NRL boss: Match-fixers will get life bans

By David Riccio

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg. Photo / Getty
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg. Photo / Getty

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg was firm, direct and to the point.

"If any allegations are proven we will ban anyone found guilty for life," Greenberg told a media conference.

The rugby league community can only hope the latest round of match-fixing allegations stick and that the NSW Police front with indefensible evidence.

Because until careers are ruined, contracts are torn-up and players barred from stepping foot back onto a rugby league field, the distrust and doubt from fans will remain.

Greenberg warned the media to be "careful not to cast a pall over all of our game."

The problem is, with 880 different betting options available from the NRL's seven matches this weekend, it's difficult not too.

The NRL boss fronted because he knows the game's credibility is at stake.

"Continuing to deal with these issues is about how you front up," Greenberg said.

"No one has ever said that there won't be an issue for us to deal with and that's what we're doing."

The NRL boss knows that should Manly topple short-priced favourites Canberra at GIO Stadium on Friday night, praise for the underdog will be overtaken by paranoia.

Unless charges are laid and the cheats are removed, upset victories will continue to be applauded sitting down.

Only a few seasons ago, when Parramatta officials suspected Chris Sandow of betting on matches they personally met with the NRL Integrity Unit. Nothing was proved.

In July 2014, when Manly's David 'Wolfman' Williams was found guilty on NRL games, he was suspended for the remainder of the season.

North Queensland's Ethan Lowe, Gold Coast forward Cody Nelson and Melbourne's Hymel Hunt and Slade Griffin, all copped two match suspensions.

It failed to send a message with the NRL judiciary capable of dishing out tougher penalties.

The one point Greenberg didn't make is the impact match-fixing has on the players. The good ones, that is.

If the allegations are proven, the players named will also be guilty of sport's greatest form of treachery.

For example, in the wake of the bombshell allegations, The Daily Telegraph spoke to a string of NRL coaches. By and large, they all said the same thing.

"I couldn't care less how high-profile my player was, match-fixing is the greatest act of deciept any team could encounter," one coach said.

"I would personally walk any player out of our club with his bags packed and never to return."

And this from another leading NRL coach: "We work our butts off, we strive forward together as a team, we eat together, travel together, invite each other into our homes and meet our families, only to be beaten by something we can't train or compete against - greed."


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