Peter V’landys reignites AFL code war

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has taken aim at “AFL types” who criticised the NRL during the coronavirus lockdown.

Both sporting codes were shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in March, and there were genuine concerns the two premierships would be abandoned altogether.

Although Australia was still grappling with the coronavirus in April, Project Apollo bravely announced the NRL Premiership would recommence on Thursday, May 28.

Several AFL pundits laughed off the return date, but as the number of cases rapidly decreased nationwide, the NRL successfully resumed in late May. The AFL sheepishly followed suit two weeks later.

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Ahead of Sunday evening’s NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium, V’landys couldn’t resist calling out his critics from the AFL community.

“When we announced May 28, they were our greatest critics,” V’landys said, as reported by foxsports.com.au.

“They said, ‘You’re mad, irresponsible’. They called us everything under the sun and then … followed us two weeks later.

“We caught them on the hop, I’m a pretty average sort of bloke. I’m a migrant boy from Wollongong, and I hate people that think they’re superior to anyone else.

“And unfortunately these AFL types think they’re better than anyone else … and they’re Victorians, that doesn’t help either.”

Andrew Abdo with Peter V’landys.Source:News Corp Australia

When asked if he ever thought the 2020 NRL premiership would be cancelled altogether, V’landys quickly replied: “Never, no, I never had any doubt whatsoever that we would be back.

The rugby league boss also revealed he wanted the NRL to resume earlier than May 28.

“We wanted to be the first sport. We set ourselves an ambitious time and ambitious date in the May 28. In actual fact, I wanted to come back on May 21 – that was based on the data,” V’landys said.

“We mapped the community infection and we had the upmost confidence in the NSW government in eradicating the virus. So every day the community infection came down, so we could then set the date of May 28 over an eight-week lead in.

“We copped a lot of criticism because everyone thought we were going to play the next day.

“We were playing eight weeks away and I was very confident that the community infection would be next to zero and sure enough it was, it was 0.13 per cent and when we stopped it was 23-24 per cent.

“Our expert at the time, who is no longer our expert, told us it would go to 60 per cent.

“That’s why we had no choice to close it, because the safety of the players was at risk and you have to take the expert advice.”

In June, V’landys accused the AFL of making up “completely false” numbers while discussing TV rights arrangements with stakeholders.

“I’m disappointed that they feel they need to make up figures,” V’landys told The Herald Sun.

“Nobody knows our figures because we’ve kept them commercially in-confidence.

“But looking at their figures, if they have given up $150 million, we have done substantially better than them.

“And if they knew the real figures, they’d be stopping the comparisons very quickly, because it doesn’t help them.

“I think they have had a dose of reality.”

V’landys also refered to the AFL Grand Final as a “second-rate event” in July.

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