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AFL laughing as ARL may hit up Foxtel for more cash, Demetriou cheekily asks to delay bans

The AFL is laughing all the way to the bank while its chief provocateur, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys, is being forced to defend the NRL’s broadcast deal.

With the AFL’s $4.5 billion seven-year deal with Foxtel and Seven swamping the contract that the NRL renewed with Foxtel and Nine during the pandemic, league officials are in damage control.

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, the NRL is considering asking Foxtel back to the negotiating table to ask for tens of millions of dollars in compensation due to a “perceived verbal agreement” that the pay-TV broadcaster would look after the league after it was willing to do a deal during the pandemic uncertainty.

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The ARL Commission is opening itself up to more criticism after being lampooned for claiming it had a handshake agreement with the NSW Government over stadium funding. 

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet eventually diverted the funding set aside for upgrades to suburban stadiums to assist with disaster relief after the recent flooding in the state.

It is believed the AFL will be earning $100-$200m per year from its broadcast deal than the NRL and club bosses are unhappy that head office has sold the game short. V’landys has repeatedly refused to divulge the actual dollar figure that the NRL will receive from its broadcast deal.

The NRL, according to the SMH, had tried to institute a “most favoured” clause in its deal with Foxtel which would have prevented them from paying more for their AFL contract. It was rejected.  

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Players scuffle during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Demetriou: Trio should avoid bans … of get them delayed

South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou believes three Rabbitohs players sin-binned in a fiery NRL elimination final defeat of the Sydney Roosters will escape suspension.

Seven players were sent to the sin-bin during the Rabbitohs’ 30-14 win at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Souths prop Thomas Burgess and winger Taane Milne were given 10-minute spells in the sin-bin for high tackles that came within a minute of each other in the first half.

Burgess was sin-binned after committing two high shots in the space of 30 seconds, the first leaving Roosters captain James Tedesco with a game-ending concussion, before Milne hit winger Joseph Suaalii high.

In the second half, Junior Tatola spent 10 minutes in the bin for contacting Egan Butcher’s head and sparking a melee, while Milne’s high tackle on Connor Watson forced him to go for another spell.

Demetriou conceded some of his players could be fined by the match review committee but thought suspensions were unlikely ahead of next week’s sudden-death semi against Cronulla.

“I don’t think they were that bad,” he told reporters.

“Tom’s first one was on report but I thought his second one was a fine at best. 

“And Taane’s are clumsy. Based on what the game’s done over the course of the season, I think they’re looking at some fines.”

He had a cheeky dig at head office over the strange recent decision to allow Panthers rookie Taylan May to serve a two-game ban for an off-field incident at the start of next season.

“We’ve got the benefit of using the suspensions next year – that’s a new policy that we use, isn’t it? Can we do that? The fans want to see them play. I’ll have a word to Peter (V’landys), we’ll get a petition going, the fans will show their interest and we’ll serve it next season.”

Burgess, 30, is averaging more tackle breaks this year than ever and is running for 140 metres per game, while Tatola was recently crowned the Rabbitohs’ player of the year for his consistency through the middle.

The pair would loom as big losses but Demetriou said the Rabbitohs had the stocks to remain competitive if they were suspended.

“We’ll wait and see. Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it,” he said. “We’ve got some players ready to line up. That’s why the squad is important.”

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