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The Penalty

The Penalty

By Josh Massoud.

“Josh said it would be my decision if this book was ever to reach the public forum; a very generous offer considering he’d put a good three years into it… The book is extremely confronting and I was very tempted to say ‘No; let the story end with Ryan’s funeral.’ But then I thought, ‘This will never end, people will talk about it and second guess over a beer for years to come.’ So why not let Ryan have his say – the last word, so to speak. After all, it is his story and he’s more than earned the right to tell it.” Carol Tandy, Ryan Tandy’s mother, on THE PENALTY.

When NRL also-rans Canterbury and North Queensland met in August 2010, there appeared to be little at stake. Appearances can be deceptive…

In the lead-up to the game, more than $30,000 was bet on North Queensland to open the scoring with a penalty goal. This was a plunge without peer; both brazen and bizarre. Bookmakers were so spooked they suspended markets before kick-off. But the potential damage had already been done. The bagmen watched the opening minute in a sickened trance, as North Queensland received the ball… and then a penalty – in perfect kicking range.

The opportunity came courtesy of Canterbury prop forward Ryan Tandy. Deep in debt at the time, Tandy was also at the centre of a compelling web of wagers. His flatmate, real estate agent and manager all stood to profit from his actions. Only the pure unpredictability of sport stopped them from earning a major collect.

While the punters walked away empty-handed, Tandy was placed in handcuffs soon after. He would become the first person to be convicted for match-fixing in Australian history; a burden too heavy for one man to bear as Tandy’s tragic death in April 2014 showed.

Yet behind the sensational headlines, little is known about the real Ryan Tandy, the real story behind the match-fixing episode, or the police investigation that claimed his scalp.

Senior News Corp sports reporter Josh Massoud spent three years reconstructing the events to deliver this gripping account from the darkest and most hidden recess of Australian sport. Including a forward from Ryan Tandy’s mother, Carol, as well as interviews with all the key people involved – from Ryan’s psychologist, to Ryan himself – Josh Massoud’s THE PENALTY brings us the inside story of Ryan Tandy and rugby league’s most notorious match-fixing scandal.


Josh Massoud is a senior sports journalist for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. He’s best known for tackling the most controversial stories and figures in the game, relishing stories that impart the drama, pressures and emotion of an arena where the stakes are always rising. Josh believes there is no better example of this than THE PENALTY.

The Penalty is available now.

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