50 most influential people in P20-21 rugby league
The list of rugby league’s most important figures is dominated by one very special player, writes MICHAEL CARAYANNIS
HE’S the undisputed king of rugby league — and his reign is set to continue. Fresh from captaining the Storm to NRL glory and winning the Dally M medal, all-round superstar Cameron Smith has been crowned as the game’s most influential figure in the year to come.
The Kangaroos and Queensland captain, who also has a growing role off the field after gaining a place in the now-powerful Rugby League Players Association, was deemed even more important than NRL boss Todd Greenberg in a list of the game’s top 50 powerbrokers for 2018.
Compiled by the Sunday Telegraph’s sports team, the rankings include a mix of sporting, corporate, media and administration identities who are directly responsible for ensuring the future success of one of Australia’s greatest codes.
Among the big guns is incoming Australian Rugby League commissioner Peter Beattie — who is set to be the game’s new chairman — and News Corp’s Michael Miller and Phil Rothfield.
Telstra chief marketing officer Joe Pollard and Harvey Norman boss Katie Page show the growing influence of women in the game by sitting ahead of the likes of Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga. While some big names, such as Jarryd Hayne and Paul Gallen, missed out, player power is also at its strongest yet, with five current players featuring.