For­mer Ma­roons Ori­gin great says throw the book at the guilty

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd - by Antony Ste­wart antony. ste­wart@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

RUGBY league le­gend Greg Dowl­ing is de­mand­ing any­one found guilty in the NRL’s bet­ting scan­dal be thrown out of the game.

The for­mer Aus­tralia in­ter­na­tional was ap­palled by news prom­i­nent player agent Sam Ay­oub and ex-player John Elias were ar­rested and charged yes­ter­day with at­tempt­ing to ob­tain fi­nan­cial ad­van­tage by de­cep­tion

It fol­lows Ryan Tandy’s court ap­pear­ance over his al­leged in­volve­ment in a sus­pi­cious bet­ting plunge on a Bull­dogs-Cow­boys game last year.

If found said there guilty, Dowl­ing should be no sec­ond chances. ‘‘ They’ve got to throw the book at them, it’s as sim­ple as that,’’ said Dowl­ing, speak­ing from his Oporto restau­rant in Townsville. ‘‘ The league will have to make a stance on it.’’

L a t e y e s t e r d a y i t d i d ex­actly that, with NRL chief e x e c u t i v e D a v i d G a l l o p d e c l a r i n g g u i l t y p a r t i e s would re­ceive a life ban.

‘‘ Any­one who’s found to have been in­volved fix­ing a game or an el­e­ment of a game is go­ing to find them­selves charged by the po­lice and their place in the game I would say will dis­ap­pear,’’ Gal­lop said. ‘‘ Life bans have got to be on the cards for that kind of thing.’’

D o w l i n g a t t e n d e d t h e round 24 game at Dairy Farm­ers Sta­dium on Au­gust 21 last year, and said he im­me­di­ately smelled a rat as Tandy’s hold­ing down of Grant Rovelli in a tackle in front of the posts went on in­or­di­nately long.

‘‘ It just went on and on and on, it was crazy,’’ Dowl­ing said.

With bet­ting so prom­i­nent in the mod­ern game, Dowl­ing said it was es­sen­tial any­one in­volved in the NRL – in­clud­ing player agents – were banned, like play­ers, from plac­ing money on any as­pect of the sport.

‘‘ They shouldn’t be al­lowed ( to bet),’’ the 11-time Queens­land State of Ori­gin rep­re­sen­ta­tive said of player agents.

‘‘ They’re pretty close to all the play­ers, they’ve got all the in­side info on what’s go­ing on, what all the play­ers are do­ing and all that, more than what any­one else has and they have got a po­si­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity.’’

While ac­cept­ing ‘‘ spot fix­ing’’ was un­for­tu­nately be­com­ing a more and more reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence in sport, Dowl­ing strug­gled to com­pre­hend how any player’s con­science could al­low them to be in­volved.

‘‘ I’m miffed by all this. I’ve been asked over the years about all match fix­ing and I just say, ‘ you’re kid­ding aren’t you?’ You go out there and train your arse off, and to throw a game, you’re kid­ding,’’ he said.

‘‘ But the sad thing about it,

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