V’landys to slash $160m from NRL
The NRL is set for the biggest financial and administrative shake-up in its 22-year history with the ARL Commission poised to slash $160 million from the governing body over the next 18 months.
Sport Confidential can reveal the 16 clubs have been told $60 million will be trimmed from the NRL's operating costs this season after a sweeping investigation of rugby league's finances by ARL Commission boss Peter V'landys.
But the fiscal belt tightening has also just begun, with clubs bracing for V'landys to cut another $100 million from the NRL's operations in 2021 - bringing an end to the "bloated" organisation that triggered the demise of former CEO Todd Greenberg.
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While the NRL's operating costs last year were $181 million, a further $40.4 million was set aside for development - a collective figure of $222.3m.
Greenberg revealed earlier this year that of the NRL's 400-plus staff, 200 existed in their development arm.
V'landys has always promised he will preside over trimming of "inefficiencies" at the NRL before he took money from the clubs and players and the heavy cost-cutting is about to begin.
Since the NRL was founded in 1998, never before has the organisation experienced the financial overhaul that V'landys will undertake to ensure clubs receive a greater revenue share of the code's funds under the new broadcast deal.
To that end, NRL clubs will receive a $17.6 million bonanza for the remainder of this season. The clubs were due to get $5.4 million each for the final five months of this financial year, but V'landys has delivered another win.
Clubs will now receive $6.2m - an extra $800,000 - plus an additional $300,000 in cost relief from the NRL. That amounts to an extra $1.1 million for each club this season.
"It's a good outcome for the clubs," said Broncos boss Paul White.
"There are no winners in a season like this, but the NRL has had great regard for the clubs. Peter V'landys has done an outstanding job saving clubs and putting them in a position of relative strength for 2021."
BLUE TICK BRONCOS
These are the figures that officially confirm the Broncos as the social-media kings of Australian sport.
The Broncos are already the NRL's richest club with a $52 million empire and now the six-time premiers have eclipsed AFL powerhouses Collingwood and Richmond in the social-media space.
The Broncos have attracted 259,000 Instagram followers in the past month, ahead of second-placed Richmond (248,000) and Collingwood (242,000).
The Broncos also won the Twitter category with 140,000 followers, beating Collingwood (132,000) and the Melbourne Storm (128,000).
And on Facebook, the Broncos took out the No.1 ranking again with 647,000 likes, miles ahead of the Storm (499,000) and the Warriors (476,000).
Overall, the Broncos have a staggering one million social-media followers.
It again underlines the power of the Broncos brand and why Brisbane are desperate to satisfy their mass of fans by breaking a 14-year premiership drought
SO SUE ME
The Broncos have blasted claims they are in danger of being sued by Anthony Seibold' s former assistant coach Ben Cross.
Cross was among 23 redundancies handed out to Broncos staff due to COVID-related cost cutting and the former NSW Origin forward spoke of his disappointment during the week.
Cross also indicated he would explore possible legal action against the Broncos after the club hired club legend Peter Ryan last Saturday.
But the Broncos believe they are on safe ground because Ryan is operating in a consultancy role, while Cross had a full-time position that hasn't been replaced.
Broncos coach Seibold contacted Cross to explain the situation and said the club was not concerned about any legal threats.
"I'm not sure if Ben has said that (he would sue the club), I haven't seen that, but I spoke to Ben on the phone," Seibold said.
"Twenty-three staff members were made redundant here and there's been really challenging times for all those people, you hate to see people impacted in our game and across society.
"Ben was in the unfortunate position where there was no longer his role at the club, it was made redundant.
"It was sad to see him go because I brought him to the club and wanted to mentor him.
"In regards to Peter Ryan, he is on a four-month consultancy contract and he is coming in two days a week. They are totally different roles.
"Peter is here to give us a hand for four months but he certainly hasn't replaced Ben Cross."
STORM IN A TEA CUP?
Melbourne CEO Dave Donaghy has been taken aback by speculation the Storm's round-eight clash against the Roosters at AAMI Park could be moved to Suncorp Stadium.
Sport Confidential can reveal there have been high-level discussions about the Storm-Roosters blockbuster being moved to Queensland if crowds will not be allowed to attend Melbourne's AAMI Park.
The Victoria government is watching COVID-19 data closely and are reluctant to risk any spike in infection rates if 2000 fans or more entered AAMI Park to watch their Storm side.
Suncorp Stadium has been spoken about as one possible Plan B option to allow fans to attend the clash, but Donaghy says the Storm would require major compensation to shift the game.
"I have heard the rumours but I am not aware of any formal plans to move the game," he said.
"To even consider moving the game away from AAMI Park ... there would have to be a considerable cheque on the table as it's our home game."
DEADLY DUO DUE BACK
The Broncos have received good news on David Fifita and Kotoni Staggs with the star duo set to make returns from injury in the coming weeks.
Fifita, who underwent knee surgery two months ago, is ramping-up training with a view to being available for the Broncos as early as their round nine clash against the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium on July 11.
The Broncos will take no risks with Fifita and may hold him back until their round 10 clash against the Tigers, but if the Queensland Origin ace progresses well, he could be rolled out against the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, Broncos medicos are pleased with the outcome of Staggs' grade-two hamstring injury. There were fears he would miss six weeks but Broncos bosses are confident the NSW Origin hopeful will only miss three or four games. He could return in the same week as Fifita in what would be a massive boost for Brisbane's playing stocks.
The woman behind one of rugby league's most famous try celebrations has passed away.
Former NRL cult hero Konrad Hurrell has been left shattered by the death of his mother, Fatafehi, following a long battle with illness.
Hurrell is well known for blowing a kiss towards the cameras in honour of his mother after scoring a try.
Thank you all for the love ❤️❤️ much love to you all 🙏🏽🙏🏽 Fly high my QUEEN ❤️🙏🏽— Konrad Hurrell (@konmanhurrell) June 16, 2020
He scored 55 tries in the NRL for the New Zealand Warriors and Gold Coast Titans from 2012-18 and has continued his try-scoring ways for Leeds in the Super League over the past two years.
Hurrell, 28, was incredibly close to his mother, who lived in Tonga, and regularly posted about her on social media.
Hurrell has been inundated with well wishes from supporters around the world following Fatafehi's death.
"Thank you all for the love, much love to you all. Fly high my QUEEN," he posted on Twitter.
CHIPPY'S BEING CHASED
Ryley Jacks is the chippy from Brisbane that is keeping the son of rugby league royalty out of the NRL.
Jacks will make his second appearance for the Storm this season in Friday's clash against Penrith at Campbelltown Stadium.
Jacks narrowly edged out Cooper Johns, the son of league legend Matty Johns, for the Melbourne No.7 duties.
The Storm rate Johns highly and are looking to sign him to a new deal to keep him in Melbourne beyond this season.
But for the moment, Jacks, a qualified carpenter, is getting another crack in the NRL and will make his 40th appearance tonight.
KING OF TONGA WANTS A TEST MATCH
Tonga captain Jason Taumalolo wants to play a Test match against Australia later this year.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is hoping to get an end-of-year Test match against New Zealand or Tonga to give Australia a game in the lead-up to next year's World Cup campaign.
Meninga wants the match to be played in Australia after State of Origin finishes in mid-November.
And Taumalolo has thrown his hand up to be part of it after Tonga recorded a history-making win against the Kangaroos last year.
"I'd love to play the Kangaroos," he said.
"Given what's happened over the last few years in Test matches, Tonga has been playing a lot of games and I've been enjoying it.
"We've tested ourselves against teams like Australia and New Zealand.
"I'm all for it. I have no idea about details yet or if it's going to happen but I'd be happy to have a game against Australia."
The scheduling remains a huge problem for Meninga's plan given it will nearly be December before a Test could be played.
The players that don't feature in the finals or State of Origin would not have played since late September.
SUPER LEAGUE SEA CHANGE
Out-of-favour Gold Coast Titans hooker Nathan Peats has been exploring his eligibility for a European passport as he eyes off a potential move to the Super League.
Peats has dropped completely off the radar at the Titans under new coach Justin Holbrook and has not been named in a 21-man squad for Saturday's match against St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium.
The ex-NSW Origin hooker will pocket more than $600,000 this season from the Titans, but he is off-contract and at long odds to secure a new deal anywhere near that type of money in the NRL.
Peats' father Geordi, a former Bulldogs and Rabbitohs forward, has European heritage, prompting Peats to explore his options in the UK.
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Originally published as V'landys to slash $160m from NRL