Sitcom Television is designed to keep us constantly glued to our TV screens, always entertained, and always interested. And in the same sense, the NRL’s not that much different, is it? Every other week something happens that keeps us attached to the game of Rugby League … even when no matches are being played.
Recently it’s been the sagas involving disgruntled St George star Jack De Belin, poor Panther Brent Naden and ex-Titans Specialist Coach, Michael Gordon. And as terrible as each of these individual situations are, similar to trashy shows such as Keeping up with the Kardashians or any show where Gordan Ramsay goes and abuses, unsuspecting, probably underpaid restaurant workers, you just can’t look away!
These three blokes could fair dinkum be poster boys for the NRL, given how many like to misbehave in the game of Rugby League. Look back not even a couple of months ago and you’ve had Walker fighting some random citizen, Jennings fighting drug charges and Ofahengaue’s unprofessional behaviour in his split from the Broncos, just to name a few. Here’s why each scenario is as idiotic as the previous one.
Jack De Belin- Why so stupid?
Innocent until proven guilty. That’s exactly how the former Toyota Cup Player of the Year should be treated, but the NRL obviously has different ideas. The man hasn’t played for the past two years as he continues his retrial on rape accusations. Understandably so if it had been his decision not to play, due to a mental mindset or otherwise, that would be completely understandable. But clearly, Rugby League doesn’t have much faith in their players. However, just like when Brett Stewart had a similar charge placed against him all those years ago and was not allowed to play for a small portion of Manly’s 2008 season when he was eventually proven innocent, the NRL and especially David Gallop were made to look like incoherent idiots. They’re playing a risky game here, essentially judging Jack before he’s been judged by the eyes of the law.
Adding to that, De Belin should hold some accountability for himself personally. Regardless of whether he chose to act in a thuggish manner or not (yet to be decided), he shouldn’t have placed himself in such a risky situation with the accuser. Rugby League players are made out to be celebrities nowadays and as such, many people are unfortunately out to get them. Let’s just hope this is a learning situation for him so that he never has to deal with this sort of stuff again in his life. I personally do believe that he’s not guilty and that should eventually be decided upon at his retrial.
Brent Naden- They literally teach you in primary school about drugs!
As a child, Naden clearly never paid much attention in PDHPE or when Healthy Harold would lecture you about the dangers of drugs. HH would be extremely disappointed with Naden given the situation that has just played out for the Penrith player. However, working strongly in his favour is the fact that he has recently joined a rehabilitation facility based within Sydney. If he really did do coke, then fair play to him for being mature enough and doing what needed to be done to help him deal with his issues. I (the author) am not taking a personal stance against drugs here, but it is banned by both WADA and the NRL’s anti-doping policy.
Honestly, at the end of the day, he shoulda been way, waaay smarter about this. If you were going to be stupid enough to do something like that, not doing it in/ and around a massive event such as the GF would’ve been a good start. Because obviously, testers would be lurking around massive events such as these ones and as well as the lead-up to them and the aftermath of it all. As per the Penrith Panthers (obtained from Rugby League Live), “Panthers will continue to provide Brent and his family the support they need moving forward.” So, in all this ugliness, it’s nice to see the club helping one of their own. Good on the Panthers for that.
Michael Gordan- From sniffing out try-scoring opportunities to sniffing cocaine, how sad!
For those who don’t know about the Gordon situation, he was recently one of 7 people arrested by NSW Police after an investigation into alleged MDMA and cocaine supply. This was supposedly based in the states far north coast and south-east Queensland. Former NRL player Gordon was charged with two counts of supplying prohibited drugs and two counts of possessing prohibited drugs. His court case is currently scheduled for December 14, at Tweed Heads Local Court. He could actually end up in jail!!!
Simply put, he should have known a lot better. And whether it’s in the form of community service hours, a massive fine or potentially cell-time, he’ll deserve whatever he has coming to him. And it’s also disappointing given that now he’s dragged the Titans into this ridiculousness given he was a Specialist Coach for them. Whilst he’s still considered a role model amongst the game of Rugby League within Australia. He retired not that long ago and many still remember his innate goal-kicking abilities and freakish aerial try-scoring feats. So, with his breaking of the law, he’s also brought the NRL into disrepute. How stupid can you possibly get?
Well there you have it, three somewhat similar situations occurring within the NRL right at this very moment. And awfully similar to that of a car crash, you just can’t tear your eyes away from it! Let’s just hope that all three men can learn from their mistakes. Everybody deserves a second chance. So, let’s just hope that they don’t screw it up here.