Bulldogs not ready to sign up to constitutional reform
Canterbury-Bankstown chairwoman Lynne Anderson says she is happy for Peter Beattie to nominate two new directors for the revamped ARL Commission as her club is not yet ready to sign up for constitutional reform.
Wearing her other "hat" as CEO of the Australian Paralympic Committee, Anderson is currently in PyeongChang at the Winter Paralympics and will not be present at Monday's planned meeting with NRL clubs to vote on constitutional changes.
The Bulldogs, Gold Coast Titans and Melbourne Storm are the three clubs set to vote against the proposals and only two clubs are needed to block them.
Anderson said she had arranged for someone to vote on her behalf, if required, and confirmed her club was still not satisfied the amendments were the right direction.
"From our point of view, we hadn't been part of this journey for 18 months but we (the Bulldogs board) sat down and quite clinically looked at it," she said.
"I'm a big believer in an independent commission. If constitutional reform will improve that – because there's always changes to be made – then I want an independent commission to do that... to drive the game.
"And for me that doesn't mean sectional interests at all.
"I've looked at the changes that are in place, and the states already had the veto but now they've taken the states to another level."
Anderson said she was also undecided on whether NRL clubs needed two representatives on an expanded ARLC – rising from the initial eight Commissioners to 10. Currently six Commissioners are there following the departures of John Grant and Cathy Harris.
"Haven't even thought about that," Anderson said referring to the NRL clubs having a more direct voice with Racing NSW boss Peter V'Landys and Sydney lawyer Glen Selikowitz.
But she is happy for Beattie to nominate two people to bring the Commissioner numbers back to eight.
"We were happy to accept that there might be pull-backs from the original changes. For me if we can't get (reform) then it goes back to the original number of independents (eight). And if that means Peter V'Landys and another Beattie appointment, I'm happy to give that a shot too.
"If we can't have the amendments... then I'm a bit excited about what Peter Beattie can bring, particularly if he can get the appointments through of Peter V'Landys and I've heard Amanda Laing mentioned.
"Peter V'Landys seems a no-brainer; a good operator. I don't know if Amanda Laing is there, but she certainly brings a good skills set going forward," she said, adding she knew the Bulldogs, Titans and Storm were being painted as 'party poopers' for an expanded ARLC.
"I don't agree with that at all. Our position is that we don't want to stop constitutional reform but at the same time we want an independent commission that is right for the growth of the game.
"We're talking about growing the game nationally. And I look at those reforms as they were initially and I don't think they can. We believe the amendments being proposed were not right for the game."
Another area causing some discomfort for Anderson is her relationship with Canterbury Leagues Club chairman George Peponis. He will also be unable to sit on the expanded ARLC in his capacity as NSWRL boss if the reforms fail this time around.
A report in The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Peponis as saying Anderson issued an ultimatum to him – that she would support him moving onto the ARLC but he had to give up his Leagues Club position. Anderson denied a deal was done.
In PyeongChang she did not want to enter into a debate about Peponis's claims.
"No I've said all I want to on that," she said on Sunday.
She also would not give up on bridging the divide with Peponis that stems back to last month's Bulldogs board elections where Anderson was swept to power ousting former chairman Ray Dib.
"I won't say that (Peponis relationship over) because I'm always the type of person who is about bringing people together," she said.
"I will say there's lots of inflammatory situations around this constitutional reform clearly, and certainly for the states. Now the states had the call. They could have gone for the amendments and had a representative on the commission. And they chose not to.
"But I'm not the type to divide. I don't want to divide our club. I want to bring it together. That's all I'll say."