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Will we ever catch up?


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#61 The Parksider

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:29 AM

I'm sure the sport at grass roots would benefit from RL not becoming too fit/hard to play


I thought it was going to be a P & R post but not so. Great post.

Union used to play at all levels such that it was easy to play something I found out playing for a fourths, and the local club ran touch RU for the primary schoolkids who could all enjoy playing without getting battered, something my lad loved.

Soccer is successful because it can be played anywhere at every level right down to in the street.

#62 boxhead

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:57 AM

I thought it was going to be a P & R post but not so. Great post.

Union used to play at all levels such that it was easy to play something I found out playing for a fourths, and the local club ran touch RU for the primary schoolkids who could all enjoy playing without getting battered, something my lad loved.

Soccer is successful because it can be played anywhere at every level right down to in the street.


We played touch or "held" at School, we used a soft drink can filled with dirt or a tennis ball, at the local park we played 5 a side or often "Forcing's back where two kids could kick for space on a field, if caught on the full you got a 10 yard walk forward (no good for Tomkins) When you were over the try line it was over, you could play in pairs. Its all of these things that contribute to the Aussie game and developing kicking, positioning and catching skills.

#63 petero

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:13 PM

So we bring the game "up" to NRL standard but the game is still seen as a parochial northern sport,without better media coverage we are never going to attract huge crowds.
Rugby League will never be the number one sport in the UK as it is in Australia,soccer is king.


Terry, I did not allude to the notion that R/L would supercede Soccer here, ever, but what I do mean is that and this uncontetably true, had we the closer competitivness that exists in the NRL and the more contestable matches on going on a weekly basis, then there surely would be a better attendance level achieved especially within those clubs that cannot gain crowds now. Admittedly I would still possibly leave London out of that summation as I think they are on a hiding to nothing where support is concerned down there.

#64 terrywebbisgod

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:19 PM

Terry, I did not allude to the notion that R/L would supercede Soccer here, ever, but what I do mean is that and this uncontetably true, had we the closer competitivness that exists in the NRL and the more contestable matches on going on a weekly basis, then there surely would be a better attendance level achieved especially within those clubs that cannot gain crowds now. Admittedly I would still possibly leave London out of that summation as I think they are on a hiding to nothing where support is concerned down there.

You can't have a better competition without a larger player base to choose from.How many players are we missing out on because they have never even heard of Rugby League.
As for closer competitiveness,remind me of the score from the penrith-paramatta game?Hardly close was it.Yet again the myth that every NRL game is a hard fought tussle comes to the fore.
Once you have tasted excellence,you cannot go back to mediocrity.

#65 DeadShotKeen

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:36 PM

Will the NRL ever have the sane world wide popularity of the EPL?

Answer: No


I disagree with this. I'm not sure what the future of the Euro soccer leagues is but I'm very, very confident that they will look markedly different to now in 20 (or even 10) years time. The current model of 4 or 5 teams (at most) - and always the same teams - playing for the spoils every year with the others just scrapping for the right to be there is unsustainable as fans of all but those 4 or 5 teams walk away. Whereas I can see NRL (and hopefully SL if we're brave enough to redistribute wealth etc.) gaining significant ground in the worldwide TV market if it plays its cards right.

It's easy to throw your weight behind the status quo but things change and ultimately NRL is a much better product than EPL.

#66 DeadShotKeen

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:44 PM

Football is also popular because surprise scores are common enough to get fans interested. A low part time team can sometimes overturn an Arsenal or Man U etc. Low teams often get shocks etc at internanational level.


Man Utd won this year's EPL by Xmas. The biggest side in Germany (Bayern) are 20 points clear.

Football is boring.

Edited by DeadShotKeen, 01 April 2013 - 03:45 PM.


#67 ChrisGS

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:02 PM

The Yanks think Gridiron, Basketball, Baseball and Ice Hockey are the ducks Nuts, they have not done well in selling their brands overseas in any meaningful way, even with all their money and Media.

Salford are on a hiding to nothing, the money will not matter, there is no grass roots support and the money will fade before the enthusiasm grows.


Bit of a chicken and egg scenario growing the game, probably a mix of finance and commercial exposure, combined with a strong grassroots presence is best. Makes it difficult when you have one and not the other.

Probably a bit unfair on the Yanks there too. Basketball is maybe the 2nd biggest team sport in the world if you look at its spread, number of pro competitions and that, they've even got the right idea with grass roots development. Basketball is doing very well around the world. Britain seems sort of an anomaly in that it hasn't made much inroads here commercially, but even still there's a lot of kids play it in school, in parks, in their gardens, the platform isn't that bad, if they could get the NBA on a better station or get a British pro comp together they'd be onto something. If i look out the back door of my house I can count a couple of basketball nets on the adjacent houses.

Ice Hockey does alright in Europe from what I've heard, some of the nordic and eastern European countries like it. Baseball is also meant to have a decent presence in the Americas and Asia I think.

#68 zorquif

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:14 PM

Basketball is reasonably big in Europe too. As is handball. It strikes me that in Germany and Switzerland at least, there is a lot more focus on actually participating in things. I was taken aback to hear that Brits don't like team sports, but if you think about it how many guys actually play a team sport. Maybe this is a bad place to ask, but I bet that over all it is prety low compared to elsewhere in Europe.

#69 ChrisGS

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:21 PM

Sky are generally very very good at Sports broadcasts.
I personally find the Aussie coverage dull - although i like some of the buildup and changing room stuff.
The graphics are often like a cheap xbox game.
Suppose its what we are used to seeing on our screens.


Aussie graphics are much better for me. Sky Sports are uncreative and the way they replay stuff without delay frustrates the hell out me. How many times do you miss something because the people in charge of replays switch to a replay immediately? I've not seen untold tries and fights in SL because they've been showing a replay while the latter was taking place. That's the problem with the Sky Sports coverage, they're always looking for cheap ways to make something exciting, whether it's abusing the replay system to make the game seem super-duper fast paced(when it's not), or commentators shouting at the top of their lungs at bog standard plays.

Australians do it a lot better, probably because they're always copying Americans and they do sports broadcasts better than anybody, save for all the bloody adverts.

#70 Mr Wind Up

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:54 AM

I disagree with this. I'm not sure what the future of the Euro soccer leagues is but I'm very, very confident that they will look markedly different to now in 20 (or even 10) years time. The current model of 4 or 5 teams (at most) - and always the same teams - playing for the spoils every year with the others just scrapping for the right to be there is unsustainable as fans of all but those 4 or 5 teams walk away. Whereas I can see NRL (and hopefully SL if we're brave enough to redistribute wealth etc.) gaining significant ground in the worldwide TV market if it plays its cards right.

It's easy to throw your weight behind the status quo but things change and ultimately NRL is a much better product than EPL.


The same teams have been winning for decades now. Yet people still flock to stadiums (even for teams with zero chance of silverware), and their TV and commercial rights continue to grow. How come the fans aren't walking like you seem to think?

Ultimately the NRL is a better product than the EPL? Hate to burst your bubble, but football dwarfs rugby league. Thailand isn't going to pay £250m over 3 years for the NRL like they did just with the EPL as they don't care about rugby league regardless of how much you think its a better product. Good luck to the NRL in the "global market", because right now they get approximately nothing for their overseas rights.


Man Utd won this year's EPL by Xmas. The biggest side in Germany (Bayern) are 20 points clear.

Football is boring.


German Bundesliga attendance: 42,000
EPL attendnace: 36,000

For all their one sidedness, people still seem to be flocking to stadiums, including those teams that have no chance of winning. How does that compute in your own little world?

#71 Steve May

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 02:48 AM

You can't have a better competition without a larger player base to choose from.How many players are we missing out on because they have never even heard of Rugby League.


I don't think that's true. What seems to matter is getting really good coaching into athletically able kids.

The evidence suggests that you could pick 200 ten year old lads at random, give them fifteen years of the highest quality coaching in the right environment and you could then pick a 17, just from that group of 200, and they would run the Kangaroos over with ease.

What appears to matter is the quality of coaching and experience, far more so than the quantity of kids playing the game.

Read Bounce by Matthew Syed. It has a great opening chapter on how Silverdale Road in Reading came to have a table tennis player who won three national junior titles, another player (his brother) who became England #1, Commonwealth Gold medalist twice and Olympian three times, another, unrelated, player who won Commonwealth Gold and UK Championships, and five other (unrelated) players who represented England or were English champions.

For a period in the 1980s, this one street produced more outstanding table tennis players than the rest of the nation combined.


It's a fascinating story. Well worth looking into.

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#72 Steve May

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 02:54 AM

Personally, I don't think we'll ever catch the aussies up and I don't have a problem with that. The NRL is light years ahead of what we could ever achieve in England; we have no equivalent to State of Origin and the Kangaroos are just remorseless. We may win the occasional match, perhaps a series. Maybe, like New Zealand, those wins will be in finals. Gotta enjoy the challenge though.


I think that isn't true at all.

It would be interesting to explore how the British came to dominate the world of cycling I think. Or how the Australians from being the laughing stock of sport in the 1970s to the full spectrum dominance of the late 90s.

Or we could talk about Stevo's commentary...

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#73 Oracle

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:20 AM

The attendance at the regular season league game in the Canterbury Bulldogs v Rabbitohs game the other day was over 51,000.
No wonder the NRL attracts the money.

51, 686 to be exact, cause I was there, and there was no trouble at all in the crowd. Really great experience seein the ANZ stadium packed out like that rather than 2/3's empty like it normally is on game day, cant wait till origin game 1 to see what its like on a bumper crowd. Just wish the fans would sing more though, there was a small band of Bunnies fans in the 'warren' who sang throughout the game but other times the atmosphere is just so serious, miss the days of the popular stand at Knowlsey Road before I moved here to Sydney. Oh well, have to see what its like at Dragons vs Knights this weekend.....the hardships of Sydney life....

"is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is it something worse?"


#74 The Parksider

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:48 AM

What seems to matter is getting really good coaching into athletically able kids.

The evidence suggests that you could pick 200 ten year old lads at random, give them fifteen years of the highest quality coaching in the right environment and you could then pick a 17, just from that group of 200, and they would run the Kangaroos over with ease.


Blimey Steve.

No such thing as natural talent then.

Having being involved in a kids soccer club and watched a couple of hundred kids progress, I have to say I don't believe this one bit.

The gamebreakers and goalscorers and try poachers who make the difference are those one in fifty with the natural talent for a game for me.

#75 gingerjon

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:48 AM

I think that isn't true at all.

It would be interesting to explore how the British came to dominate the world of cycling I think. Or how the Australians from being the laughing stock of sport in the 1970s to the full spectrum dominance of the late 90s.

Or we could talk about Stevo's commentary...

Stevo's commentary and a lack of understanding about how to develop talent or the technical aspects of the game are linked.
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#76 Steve May

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:26 AM

Blimey Steve.

No such thing as natural talent then.


Not quite, but for complex tasks like playing RL it appears that the environment and manner in which someone trains is more important important than anything like "natural aptitude".

There is a huge literature on this. Very interesting stuff, with enormous implications. It's quite counter intuitive until you start to think on it a while. But "Natural talent" doesn't explain why some quite specific localities seem to produce a disproportionate amount of professional players.

It turns out that developing junior players into internationals isn't a numbers game - it's a quality game. Get them the very highest quality of coaching from an early age and build the right culture for them to develop in. That's what it's all about.

On the downside, it's a very much more difficult thing than just throwing vast numbers of twelve year olds into a sausage machine and hoping Andrew Johns appears at the other end. On the upside, you don't need many twelve year olds to produce an Andrew Johns.

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#77 Steve May

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:28 AM

Stevo's commentary and a lack of understanding about how to develop talent or the technical aspects of the game are linked.


Fair point, but Stevo's inane witterings could easily be countered by good coaching at junior level.


If there are any junior coaches who are upset by the implications of what I'm saying - my question to you would be "When did a team that came through the junior coaching system in England last win a Test Series against Australia?"

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#78 Saint Billinge

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:11 AM

We played touch or "held" at School, we used a soft drink can filled with dirt or a tennis ball, at the local park we played 5 a side or often "Forcing's back where two kids could kick for space on a field, if caught on the full you got a 10 yard walk forward (no good for Tomkins) When you were over the try line it was over, you could play in pairs. Its all of these things that contribute to the Aussie game and developing kicking, positioning and catching skills.


Played 'tick' rugby in my schooldays quite a lot during dinner breaks, as well as in the street after school. As a sport, the debates will linger on and on in terms of continued growth. How far we can go in this direction isn't an easy formula to find.

#79 gingerjon

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:10 AM

Fair point, but Stevo's inane witterings could easily be countered by good coaching at junior level.


If there are any junior coaches who are upset by the implications of what I'm saying - my question to you would be "When did a team that came through the junior coaching system in England last win a Test Series against Australia?"

You mentioned British Cycling. Another good example is UK Sport which seems to be run entirely by people who don’t actually like sport but who are very good at identifying where, when and to whom funding should be given to generate Olympic medals – and this is done entirely separately from the widening participation remit of Sport England. Sadly, as rugby league is not an Olympic sport we don’t get the medal-winning money, just the widening the pool cash.
If we were really serious about winning at international level there would a pathway in place for selected kids from about age 14 onwards – and following the UK Sport model it would be controlled and funded by some right bastards.
Cheer up, RL is actually rather good
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#80 The Parksider

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:48 AM

Not quite, but for complex tasks like playing RL it appears that the environment and manner in which someone trains is more important important than anything like "natural aptitude".

There is a huge literature on this. Very interesting stuff, with enormous implications. It's quite counter intuitive until you start to think on it a while. But "Natural talent" doesn't explain why some quite specific localities seem to produce a disproportionate amount of professional players.

It turns out that developing junior players into internationals isn't a numbers game - it's a quality game. Get them the very highest quality of coaching from an early age and build the right culture for them to develop in. That's what it's all about.

On the downside, it's a very much more difficult thing than just throwing vast numbers of twelve year olds into a sausage machine and hoping Andrew Johns appears at the other end. On the upside, you don't need many twelve year olds to produce an Andrew Johns.


I'm unconvinced.

I can understand how out of 50 players you can hothouse them to become very good professionals, but as we are seeing it's the skillfull players who make all the difference.

If you lists say the top ten playmakers and gamebreakers like Briers, Brough etc etc I just cannot believe for one minute you can coach them to be what they are.




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