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Rugby League Future?


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#1 RoytonRoughyed

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:50 AM

Hi All

First time poster (Maybe last time depending on the response)

After watching the Wigan / Widnes game on Saturday i was wondering what Rugby League could do to make it more competitive aswell as trying to expand the game in London & South.

If i had a magic wand i would wave it so that we had 50 clubs with 20,000 fans, £100m turnover and £10m Salary Cap. But we can all agree that senario is never going to happen.

The best idea i have heard is to have 4 league of 10 with the 10 strongest teams competing at the top level this would hopefully improve competition and allow the clubs to get stronger. Whilst the league at the bottom continue with the traditional clubs and any expansion teams.

All others are a mish mash of the current status with 12/13/14 teams but its never going to rival NRL and Union which is English RL competiton for players and fans.

I have come up with an new idea (well its basically Rupert Murdochs idea of merging teams) the only difference is that the current Championship style league would carry on as a North West and Yorkshire League containing all that Heartland teams in there traditional ways producing players and giving fans everything they have got now.

So basically i have a Super 13 League. In this league contains the following teams:
Warrington (Warrington)
Catalans (Catalans)
Leeds (Leeds, Hunslet)
St Helens (St Helens / Although to broaden there reach they would be Mersey Saints)
Hull (Hull FC, Hull KR)
Wigan (Wigan, Leigh)
Bradford (Bradford, Keighley)
Cumbria (Barrow, Workington, Whitehaven)
South Yorks (Sheffield, Doncaster)
West Yorks (Huddersfield, Castleford, Wakefield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Batley, Featherstone)
North Yorks (York)
Cheshire (Widnes)
Greater Manchester (Salford, Oldham, Swinton, Rochdale)

I realise that will be unpopular to alot of fans some clubs Huddersfield and the Hulls would probably be able to continue in the current state but im trying to create a strong Rugby League Format.

Below that would be a Semi Pro Structure. The North West League which containe all the the 12 old Lancashire teams and The Yorks clubs which would cary the 16 Yorkshire teams. This would enable the tradiditons Rugby League has continued for 100 years to carry on and would able player production in a similar way they trying with Dual Reg but this would be better structure. Also the Challenge Cup would continue with teams teams and others nationwide as a cup competition with final played before the Grand Final

The BARLA clubs would go back the the old North West Counties, Cumbria League ETC but there status would be the same.

Thats the Heartlands sorted. Below the Super 13 league would be a development league with full Promotion and Relegation. This means the team that goes up is there on Merit and if they aint strong enough they go back down. Similar the Heartlands Teams if they become weak they fall into the division below.

The division below is pretty much a regional set up
Greater London (Broncos, Skolars)
East England (Hemel)
South West (Gloucester, Bristol)
South East (Oxford, Medway)
East Midlands (Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton)
West Midlands (Coventry)
North East (Gateshead)
Wales (North Wales, South Wales)
Scotland (Scottish League Clubs)
Ireland (Irish League Clubs)
France (Ellite League)
Lancashire (Blackpool)
East Yorks (All the clubs in East Yorks)

They then have there own development structure for each region to bring on players and try and bring in new fans and players throughout the country and in France which the game really needs.

Like i said i realise its similar to the Murdoch proposal but i think this way would both strenghen the Top Professional Structure and allow the Traditional Clubs to have there old traditions.

Take Easter, people complaining about 2 games in 4 days. That would be sorted the Traditional Clubs would play on Good Friday the New Regions on Easter Monday. Problem solves rugby both days but no player burn out.

Please try and not look at this from your own clubs eyes look as a fan of Rugby League and ask yourself if this would improve the game financially which is the important thing in todays sports. Every single person in Great Britain, Ireland and France has a team to follow which cant be a bad thing for starters.

If you look objectivly and still think im a buffoon then i have no problems with that.

#2 steef

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 09:15 AM

Why do RL fans not like RL? I never have such thoughts I just enjoy the games I see. Given the country is in a mess financialy I'd say things were ok with the game. Maybe not changing things so often would help. Realising that teams occasionally lose heavily in all sports and that big clubs will always be big clubs and that these clubs win the bulk of the trophies would be an improvement for many of the games fans i feel. Mergers just dont work in the uk, the fuss over DR players should show that clearly enough.
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#3 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 09:18 AM

The West Yorkshire team looks a laugh.

And I'm sure Keighley and Leigh will be thrilled by their merger/absorption into their neighbours.

Think you need to have a think about why this obviously wouldn't work.
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#4 Griff

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 01:28 PM

Think you might be struggling with York as well.

The real problem with mergers is that supporters don't buy into it. They might do later - or perhaps new folk might come along and support the merged clubs.

But can you afford the finances in the interim ? Can you afford to alienate so many of your customers ?

Maybe. Maybe not.
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#5 Ponterover

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

Hi All

First time poster (Maybe last time depending on the response)

After watching the Wigan / Widnes game on Saturday i was wondering what Rugby League could do to make it more competitive aswell as trying to expand the game in London & South.

If i had a magic wand i would wave it so that we had 50 clubs with 20,000 fans, £100m turnover and £10m Salary Cap. But we can all agree that senario is never going to happen.

The best idea i have heard is to have 4 league of 10 with the 10 strongest teams competing at the top level this would hopefully improve competition and allow the clubs to get stronger. Whilst the league at the bottom continue with the traditional clubs and any expansion teams.

All others are a mish mash of the current status with 12/13/14 teams but its never going to rival NRL and Union which is English RL competiton for players and fans.

I have come up with an new idea (well its basically Rupert Murdochs idea of merging teams) the only difference is that the current Championship style league would carry on as a North West and Yorkshire League containing all that Heartland teams in there traditional ways producing players and giving fans everything they have got now.

So basically i have a Super 13 League. In this league contains the following teams:
Warrington (Warrington)
Catalans (Catalans)
Leeds (Leeds, Hunslet)
St Helens (St Helens / Although to broaden there reach they would be Mersey Saints)
Hull (Hull FC, Hull KR)
Wigan (Wigan, Leigh)
Bradford (Bradford, Keighley)
Cumbria (Barrow, Workington, Whitehaven)
South Yorks (Sheffield, Doncaster)
West Yorks (Huddersfield, Castleford, Wakefield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Batley, Featherstone)
North Yorks (York)
Cheshire (Widnes)
Greater Manchester (Salford, Oldham, Swinton, Rochdale)

I realise that will be unpopular to alot of fans some clubs Huddersfield and the Hulls would probably be able to continue in the current state but im trying to create a strong Rugby League Format.

Below that would be a Semi Pro Structure. The North West League which containe all the the 12 old Lancashire teams and The Yorks clubs which would cary the 16 Yorkshire teams. This would enable the tradiditons Rugby League has continued for 100 years to carry on and would able player production in a similar way they trying with Dual Reg but this would be better structure. Also the Challenge Cup would continue with teams teams and others nationwide as a cup competition with final played before the Grand Final

The BARLA clubs would go back the the old North West Counties, Cumbria League ETC but there status would be the same.

Thats the Heartlands sorted. Below the Super 13 league would be a development league with full Promotion and Relegation. This means the team that goes up is there on Merit and if they aint strong enough they go back down. Similar the Heartlands Teams if they become weak they fall into the division below.

The division below is pretty much a regional set up
Greater London (Broncos, Skolars)
East England (Hemel)
South West (Gloucester, Bristol)
South East (Oxford, Medway)
East Midlands (Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton)
West Midlands (Coventry)
North East (Gateshead)
Wales (North Wales, South Wales)
Scotland (Scottish League Clubs)
Ireland (Irish League Clubs)
France (Ellite League)
Lancashire (Blackpool)
East Yorks (All the clubs in East Yorks)

They then have there own development structure for each region to bring on players and try and bring in new fans and players throughout the country and in France which the game really needs.

Like i said i realise its similar to the Murdoch proposal but i think this way would both strenghen the Top Professional Structure and allow the Traditional Clubs to have there old traditions.

Take Easter, people complaining about 2 games in 4 days. That would be sorted the Traditional Clubs would play on Good Friday the New Regions on Easter Monday. Problem solves rugby both days but no player burn out.

Please try and not look at this from your own clubs eyes look as a fan of Rugby League and ask yourself if this would improve the game financially which is the important thing in todays sports. Every single person in Great Britain, Ireland and France has a team to follow which cant be a bad thing for starters.

If you look objectivly and still think im a buffoon then i have no problems with that.


Why no merger for Warrington/Widnes? They're only 1 M62 junction apart.

Would never work for me, I've been a fev fan for nearly 40 years, that's not likely to change. My mate Dene is a Cas fan, he'll never change, my old boss is a Fartown fan, he'll never change.

Any merger such as you propose would struggle like hell because you would alienate too many of the fans of the old clubs to have a viable crowd level.

Yes you might get the next generation on board, but how will you bridge the financial gap in the mean-time?

#6 Gav Wilson

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 02:35 PM

Not sure the North Yorkshire City Knights will pull in that many punters from Whitby or Middlesborough if I'm honest...
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#7 Maximus Decimus

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 03:51 PM

The West Yorkshire team looks a laugh.

And I'm sure Keighley and Leigh will be thrilled by their merger/absorption into their neighbours.

Think you need to have a think about why this obviously wouldn't work.


To be fair, it's probably not much worse than the fate they've currently been resigned to.

The question of how to successfully structure professional Rugby League is one so difficult to answer and one so frought with emotion that if it ever was, the person that figured it out would be deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize.

I'm of the opinion that there is no solution that comes close to ideal. The current one is sustainable but I'm very aware of the damage being done to the lower levels and even the lower levels of SL. I'm starting to lean in favour of a return to full P&R but haven't forgotten the farcical situation that we had with that the last time it was brought in.

Personally, the 2 leagues of 10 argument (fully licensed) would be the best solution if the money was available to fund it, which it isn't. If it was brought in now and not televised, we would probably just end up with the old problems of a second division being seen as a much lower division and the attendances would reflect that.

#8 guess who

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 05:46 PM

As a Keighley fan. Your idea is ######. Keighley wouldnt exist if they merged.

#9 Griff

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:02 PM

Not sure the North Yorkshire City Knights will pull in that many punters from Whitby or Middlesborough if I'm honest...


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#10 Gav Wilson

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:16 PM

:angry: Middlesbrough


I knew that would get a nibble! :D
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#11 Duff Duff

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:43 PM

They should go for a ten team Super League with a raised salary cap to compete to the NRL and Rugby Union. They should also go back to a top 5 playoff system to ensure that the normal league matches actually count. Only clubs that can spend up to the salary cap should be allowed into Super League and Super League should only be expanded as and when the sport can afford it.

I would also bring back the 3 match Yorkshire v Lancashire series as a show case for the middle of the season as it is the best way of getting the best players in the UK ready for the international game and the best vehicle for raising the profile of the sport with the general public. Also if international selection was dependent on County performances then these matches would offer British players an intense level of competition that they are currently denied.

Finally they should bring back the Great Britain national side and bring back regular home and away Test series with New Zealand and Australia. Say every 2 years home and away so Britian are always playing either New Zealand or Australia at the end of the domestic season.

The two key points is the quality and intensity of the club game needs to be improved with clubs having bigger budgets and better players and also that representative games at both County and International level are the best way of attracting the interest of the media and the general public.

More casual sports fans and the media are going to be more interested in Yorkshire v Lancashire than they are in Wigan v Leeds and even more people are going to be interested in Great Britian v Australia than they are Yorkshire v Lancashire. It seems pretty simple to me. You would have three tiers of competition with an increase in quality and intensity with each tier a player moves up with selection of players being dependent on how they perform at the tier below.

Finally put all the representative matches, the County games and the internationals, on the BBC to raise the exposure of the sport to levels it last saw in the early 1990s. Contrary to popular belief the BBC would love to show high quality representative Rugby League on TV in an effort to counter balance all the Union they show and so to dismiss accusations of bias. Instead of being able to show a high quality product they are left with international games between England v Wales and France which are uncompetitive and harm the image of the sport more than anything else. At the moment the contrast with Union is very unflattering. 80,000 for Wales v England in Cardiff compared to 5,000 for England v Wales in Hull.

It doesn't seem like rocket science to me. The only way the national media are going to care about Rugby League is of a competitive Great Britian side are playing regular tests against Australia and New Zealand. Everything else; the Challenge Cup final, the Playoffs and the Grand Final pale into significance.

Here is a question. Who are the current Six Nations Rugby Union champions? Also who are the current English Rugby Union club champions? I am sure everyone knows the answer to the first question but not many would know the answer to the second one. That sort of proves my point.

#12 Ponterover

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:54 PM

They should go for a ten team Super League with a raised salary cap to compete to the NRL and Rugby Union. They should also go back to a top 5 playoff system to ensure that the normal league matches actually count. Only clubs that can spend up to the salary cap should be allowed into Super League and Super League should only be expanded as and when the sport can afford it.

I would also bring back the 3 match Yorkshire v Lancashire series as a show case for the middle of the season as it is the best way of getting the best players in the UK ready for the international game and the best vehicle for raising the profile of the sport with the general public. Also if international selection was dependent on County performances then these matches would offer British players an intense level of competition that they are currently denied.

Finally they should bring back the Great Britain national side and bring back regular home and away Test series with New Zealand and Australia. Say every 2 years home and away so Britian are always playing either New Zealand or Australia at the end of the domestic season.

The two key points is the quality and intensity of the club game needs to be improved with clubs having bigger budgets and better players and also that representative games at both County and International level are the best way of attracting the interest of the media and the general public.

More casual sports fans and the media are going to be more interested in Yorkshire v Lancashire than they are in Wigan v Leeds and even more people are going to be interested in Great Britian v Australia than they are Yorkshire v Lancashire. It seems pretty simple to me. You would have three tiers of competition with an increase in quality and intensity with each tier a player moves up with selection of players being dependent on how they perform at the tier below.

Finally put all the representative matches, the County games and the internationals, on the BBC to raise the exposure of the sport to levels it last saw in the early 1990s. Contrary to popular belief the BBC would love to show high quality representative Rugby League on TV in an effort to counter balance all the Union they show and so to dismiss accusations of bias. Instead of being able to show a high quality product they are left with international games between England v Wales and France which are uncompetitive and harm the image of the sport more than anything else. At the moment the contrast with Union is very unflattering. 80,000 for Wales v England in Cardiff compared to 5,000 for England v Wales in Hull.

It doesn't seem like rocket science to me. The only way the national media are going to care about Rugby League is of a competitive Great Britian side are playing regular tests against Australia and New Zealand. Everything else; the Challenge Cup final, the Playoffs and the Grand Final pale into significance.

Here is a question. Who are the current Six Nations Rugby Union champions? Also who are the current English Rugby Union club champions? I am sure everyone knows the answer to the first question but not many would know the answer to the second one. That sort of proves my point.


Great post

#13 RSN

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:41 PM

Cumbria side is a non starter. Barrow fans won't travel to West Cumbria and vice versa for a home game. You've got to choose West Cumbria or the South. Take your pick.

West Yorks side makes me laugh.

#14 Just to be clear

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:42 PM

After watching the Wigan / Widnes game on Saturday i was wondering what Rugby League could do to make it more competitive…


Just to be clear, we need to stop over reacting to every single thing as though they happen every day. We have the most competitive Super League ever going by the league table and there are only two previous seasons that have had more draws than we have already seen this year. The best thing we could do is accept that scores like Wigan vs Widnes will happen occasionally and move on instead of fixating on it and damning the whole game. We already have Chris Irvine for that.

#15 Duff Duff

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:54 PM

It just seems so blatantly obvious. What is the best way for Rugby League in England to attract more commercial and public interest in the sport?

By having a high profile international side playing regularly agains the best teams in the World, namely Australia and New Zealand. Without that the general non-rugby league sporting public just don't care and if the general public don't care neither will the big blue chip sponsors.

International Rugby League seems to have been sidetracked into overly ambitious expansion which isn't grounded in reality and it has ended up diluting the high end product that used to exist. There are two tiers of International Rugby League. Great Britian, Australia and New Zealand; and the second tier of PNG, Wales, France, Samoa etc. Games within each tier are worthwhile but games between the tiers are an uncompetitive waste of time and should only happen at the World Cup.

Both cricket and rugby union use the high end international game to fund the rest of their sports and British Rugby League should do the same. How the Ashes Tours just stopped happening is beyond me and the last couple of Kiwi Tours were worthwhile too. Bi-lateral 3 test series are the way forward and as long as Great Britian can win at least one Test per series they will maintain interest. The simple concept of two teams going at it over a series is a winning format and it maintains and building interest in the way that the disjointed Tri Nations and even more disjointed Four Nations tournaments don't.

Without a continual programme of high profile internationals against the best teams in the World Rugby League will continue to recede in the nation's sporting consciousness from the highs it reached in the early 1990s when the top players were household names. Unfortunately Kevin Sinfield, Sam Burgess, Sam Tomkins are not household names whilst Alistair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Chris Robshaw, Owen Farrell etc are.

#16 Padge

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:12 PM

It just seems so blatantly obvious. What is the best way for Rugby League in England to attract more commercial and public interest in the sport?

By having a high profile international side playing regularly agains the best teams in the World, namely Australia and New Zealand. Without that the general non-rugby league sporting public just don't care and if the general public don't care neither will the big blue chip sponsors.

International Rugby League seems to have been sidetracked into overly ambitious expansion which isn't grounded in reality and it has ended up diluting the high end product that used to exist. There are two tiers of International Rugby League. Great Britian, Australia and New Zealand; and the second tier of PNG, Wales, France, Samoa etc. Games within each tier are worthwhile but games between the tiers are an uncompetitive waste of time and should only happen at the World Cup.

Both cricket and rugby union use the high end international game to fund the rest of their sports and British Rugby League should do the same. How the Ashes Tours just stopped happening is beyond me and the last couple of Kiwi Tours were worthwhile too. Bi-lateral 3 test series are the way forward and as long as Great Britian can win at least one Test per series they will maintain interest. The simple concept of two teams going at it over a series is a winning format and it maintains and building interest in the way that the disjointed Tri Nations and even more disjointed Four Nations tournaments don't.

Without a continual programme of high profile internationals against the best teams in the World Rugby League will continue to recede in the nation's sporting consciousness from the highs it reached in the early 1990s when the top players were household names. Unfortunately Kevin Sinfield, Sam Burgess, Sam Tomkins are not household names whilst Alistair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Chris Robshaw, Owen Farrell etc are.


How is this beyond you, where have you been since 1996?

The move to summer here made the old fashioned tours impractical,why is this simple idea beyond you. What game have you been watching.

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#17 Padge

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:18 PM

Great post


If it wasn't full of fanciful nonsense, you can't force the BBC to show games for a start, I can't cope with a lot of the other airy fairy thinking.

I love, for comedic reasons, this thought that if we just do this the BBC/ITV will pay through the nose for it. They don't they won't.

Oh to have that youthful optimism once again that I have all the ideas and all the money men will buy them.

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#18 Ackydave

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 12:29 AM

If it wasn't full of fanciful nonsense, you can't force the BBC to show games for a start, I can't cope with a lot of the other airy fairy thinking.

I love, for comedic reasons, this thought that if we just do this the BBC/ITV will pay through the nose for it. They don't they won't.

Oh to have that youthful optimism once again that I have all the ideas and all the money men will buy them.


My impression of Duff's post and his points about raising the profile of the game through quality international competition isn't based upon tv company's throwing money at it. The point is that the BBC would certainly raise the profile of the game better than SKY simply because of the viewing audience. I'm sure the Beeb wouldn't hesitate to broadcast Internationals if they were meaningful competitions. If the quality was there, I wouldn't complain if the BBC paid sod all because they'd be raising awareness of the game. it certainly isn't happening at the moment.

#19 Duff Duff

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 12:58 AM

I think people will find the last Ashes Tour was in 2003 and the last Kiwi tour was in 2007. Both well after the switch to summer Rugby League. The only international people in the UK are interested in are games against New Zealand and Australia and the best format for playing them is the 3 Test series.

The BBC already cover the Four Nations whenever it is on and they even wasted their time covering the woeful England games against France and Wales last year. If they were offered the opportunity to show a three test Ashes series why would they turn it down considering they already agree to show an inferior product. As Ackydave said it is all about exposure and with exposure comes sponsorship and a raised profile.

The international game needs to concentrate on what it is actually good at rather than chasing ridiculous notions of global expansion. As I have said before the national media and casual sports' fans only take notice of Rugby League when Britain/England are playing Australia or New Zealand.

#20 Mumby Magic

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:35 AM

And who's going to support these new teams?

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