I think it goes without saying that if you have become the new chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission your first task should be, without question, to learn the names of the teams in the NRL. There are only sixteen teams! You can probably think of a mnemonic to help you along, even.
Anyway, someone should pass that one to ARL chairman and former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, who – during an appearance alongside the great Phil Gould, no less – literally could not identify the predatory fish-based team who play out of the Sutherland Shire. Yes, I’m talking about the Cronulla Sharks, but Beattie didn’t know it.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) March 12, 2018
Referencing a 2014 incident in which the previous ARL chairman John Grant referred to the Sharks as the Cronulla Hawks, Gould quizzed Beattie on the actual name of the team.
“Before you’re officially welcomed, you’ve got to answer one question,” Gould asked Beattie on Nine‘s show 100% Footy. “The team that plays out of the Sutherland Shire — is it the Cronulla Hawks, the Cronulla Seagulls or the Cronulla Sharks?”
You’d imagine presenting it as a multiple choice question might at the very least give him a leg-up, like when you give it a red hot crack on HQ Trivia on question 3. Unfortunately, Beattie couldn’t muster it, despite being a self-professed lifelong fan of rugby league.
I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have a bloody clue, but I’ll know next week,” he replied. “It’s got to be Cronulla of some kind. It’s too bloody hard Gus, that’s too difficult.”
For context, the Sharks have been in rugby league competition since 1967. Beattie’s a Queenslander, sure, but there’s some history there.
Beattie took to Twitter later to confirm he had a mental blank, didn’t understand the question, and he absolutely is aware of who the Cronulla Sharks are. As proof, he proffered a photo from Saturday in which he is seen with Sharkies coach Shane Flanagan.
This was me Saturday night with the Sharks’ coach. Yes I stuffed up the answer; just nervous in front of the great Phil Gould. Yeah I’m human. I had a mental blank. The price of doing the NRL & the Commonwealth Games at the same time !! Thanks Gus for having me on the show. #nrl pic.twitter.com/L5RRSymslf
— Peter Beattie (@SmartState1) March 12, 2018
A likely story. A likely story.