Former Kangaroos winger Larry Corowa MBE has hit out at the NRL hierarchy, who he feels abandon Indigenous league players’ expertise too readily.
The former Balmain Tigers and Gold Coast winger, who toured Great Britain with the Kangaroos 1979, also played for New South Wales in his career.
Nicknamed the ‘Black Flash’ for his speed, after his career, Corowa worked for the ARL and Country Rugby League in promotion and junior development.
He feels that he has been abandoned by the game, however, since John Grant attained power as chairman of the ARL.
“I’m doing it tough, to be honest, and I feel like the game has abandoned me,” Corowa told Rugby League Week.
“I was quiet about it for a few years but I’m speaking out now. I’m angry – the people who run the game have changed and seem to have forgotten the traditions and the people who dug the well.
“To me, it’s very disrespectful.
“At the Indigenous All Stars game three years ago, they sat me right in the furthest corner of the room with my back to the stage.
“The staff of the NRL who had been there for five minutes all sat in the front row. Again, very disrespectful.”
Corowa received an MBE for his services to the game, and the Titans and Tigers play for the Larry Corowa Shield every year.
But he feels that things have changed for the worse in rugby league in recent years, and he thinks he knows where to point the finger of blame.
“When John Grant took over the game, he put his own staff in and 90 per cent of them had no rugby league experience.
“The buck stops with him. A bunch of imposters have somehow weaselled their way into running our game. They haven’t looked after grassroots or bush footy and the game in the country is hurting big-time.
“They’re driving the fans and young players away and that’s why I have decided to speak out. Grant has to go and we have to get someone in there who cares about footy at the grassroots level.”