LEAGUE SUPER BRONCOS
By Wayne Heming of AAP
BRISBANE, March 18 AAP - A rebel competition involving 300
players and several top coaches offering rugby league fans free
admission remains Super League's unplayed card.
The players and coaches pulled a joker from the deck today,
putting up a contentious 15-point peace proposal to the Australian
Rugby League, effectively stalling a decision on whether the 311
rebels and eight coaches would return to the ARL fold.
Speculation was mounting today that the disgrunted players and
coaches aligned to Super League would split with their clubs and go
it alone, playing games in opposition to the Australian Rugby
League competition if their peace package was tossed out.
Their ace card would be free admission to fans around Australia
with their leading teams already sure to outdraw the teams of
second-stringers their clubs would be forced to field.
ARL officials are due to renew talks with senior players'
spokesman Chris Johns and Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett in Sydney
tomorrow after their peace plan is scrutinised by their lawyers
If the ARL rejects a majority of their claims, as expected, it's
tipped they will go ahead and put on free rugby league games
head-to-head with the ARL until their appeal to the Full Bench of
the Federal Court is heard.
To do so, they will have had to find a legal method of playing
without contravening the orders brought down in the Federal Court
which banned Super League until the year 2000.
Bennett, who conceded many points of today's proposal were
ngotiable, later warned if the ARL rejected the initiative, the
players could be forced to go "without their clubs" which he added
would divide the fans.
Broncos captain Allan Langer spoke out for a majority of Super
League players today when he said: "I'm confident of playing this
weekend, I just don't know who and what for yet."
Today's compromise package contained a number of bold
conditions, including the addition of the Hunter Mariners and
Adelaide Rams in a 22-team national competition, which some ARL
sources said tonight were too over the top to be accepted.
Other key points of the players' peace package were:
. Players and coaches will participate under terms and
conditions of existing Super League contracts.
. Test series between Australia and New Zealand to be played
with only non-Super League players eligible.
. Super League players unavailable for ARL State of Origin
. New three-way NSW-Queensland-NZ competition to be played with
only Super League-contracted players available.
. Super League-contracted players not to be forced to promote
the ARL competition.
. Super League teams to wear their own jerseys with their own
. Foxtel to be allowed to broadcast some games.
Brisbane Broncos chief executive Shane Edwards said the latest
move in the great war between the ARL and Super League was
player-coach orchestrated, although he said it had the club's
"It gives us (Broncos) and other clubs like us the chance to get
the best team on the field which is what everyone wants," said
"John Quayle was in the papers saying he wants to see the
players back on the football field.
"This gives the ARL a guarantee of a competition in 1996 with
the best players."
Edwards tonight conceded if the peace package was rejected, the
Broncos would struggle for get a team on the field for their first
game against Auckland at ANZ Stadium on Sunday and would be forced
to ask the ARL if it could field what would be a sub-standard team.
"We (Broncos) have an image to uphold and responsibilities to
our sponsors and fans."
Asked if the club was concerned the club could disgrace itself
on the field without it star players, Edwards said: "You should ask
the ARL that question."
Brisbane have held back on putting tickets on sale for the game
against fellow Super League supporters Auckland Warriors because it
has no idea of the standard of the side it will be able to put on
"At this stage we're still hopeful the ARL will accept the
players' compromise and if that is not successful that some of our
players might come back (to play in the ARL)," said Edwards.
"As a club we have to comply with the court orders and at the
end of the day we have to look after and service our fans and
Edwards said free admission to Sunday's game was something o
club would have to look at depending on further talks between the
players and the ARL.
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