Mark the 21st of August 2012 as the biggest day in the history of rugby league in this country. Rugby League Central was the hub of Australian sport today as announcement after announcement filtered through to the public.
Finally the news that everyone was waiting for. The Australian Rugby League Commission had secured themselves $1.025 billion from Fox Sports and the Nine Network to broadcast our great game for the next five years.
Digital rights and the New Zealand rights are still to come.
“The whole package is a simply fantastic result for Rugby League” Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Mr John Grant said today at the big press conference.
“The cash that comes from the agreement, used wisely, will provide the funding base for sustainable growing our game from the grass-roots to the elite levels.
“The agreement around scheduling answers the request from our clubs and corporate partners for certainty and the inclusion of national coverage will see our fans across Australia able to enjoy their Rugby League.”
From the first ball being kicked in 1908 to the St George Dragons winning eleven straight premierships. From the Super League war of the 1990’s to the Melbourne Storm salary cap rorting. There isn’t a news story that comes close to this.
The announcement was so big that the other big news stories of the day didn’t seem to matter.
St George Illawarra legend Ben Hornby announced today that he would join Dean Young in retirement at seasons end. The stalwart will play his final game in two weeks.
“I’ve given all I can give – mentally, I just couldn’t push myself through another pre-season” Hornby said today.
“I’d been thinking about it for a fair while and I didn’t really find too many reasons why I should need to play on at this stage.”
“It’s obviously a very difficult season we’ve had this year for everyone and it’s certainly taken its toll,” he said.
“… when you’re the captain and the halfback, you’ve got a little bit more responsibility than most.
“It (the losses) had an effect on me … mentally, I’m a little bit worn out.”
Meanwhile across the ditch, the New Zealand Warriors have sacked head coach Brian McClennan after a disastrous 2012 campaign.
Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah believes the club had no other choice.
“The nature of the loss (against North Queensland) and then what some people were touting as the wooden-spoon battle this weekend – and to lose that game at home – it really made where we are today inevitable” Scurrah said.
Back in Sydney, the New South Wales Blues appointed their new coach to take the Blues into the future. Ricky Stuart’s former Canberra Raiders partner in crime, Laurie Daley, will coach New South Wales in 2013.
On any other day, Daley’s appointment would be back page and maybe even front page news.
“Ricky Stuart’s done a fantastic job over the last couple of years in closing the gap between Queensland and NSW” Daley told Fox Sports on Tuesday.
“I just want to continue on from his legacy and leave my own legacy behind.
“I know that I can get the job done.
“I know it’s going to be very difficult but I’m confident in the players that NSW have developed over the last couple of years that we’re not far away.”
Oh and by the way. Anthony Minichiello will fight his charge at the judiciary, Issac Luke has been dropped to the NSW Cup and David Gallop will take over as Football Federation Australia CEO.
All in one day. I’m tired!