Those close to Inglis say he is struggling to find his way without the routine he is used to. He went to Magic Round last weekend and after doing some great community work on Thursday and Friday wasn’t sighted by those who travelled with him. He simply couldn’t be found. That was a cause of considerable concern for Souths. The NRL are aware of the situation.
Right now GI is finding it difficult to cope. On top of retiring, Inglis is finalising his separation from his wife and selling his house.
His friends have contacted me and others to express their concerns. Some of his most trusted allies are wondering if he should have retired at all. They are questioning if that is the best thing for him. But Bennett wasn’t going to allow Inglis to keep putting his body on the line and using painkillers to play. Bennett wanted the best for Inglis and his family.
The NRL interviewed Inglis to discuss his motivation for retirement. They came away satisfied. They were wondering if he was forced into it or it was his call. It was his call.
The likes of Bennett and South Sydney’s general manager of football Shane Richardson know the situation better than this columnist and have Inglis’ best interests at heart. It’s why they have set him up with a $300,000-a-year job. For as long as he wants.
The NRL have done their bit by approving the job. They feel they have a some degree of responsibility for his ongoing wellbeing. But it doesn’t mean that he will get a free ride. They are monitoring his application to his roles.
They won’t be asking for time sheets, but they will monitor the situation.
But Inglis has more serious things to deal with right now. From someone who has covered his career from start to finish, let’s hope he can find a sustainable level of happiness in this part of his life.
RA offered Folau $2m to walk away
The figure $1 million has been bandied about as the offer Rugby Australia made to Israel Folau to walk away from the game following his controversial social media posts.
The figure that has been whispered to me by those who should know in rugby circles is much more than that.
I’ve been told the figure that Folau knocked back was closer to $2 million.
If that is the case — and I’m confident it is — the matter is less about money than many thought — including me.
Folau will walk away with money after his four-year, $4 million contract was terminated by RA on Friday, but there will be a painful court process to go through before he gets it.
Folau faced a three-day code of conduct hearing earlier this month after he posted on social media that homosexuals, among others, were destined for hell.
A three-person independent panel announced their verdict on Friday, 10 days after deciding Folau had committed a high-level breach of RA’s professional players’ code of conduct.
Players’ union goes missing
Jack de Belin wasn’t the only loser out of last week’s Federal Court ruling on the NRL’s ‘‘no-fault’’ stand-down rule.
This column is of the view deBelin deserves everything he gets if he is found guilty of the aggravated sexual assault charge. He has been staunch in his stance that he is innocent. He has emerged from both court proceedings as a fighter who is prepared to do whatever it takes, including taking a huge financial hit, to prove his innocence.
The Rugby League Players Association, under chief executive Ian Prendergast, has been inept throughout the whole player behaviour saga. During the ‘‘summer of hell’’ when the game’s reputation was being trashed as the damaging headlines refused to end, the RLPA was virtually invisible.
They have always been a weak organisation, but they have been exposed like never before.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg cut short his holidays to read the riot act to club chief executives and the captains of all 16 clubs. It was a gutsy move; the actions of a leader. It’s the sort of thing Prendergast should have been doing.
‘‘Off-field incidents have declined in recent years, but the off-season period was unacceptable on any measure,’’ Prendergast said yesterday. ‘‘We remain committed to being part of real solutions to these broad societal issues – where our code truly lives up to our words. We detest violence against women, and are working with stakeholders on a range of strategic projects to ensure women and girls feel safe and welcome in the game at all levels.’’
When de Belin’s case against the NRL’s stand-down rule eventually made it to court, it wasn’t Prendergast in the witness stand defending the players’ right to a presumption of innocence; it was left to the union’s chief operating officer Tim Lythe to take the stand, where he was duly mauled by the NRL’s counsel, Alan Sullivan QC.
Friday’s ruling, in favour of the NRL, should have signalled the end of this unfortunate episode. But, remarkably, Prendergast emerged to announce that the RLPA may take the matter back to the courts to dispute whether the NRL’s handling of the stand-down rule was a breach of the collective bargaining agreement.
Talk about misreading the room.
‘‘Our main concern with the NRL’s policy and Federal Court’s ruling is that it takes away the basic right of a person not to be judged prior to facing the justice system, and has implications for all our members, and indeed all professional athletes,’’ Prendergast said.
‘‘If the NRL can make decisions unilaterally under its rules that undermine our role as the players’ representatives and the collective arrangements agreed to, then this is clearly something we need to address, even if that is not the popular public view.’’
When they signed the CBA, the union promised that players would become genuine partners in the game.
In other words, they would transform the image of the game to make it more appealing to sponsors and investors, and that would justify their money grab.
Given the events of the past six months, it is the NRL who should be taking the RLPA to court for breaching that agreement.
Sea Eagles for sale
The Penn family are ready to sell the Sea Eagles and have been engaging in talks with interested parties. One big wheel around town has been in contact with former player agent Wayne Beavis to try to get him to negotiate a deal with the Penns. Another player agent is trying to get a consortium together.
However, we hear there are very real discussions going on already with a consortium – a legitimate group that is doing its best to get a deal done with minimal publicity.
Key figures at the Eagles know all about the talks, which have been going on for some time.
Insiders at the NRL say the Eagles are worth $12 million. We are not sure of the asking price.
We asked Scott Penn if his family was selling and he said no. Significantly, Penn was overseas and didn’t want to engage in a discussion. As we said a few weeks ago, Penn is establishing a base in New York as his personal and business circumstances change. In the end, the decision to sell the club may be made by others in the family.
The deal is not over the line from what we can gather, but the intent from all parties involved is genuine – from the agents to the money men to the Penns.
Gorman’s new home
Speaking of Manly, outgoing CEO Lyall Gorman has found a new gig outside rugby league with a company called Evolve Housing, a community housing provider. He starts tomorrow.
The organisation’s blurb says: ‘‘Mr Gorman is a highly successful and well regarded business leader who brings a wealth of experience from a community and commercial background.
“As part of his transition arrangements at Manly and with the support of the Evolve Housing board, Lyall has agreed to provide high-level ongoing support to the club in the planning stages of their new high performance centre of excellence …’’
Pearce of mind
Mitchell Pearce talked to this column last week about the NRL’s admission they ‘‘overcooked’’ his penalty for his drunken night out on Australia Day in 2016.
But he doesn’t want to take on the game’s bosses in a legal case to retrieve some of the cash it cost him.
The Roosters won’t rule out action. They may look at employing leading lawyer Mark O’Brien to assess the matter. The club says it cost them $1 million.
Eels outbid … no one
It seems Parramatta were bidding against themselves for Clint Gutherson. I’ve been told that Manly pulled the pin on their offer for him on Wednesday night. Gutherson signed a three-year deal the following day.
Manly have to prioritise signing Jake and Tom Trbojevic, and that is going to cost them plenty. They still have Daly Cherry-Evans, Marty Taupau and Dylan Walker on great money. The Eagles didn’t want to jeopardise their war chest by spending too much on Gutherson.
Danny Weidler is a sport columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.