In 2000, the Victorian government finished a $ 460 million stadium in a similar port location on the edge of the business district, originally called Docklands, and within walking distance of public transportation like Barangaroo.
It is now owned by the AFL, which has been turned over to the Code, along with significant recent funding for cleanup, which further demonstrates the power of the Code in Melbourne compared to the NRL's influence in Sydney.
Smith wasn't the first rugby league identity to see the site's potential.
In 1987 Arthur Beetson, his former Balmain team-mate Phil Franks, and successful pharmacist Vernon O'Neill bought the lease for the Big House Hotel, now called Sussex and owned by the Maritime Services Board.
But Franks, who has a long memory and short temper, was never friends with the city police and maintains a corrupt licensing police force that has resulted in the trio losing their license since his death.
Franks spent a year of his youth in the Mount Penang Detention Center where his lightning-fast fists landed him a fight with the infamous Neddy Smith and earned him the reputation of king of the children's prison but a lifelong enemy of Neddy.
He claims he wouldn't have been to Mount Penang other than doing rap for a future professional criminal, Michael Hurley.
Hurley owned the Big House license with Sydney businessman Bob Chen Chow and sold it to Beetson, O'Neill and Franks for $ 465,000, with Franks holding a 75 percent stake.
Chow, a fanatical Manly fan and sponsor, worked with Hurley to use the Big House sales to buy other pubs.
Hurley became perhaps Sydney's largest organized crime operator and was featured on the Underbelly series. The disgraced detective Roger Rogerson was working for him when he was fired by the police. He died of cancer in Long Bay Prison in 2007, aged 61, after being convicted of trafficking 10 kilograms of cocaine in Sydney in 2004.
Despite his reputation, Hurley did not attract the attention of the license police.
Franks, however, was banned from licensing, as the Full Bench of the Metropolitan Licensing Court found on September 4, 1987: “Franks has long been a person of immature and unstable temperament, prone to impulsive and sometimes violent behavior if it is influenced by alcohol. "
He played first grade for four clubs and moved into real estate development to acquire a significant portfolio.
"I tried to make something of my life, but the cops murdered my character and I never recovered," he said, admitting, "I was never an angel".
This brings us to Mick Fuller, the NSW police superintendent, whom ARLC chairman Peter V’landys tried unsuccessfully to appoint to his board to ensure that "players are not associated with criminal types."
When Fuller joined the police, it was the criminals rather than the ex-footballers who got the green light, the way governments support casinos today, despite their proven ability to launder dirty money.
We are told again and again that it is one percent of footballers who cost the code sponsorships and government support. Perhaps the bigger problem is the Code's continuing lack of influence on the big end of town.
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Roy Masters is a sports columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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