Broadcaster Alan Jones is set to join rugby league’s new independent commission after winning overwhelming support from every New South Wales NRL club.
If the most powerful voice in Australia became the powerbroker of rugby league, the move would instantly deliver the new board and rugby league connections to the most powerful figures in politics, business and sport.
Influential chairmen from the 11 NSW-based NRL clubs have unanimously voted to push Jones on to the commission.
When asked about the proposed move, Jones indicated he was interested.
“The independent commission is a pioneering initiative – if approached I would consider it,” he said.
It can be revealed that the 11 club chairmen met privately last week and were united in their desire for Jones to be an inaugural commissioner.
Canterbury chairman Ray Dibb initiated the move through an email to Jones, who responded by saying he would “be happy to have his name put forward”. Dibb then formally tabled the Jones motion at last week’s meeting.
The push for Jones will intensify at the annual chief executives and chairmen’s conference in Byron Bay next Monday and Tuesday.
Privately, the 11 chairmen believe they have the muscle and clout to rush Jones straight on to the eight-member commission, which should be announced within the next three weeks.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, support for Jones came from Dibb, Damian Irvine (Cronulla), Scott Penn (Manly), Don Feltis (Penrith), John McIntyre (Canberra), Nick Politis (Sydney Roosters), Warren Lockwood (St George Illawarra), Nick Pappas (Souths) and Roy Spagnolo (Parramatta). Dave Trodden (Wests Tigers) and Robbie Tew (Newcastle) were absent from the meeting but agreed with the move to attract Jones.
Jones does work for a media organisation (2GB) which could prevent him from being a commissioner under the new regulations – but he is a broadcaster, not a company director.
Asked about the push, Jones said: “Like in all these things, if it was in the best interests of the sport and they thought I could make a contribution, I would consider it.”
by Terence Johns