'No one likes cheats in Australia': Peter Beattie
ARLC chairman Peter Beattie has backed NRL CEO Todd Greenberg's handling of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles salary cap case and described the evidence against the club as "compelling".
Manly chairman Scott Penn has signalled an appeal against the decision to fine his club $750,000 and force them to play with a reduced salary cap for the next two seasons, while Immortal Bob Fulton demanded to know why his name had been linked to the scandal.
However, Beattie said Greenberg had shown great leadership in the way he had dealt with the $1.5 million breaches by the Sea Eagles and had the full support of the commissioners.
"Look, I'm a lawyer and I have to say it is a pretty compelling case," Beattie said at the launch of the NRL's 2018-2022 Strategic Plan on Tuesday.
"I am satisfied and so is the commission, unanimously, that the process that was followed was diligent, it was hard working and it was thorough.
"When the NRL makes these decisions they are not easy. Todd gets put in a position where everyone can turn around and say he is a bastard but frankly, if you are going to have a game run properly, you have got to have an honest bastard running it and that is what we have got."
In a reference to the ball-tampering controversy which has engulfed the Australian cricket team, Beattie said: "No one likes cheats in Australia, no matter what game it is".
He said the NRL had no option but to come down hard on clubs who breach the salary cap and praised Greenberg's leadership.
"No matter what code, you have to enforce standards," Beattie said. "We will stick with Todd when he makes these tough decisions. We should be grateful for that.
"Leadership matters when you actually have to make the tough decisions. It's easy to do the wonderful things we're doing today which are important for the game, but if you don't have a discipline within the game that says standards matter, values matter, ethics matter, you don't have a game.
"And frankly, while Todd is being the honest bastard the commission expects him to be, he'll have our full support."
Beattie also defended Greenberg's comments about Fulton having to apply for registration if he wanted to work in another role after leaving his post of Sea Eagles GM of Football last August.
"I've been a Bobby Fulton fan all my life, I grew up watching him play for Manly and I think he is a legend in many ways, but no legend is above the game," Beattie said.
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"We are enforcing the rules clearly in the interests of the game. That's never going to be easy. That's why someone like Todd, when he does the right thing, we as the commission will back him in the interests of the game and we won't move away from that. Everyone needs to understand that."
Greenberg said he would personally phone Fulton to discuss details of the salary cap investigation but refused to say if the former Australian coach and selector is referred to in the breach notice issued to the club.
"Ultimately that's an answer that he should have a discussion with his former employer at Manly," Greenberg said. "They're in possession of 115 pages of a breach notice and a final determination from me.