RUGBY LEAGUE has this week hit the national headlines – although it’s once again for all the wrong reasons.
The news that Doncaster captain Shaun Leaf bet on his own club to lose to Wakefield in the Challenge Cup it’s something no-one in the game wants to hear.
It’s wrong and simply can’t be defended.
As professional players, we’re given a code of conduct booklet at the beginning of each season outlining exactly what we can and can’t do.
Betting on any professional game, whether your own team is involved or not, is strictly forbidden. It’s as simple as that.
Unfortunately, even though the rules were crystal clear, Shaun ignored this and is now suffering the consequences.
And I can see this being the end of his professional career, because I can’t see Doncaster keeping him on or another club offering him a contract.
I just hope that if this is the case, it sends out a clear message to every professional player that betting on a rugby league game simply isn’t worth it.
Sean Long and Martin Gleeson were guilty of doing this around a decade ago and came back from their bans to enjoy glittering careers.
So the punishments they received didn’t exactly act as a major deterrent. It certainly didn’t put off Shaun Leaf.
But whatever you think about this sorry saga, I do still find the way in which this betting scandal as exposed incredibly frustrating.
For those of you who may not know, Shaun was caught out by an undercover team from The Sun newspaper.
As a result, the story made the front page, the back page and the two inside back pages.
When was the last time that happened for rugby league?
Probably when Sean and Martin were exposed for their betting exploits!
It was certainly interesting to compare the amount of exposure devoted to the Shaun Leaf story to that of their coverage of last weekend’s Challenge Cup ties. Blink and you’ve had missed it.
But this does seem to be par for the course for our national newspapers.
They only seem interested in our game when they can knock it, and in some of our ‘esteemed’ papers they ignore our sport all together.
I know how much this upsets the fans, but I can tell you it didn’t sit too comfortably with the players either.
We obviously don’t go into the sport with the primary objective of ‘winning’ newspaper space, but it would be nice every so often to get the coverage our efforts deserve.
But I fear it might only be a dream of mine to one day see the likes of The Sun devoting a back page and the inside pages to a Challenge Cup final or Super League Grand Final – unless there’s something negative to say about it, of course!
ONCE again I find myself stuck on the sidelines, this time with the return of a niggly neck problem.
To be honest, I could have probably played last week and this, but the medical staff have very sensibly erred on the side of caution.
It’s frustrating, but I can see why.
When you’re told you should rest for a couple of weeks or play on and risk the possibility of being ruled out for eight or nine weeks, it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
So, all being well, I’ll be back for the Catalan Dragons home Cup tie the following week feeling 100% fit.
And playing my part in a side that’s just got back to winning ways after beating St Helens!