Clubs must keep bad boys in line: Gallop
Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday November 26, 2009
NRL chief executive David Gallop says he can't guarantee that next season will be incident-free, but has put the onus back on the NRL clubs to keep their players in line to protect the integrity of the game.After a season littered with serious off-field misdemeanours, Gallop said the code had adopted the philosophy of former St George captain Mark Coyne, who said coaches were now marked beyond winning games."Mark Coyne's clear message is [that while] the coaches' scorecard is more about winning football games, they are [also] judged by developing the life skills of players outside of football," he said."I am not confident that 2010 will be an incident-free year. Any year we are dealing with hundreds of young men and some of them are bound to make mistakes."But Gallop said the clubs had to take more responsibility in policing off-field behaviour - a model applauded by the visiting American NFL director of football operations, Gene Washington.Washington was a guest speaker at the annual NRL football conference held in Sydney yesterday and said the NRL was adopting the right approach in allowing clubs to monitor and punish off-field misbehaviour, and having the NRL overseeing such sanctions and imposing heavier ones if appropriate. But Washington, who was a former star for the San Francisco 49ers, noted that while the money the players were making afforded them more options, he said "players on $300,000 a year can get into as much trouble as if they are earning $5 million".He said the clubs weighed up the risks versus the rewards in signing known troubled players and clubs were more willing to take on the risk for the best players."It is human nature, coaches love to win and most coaches think, well I can handle it and sometimes they do. It is just that the good players can make a big impact on the win-loss ratio," Washington said.Washington said it was his experience that players hated being away from the game and suspensions hurt a player far more than a financial penalty.