Hall of Fame for Lewis and Miles
NO doubt many rugby league fans scratched their heads in bemusement when they learned that Wally Lewis and Gene Miles were to be inducted in to the Broncos Hall of Fame tonight.
The confusion would not have been because the pair was being honoured, but why the induction has come 25 years after they signed their initial contracts to play for the then fledgling club. After all, 11 Broncos players have previously been inducted.
There is a simple reason - they did not fit the criteria. When the club laid down the guidelines for admission to the Hall of Fame the major stipulation was a minimum of five years' service to the Broncos as a player.
And, as Lewis played for just three years and Miles four, that was the end of the story. That is until new CEO Paul White came on board.
Like many people associated with the club - and a host of bewildered fans - White believed Wally and Geno should be Hall of Fame members. After all, without their signatures back in those foundation days it is highly unlikely the Broncos would have become such a powerhouse.
So the new boss broke the criteria code, and made an exception - just this once. And he will no doubt be admired and respected for his decision.
While Lewis and Miles are giants of the game and were integral to the initial success of the Broncos, their stints at Red Hill were not without controversy. Lewis was sacked as captain after the first two years and replaced by Miles, and a long and trusted friendship was almost irreparably damaged.
And both left the club under ugly circumstances. Lewis was offered more to retire than to stay and joined the then-struggling Gold Coast Seagulls, and the clichéd 'salary-cap strain' sent Miles off to England to finish his career.
But to their credit both men have buried the bone of angst, and returned to the Broncos fold. How sensible now that the Broncos have officially welcomed them back in the most respectful manner possible.
Block the blocker
While those running our game - finally - are about to have a long, hard look at the obstruction rule, hopefully they will also examine the role of the blockers.
By its mere name the blocker sounds an illegal act. The blocker is that player who runs across in front of a team mate who is jumping to take a high kick, and his sole intention is to block the path of a defender.
As I understand the current rules, the blocker is permitted to do this on the condition he does not physically obstruct a defender. If a collision occurs, the referee must then decide which player has caused the obstruction.
Yep, it's just another confusing rule for the referee to adjudge, and for the fans to understand. But the bottom line is that it is not in the spirit of the game.
Referees need to be given the green light to make a judgement call. Surely they comprehend the game well enough to understand whether a player is making a genuine attempt to catch the ball or is simply loitering as a form of protection for his team mate.
The blocker is a blight on the game. Get rid of him.
Some pundits have made an issue of the fact that Souths have given up the grog until their 2012 campaign is over - and for a host of NRL fans that hopefully won't be until September 30.
And because Kiwi Test hooker Isaac Luke apparently went on a bender at a mate's recent buck's night, the consensus is the Rabbitohs have an issue with alcohol. But that's not the point.
The ban is about the players making a sacrifice, going that little further to hopefully achieve a goal. Mick Crocker, for instance, has also given up ice cream, which he says is a greater sacrifice for him. And I recall Wayne Bennett, a chocaholic, always gave up chocolate during Lent.
But when the entire team decides to make a sacrifice together, it means so much more. And it also hurts much more when one member breaks that bond.