Warren Heilig was a very powerful force for Norwegian rugby league. He was very abrasive, but got things done and was extremely hands on. People who were interested in helping out a new club in the area would find they were given the job of setting it up. He also had a vision for Norwegian rugby league to expand very quickly and he managed every aspect of that growth. He also had time and money as he had a wealthy wife and no full time job.
How can you replace that? The fact is you cannot. Norwegian rugby league is having to adapt, I help out with Danish rugby league, but if I left tomorrow, things would carry on OK as the first thing we did was get as many volunteers before much else.
Norway are reassessing. I have been fortunate enough to be privy to some of their plans and while they are not as dramatic or exciting from the outside, they are good plans for long-term growth.
The national team should only ever be a flagship for the sport in a country. The priority has to be on the local market and adopting a strategy for the local market. From abroad, the best measure is the performance of the national team, the number of teams and merchandise. However, teams built on sand are misleading. We could have half a dozen teams planying in Denmark next year, I would rather have two strong, stable, rugby league clubs.