He wants to establish a “war cabinet” that would conduct a comprehensive review of the Australian rugby landscape and launch four sub-committees to take control of the code throughout the nation.
A “technical committee” would review the player, coach and competition structures, a “community rugby committee” would assess the schoolboy and club rugby scene and work out how to better integrate grassroots with the NRC, a “finance committee” would try and whip the game’s bottom line into shape and a “constitutional committee” would rewrite the game’s governance framework.
The 17-Test Wallaby told the Herald there are many reasons he has put his name to the latest participant-based push to change the leadership at the top of RA.
The first of those reasons is to stop the emphasis on quick fixes. That includes the appointment of new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.
“The goal is to create a mechanism by which the entire system can be properly reviewed, which essentially has to be done by committees of knowledgeable people,” Marks said.
“Quick fixes, like getting a foreign national team coach, don’t work.
“The trouble with foreign coaches is that they come, they get paid lots of money and then they go leaving a very small legacy behind, if any.
“If we lack knowledge in this country it is far better to appoint an intelligent person who can be assisted in seeking it wherever it exists.
“Appointing foreign coaches indicates we have a poor coach education system and sends a very bad message to aspiring Australians.”
In Marks’ eyes, the abolishment of the National Coaching Committee in 1996 was the beginning of the end for rugby in Australia.
Bob Dwyer, Rod Macqueen and Alan Jones were all pupils of that system.
RA promised to bring a similar pathway for coaches back in 2017, but Marks says that has not eventuated.
“We had a great system which won us two Rugby World Cups and produced Alan Jones, Bob Dwyer and Rod Macqueen,” Marks said.
“The emasculation of the system and the shutting down of the National Coaching Committee was the beginning of the end.
“Do people realise that RA promised to resurrect the committee and even appointed Roger Gould as the chairman?
“But that’s where it ended – they never gave him one member of the committee and that’s an example of why we have the wrong people running the game.”
The establishment of the constitution recommended by Mark Arbib in October 2012 was the other sign a decline in on-field and off-field performance was imminent, Marks says.
“The Arbib constitution is a disaster and the results over the last six years since it was adopted prove it,” Marks said.
“You can’t get the right people under its clauses. One sitting director was asked how he got on the board and he said, ‘The chairman rang him and asked him if he’d like to be on it’.
“He replied ‘Yes’ and that was that, which is no way to run anything.
“This nominations committee decides who is qualified and requires a prescribed skills set …
“The two best treasurers in my time were Paul Keating and Peter Costello. One was a rock band manager and the other was a lawyer with no financial qualifications, meaning that neither would have got a look in under this prescribed policy.”
Marks insists there is not one Wallaby he has spoke to who disagrees with his detailed open letter.
“Without mentioning names, I have not spoken to one Wallaby who doesn’t agree with me, nor one of our coaching luminaries,” he said.
Rugby Australia declined a request for comment.
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.