I didn't suggest an SL club in Barrow but I see why you'd think I was hinting towards it as I only really spoke about Barrow born players although they're the only ones I could add to the topic. I know that fans won't come from west to south or south to west cumbria to watch an SL club as the roads are dire.
And IMO a stronger ameteur game is more important than having an SL club in the area. Maybe an SL club in a specific area will lead to an improvement of the ameteur game and more players produced. But like you said I've never understood why you NEED an SL club produce talent as Cumbria is a great example of how you don't.
It depends on what you mean "To produce talent".
Wigan and Leeds produce so much top class talent they can field home born/home grown first XV11's.
York and Doncaster "produce talent" that is top class too. Peter Fox and Ian Kirke.
In Leeds the kids are attracted to the game partly because of the Rhinos success, the kids go to games in great numbers, the club organises events for kids and sends it's players into the schools to promote the game and the local media are always harping on about them, on matchdays kids teams are invited to play at half time and they love that, etc etc etc.
So having an SL club around is a teensy weensy bit of a help to boosting the participation. Several new junior clubs have opened on the back of Leeds Superleague success. Top class kids only have a bus ride to further their careers etc.
So if Cumbria is "rich in talent" having an SL club around would boost that significantly.
Barrow is the biggest of the Cumbria clubs, best positioned fans wise to be an SL club (although a long way off it sadly) but if that awful road means Barrow may as well be Wigan to the kids of southern cumbria, then there we go.
Sadly SL is a vehicle only for attracting fans(i.e. money) and erm money, but the RFL have intervened a bit in this to push for SL to be used to widen the player base (done to death on other threads) if West cumbria is an area where RL is king, then an SL club could underpin that generate further interest and produce a teamful? Of Cumbria professionals??
The example I'm thinking of is Salford and castleford. One club can't produce top class juniors to save it's life yet it has access to 2M people just about. The other - a town of 40K can churn them out so to speak.
So population doesn't actually count, it's about how steeped an area is in the game and how vibrant RL is in that area. An SL club in west cumbria may not be a financial success (but few are at the moment), but if the policy ever changes and player development is given a higher priority then I'd certainly like to see one there.
The sad thing down here is if a kid looks like making it in Dewsbury there's five Superleague scouts crowding the kid!