NRL 2021: return of three grades, Peter V’landys, Canterbury Cup, Jersey Flegg, reserve grade, NSWRL, Dave Trodden

ARLC chair Peter V’landys is hellbent on seeing the return of all three grades on NRL game day.

He’s so committed he even declared that he will do “whatever it takes” and that “anyone that gets in the way will get run over.”

As revealed by a News Corp report last week, V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo were exploring the idea after receiving phone calls from coaches and players in support as well as a 96 per cent result from an online poll in favour of the move.

V’landys has since received approval from the Commission, so this idea is about to take off.

Round 1

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Boyd Cordner shouldn’t have been allowed to return, NRL warns NSWRL

The NRL’s findings were handed down at the same time as team lists were released for next Wednesday’s decider at Suncorp Stadium, with Queensland’s Cameron Munster, who was concussed in Sydney, listed to start at No.6. The only changes for the Blues are on the extended bench, including the addition of Storm excitement machine Ryan Papenhuyzen in the No.18 jersey.

“In our view, Boyd should not have been allowed to return to the field,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.

“Our chief medical officer [Paul Bloomfield] spoke directly with both NSW and Queensland medical staff prior to Wednesday night’s game and reminded them of our high expectations in this area.”

Under the NRL’s operations manual, players who exhibit symptoms, such as motor inco-ordination, must be classified as having a “category one” injury and not be permitted to return to the field, regardless of the outcome of the SCAT assessment.

Cordner had the wobbly boot after he tried to tackle Felise Kaufusi and his head came into contact with the Maroons’ back-rower’s elbow.

The NRL said in a statement it had taken into account the subjective nature of classifying some symptoms, while acknowledging the professionalism of all medical staff involved in the game.

Because Adelaide Oval is not regularly used as a rugby league venue, it is understood there were some logistical issues for staff on the night of the game.

Cordner, who has suffered four concussions this year, decided to leave the Blues camp last Friday after speaking to NSW coach Brad Fittler, respected doctor Nathan Gibbs and Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

NSWRL boss Dave Trodden was happy for the matter to be finalised and for all parties to move on.

Trodden maintained the Blues’ medical team was the best in the business, and the way Cordner had taken time out to rest was further proof a player’s wellbeing was always its No.1 priority.


“As far as we’re concerned the matter is over and done with and we’ll move on,” Trodden said.

“I’m happy with the way our staff behaved and dealt with the issue. I also acknowledge the NRL acted quite properly in reviewing the incident and I’m comfortable with the conclusions they came to.”

Meanwhile, Fittler stuck with the 17 players who got the job done on Wednesday night, with Papenhuyzen, Jarome Luai, Cameron McInnes and Nick Cotric all coming on to the extended bench.

Josh Addo-Carr was the only player under an injury cloud after he jarred a toe in the opening minutes of the 34-10 thumping of Queensland. The winger got around on crutches on Thursday and was ordered to stay off his feet, but he was not required to undergo scans.

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NSWRL warned over Cordner concussion

NSWRL have been issued a formal warning by the NRL after an investigation into an HIA on Boyd Cordner found the Blues captain should not have cleared concussion protocols.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon the NRL said the 28-year-old Cordner should not have been allowed to return to the field in the State of Origin opener after copping another troubling head knock.

Seen stumbling to his feet in the 18th minute before he was guided to the sideline, Cordner then passed the SCAT assessment administered by the NSWRL medic, Dr Nathan Gibbs, in the dressing room at Adelaide Oval.

He returned to the field to play an additional 48 minutes in the 18-14 loss to Queensland.

However, the NRL determined that since Cordner showed signs of motor incoordination it was a ‘category one injury’ and he should have been immediately ruled out, regardless of the results of the SCAT assessment.

The NRL said it had considered the subjective nature of classifying symptoms and acknowledged the professionalism of all medical staff involved.

“In our view Boyd should not have been allowed to return to the field,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.

“Our chief medical officer spoke directly with both NSW and Queensland medical staff prior to Wednesday night’s game and reminded them of our high expectations in this area.”

The Blues have previously insisted Dr Gibbs followed NRL concussion protocols and Cordner passed all tests to return to the field. They have strongly denied putting the player at risk.

The NRL’s verdict comes after Cordner ruled himself out of the final two games of the Origin series to focus on his health and recovery following the head knock.

There are growing concerns for the Sydney Roosters captain who has suffered multiple concussions and spent seven games sidelined this season as a precaution.

One of those was a five-week break following a head knock at training, from which he had ongoing concussion symptoms.

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State of Origin news 2020: NSWRL unveil anthem, We All Bleed Blue

New South Wales Rugby League have unveiled a new anthem ahead of Game One of the 2020 State of Origin series.

Titled “We All Bleed Blue”, the anthem will make its debut when Adelaide Oval hosts its maiden Origin match on Wednesday evening.

NSWRL Chief Commercial Officer Jodie Cross said: “Our fans are one of the strongest, loudest and proudest supporter groups in Australian sporting history.

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“This year, we will no doubt see and hear them at Adelaide Oval and Suncorp Stadium singing the ‘We all Bleed Blue’ anthem, loud and proud.”

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NSWRL stands by Blues football manager Peter Parr despite historical case

The husband of the woman allegedly involved in the incident made the complaint to the integrity unit via his Brisbane lawyer, John Sneddon.


The man was distraught and furious when he discovered a message from the star player to his wife about their toilet tryst in the Qantas lounge, which occurred on Father’s Day 2018.

Alarmed at what could become a public relations nightmare, the woman, who is employed by the Cowboys, contacted the club’s then football manager, Mr Parr, for help.

‘‘On becoming aware of our client’s knowledge of the sexual act,’’ Mr Parr gave the husband prescription medication ‘‘to help him cope with the shock’’, said Mr Sneddon in his complaint to the NRL, first lodged in October last year.

Unbeknown to the husband, the tablets Mr Parr gave him were Valium.

Peter Parr manages the NSW Blues.Credit:Getty

Mr Parr denied that the tablets were his or that he knew they were Valium. He said he had ‘‘swung by the doc’s’’ place on the night to get something to help the husband sleep.

It’s alleged that Dr Ball came forward to falsely claim he had personally consulted with the husband on the night of September 5, 2018.

The matter is now the subject of an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Mr Parr had confirmed that he was aware the matter was the subject of an inquiry by medical authorities and had provided the regulator with an account of what transpired.

However, Mr Parr failed to inform the NRL’s integrity unit of the probe or the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the player. The integrity unit’s investigations are continuing.

The incident has come to light as the Blues prepare for the opening game of the State of Origin series, which will be held in Adelaide on Wednesday.

NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said Mr Parr would continue in his role as manager of the Blues while the NRL was looking into the matter.

“They are historical allegations that have nothing to do with the NSWRL,” Mr Trodden said.

“No doubt the NRL integrity unit will deal with them in due course.

“Some time ago, Peter gave me a briefing about the nature of the allegations and also the fact that the NRL integrity unit were aware of it.

“As far as we’re concerned, it’s a matter for them to deal with. I’m sure in due course they will do that. It doesn’t impact on his role with the NSWRL.”

Asked if the matter was a distraction ahead of the first clash against Queensland, Mr Trodden said: “No.”

Mr Parr is one of rugby league’s most seasoned administrators. He was North Queensland’s team manager when they won their inaugural premiership in 2015, but recently stepped down from the role to take up a position on the club’s board.

The Blues will fly in and out of Adelaide on game day.

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Former Test cricketer Stuart Clark moved on by NSWRL ahead of Blues State of Origin series

Just three weeks out from the start of the State of Origin series, the NSWRL has dropped the axe on several high-level officials, with former Test cricketer Stuart Clark among those out the door.

Clark, who played 24 Tests for Australia between 2006 and 2009, has been the chief operating officer of the NSWRL under chief executive Dave Trodden since 2015, but on Wednesday was told his services were no longer required.

Stuart Clark in his days playing cricket for NSW>Credit:Peter Rae

The NSWRL has also decided to part ways with head of football Barrie-Jon Mather, who was the head of player development and England team manager before he arrived in Australia to take the role under Trodden in 2014.

Head of performance Alan Thompson, the former head coach of the Australian swimming team and football manager at the Bulldogs, will also finish up at the NSWRL.

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NSWRL: staff not to blame in Seibold abuse

NSW Rugby League boss David Trodden is confident none his full-time employees were behind a vicious social media campaign against Anthony Seibold.

Trodden was shocked when a 60 Minutes report on Sunday night claimed the NRL integrity unit had been told a NSWRL employee was involved in the spreading of vile rumours.

It came after Seibold hired lawyers and cyber investigators to look into scurrilous rumours spread about him and his family online in August, just before he quit as Brisbane coach.

Sunday night’s program was the first he had heard of the link between his organisation and the scandal, having not previously been contacted by the NRL, police or Seibold himself.

Trodden was desperate to investigate the matter himself, calling the NRL on Monday morning before speaking with Seibold’s representatives.

“While the various parties are unable to provide the identity of the person involved because of ongoing police investigations, I am confident that the person is not a full-time employee of NSWRL,” Trodden said.

“Trolling is appalling … and action should be taken if it is properly proven.

“It should never be tolerated and we feel for Anthony Seibold and his family for what he has been put through.

“Equally, it is really important for me, as CEO of NSWRL, to make it clear that none of our employees are involved in the alleged behaviour.”

The NSWRL employees 93 people, and Trodden feared at this stage all had been implicated by the public claims and tarred with the same brush.

“I was totally surprised to hear what was said and disappointed that serious allegations like that would appear when we knew nothing of them,” Trodden told AAP.”

“They are really serious issues that need to be taken seriously ad investigated and dealt with properly.

Seibold detailed how the rumours had hurt him most given comments made about his family, but said he could not publicly out anyone behind them.

“It’s someone who makes a living from our game who is part of the conversation and added to the rumours and forwarded them on,” Seibold told 60 Minutes.

“That’s what so ironic about all of this. I can’t sit here and tell you these names because essentially 60 Minutes could be charged. It’s crazy”

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NSWRL hope to hear from Anthony Seibold over 60 Minutes trolling claims

“It’s someone who makes a living from our game,” Seibold said on 60 Minutes.

“There’s someone who is part of this conversation who has added to the rumours, who has then forwarded on the messages through social media platforms.”

Steinfort named the NSWRL before Seibold said: “It’s a very high-profile franchise within our game.

“That’s what so ironic about all of this, I can’t sit here and tell you these names because essentially 60 Minutes could be charged … it’s crazy,” he added.

Trodden, however, told the Herald on Monday morning: “I was surprised and disappointed to hear the allegations.

“We haven’t heard anything from the police, we haven’t heard anything from the NRL integrity unit, we haven’t heard anything from Anthony Seibold and we haven’t heard anything from 60 Minutes.

NSWRL boss Dave Trodden.Credit:John Veage

“We only became aware of the allegations on Sunday night.

“What they are talking about is really appalling stuff and should be addressed.

“We’ve gone to the NRL this morning to ask if any allegations have been made to them and if they relate to any NSWRL employee.

“We’d also welcome Anthony Seibold contacting us and telling us what [he knows].”

NSWRL had no idea about Anthony Seibold's claims prior to the 60 Minutes.

NSWRL had no idea about Anthony Seibold’s claims prior to the 60 Minutes.Credit:NRL Photos

The NSWRL employs 93 staff and is preparing for the State of Origin series.

Seibold has handed all information to the NRL and since moved back to Sydney to be with his family.


“The amount of hate and the amount of defamatory comments being spread, and what people were happy to spread, was crazy. That’s not the Australia I grew up in,” Seibold said.

“My situation went viral on social media with defamatory comments – my reputation was ruined in a lot of respects.

“The very last message upset me the most because it spoke about my daughter. For my mum and dad, it was hard for them too to see those messages.

“There was no truth to [the rumours]. I don’t know what the motivation was for those messages. I don ‘t understand it. They wanted to hurt myself and the others named in some way shape or form.”

Erin Molan, a popular sports presenter for Nine, publishers of the Herald, also spoke about online harassment, and revealed how one troll hoped she had a ”stillborn”.

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Kurt Drysdale launches landmark legal case against NSWRL

Drysdale broke his neck at the C5-C6 vertebrae against the Magpies. His family described it as a “crusher tackle”, an illegal move in which a player’s chin is forced towards the torso. NSWRL governs the Sydney Shield.

The injury shocked the rugby league community and prompted an outpouring of support. NSWRL was one of many parties involved in fundraising efforts for the $1 million-plus required each year to give Drysdale the round-the-clock care he needs. In August, 2016, NSWRL staffers – including chief executive David Trodden – posted photos of themselves wearing ‘Unite For Kurt’ T-shirts promoting the cause.

Teammates and opponents come together in support of Kurt Drysdale.

Teammates and opponents come together in support of Kurt Drysdale.

The Drysdale family declined to comment on the incident or the legal proceedings when contacted by the Herald. The NSWRL also declined to comment.

In a column for SBS last year, Drysdale’s mother, Sonya, spoke about the family’s ordeal since the tragedy. She said she could no longer watch rugby league and implored the game to address ‘crusher’ tackles to prevent further tragedies.

“It costs more than $1m a year to look after my son who needs 24/7 care and rehabilitation for the rest of his life,” she told last June.

“While Kurt and his siblings have, for the most part, accepted his injury, I’m still angry. I’m angry that players still use ‘crusher tackles’ – where a grounded player’s chin is forced down towards their torso.

“Mums are supposed to protect and fix things, but I can’t fix this. What I can do is campaign for the change we need so that what happened to my son doesn’t happen to someone you love.

“I’m angry there’s not more awareness of the dangers of these tackles. And I’m concerned that we’ll be seeing more spinal cord injuries because the game is now much faster, and players are much bigger and stronger than when I was growing up watching the game.

“Despite my anger, I’m dedicated to making sure Kurt is healthy, happy and stays alive. Since the accident, I’ve also suffered from severe anxiety, and had to quit my job because Kurt is my main priority.

“I’m hopeful that one day, a cure for paralysis will be found, and as a family, we do our best to help raise funds and awareness for spinal injury research. There is one certainty, though: there is no way my grandchildren will be playing rugby league.”


It’s not the first time an injured player has taken a governing body to court because of an on-field injury. Shane Anthony Green became a tetraplegic when he was 16 after a scrum collapsed and broke his neck at a game in Taree in 1994. Green sued Country Rugby League for $6.5 million, but a 2008 Supreme Court ruling found the CRL had not been negligent.

In an ongoing case, former premiership-winning prop Michael Greenfield started legal action against the ARL Commission five years ago after a shoulder charge ended his career.

The NRL outlawed the shoulder charge in 2013, a year after Greenfield suffered a serious neck injury.

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