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Sharks need a hand - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sun, 08 Feb 2009 08:27:00 GMT

Cronulla have politely asked the NRL
to increase its cash hand-outs to all clubs to help them survive the global
economic crisis.

These cries for extra assistance
follow predictions by tabloid journalists that rugby league is not only the
greatest game of all but also the most vulnerable when the economic shit
finally hits the fan.

Many in the 13-man code are
preparing for the fall-out from severe economic challenges such as rising unemployment,
increasing job insecurity and the return of scrooge petrol prices.

Financial sections the code can
expect a slump in include merchandise sales, corporate support, gate receipts
and possibly season membership.

Several clubs are feeling the pinch
with Cronulla taking out a $500,000 bank loan to pay wages and bills over

Some fans may need to cut off their
pay-television subscriptions and look for alternative viewing sources such as
friends, YouTube and their local leagues clubs.

Sadly no one in the game has been
able to come up with any suggestions for US President Barack Obama and Aussie
PM Kevin Rudd on how to drive the world economy back into good shape.

Last week Dragons coach Wayne
Bennett was asked about where the game is headed with its cost structure during
the global financial crisis yet even the game’s current super coach was

“ That’s a pretty difficult question
for me to answer for you” Bennett said.

“ I mean I’d rather David Gallop or
Peter (Doust) answer that personally. I don’t think I could give it a
justifiable answer here about it.

“The thing you recognize is that
your country’s Prime Minister has come out on a regular basis and told us we’ve
got a problem and people are losing their jobs. We’ve all got to be conscious
and wary about where sport may sit in all this.

“At this point in time I don’t think
it’s my place today to elaborate on it.”

The NRL did increase its grant to
clubs by $100,000 this season but will not commit to another rise until it
negotiates new broadcasting arrangements after 2012.

Cronulla CEO Tony Zappia believes it
would be financially productive if the NRL throw in some additional funding now
for all NRL clubs.

"It's an opportune time if the
NRL has surplus funds to increase the grant in 2009 for all NRL clubs,"
Zappia told Fox Sports.

"A quarter of a million each
would be lovely but that may not be possible. Even another $100,000 to
everyone's bottom line."

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