UPFRONT | Who do the Aussies think they are?

There’s a belief that the current problem in the ongoing power struggle at the top of the domestic game is due to too many clubs pulling in different directions.

So wasn’t it reassuring when the Australian Rugby League Commission confirmed the same issue applies at international level?

The Commission shocked everyone last week when it publicised, through its Chairman Peter Beattie, its own proposed schedule for Test matches running through the next four years.

They hadn’t been asked to do so; they had not even suggested that they planned to do it. But nevertheless, they deemed it necessary to make it clear how the international calendar should look.

You’d think, of course, that the Rugby League International Federation would be the best served to do this, just as they did in May of last year, which was supported by the ARLC at the time.

That proposal included a Lions tour in 2019 followed by a Kangaroos tour in the year leading up to the 2021 World Cup.

But the ARLC plan would see the Kangaroos come to the UK on tour in 2019.

And they are suggesting two Four Nations style tournaments in 2020. Australia’s final preparation would see them face New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa, four of the elite nations who would feature in the World Cup.

For England? France, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Hardly the same calibre of opposition, with no disrespect intended.

England, of course, pushed Australia much closer than anyone in the Southern Hemisphere had anticipated last year. Perhaps it was too close for comfort.

Not that we’re suggesting there is anything sinister or agenda-driven in their proposals. After all, this is a group that stood up for its players and their welfare when arguing against the Denver Test.

It’s the same group that deems it completely acceptable for State of Origin players to feature for their clubs just two days after taking part in one of the most intense games the sport can offer.

They are hardly setting a good example, whether in terms of player welfare or Rugby League diplomacy.