What a Farce

What are they smoking at the Western Force? I’m simply dumb-founded by the amounts of money being offered to players to move west and join the Force. And it’s not just the players; I have just got off the phone with Western Force coach John Mitchell and he offered me $2.6 million over four years to write a column for the Western Force’s rugby newsletter. Not that I am unhappy with this new Rug Rag gig, and if anyone in rugby needs a laugh, its the players and supporters of the Western Force. I won’t be taking him up even though the Force’s offer is considerably more than I was offered to write this column, I’m not in this for the money as you know. However, a figure like that does make one stop and think and I don’t blame the players who accept these deals at all.

The questions are: where are they getting the money and how do they expect to get value? Over the years Western Australia has produced some of the most pathological corporate cowboys in the history of capitalism; Bondy, Last Resort Laurie and some of the boys at Sons of Gwalia to name but a few. The process they use is not so much to develop a business with entrepreneurial skill, initiative, careful planning and old-fashioned Aussie hard yacka, but to piss so much cash up against the wall that investors think they must be loaded and raking it in and willingly fly to them like moths to a flame giving them still more money to piss up against the wall. When times are good for the mining industry, it all works fine and has done for years. But when times change or they venture outside of mining, things tend to go horribly wrong.

Now the same sorts of blokes have got hold of a professional Rugby team in Perth and are applying their usual methods. Back room deals for outrageous sums, little or no explanation of how the money will be accounted for or re-couped, bugger all respect for long standing reputable organisations and institutions… we’ve seen it all from the West before yet the brain boxes at the ARU indolently sit back and let the game of rugby be undermined by a bunch of cashed-up sand gropers riding the WA mining boom like they’re at a rodeo, and in the process letting these cowboys do to Australian Rugby what the cowboys at Brokeback Mountain do to one another.

It’s time for the ARU to step in, and for the future of the game, fully regulate who is paid what to play where, otherwise, as we saw during the Rugby League schism of the 90s, the Super 14 franchises will self-destruct in an cocaine-fueled orgy of over-priced player and newsletter columnist signings, taking down with them the sport in this country. Actually, scratch the “cocaine-fueled orgy” bit, I’ve been thinking of taking a P&O cruise soon and got a bit carried away.

by Maso