Monday Buzz: Secret changes NRL doesn’t want you to know
Two weeks ago the NRL's competition committee recommended at least four rule changes for next season.
They have since been put away in a vault and stamped not for public consumption.
At the NRL coaches conference on Friday, for which only eight turned up, they got a sneak peek but no real detail.
New independent commission chairman Peter V'landys has threatened to sack anyone who leaks the proposed changes before they go to the independent commission meeting on December 5.
This is a dangerous practice. Previously any proposed changes/modifications to the laws of the game have been aired through the media to be digested by major stakeholders, members and fans.
It's called pressure testing.
As a PR manoeuvre, it could also have shifted the public focus and discussions away from Bali brawls and a Manly player charged for allegedly stabbing a person with a 10cm knife, all of which the sponsors hate.
No, not this year.
Secrecy for the suits is apparently most important.
The game is recovering from a horrendous year of on-field controversy.
The refereeing in the grand final, the bunker, wrestling, judiciary inconsistency, match review stuff ups etc, etc.
Right now the game needs to display some transparency.
Rule changes and discussions should not be happening in private behind closed doors.
Debate and detail is everything. Rugby league thrives on being the people's game, not the commission's.
This is not a sensitive media rights deal, about budgets or an integrity unit issue that needs strict confidentiality.
By all means keep the commissioners in the loop. Send them an email. But this is purely football.
Should we introduce a five-minute sin-bin for minor professional fouls like the Jake Trbojevic one which cost Manly their semi-final against Souths?
That's one of the proposals going to the independent commission for them to decide.
And one or two referees. Apparently it's already been determined we'll stay with two.
Should we scrap golden point in its current format? Should the losers get one point?
And the interchange debate. What's happening there?
Again it's for the suits to decide. V'landys, Tony McGrath, Wayne Pearce, Peter Beattie, Megan Davis, Amanda Laing and Gary Weiss.
Lovely people, sharp business types, but outside of Pearce, lacking any real footy nous.
By the time the information gets to their next meeting, it will be a month since the recommendations were made at the competition meeting. It's too long.
Clubs will be about to go on their Christmas breaks.
The game has missed a great opportunity to set the media agenda and own the off-season.
On Friday at the coaches meeting, seven didn't turn up.
Craig Bellamy, Ricky Stuart, Paul McGregor, Wayne Bennett, Anthony Seibold, Dean Pay and Ivan Cleary had other things on. That's a lot of coaching experience.
This is a fair sign of the lack of confidence in certain areas of the administration.
The fact they have chosen to keep the supporters and lifeblood of the game in the dark is one of the reasons why.