Manly has been caught up in alleged match-fixing.
Manly has been caught up in alleged match-fixing. DEAN LEWINS

Bank on accounts to keep players honest

RUGBY league seemingly thrives on its own transgressions, and even the resultant negative publicity.

Often, in almost four decades closely involved in the game I have shaken my head, felt gross embarrassment and thought "I can't believe this is happening''. But somehow, despite itself, the sport continues to prosper.

It may not however recover to quite the same degree if current allegations of match fixing are proven to be more than just malicious rumours. Cheating the salary cap is one thing - cheating the result of a match is a different beast altogether.

Newspaper reports and comments from a wide range of associated interests this past week have merely clouded the issue. And honestly, only those with some inside knowledge could judge whether this is serious, a rumour or a witch hunt.

Regrettably, if past investigations are the yardstick, the drama could be played out for months, besmirching not only the Manly club and its players, but also the game. And match-fixing accusations are far more serious than most of the issues that have clouded rugby league in the past.

But while the game overall may be damaged, so will the players and that is why it is difficult to understand why the Rugby League Players' Association is opposing a bid by the NRL's Integrity Unit for future access to players' bank accounts.

Sure, on the surface it is an invasion of privacy and what a player earns and how he spends his money should be no business of anyone else. That is on the surface.

But on a fair dinkum basis, it's a lot like speed cameras - they are inconsequential to us unless we are speeding. If a player has nothing to hide, what is the issue?

And in cases like alleged match fixing, having his bank account details available to the Integrity Unit may not necessarily clear a player under suspicion but it will make him think twice about becoming involved in anything untoward.

And the same applies to salary cap rorts. The money trail will be easier to follow if bank accounts are able to be accessed.

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