a Pride jersey at their club regardless of the players’ views. ...

34 respondents so each respondent counts for 2.94%. I’m assuming it was 5.88% and they rounded it down for some reason, so that means 2 votes in favour. I reckon it’s Penn and Mestrov. Who else would it be?
 
I'm surprised 72% supported the no fault stand down policy.
Most likely because they are ok with the decision being taken out of their hands. They don’t have to face the media/sponsor pressure that they otherwise would face if one of their players was charged with a serious offence.
 
34 respondents so each respondent counts for 2.94%. I’m assuming it was 5.88% and they rounded it down for some reason, so that means 2 votes in favour. I reckon it’s Penn and Mestrov. Who else would it be?
Wasn’t Robinson on the record saying that the Roosters would have no issue wearing such a jersey?
 
I would be interested to see how the numbers re pride were if it was introduced and managed in a more effective and considered manner
 
‘What are we scared of?’ Cronulla pair stunned by Pride poll results

Cronulla star Toby Rudolf has expressed his disappointment at the results of a Herald poll that revealed 82 per cent of NRL club chief executives and chairmen were against introducing a Pride Round.

Rudolf, who last year became one of the few NRL stars to speak openly about his same-sex experiences, said he would be interested to hear the reasoning of the bosses who did not back the concept, while teammate Nicho Hynes voiced his support for a Pride Round.

Manly’s season was derailed last year when seven of their players sat out a must-win clash against the Sydney Roosters due to their opposition to the club’s rainbow jersey. The stunning scenes led to a late-season freefall at the Sea Eagles, and ultimately cost coach Des Hasler his job.

A poll of club bosses published by the Herald on Monday revealed the vast majority were not interested in the NRL embracing a Pride Round similar to the one introduced by the A-Leagues on the weekend and the NBL a few weeks earlier.

“Given what occurred at Manly, why would you not think that would occur at the other 16 clubs given how many Polynesian players – many of whom are obviously religious – are in the NRL?” one club boss told the Herald on the condition of anonymity.

Rudolf, who has spoken of his pride in having a strong network of gay family and friends, was stunned by the poll results. In an interview with the Herald last year, he spoke of his same-sex experiences and said that while he identified as heterosexual, “love is love, and I love to share it with everyone”.

“That’s really disappointing to hear,” Rudolf told the Herald. “That’s massive. At the end of the day, we’re a conservative country, so maybe we’re not ready for it yet.

“We had the plebiscite a few years ago to get the gay marriage vote, so why not have a Pride Round? What are we scared of?

“I’ve had chats with some Polynesian boys here [with Christian beliefs], and most of them would be more than happy to wear a Pride jersey.

“When you are raised believing one thing, and your family believes one thing, it’s very hard to think of another thing. They also know the world we live in, and they know it’s a modern world.

“People know what my beliefs are already.”

Rudolf spoke about wanting to take part in the weekend’s Mardi Gras in Sydney after the NRL’s hopes of having their own float was rejected. ARL Commission chairman Peter V’Landys insisted the Sea Eagles rainbow drama was not the cause for the game being snubbed by organisers.

Rudolf had the chance to join a Mardi Gras float featuring the Sydney Convicts rugby team, but picked up some late tickets for Ed Sheeran, who was performing at Accor Stadium in Homebush.

Fellow Shark and Dally M Medal winner Nicho Hynes was another strong supporter of the concept, even if it meant players with strong Christian beliefs opted out of playing that particular weekend.

Hynes backed Rudolf’s stance. “If rugby league is such an advocate about being inclusive of all cultures and people, we have Indigenous Round and Multicultural Round ... I 100 per cent support the gay community, and if we want to celebrate a round for that community, let’s do it,” Hynes said.

“I’m also for players sitting out that round if they have to because of their beliefs. I’m not going to begrudge people. Certain cultures believe in different things. I’m still happy to have the round. Everyone is equal.”

Josh Aloiai, who was one of the Manly Seven, told the Herald last week the players would not be placed in that position again, and supported a Respect Round, which was floated by V’Landys, and said that was “true inclusivity”.

Manly have since backed away from pressing ahead with wearing a rainbow jersey a second year, and are happy to await direction from the NRL.
 

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