Does the NRL need to take a look at itself?

For the NRL, it seems not a lot of time goes by between one controversy to another. Just this year we’ve seen the Mitchell Pierce and the dog incident, to Paramatta Eels salary cap breach, to Corey Norman’s sex tape and now to the New South Wales Blues walking off. It seems as if the NRL aren’t able to control their own players.

This is hardly the first time a string of controversies have taken place, and with the way that the NRL is going, it most definitely won’t be the last. For Todd Greenberg, it’s now his job to fix up the mess.

Fixing the attitude of the players in the NRL is more than just important for the players and teams, but also for the sport. In April, the Daily Telegraph reported that while sports such as Aussie Rules and soccer were seeing an increase in junior sport participation, the number of kids playing rugby league was decreasing. The Telegraph suspected this due to foul play and dirty tactics scaring parents. This is a key issue, considering that Alex McKinnon was left paralyzed over 2 years earlier. So combine this with behaviour problems among athletes and soon the league could slip into being the black sheep of Australian sport.

The problem doesn’t just affect participation on the field; it affects participation in other aspects.

On the corporate side of things, the NRL is a business. If a business like the NRL wants to survive, it needs sponsorship, partnerships and corporate deals. With bad reputation comes loss of business opportunities. No sponsorships, no money. No money, no improvement. No improvement, lack of competitiveness. Lack of competiveness, lack of fan interest…you get the idea. The NRL needs to convince big companies that they should put their name beside the National Rugby League.

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The NRL needs to sort out it’s behaviour and cheating scandal if they want to survive alongside the AFL, Super Rugby, A-Leaugue and other sports. Australians will move on from a sport if they aren’t impressed, and the NRL is facing the problem of being a sport that declines in interest.

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