One of the most interesting parts of Super League’s opening weekend came not on the pitch, where Leeds, Huddersfield and – for 20 minutes at least – Warrington all impressed, but in a newspaper column.
Writing in The Times, Jamie Peacock took up the paper’s ‘Saturday Soapbox’ to give his views on the state of the game in World Cup year.
Peacock’s efforts went widely unreported due to them being hidden behind a pay-wall.
But from this vantage point at least, they looked distinctly like a man firing a first warning shot to the sport’s leaders.
The overall message was to urge positivity as the World Cup approaches. “It’s a glass half-full season,” he wrote.
But when someone as intelligent, passionate and deep-thinking as Peacock describes 2013 as ‘make or break’, maybe it’s time to start listening. “If we don’t get it right,” warned the former England captain, “there are enough cracks to cause lasting damage.”
He added: “When I eventually hang up my boots, I’ll be seeking an administrative role… as an administrator you can shape the sport.
“I’m part of a generation… who feel it’s important that people who have played at the highest level are helping to run the game. We need to know what the sport is going to look like in ten years’ time. I don’t see a long-term strategy with the RFL. The sport picked itself up after a fairly disastrous 2000 World Cup, but is leading a hand-to-mouth existence.”
Remember, this was the England captain less than a year ago. When someone with such status is openly saying things like that, Nigel Wood should be feeling particularly uncomfortable.
The biggest challenge for any player wanting a major administrative role would be getting to grips with the internal politics at Red Hall and the RFL’s relationships with Super League clubs.
But if Peacock – or any of his peers – managed to master that, the next few years could be particularly interesting.
Would you like to see Peacock take a leading role at the RFL? Drop your comments in the box below.
Two days since the new match officials’ shirt was last seen in public, have your eyes stopped bleeding yet?
They look like one of those magic eye pictures that were all the rage in the 90s – but in the colours of the psychedelic vomit produced by the luminous drinks that teenagers seem to have a particular attraction to.
Who designs them? Who adds those colours and thinks ‘yeah, that looks good’?
And who, when the shirts have actually been produced, still persists with them – presumably in the belief they’ll attract something other than mockery?
Rugby league referees have got a hard enough job without unnecessary stupidity like this.
Finally, a quick word on BBC commentator David Oates, who died on Sunday, aged 50.
Despite being on nodding terms for a decade or so, I only got to know David properly over the last six months. It turns out he was brilliant company. We’ll all miss him.