I'm not sure the Kiwis could be more pathetic on or off the field.

A second embarrassing performance in succession saw them bundled out of the Rugby League World Cup at the quarterfinal stage but their bizarre showing in media interviews after the match was even more unfathomable highlighting the total train wreck that is New Zealand Rugby League.

Make no mistake - the game is in total chaos at present and it needs a complete and total overhaul to prevent this mess getting any worse. I don't have confidence in those running the sport to make that tough call so it will be up to the game's stakeholders to ensure the broom is taken through the organization in the coming months.

Forget the dropped balls, the missed tackles and lack of creativity - the problems start way back before the players even pulled on the jersey. It starts before a clearly out of his depth David Kidwell was even appointed in a role he certainly isn't fit for.


I can't be bothered analysing the game itself - the Kiwis were rubbish and leaderless - a trait that runs right throughout the sport I'm afraid. The big issue is the overall state of the game and who is allowing it to disintegrate at an alarming level.

Over the weekend, in the wake of the loss to Fiji, skipper Adam Blair, halfback Shaun Johnson and coach David Kidwell launched a stunning response after arguably the team's worst ever performance suggesting the result wasn't "a negative" along with bemoaning media and fans for daring to predict the team's demise. Hello? The media and fans were absolutely 100 percent spot on - the Kiwis sucked and we could all see it coming.

Let's get a few things straight - the media and fans have done nothing wrong at all and anyone that thinks they have should be gagged for bringing the game into disrepute.
Before Kidwell was coach the Kiwis were the number one ranked side in the world but 18 months on they can't finish in the top four in a three-nation tournament. Sure, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and co have closed the gap and have played really well at this World Cup but global heavyweights they're not. To be knocked out by a Fijian side full of a handful of NRL players and a bunch of passionate nobodies has to be the darkest hour in the sport's history here.

Add to that the drugs scandal back in May, the defection of a number of key players and a governing body that simply refuses to accept they are not getting things right and you have to wonder why anyone would even bother to support this rabble at all.

So what is the problem? Well in a nutshell it is a complete lack of leadership across the game. From the board and chief executive all the way down to the playing roster - there are simply no genuine leaders in this sport up to minimum standard. Maybe it is a by-product of being the working class game but it doesn't seem to be an issue in other places where rugby league is played.

The NZRL doesn't seem to realise that you can't just designate someone a leader and expect everyone to follow. You actually need to have people that inspire others to follow in those key roles. That isn't happening and hasn't since Jim Doyle was CEO.

A total cleanout is needed - starting with chief executive Alex Hayton, who continues to bury his head in the sand, and the likeable but simple Kidwell. Seriously you wouldn't follow either of these blokes in a conga line with any sort confidence.

It is time that the true leaders of the sport in New Zealand get involved in roles where they can influence. On the selection panel at present are genuine leaders like Tawera Nikau and Hugh McGahan. They are wasted picking a team. Barring the odd spot it isn't that difficult to choose who's left after all the withdrawals. Their knowledge and leadership skills need to be utilized better. The sport needs people like Sir Peter Leitch, Howie Tamati, Tony Kemp and Doyle back involved in front office positions - people with mana and know-how. Heck Bluey McClennan was superb in his post-match analysis - he is wasted talking about the game when he could be involved in steering the ship.


This mess has been brewing for the past few years. The signs were there last year with poor results, baffling decisions around coaching and poor behaviour off the field. The alarm bells were ringing before that fateful night in Canberra when the skipper Jesse Bromwich and senior player Kevin Proctor gave the middle finger to the sport by being busted buying cocaine at 5am after a limp showing against Australia. It was obvious to anyone not inside the team that the place was a complete shambles when Jason Taumalolo and others walked away at the 11th hour and it was clear the runaway train was spiralling out of control when they were stunned by Tonga in Hamilton last week.

They're upset we called it? Why? If they had played well and won it might be a different story but all they did was prove us "haters" all correct.

Inexplicably the NZRL head brass has let players and coach run their mouths off, bagging the very people who they desperately need onside. You could almost forgive the heat of the moment interviews straight after the game but Kidwell came out at a press conference yesterday and reiterated those calls after time to collate thoughts and plan a course of action. Hayton and his cohorts allowed that to happen and will launch another review - just like they did in Canberra after the drugs scandal - which will no doubt will cost money the sport doesn't have only to put it all on Kidwell. It won't fix the mess.

It is much easier and cheaper if we just skipped the review, got everyone in a senior role to stand down and let someone that can actually lead take over the reins.