QRL bosses may need 12-month ban themselves
I'm not one for quoting the Bible too often, but the tribulations and then trials of Queensland's Emerging Origin squad members during the past week had me dusting of the good book.
'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone' was one line that struck me as I digested what has been nothing short of an administrative circus. And, as it was with the appointment of its new coach, the QRL hierarchy has proved to be grossly inept.
Firstly, I have no sympathy for the young players who openly defied their coach, broke camp and headed off to the Valley nightclub precinct.
And if it is true that when interrogated the following morning they failed to own up, they are pretty weak individuals.
But the eye-catching 'The Hateful 8' newspaper headline was sensationalist and way over the top, even if its relevance was a recent-release movie.
Also, plonking the bans for these disobedient players in the 12-month basket is overkill. They have, in effect, been blacklisted from playing for any Queensland team during the 2016 Origin series. That's three games.
On the surface, the punishment is too harsh. Sure, they need to be disciplined, and yes, a certain culture has to be upheld.
And that is where the casting of the first stone reference comes into effect.
Is the QRL taking us for fools? Do they honestly want us to believe the off-field culture of our State of Origin team is squeaky clean?
Almost every year a headline is created for some indiscretion, even the very minor and harmless incident.
Have we forgotten that former coach Mal Meninga was asked to leave a bar in the city just two years ago during a team bonding session?
And even though it was five years ago and he wasn't in Origin camp, are we overlooking the fact that a drunken Johnathan Thurston was arrested outside a Brisbane casino?
Yet both, we are told, had an input into the decision to ban these eight young blokes.
While I admire the QRL for taking a tough stance and sending a stern message, the punishment does not fit the crime - except in the case of Valentine Holmes, who obviously behaved like a goose. And if the Players' Association does not take up their case, it is what it always has been - a toothless tiger.
But the greatest embarrassment from this incident is the tardy manner in which the QRL hierarchy has managed the situation - and I'm certainly excluding coach Kevin Walters from that criticism.
As it was when the Origin coaching appointment was unceremoniously stuffed up, the QRL has been leaderless.
Maybe a 12-month ban on the QRL bosses is a more appropriate sanction.