Tony Webeck - From the Editor's Desk
When I think back on season 2012 the day that will most stick with me will be Tuesday, August 21. On my way into the office I received notification that Brian McClennan had been sacked as Warriors coach, big news for the Big League team on deadline day.
An hour later there was word that the Dragons were about to make an announcement in conjunction with their captain and longest-serving Dragon in history, Ben Hornby.
Wow, better find room for that one too.
Then the big one, officials from the ARL Commission and representatives from Fox Sports and Channel Nine had been locked in a boardroom all night and had thrashed out a television rights deal unlike anything the game had ever seen.
We need a new cover!
By the time word filtered through that Laurie Daley would be the successor to Ricky Stuart as coach of the New South Wales Origin side, we had to consider making the magazine bigger, even if it was for just one week only.
That day to me wraps up all of 2012 because just when we thought things couldn’t get more exciting, controversial, bigger or more shocking, something else would come along to take its place.
The very first game of the season was decided by a Jamie Soward one-pointer (pictured) on a Thursday night. On Sunday Benji Marshall piloted an extra-time field goal that sank the resurgent Sharks and less than 24 hours after that the Roosters conjured a finish we thought couldn’t possibly be surpassed.
It took us 18 rounds but when South Sydney returned serve at Allianz Stadium Fox Sports commentator Warren Smith echoed the sentiments of just about all rugby league fans when he bellowed: “Take me now – I have seen it all!”
When Ben Barba set off from his own in-goal against the Warriors in Round 3, raced 70 metres down-field and the Bulldogs scored from the following tackle, we thought we had seen a special moment from a special player. He’s a special player all right, but those ‘special’ moments seemed to occur on a weekly basis from then on.
There has been great upheaval off the field following the formation of the ARL Commission in February, change that continues as the governing bodies come together to work in a more cohesive manner for the betterment of the game.
Rugby league now has a $1 billion-plus war chest that guarantees its financial security for the next five years at least and the game’s primary stakeholders – NRL club members – have bought shares in the game in unprecedented numbers.
There are too many extraordinary moments from season 2012 for one to stand out above all others. No, like a good premiership-winning team, season 2012 will be remembered for the amazing sum of its parts rather than a reliance on one solitary strength.
Have a great off-season, can’t wait to see what the greatest game throws at us in 2013.
And another thing… Like the 16 NRL clubs – even the premiership-winning Melbourne Storm – Big League will be conducting a full review during the off-season, and we’d love your help. As a loyal Big League reader I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we’re doing well and areas you think we need to spend some extra energy fixing up over summer. E-mail me directly at email@example.com with your thoughts. Everything will be taken on board to try to make the game’s official publication even greater in 2013.