“The People’s Republic of Rugby League is the snoozing superpower of Australian sport. In 25 years’ time, COVID-19 might be remembered as the moment that a broken game woke up from the coma induced by
Super League and stopped losing ground to the AFL.”
My latest essay for The Monthly is a 9000-word deep dive into the People’s Republic of Rugby League. I interviewed ARLC chairman Peter V’landys, ARLC board members Megan Davis and Peter Beattie, Channel 9 commentator Phil Gould, Rabbitohs chairman Nick Pappas, Roosters chairman Nick Politis, Cowboys GOAT Johnathan Thurston, journalist Roy Masters, and V’landys critic Peter FitzSimons, amongst many others.
The piece explores rugby league’s Civil War with rugby union, the Super League War between Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer, Peter V’landys personal war to save the NRL from COVID-19, and the Cold War between the NRL and the AFL.
I also chatted separately to Michael from The Rugby League Digest and Johnno from the Progressive Rugby League podcast about the issue of class in Australian sport, and Peter V’landys leadership of the ARL Commission.