History: Nest of Traitors
Interview: A Nation of Hope
Unions: National Focus
Safety: The Shocking Truth
Tribute: A Comrade Departed
History: Working Bees
Education: The Big Picture
International: Static Labour
Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Technology: Google and Campaigning
Review: Secretary With A Difference
Poetry: The Minimale
Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
The Locker Room
To the Victors The Spoils
The Story in General
Thinking of America
The Locker Room
"The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away" - Tom Waits.
It was a sage Rugby Union coach who said that no one is useless - they can always be used as a bad example.
A wonderful demonstration of that aphorism came to light recently when a consortium describing itself as the Gold Coast NRL Bid Team were reported as having written to a number of NRL clubs in Sydney asking them to relocate to the land made famous by Russ Hinze and Mike Gore.
Apparently the potential that awaits any Sydney based NRL club can be measured by the "success" of the Brisbane Bears - Fitzroy Lions "merger".
Success is many things to many people; but I doubt that many would measure success as being taken out behind the shed and having a bullet slotted into the back of the cranium.
It is alleged that the letter read: "The Lions-Fitzroy model has proved that joint ventures regarding clubs moving interstate teams do work successfully.
"Why? Such entities are able to progress because the traditional club retains its entire heritage and introduces that history to the new entity with a little or no change.
"It does not have to absorb any of the culture of another club."
The "Lions - Fitzroy model" was already extant. It was called the Fitzroy Lions. While it could be argued that Brisbane has maintained some of the heritage of the 'Roys it's also true that up until 1996 they did nothing to enhance it. They certainly didn't create it, so why should they appropriate it for their own ends, which in the realpolitik of modern football means running a profitable company.
In other words they picked up a valuable asset - the decades of very real sacrifice by tens of thousands of Fitzroy players, supporters and staff - through a very pernicious deal.
In doing this they were aided and abetted by the AFL.
For many people it is losing the culture of Fitzroy that hurts. The corporate nature of the Brisbane club and the fait accompli with which the "merger" was presented have been a source of ongoing rancour for many Fitzroy people.
While any NRL club shifting to the Gold Coast may not have to absorb any of the culture of another club (and we've seen what a "success" that has been at Wests Tigers) they still have the problem that its a bit tricky for their Sydney based fans to get to home games 900 k's away. Even taking into account the entrepreneurial mood that has modern sport in its thrall, it's a brave business that seeks growth while alienating its own customer base.
Any NRL club considering such a folly could do well to examine the truth of the Bears - Fitzroy merger and its apparent success.
The reaction of Fitzroy fans to the merger has been diverse. Some support the Brisbane entity, either willingly or grudgingly; others have abandoned AFL completely; a few have drifted off to other clubs. The bottom line is that the number of memberships of the Brisbane Lions in Victoria is far short of the number who were members of the Fitzroy Lions in 1996.
"I'd dispute that on the whole the merger hasn't been a success," said one Fitzroy supporter. "There are a couple of issues that I'd like to see rectified, such as the FFC playing a more prominent role in the Victorian operations."
With the Gold Coast council willing to invest $6 million in upgrading the Carrara sports stadium to attract an NRL team this issue won't go away.
As another Fitzroy supporter put it: "The pain and annoyance that happened with Fitzroy will unfortunately be repeated in the not too distant future for a couple more clubs and that is the saddest part."
The business of football continued apace with revelations this week from a Collingwood fan site exposing what appears to be an interesting way to circumvent the inconvenience of the salary cap.
The AFL has been probing the arrangement between Essendon and its two star players, James Hird and Matthew Lloyd, over the ownership of internet site rights.
A website called www.buckleysurfers.com has tracked down owners of the domain sites Essendon claims to have bought. The mattylloyd.com site does not even exist. mattylloyd.com has never been registered as a domain name. So who Essendon "bought" the site off remains a mystery. There were similar results for sites involving James Hird's name.
Check out the findings at www.buckleysurfers.com
Phil Doyle - giving away a 50 metre penalty late in the third quarter.
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