Twenty five years to the day since the start of the Super League war, veteran administrator John Quayle warns rugby league now faces a far greater challenge - the coronavirus pandemic.
Wednesday marks a quarter of a century since the first shots were fired publicly in the game's great war, which tore the sport down the middle for three years.
Renowned as one of the game's great administrators, Quayle was at the centre of it as the ARL chief executive faced a newly-created rival competition.
The lasting impacts of the great divide - which in its simplest terms was about pay TV but in reality included so much more - hung over the sport for years.
From broken friendships, lost fans and many millions of dollars in expenditure.
But Quayle warns none of that was as serious as the predicament the NRL now finds itself in with the competition suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis.
And he says the game must find a way to learn from the past while ensuring all 16 clubs remain intact.
"Super League was just about one sport, this is about life and death," Quayle told AAP.
"The game has been so resilient and Australian sport has been to be able to go through times of war and times of recession and depression.
"There is no greater challenge than this.
"But the challenge to administrators is how we come out of it.
"Not only our sport but all the codes."
Quayle's message is simple: the league and its clubs must take heed and stop spending beyond their means.
"You have to come out of it stronger," he said.
"It's very important because you can't control what's happened now, it's out of your control.
"But if you're in the same position in three years' time, you haven't achieved anything."
It was during Quayle's 14-year administration that the salary cap was introduced, among a range of measures aimed to stop clubs becoming insolvent.
A future fund of about $20 million was created to safeguard the sport long term, controversially kept away from clubs when they needed financial assistance.
But he knows all too well that clubs will rarely save money for a rainy day, regardless of where the eventual financial threat comes from.
"The only thing that ever changes in sport is the dates" Quayle said.
"No matter what code we all have our same problems.
"Reality says there will be a new set of boards in clubs and a new set of coaches that say give me this million dollars and I'll win a premiership.
"And that's fantasy and always has been."
Quayle, who sits on the board of Venues NSW and has a grape and cattle farm in the Hunter region, said it is imperative no clubs are lost to the game.
It comes after Phil Gould warned last week he didn't expect all would survive the season postponement while Andrew Johns said the shutdown could prompt a better competition with 12 teams.
But Quayle, who saw the top-tier existence of several teams come under threat during the Super League war, insisted it was always in the game's best interest to retain clubs.
"The game has to be strong in all of this, I want 16 clubs to survive," he said.
"Once you take out a club you take out generations of fans... What do you do if Brisbane or Canberra or Parramatta go down?
"Are you going to let them fold when they are the future audience?"
Australian Associated Press