“We’ve got to go into these things positive, if you go in negative you won’t get what you are after.
“I am very confident, looking at all of the documents I’ve seen in the last few days, of achieving a better result than what we have now.
“The platforms and broadcasters have changed dramatically. You have to look at all elements of our broadcast, what is exclusive, what is not exclusive, what buckets do we have?
“There is potential there. Do we do in-house production, do we provide our own packages? There are a lot of decisions to be made in the next 12 months in relation to broadcast, but we will have it in a package that will maximise the return to the game.
“To me, that is the most important aspect, to ensure the game stays viable. If you’re not viable, you’re nowhere. It’s critical we continue to get the revenues we’re getting.”
V’landys said that if new teams entered into the competition, they would not come at the expense of existing ones in Sydney or Brisbane.
“There will be no team in Sydney or Queensland that will be relocated,” V’landys said.
“If we pursue expansion, it will be a new franchise.”
V’Landys hinted at cost-cutting measures to ensure Rugby League Central was running as efficiently as possible. The Racing NSW chief executive said the $150 million spend on the NRL’s digital department would come under review.
“I’m a big man on efficiencies,” he said. “I want to make sure we do things in a cost-effective way and make sure our broadcast partners are satisfied with what we’re doing.
“We’re not going into their space. There are areas of improvement, most definitely.”
The NRL grand final was marred by refereeing errors, most notably Ben Cummins’ incorrect decision to wave six again before changing his mind. V’landy’s said the standard of officiating is the “single biggest problem” in the game.
“To be frank, we need to improve our refereeing,” said V’landys, who would personally like to see just one whistleblower on the field.
“You can’t have fans walking away thinking they’ve been ripped off, so we need to fix our systems and do whatever we can, that the fan walks away happy and content that they’ve had a fair crack. And not walk away (feeling) that he’s been ripped off.”
The NSW Government is spending $2 billion to upgrade the ageing stadia network. V’Landys said suburban grounds won’t be forgotten and that he is seeking additional funding for them, with Manly’s Brookvale Oval a priority.
“Everyone knows my love for tribalism and suburban grounds,” he said.
“We want suburban grounds and we want to have the must-haves … all the things customers want. We will be looking very hard at suburban grounds and how do we fund suburban grounds.”
PETER V’LANDYS ON
“The game is inclusive. The comments of Israel are not inclusive. Israel has to understand he is a role model. As a role model, he has a duty. When I was at school and kids used to get bashed up because they were different, I used to go and defend them. I have no tolerance for people who put other people’s lives into violence or whatever. With due respect to Israel, young kids listen to it. He is a role model. Rugby league is inclusive. So I am not in any which way reversing or looking at the decision of Israel Folau.”
Improving the game
“We want to make the game less predictable. We are in the entertainment industry. We have to make our game attractive not only to the older demographic but the new demographics. We can’t be doing the same thing … the NRL is going to be a can-do organisation. That will be the culture of the NRL moving forward.”
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg
“I think Todd is an excellent CEO. He gets his fair share of critics as all CEOs do. He will be held accountable like all of us. But I think we are lucky to have Todd, I think he has immense ability. One thing Todd realises is I call a spade a spade. Some people don’t like it, some people like being forthright. I won’t be talking behind people’s backs. If there is a problem they will know pretty quickly.”
Running Racing NSW as well as the ARLC
“I don’t think there is any conflict. I have been on the commission for 18 months and in that time there has not been a real conflict or a perceived conflict. Nothing has changed. I have gone from being the team member to the captain.”
One referee or two
“Look, I’m one of seven (commissioners). And yes, I have certainly expressed my situation with two referees. I’m a bit of a traditionalist and maybe the better option is one referee. But at the moment I’m out-voted. I’m a servant of the board. Whatever the board wants, I will defend it to kingdom come. At the moment, it’s two referees.”
Passion for league
“I came out here as a four-year-old migrant on a boat, stayed in school in Wollongong and I was very isolated. I didn’t know anyone. The only way I was able to be part of the community and be part of Australia was to play rugby league. That is the sole reason I am on this commission. I want to repay the debt. Without rugby league I could be in jail.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.