TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: NRL Chairman Peter Beattie gives a speech during presentations for Johnathan Thurston after his 300th NRL game at he end of the round one NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks at 1300SMILES Stadium on March 9, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

THE HEAT IS ON: Peter Beattie

The newly appointed Chairman of the Rugby League Commission, Honourable Peter Beattie AC, is under extreme pressure after his gaffe of not knowing the Cronulla Sharks moniker.

Phil Gould on Channel 9’s 100% Footy show gave Mr Beattie a multiple choice question to the newly elected Chairman who in response laughed it off as being too hard of a question.

Channel 9 must have been elated they would get free advertising on every other channel for their new show due to Mr Beattie’s response.

Gould, on the other hand, a man who is very vocal on the vision of the game of Rugby League must have been horrified that a man who will help shape the game had little knowledge of the teams who contest each weekend.

The moment echoed former CEO David Smith, a successful man in the world of banking and finance, who entered as the man to bring NRL a new business model and huge financial rewards from TV deals.

At a season launch, Smith got his players mixed up. He inventing a hybrid player Benji Barba. A mistake he would carry throughout his tenure as CEO. To his credit, he left his stamp of financial expertise by the game securing a record TV deal at the time.

After Smith’s reign came a Rugby League Commission a group of ex-players, business people and respected people in multiple fields. The Commission was set up to be independent to help govern and run the game.

It’s first Commissioner John Grant, a successful businessman and ex Australian Rugby League player was seen as the ideal man to lead the game into the future. It was not long before his knowledge of the game was truly questioned.

Reading out the names of an Australian Kangaroos team he had incorrectly named the Manly Seagulls and Cronulla Hawks (what is it about Cronulla?) as teams in the NRL.

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Grant’s tenure was volatile to say the least. A rift between clubs and the Games administration was a constant throughout his time.

The role of a CEO or Commissioner is to administer and help grow the game to its maximum potential. By having a Commission with members with vast and varied experience and knowledge was set up to ensure that potential is met.

The Commissioner doesn’t need to know everything about the game. They will have experts employed to assist with the running of the game. The experts are more accessible and are usually from clubland and know the game. Enter Todd Greenberg.

A Commissioner needs to know the basics. They will pass the pub test if they know the clubs that play the game they are administering and the top players who play.

By his own admission, Peter Beattie agrees that he has too many jobs at once to fully give his commitment to the game at the moment. The former QLD Premier has a role on SkyNews Australia and is currently the Chairman of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation.

That is a fair excuse. I’d like to see anyone work as hard as Mr Beattie is at the moment. However, to league fans who live and breath Rugby League each weekend, they deserve better. If you are unaware of the simplest things involved in the game, how can you run the game?

I don’t know Peter Beattie. A man with AC after his name. A man who in his time as a politician was extremely successful. How being successful in politics is to be returned to power. Beattie was Premier of QLD between 1998 to 2007.

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Anyone who can last that long is a hard worker. He may not be remembered fondly by some Queensland readers but to have been in that position so long shows he is a very determined and headstrong individual. That he wasn’t stabbed in the back by colleagues shows he is a good people manager.

Before his gaffe, he had shown some real interest in the game. Moving around the country meeting and greeting. He was very energetic with social media releasing tweets showing exploits of his Rugby League adventures.

He has shown that he is open to expansion and how expansion will help move the game forward. I hope expansion doesn’t mean the Cronulla whatsy names are relocated but expansion is something we will need Mr¬†Beattie to confirm.

I have personally had interaction on social media with Peter Beattie. For a man with fingers in so many pies, it is refreshing that he takes the time to interact with league fans.

So far, like all good politicians, Mr Beattie has come out to close down the fall out of the damage from the gaffe. Typical political damage control. However, unlike a politician, he actually means it and has owned the error.

Once the Commonwealth Games are completed and his focus is solely on Rugby League, the game will be better for his involvement. He will always be remembered for his gaffe. The Sharks will always haunt him during his tenure.

Don’t judge him yet. I think he will be a great addition to Rugby League. However, what do you think?

Is the Honourable Mr Peter Beattie AC a good appointment for the game of Rugby League?

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dave Smith was the best CEO we ever had, we just didn’t know it so if Peter’s gaff can be considered a portent ……

    My only worry is that this is just another junket for him, just something else to be a director of.

  2. Beattie is a politician, used to manipulating, twisting the truth, never giving a straight answer and shifting blame. Sounds like a good fit!

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