13 May 2022

Plenty of league news to discuss, but same old story in rugby

2:39 pm on 13 May 2022

Opinion - The Warriors' monumental loss to the Sharks was another chapter in multitude of narratives and possibilities of rugby league, but rugby news is sounding like a broken record, writes Jamie Wall.

Shaun Johnson prepares to make a kick in the Warriors round one match against the Dragons.

The Warriors gave much to talk about, not much of it good, writes Jamie Wall. Photo: Photosport

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about the Warriors and how their news cycle is strong, no matter what happens to them on the field.

Long story short, it's down to the multitude of narratives and possibilities that the NRL brings with it, around transfers and coaching job security. It allows the casual fan to attempt to solve the many problems that the Warriors have, because really, how often does a conversation about them start with "what they've got to do is..."

Boy, they managed to test that theory to the extreme after last weekend's toxic waste dump of a performance last weekend. After being spotted a one-man advantage and not being able to score, the Sharks felt charitable enough to give them another player in the bin for good measure. Which makes it almost impressive that the Warriors still managed to lose that game convincingly, with the Sharks running away with it at the end.

Almost impressive because surely no one has squandered a 13-on-11 situation that badly in the history of rugby league, so at least there's something unique about it. But it only took a day before the loss had been overtaken by events - the Warriors had signed Ronald Volkman and Freddy Lussick, while Kodi Nikorima was released to join the Rabbitohs (who just so happen to be the Warriors' opponents at this weekend's Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium).

So plenty to talk about and that's just one team that's not even playing well. Which is why it's such a shame to see rugby slog through a couple of issues that have cornered the conversation like the boring guy at the rugby club who has had a few too many beers.

Yes, it's Silver Lake update time again. For some reason, this deal has not been resolved despite it being reportedly done so at least twice in the last year. The saga was never particularly easy to understand to begin with - a lot of money coming in seemed good, what needed to be given up in return was concerning. The best way of describing it was letting someone build a pool in your front yard that you didn't have to pay for it, except they got to have parties in it with their friends whenever they liked. Then after a while they could sell the pool to someone else, but you have no say in who that is or what they'd use the pool for.

It was supposed to be sorted last April. So, by now, everyone is fairly sick of the same old rubbish coming out of the same mouths about the pros and cons of the deal. Especially considering very little is likely to change - the new CommercialCo entity that will market the All Blacks with the Silver Lake cash injection is likely to be run by NZ Rugby stooges anyway.

Then, on Thursday came another chapter of The Neverending Story that is the global season discussion. If a photocopier doesn't get a credit for writing this one it'll be a crime, because it is essentially exactly the same idea as the last time it was floated. Which, by the way, dissolved very quickly.

Yet again people are struggling with the concept of the planet having two hemispheres, which is the main impediment to this getting agreed on. Also that some test nations face the prospect of being relegated from Tier One, which they will never agree upon.

These two issues. Again. It's so tedious it's enough to make your eyeballs bleed, so hopefully they heal in time for when they all crop up again in roughly five or so months' time.

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