Please explain this point?
1. What major development has there been to the international game in the southern hemisphere?
2. How is the NRL responsible?
I think you are trying to make a good point however. If it is that the NRL should be leading the charge for southern hemisphere and RFL or RLEF for northern hemisphere give or take a few anomalies then I agree. It's just a shame the NRL have done very little over the past 15 years in their neck of the woods
My point was more that the Aussies don't have to particularly try and strengthen international rugby league, but that by being selfish, and focusing on making the NRL the best competition it can be, they're inadvertedly growing the games profile and popularity in surrounding countries.
New Zealand became a top 3 side alongside Aus and GB not because of any intentional effort to grow the international game, but because the Aussies - self interested bastards that they are - wanted to strengthen domestic Australian league. Hence they scouted heavily in New Zealand for talent to sign, they opted for a NZ-based team in the NRL, etc.
People like to look at New Zealand and pretend it's some accident, that the Aussies had f-all to do with it, but if NZ was next door to England they wouldn't be the entity they are today, let's be honest, they sure as hell wouldn't be the world champs. And you can say that confidently because there's France and Wales sitting on our doorstep and they're both abject failures by comparison!
Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and PNG will all have very strong international teams in 10 years, nevermind 20, and that's mostly because of Australian self-interest; them having a great competition and putting domestic league over everything else. It sounds almost oxymoronical on face value, improving the international game by caring only for their domestic product, but it makes perfect sense if you sit down and think about it.
The strength of the Pacific Island nations is remarkable given the small populations and naff economies, and it's all on the back of the Australians and the elite standards of their domestic game. It's because the game is of such a high standard in Australia, because Aussies only care about Aussies, that these surrounding nations are as strong as they are. Wales and France have a strong economy and tons of people, the infrastructure and societies are ripe for success, they should be up there with New Zealand, instead they get knocked about by teams like Samoa.
The NRL and the Australians could absolutely do more, but it's a crime to underestimate how much they're doing already, irrespective of their motivations. As English fans we really have no right to point the finger at Australia and preach to them. There's this prevailing notion that the Australia-first attitude of Australians is hindering the international game because they're in a position to do something but don't do enough, all the while people who say this are conveniently overlooking the likelihood that if the Australians were more internationally minded and selfless in their approach to league, they wouldn't be in position to do what they do already, let alone do more than they're doing right now, because their domestic game would be much weaker.
As I see it English league fans want Australia to spearhead an uber-credible international scene, at the expense of their own domestic game, because there's a sense it will give league in the UK credibility and increase the popularity and standing of the game amongst British sports fans. It won't. Nobody gives basketball a second thought despite its international credibility. To me wanting a hugely successfull league nation to grow the international game misses the point; you don't need a super-legitimate international scene to have success as a sport. Australia should be an example to us as to how we should run our own game, instead we sit around with talk of how 'If league was as big here we'd be doing much more for the international game'... It seems like every league fan in England is crouching down and letting the point fly right over their head.
I'd love to see a ton of international growth, the more league the merrier, but I'm not going to berate the Australians for putting the Australian game first. They're competing with AFL, cricket, rugby, soccer and basketball, they're right to take the approach they are doing. They've got their priorities straight as far as I'm concerned.
Edited by ChrisGS, 16 May 2013 - 07:04 PM.