Good bloke or not, Coyne’s position as ARL commissioner is untenable

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On May 29, as the ARL Commission held a scheduled board meeting in Sydney, one of the first things mentioned was an apology from Mark Coyne.

The former Dragons captain, who was appointed to the commission in late February, was not in attendance because he was in Singapore on business.

He told them he had been grounded because of a middle-ear infection and couldnt fly on doctors orders.

A week later, Coyne was a notable absentee in the NRL suite at Suncorp Stadium for State of Origin I. He dearly wanted to be rubbing shoulders with pollies and major sponsors but that bloody ear infection meant he was still stuck in Singapore.

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By the time the Origin caravan arrived in Perth on June 23, and Coyne again said he couldnt fly, other commissioners and officials suspected something else was at play.

They suspected the excuse of a middle-ear infection was bullshit. And it was.

The cover-up is always worse than the crime and that has brought Coyne spectacularly undone in recent days.

Coyne was arrested for abusing police during a drunken night out in Singapore on June 2.

'Embarrassed': Coyne expressed remorse for his actions in Singapore.

'Embarrassed': Coyne expressed remorse for his actions in Singapore.Credit:Edwina Pickles

He hadnt been allowed to fly since then because authorities confiscated his passport as he tried to manoeuvre his way through the Singapore legal system and back to Sydney, which he finally did on Thursday.

Simply, Coyne cant survive as a commissioner, although hes expected to do so until chairman Peter Beattie returns from a holiday in The Kimberley in remote Western Australia where the phone reception is as dodgy as Coynes excuses.

The games leaders and bureaucrats demand transparency from its clubs, players and officials.

It wants them to self-report everything from serious assault charges to losing their drivers licence if theyve burned through too many demerit points.

It wants clubs to come clean on possible salary-cap breaches. Farted in an elevator? They want to know.

ARL commissioners should be held to a higher account. Somehow, they are not.

Technically, they arent bound by the same set of self-reporting rules as others in the game, although it's an obvious expectation. They cannot be interrogated by the integrity unit, although it can help when needed and may well do in this case.

The only people who can sack a commissioner are other commissioners, or via a vote of no-confidence from the 16 NRL clubs.

How can a professional code survive, or at the very least save face, if the very people who govern it dont abide by the same standards it sets for the rest of the competition?

As the Heralds Roy Masters broke the Coyne story online on Wednesday night, some of the games most powerful operators were already in damage control and downplaying the scandal.

Hes a good bloke. It was a silly mistake. Hes an invaluable member of the commission. We cant lose him …

Coyne has already proven himself to be a strong voice on the commission, which has lacked punch since it was formed in 2012. Beattie has publicly declared hes a future chairman.

Theres plenty of spin being spun behind the scenes, trying to limit the damage to Coyne.

He has hired Newgate Communications, the crisis management company that was hired by Dreamworld after four people were killed on one of its rides in 2016.

They can only do so much. What Coyne has admitted to makes his position untenable.

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According to court documents, he sprayed a police officer with colourful lines like, youre “a f..king stupid idiot”, a “f..king dickhead" and a "cock". He was then thrown in the back of a paddy wagon and then detained in a police cell. Sounds like something youd see on Banged Up Abroad.

Mitchell Pearce still haunts League Central.

The Roosters halfback was suspended for eight matches and fined $125,000 for simulated sex with a poodle-cross, even though no police charges were laid.

What message does it send if Coyne survives?

Rugby league fans will give people a second chance. What they wont cop is a double standard.

Titans' faith in Brennan came at a cost

Wayne Bennett to coach the embattled Gold Coast Titans? It couldve happened last year as the mastercoach went to war with the Broncos.

It can be revealed that Bennett had genuine interest in rebuilding the Titans, but things never even materialised into a meeting.

Turbulent times: Gold Coast Titans players prepare for their game against the Storm this weekend.

Turbulent times: Gold Coast Titans players prepare for their game against the Storm this weekend.Credit:AAP

The Titans say they were, at that stage, backing Garth Brennan, who they sacked earlier this week.

Right on cue, every person with a clipboard has been linked to the job.

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook is being strongly considered — although he has people in his ear saying it would be a mistake. The Bulldogs, he's being told, is a better option if Dean Pay is told to clean out his desk.

Roosters assistant coaches Craig Fitzgibbon and Adam OBrien have been tossed up.

OBrien cant because the Roosters wont let him take up a head coaching role until 2021. Fitzgibbon sees himself as an NRL coach in the future but others reckon this isnt the right fit for him.

The smart money is still on Kevin Walters, who has said publicly he doesnt want the job because he wants to keep coaching Queensland, especially after its dramatic loss to NSW in the decider.

But theres a belief at the Titans that Walters simply wants to be asked — instead of being told to apply.

Raiders' greats gather to mark special anniversary

A Scanlens deck of iconic footballers will converge on Canberra this weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Raiders grand final win over Balmain — the decider still considered the best in history.

It starts with a Hall of Fame dinner on Friday night. The following night, the Raiders take on the Tigers at GIO Stadium.

Before the match, 89 grand final hero Steve Jackson, who scored the match-winning try in extra-time, will blow the Viking Horn.

Jackson, 54, retells the story of what happened that day like it was yesterday.

“I didnt go to the grand final breakfast because I was that much of a long-shot to play,” he recalls. “They didnt have a plate for me. I was at the Travelodge with the rubbers and strappers. I wasnt in the squad a week before the game.

Grand final hero: Reserve forward Steve Jackson scores the match-winner against Balmain in 1989.

Grand final hero: Reserve forward Steve Jackson scores the match-winner against Balmain in 1989.

“Id made my first-grade debut midway through the year against Balmain at Seiffert Oval, but I tore medial ligaments after 10 minutes. I couldve had an operation and sat out the year, but I ended up sitting out nine weeks.

“I made my way back through reserve grade but when we lost the preliminary final I thought, What an awful year. Then Tim Sheens tapped me on the shoulder and said, Im putting you in the 20-man squad'.

“Even then, I just thought Id just watch from the best seat iRead More – Source

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