Let me start by saying that I have the utmost respect for Phil Gould. The Channel 9 and SMH commentator has a great Rugby League eye and is generally on the money with most of his comment.
But after the Melbourne Storm saga broke, Gus probably let his emotions get the better of him.
In the first instance, I agree with Gus in that the Storm must be a realistic part of the 2010 NRL competition.
Having the Storm compete for the rest of the year for no points makes no sense. I don’t have all the answers about how this can be achieved, but it needs to happen. we simply need the Storm playing for real.
Where Gus has disappointed me, is that he has turned this into a debate over the salary cap.
Gould loves the game of Rugby League. His heart is in the right place. But his stinging attack on David Gallop on the Sunday Footy Show was way out of line. Even Gus would probably admit, he left a few boardroom manners at the door and tipped over the edges of respect.
Gus let the emotions overrule the problem at hand.
Lets not worry about the past, lets deal with whats happened now.
Given the conflict of interest with News Limited, David Gallop and his leadership team did a commendable, swift job of dealing with this serious problem.
Gallop and his immediate team had to push forward without the assistance of the NRL board in the first instance, but have since confirmed the full support of News Limited. On this note, News Limited have to be commended for offering their full future support to the Storm who are in a world of hurt and have a long way to go to come out of this drama.
Now back to Gus.
Phil has wrongly turned this into a debate about the salary cap. The cap might be tight and it has problems, but forget that for now – the Storm have cheated and deserve to be punished.
I respect the fact that Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis, Dallas Johnson, Billy Slater and Brett White to name a few were local products and came out of the Storm machine from a young age.
This is not and should not be a debate about players not earning enough.
Please, please – Gus – don’t turn this into a debate about the salary cap.
The Storm have been punished big time.
The problem at hand that Melbourne and the rest of the NRL sides face – is that one single team in the NRL Premiership is now playing for no points and they need to be competitive right away.
Gus – you picked up on this early, keep your energy focused on this. We need you to help sort this out.
Don’t get sidetracked by debating the salary cap and trying to probe into the past about how this problem came about.
Lets deal with the here and now.
Melbourne came out firing on the weekend and hammered the NZ Warriors, but what about the next few months? How can any player be expected to keep backing up week after week and realistically trying their best?
What scares me even more, is what about players not taking full interest in the game? While betting has been suspended on the Storm, what about when Melbourne plays the Panthers for example – if Slater, Smith or Inglis are 50percent chance of playing.
They wouldn’t be too motivated to take the field would they? Who could blame them?
This really opens pandoras box big time!
Lets get the Storm and the rest of the NRL on an even footing right away and get this comp competitive for 2010.