Peter Beattie has declared that the ARLC will ”get on with the job” and appoint two new independent commissioners after the push for constitutional change to allow club and state representation fell short.
Beattie will chair a meeting of NRL clubs on Monday to discuss reform of the commission but with Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Gold Coast Titans and Melbourne Storm opposed to the proposal, it is again unlikely to be put to a vote.
As a result, Beattie said it would be business as usual for the year ahead, with NSW Racing CEO Peter V’landys and former Nine Network executive Amanda Laing expected to accept invitations to become independent commissioners.
V’landys was set to be one of two club representatives on the commission, along with Sydney lawyer Glen Selikowitz, while NSWRL chairman George Peponis and his QRL counterpart Bruce Hatcher would have been the state appointees.
However, to change the ARLC constitution requires agreement by the NSWRL, QRL and 15 of the 16 NRL clubs.
The Bulldogs, Titans and Storm are opposed to the model of reducing the number of independent commissioners from eight to six and adding the four club and state representatives.
”I am very keen to work with every club, each one of them regardless of their position has demonstrated an enormous amount of goodwill towards me and I have said to all of them I want to work with them,” Beattie said.
”It’s their decision whether there is constitutional reform or not [but] it is not going to get up on this occasion, we know that. The reality is that we can keep talking. It needs a gap of about a year in my view, but we will keep talking.
”In the meantime, the commission is going to get on with the job. There are six commissioners, they are all very good. We will be adding two more [so] there will be eight, which is the total composition possible under the existing constitution.
”This game is bigger than any individual, it is bigger than me. This game is about the fans, about the players and about the community. We are not going to stand still. There will be two replacements, they will be done effectively, they will be done appropriately and we are going to get on with the job.”
A compromise plan, which would have seen the states with just one representative on a nine-strong commission, was rejected this week by the NSWRL and QRL.
Meanwhile, Beattie raised the prospect of a Test match involving the Kangaroos and Jillaroos being played in Townsville once the new stadium is opened in 2020.
He also suggested the venue could host an NRL All Stars fixture or the Pacific Test but all but ruled out the possibility of a State of Origin being played in North Queensland.
”The NRL and the Cowboys are investing $10 million in that stadium so we want to see it work,” Beattie said.
”With 25,000 seats we want to fill that. We have already put a proposal to the Queensland Government.
”You could imagine it would put Townsville on the world map if we had a Kangaroos match here. Everyone would see the new stadium and it would be a promotion for the city beyond football. That is why we want to get a national match here, like the Kangaroos and the Jillaroos.
”There is also All Stars possibilities and Pacific Tests. We haven’t ruled out State of Origin but obviously, what we are trying to do as part of building the game is to take our prime product – State of Origin – on the road to make sure this is truly a national game.”