the opposite. we need to put more effort on increasing the total number of kids playing the sport to a level that makes running pro-Academy structures sustainable.
Take the NW - Widnes, Warrington, Salford, Wigan, St. Helens all taking 20 - 30 lads of each age group away from the amateur game per annum. There is no way on earth that all of them would flow into the pro game and many were being recruited into the structures to make up the numbers. Their expactations were over-optimistically raised and then many felt used by the sport so quit the sport.
Worse, was that many junior sides might only have 15 - 20 players and if they lose 5/6 to a scholarship system (and with so many pro-sides and so few jenuio sides this was happening!) the junior side might struggle each week to put a side out; so then even more players are pushed out of the game as individual junior sides struggle to be viable.
the system was not working - the result was less young players playing the game!
have 20+ more sides at each age group and it might have been sustainable to run so many Academy and Scholarship structures. Until we have that volume of kids in the game it's not vaible to keep dragging lads into 'talent pathways'. That is as much a reason for the reforms as it was cost-cutting by the pro-ranks.
so my point is, we can only run those type of structures as a sport IF we concentrate more time, effort and resource of increasing junior participation. we just need Sport England to recognise it now!
A very interesting and informative post.
You say "take the NW - Widnes, Warrington, Salford, Wigan, St. Helens all taking 20 - 30 lads of each age group away from the amateur game per annum".
What about West Yorkshire?, take Cas, Wakey, Leeds, Bradford, Fartown all dragging 20-30 lads a year out of junior RL then Featherstone, Halifax and Sheffield joining in, up to 200+ lads a year being taken away from the amateur game.
How many actually make it??
This kid in the OP is a Wakey kid, how many Wakefield lads have made it into Superleague since wakey came into SL in 1999?? How many Wakefield lads are playing SL regularly now? The numbers will surprise many on here.
You can add academies at Batley, Keighley, Hunslet, Dewsbury and York and you can add more teams at each age level until your blue in the face with so called budding SL stars, but until more kids take up the game all your doing is increasing the numbers of rejects and stuffing up amateur clubs youth teams.
We don't need more academies in the same area, we need academies in London. Wales, Cumbria etc.
When we were full of Aussies the cry on here was get rid of them and allow the British talent to come through. But it's not there, there's a significant player shortage, Lamont Bryan has just signed for Fev saying he's had offers from SL clubs. This lad didn't make it with the supposedly gord awful Broncos? Why would any SL club want him? Why do HKR want Omari Caro? Don't they produce brilliant wingers from the hotbed of RL any more?
People come on here and play the attendances game - it makes sense to have the best supported clubs in SL, Broncos are a waste of space. Maybe they would be if the north wasn't desperately in need of lads from London Cumbria and Wales to develop to make up the quality player shortfall.
Sheffield for SL? Leigh for SL? Where are they going to find players when established big clubs like Wakefield or Bradford can't stock their sides locally from an amateur game established for well over 100 years???
Edited by The Parksider, 05 January 2013 - 11:15 PM.