Jenna Brooks has the latest from the NRL as a Rugby League legend stands down from the ARL Commisssion, two greats reach significant milestones. Plus Belinda Sharpe will make history as the first female to referee an NRL game.
Legend stood down
Australia Rugby League Commissioner and one of the sports legends, Mark Coyne has been stood down from his position following an arrest in Singapore.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Dragons legend had his passport withheld for close to seven weeks, after allegations that he used ‘vile and disgusting’ language towards police.
The incident allegedly took place in early June with reports suggesting the Queenslander was held in a cell overnight and made to surrender his passport.
Despite the event occurring last month, Coyne only informed the Commission earlier this week.
There were a couple of big milestones last weekend.
Cameron Smith became the first NRL player to run out for a 400th premiership match. The star hooker is one of the games greats and his numbers speak for themselves.
He has scored the most points, the most goals and has also played in the most wins. He holds the record for the most State of Origin appearances as well as Origin victories.
It was no surprise that his former Kangaroo, Queensland and Melbourne teammate Billy Slater spoke so highly of the 36-year old.
“He is a really smart player. He can go out there, play a game of football and he knows where he can get out of contact and he knows where he has to put himself in contact. So I think that has helped him throughout his years,” Slater said.
“He can be the best player on the field and you can not even know that he is out there.
“When people get flustered and panic and frustrated, Cameron is composed.”
Phil Gould has called him the greatest: “He is the most extraordinary player of all time. He plays 10 minutes ahead of every other player on the field…Sometimes an hour.”
Benji Marshall reached the 300th game milestone on Sunday, but it was bittersweet as the Tigers lost 30-18 at home to the Eels.
Marshall refused to be drawn on his future beyond 2019.
“I just don’t want to get caught up about worrying about next year because now is important to me,” he said.
“If I’m focusing ahead too far I don’t know if that will get the best out of me. I feel great and we’ve got a great medical staff that I feel like I could do it.
“But I’m not alone in this decision. A lot of things go into it. That’s another discussion that will happen in the next month or so but there’s no time frame for me.”
History will be made on Thursday when the Bulldogs travel to Brisbane. Belinda Sharpe will become the first female to referee an NRL game.
Sharpe has spent the last five years as a touch judge and officiated in that capacity at the 2017 World Cup, but this week will take the big step into the field of play.
“I just loved rugby league growing up and I played touch football, ended up refereeing touch footy and made the transition from there,” Sharpe told NRL.com
“The game has been my passion and now I’ve turned that into a full-time career.”
The Queenslander, who refereed the women’s State of Origin match last month, has been assigned as the assistant referee at Suncorp Stadium, and she hopes she can inspire other females to take up the profession.
“If my role in just doing my job week in week out can inspire other people to become involved, particularly other females to become involved as referees, than that’s something I’m proud of.”
Gold Coast have sacked Garth Brennan after the Titans suffered their 12th defeat of the season, with a 24-2 loss to Penrith.
It’s so far been a disastrous season for the Titans, who are alone at the bottom of the ladder.
Last year Brennan led his team to a 14th place finish and they are on track for another disappointing end after recording just four wins from 16 games this year.
The club have confirmed that Assistant Coaches Craig Hodges and Luke Burt will lead the team for the rest of the season.
Tim Sheens and Justin Holbrook have both been linked with the vacant position. St Helens refuse to comment.
The late Australia, NSW and Canterbury legend Steve Folkes has been confirmed to have been diagnosed with CTE – a brain disease linked with repetitive head trauma.
Folkes’ family revealed the information to the Sun Herald that he was the first Australia rugby league player to be diagnosed with the disease.
“It’s been a tough 18 months without him and hopefully something positive can come from it,” Folkes’ daughter Hayley Shaw told the Sun Herald.
“We don’t want to be alarming about it, but Dad had some problems and he looked after himself. If his story can help some of his mates and then help more research then that’s what we want out of it.”
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg is confident that this information will break down more barriers and insists the NRL will continue to invest in concussion research.
“We’re spending an enormous amount of money in the elite part of the game, whether that’s technology on sidelines or increased resources for our players. There’s no doubt as we learn more we’ll continue to invest more. This is just a very important part of the game right now.”
Folkes was 59 when he died in 2018 from a heart irregularity.