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Has Rugby League Improved since the early 70's

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#21 Ant

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:12 AM

Speaking as a Huddersfield fan - the game was dead from the 70s to the 90s, my club was one of those unfortunate ones to be cut adrift and suffer a long protracted slide to near death


And I remember games from the late 70s. They were terrible affairs. Even these "brilliant" cup finals. Good players were made to look like gods by utterly utterly awful defending, weak tackling and poor play

If you want contested scrums and the 5m rule you can have it, I think there is some Rugby Union on sky this afternoon

And I don't know about other posters but I watch games each week and see dummying, swerving, changes of pace and guile constantly. I also see disciplined defence that is far more alert for such things, is more drilled in its teamwork and is a much tougher game

Some of these posters suggesting all was wonderful and sepia tinted halcyon days should actually watch their old DVDs as such with an open mind

Maybe, just maybe they will see just how much better the game is now.

But I doubt it.

#22 keighley

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:13 PM

Speaking as a Huddersfield fan - the game was dead from the 70s to the 90s, my club was one of those unfortunate ones to be cut adrift and suffer a long protracted slide to near death


And I remember games from the late 70s. They were terrible affairs. Even these "brilliant" cup finals. Good players were made to look like gods by utterly utterly awful defending, weak tackling and poor play

If you want contested scrums and the 5m rule you can have it, I think there is some Rugby Union on sky this afternoon

And I don't know about other posters but I watch games each week and see dummying, swerving, changes of pace and guile constantly. I also see disciplined defence that is far more alert for such things, is more drilled in its teamwork and is a much tougher game

Some of these posters suggesting all was wonderful and sepia tinted halcyon days should actually watch their old DVDs as such with an open mind

Maybe, just maybe they will see just how much better the game is now.

But I doubt it.

 

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

The game is still attractive and way better than RU and contested scrums were a nightmare, but todays players do not have the range of individual skills that yesterdays players did. As for defence. Some of the tackling today is mind boggling weak. The tackles whereby a players legs are taken away bringing him to an immediate halt can be counted on one hand. I see players hit by two defenders, both going high, 20yds out and then carrying these defenders 15 yards to where they practically score. What kind of defending is that.?

 

I agree with the poster who bemoans the rise of the kick to the corner as a major component of try scoring. Yes there are skillful kickers and players who can jump and contest these kicks and those who can defuse them better than others but mainly its a lottery with a great deal of luck versus a little skill and not a very attractive element of the game as far as I personally am concerned. However without this element the game would be very one dimensional as the routine plays in the first five tackles are monotonously similar from both teams due to the decline in attacking skills about which I have posted.

 

Yes, I have watched films of past games and the skills on display are greater. Check out some footage for instance of Paul Loughin at St Helens and the way he created running opportunities for his wingers. He made a star out of Quirk. Newlove also was no slouch in that department.

 

Check out some footage of Alex Murphy or Hardisty or Roger Millward at their best, their creativety and instinctive eye for an opening or an interception or their use of phenominal acceleration to go through a gap was amazing. Most halfbacks today have little or no pace. Maguire is the one exception that I have seen and maybe Dureau at Catalans.

 

Check out Harry Pinner, Harry Poole, working their magic at loose forward. It should be easier today with the 10 metre rule but there are no exponents of this lost art around.

 

Yes the Pacific Islanders are great Rugby players and their combination of speed and strength is awesome but check out David Ward, David Jeanes, David Mills at their pomp. They broke tackles and made breaks far more often than the modern props.

 

I also don't think the rule/law change whereby you could run from acting halfback with impunity did anything to encourage creative attacking play either. Is the scoot a really dynamic attacking option. Back in the day if you ran from acting halfback and were tackled it was a scrum. It encouraged more passing and complex attacking options. If you ran from acting half then the play had better by creative and damaging to the opposition or else you coughed up the ball. The dead before it started plunge fro acting half to gain a boring 10 yards of ground was not an option.

 

Having said all that the game is still a great game and better than any other form of Rugby that deludes itself on it's attractiveness.



#23 Marauder

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:17 PM

Speaking as a Huddersfield fan - the game was dead from the 70s to the 90s, my club was one of those unfortunate ones to be cut adrift and suffer a long protracted slide to near death


And I remember games from the late 70s. They were terrible affairs. Even these "brilliant" cup finals. Good players were made to look like gods by utterly utterly awful defending, weak tackling and poor play

If you want contested scrums and the 5m rule you can have it, I think there is some Rugby Union on sky this afternoon

And I don't know about other posters but I watch games each week and see dummying, swerving, changes of pace and guile constantly. I also see disciplined defence that is far more alert for such things, is more drilled in its teamwork and is a much tougher game

Some of these posters suggesting all was wonderful and sepia tinted halcyon days should actually watch their old DVDs as such with an open mind

Maybe, just maybe they will see just how much better the game is now.

But I doubt it.

Makes you wonder if it was the game or bad management at Huddersfield way back then, I also wonder if Huddersfield had not been a chosen location would they just be like Halifax or even deeper in the mire.

 

 

Not back for the 80's  :)


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#24 Marauder

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:19 PM

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

The game is still attractive and way better than RU and contested scrums were a nightmare, but todays players do not have the range of individual skills that yesterdays players did. As for defence. Some of the tackling today is mind boggling weak. The tackles whereby a players legs are taken away bringing him to an immediate halt can be counted on one hand. I see players hit by two defenders, both going high, 20yds out and then carrying these defenders 15 yards to where they practically score. What kind of defending is that.?

 

I agree with the poster who bemoans the rise of the kick to the corner as a major component of try scoring. Yes there are skillful kickers and players who can jump and contest these kicks and those who can defuse them better than others but mainly its a lottery with a great deal of luck versus a little skill and not a very attractive element of the game as far as I personally am concerned. However without this element the game would be very one dimensional as the routine plays in the first five tackles are monotonously similar from both teams due to the decline in attacking skills about which I have posted.

 

Yes, I have watched films of past games and the skills on display are greater. Check out some footage for instance of Paul Loughin at St Helens and the way he created running opportunities for his wingers. He made a star out of Quirk. Newlove also was no slouch in that department.

 

Check out some footage of Alex Murphy or Hardisty or Roger Millward at their best, their creativety and instinctive eye for an opening or an interception or their use of phenominal acceleration to go through a gap was amazing. Most halfbacks today have little or no pace. Maguire is the one exception that I have seen and maybe Dureau at Catalans.

 

Check out Harry Pinner, Harry Poole, working their magic at loose forward. It should be easier today with the 10 metre rule but there are no exponents of this lost art around.

 

Yes the Pacific Islanders are great Rugby players and their combination of speed and strength is awesome but check out David Ward, David Jeanes, David Mills at their pomp. They broke tackles and made breaks far more often than the modern props.

 

I also don't think the rule/law change whereby you could run from acting halfback with impunity did anything to encourage creative attacking play either. Is the scoot a really dynamic attacking option. Back in the day if you ran from acting halfback and were tackled it was a scrum. It encouraged more passing and complex attacking options. If you ran from acting half then the play had better by creative and damaging to the opposition or else you coughed up the ball. The dead before it started plunge fro acting half to gain a boring 10 yards of ground was not an option.

 

Having said all that the game is still a great game and better than any other form of Rugby that deludes itself on it's attractiveness.

I'll add another great wide runner (even thought it pains me) Phil Lowe.


Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.



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#25 keighley

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:31 PM

I think that's because a good number of us on here do not have your level of experience, commitment and involvement in the amateur game. I guess most of us are just thinking of the situation at the top level between the mid 60s and early 80s

 

Many people today decry BARLA and I am not in a position to know the present day circumstances but I started playing RL in the Halifax and district league ( pre Pennine) in the 1964/5 and at that time amateur RL was dying. The RFL could care less and the game seemed to be in terminal decline. Fast forward to BARLA and amateur RL boomed, teams were starting up everywhere, junior rugby mushroomed, the game expanded for the first time to the midlands and Wales. BARLA carried the fight to RU about denial of the game in the services and the ban on amateur rl players from playing union and vice versa. They were instrumental in fostering the game in the Universities, which was important as the number of such institutions mushroomed in the UK. The amateur international teams were revitalized and tours were made to the pacific islands, Russia and elsewhere, nothing like that had ever previously taken place or even been contemplated.

 

Whatever the situation today, the game owes a great debt to BARLA.

 

I would say that BARLA saved not only the amateur game but laid the foundation and player production lines that went towards the renaissance of the pro game after it reached it's nadir in the early 70,s



#26 keighley

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:48 PM

I'll add another great wide runner (even thought it pains me) Phil Lowe.

 

Yes, I thoroughly agree and I would add Mantle from St Helens, Ramsay from Hunslet and of course the best of them all Dick Huddart of Whitehaven and Saints. He would terrorise the league if he were arounf today. He was a white pacific islander, a freak of nature for his era.



#27 fieldofclothofgold

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:30 PM

I miss the competitive scrums and all the great players mentioned above.I had two videoe's of the cup finals widnesv leeds and St Helens VLeeds and some of the stuff they got away with in those games would no way be tollerated today.Being fulltime pro's etc the player's are probably much fitter,but I think we have less of the type of players listed above from the 50s 60s and 70s.I do love SL though.


but you and I weve been through that and this is not our fate.
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#28 The Future is League

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 01:37 PM

A far better game to watch than in the 70s by a country mile. It a shame that the fans don't turn up in the numbers that they should.



#29 chuffer

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 01:47 PM

There was some cracking RL on display in the 80s.....from the some of the posts in this thread I guess it was mainly in the north-west

#30 Padge

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:26 PM

Where does everyone get the idea the sport was dead from the 70's till 1996.

 

Maybe not for the next 20 years but:-

 

 

In 1970, Hunslet who had only 5 years earlier played  in a challenge cup final with a crowd of over 80, 000 managed to play to a then all time low for the 
 
club at Parkside of 267. The club earlier that season had suffured a players strike and had to turn out a team of amateurs from Bison Sports against 
 
Oldham losing 54 - 5.
 
In December 1970 Leigh admitted they were struggling to reduce their overdraft.
 
In January 1972 Wakefield where struggling and a place in the JPS final was looking to be their salvation 
A Wakefield club spokesman said: “ We are considerably in the red and winning this match would be a big help. It could bring the club over £6.000 in prize 
 
money, television fee, and gate receipts. As far as finance is concerned it is the most vital game we have played since Wembley in 1968.” 
 
In January 1973 the clubs voted to abandon the fixture system they had based on region which had only been in place for one season, although they voted 
 
to scrap the current system they didn't have a system to replace it. Clubs were variously proposing two divisions, three divisions and a system of three 
 
divisions and then half way through the season splitting into regions. They eventually settled on the two divisions.
 
October 1973 and the touring Australian's manager Charlie Gibson was expressing concerns about poor attendances at their tour matches, stating that 
 
rugby league is a business and should be run like a business, you have to go out and sell your product.
 
In December 1973 Harold Mather in the Guardian was reporting of concern over falling attendances.
 
Leigh and Oldham's crowds slumped to just a few hundred each in 1974, it was so bad that both clubs were given special permission by the RFL to play 
 
their games on Sundays to try and improve their situation.
 
September 1974 and a Leeds v Wigan game at Central Park only attracts 3,036 spectators.
 
November 74 Promoted York have lower attendances in first division than in second, they lose £5,732 Increasing their overdraft to £20,888
 
August 1975 and Oldham players are on strike after refusing a 20% increase as not enough and demanding an extra £5 per game for playing on Sundays.
 
January 1976, Yorkshire County League describes the county match attendances at Odsal and Central Park as deplorable.
 
In June 1976 Bramley were proposing a return to one division after they accured losses of over £10,000 for the previous season
 
That is just a small snapshot of a few of the depressing things from the early seventies, attendances did pick up a bit towards the end of the 70s, but only to an average at the top division to about 5.5k


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#31 Marauder

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 11:41 PM

A far better game to watch than in the 70s by a country mile. It a shame that the fans don't turn up in the numbers that they should.

Yer a lot better, in fact it's that good now even Union have started to turn the ball back inside :lol:


Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.



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#32 Marauder

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:03 AM

Maybe not for the next 20 years but:-

 

 

In 1970, Hunslet who had only 5 years earlier played  in a challenge cup final with a crowd of over 80, 000 managed to play to a then all time low for the 
 
club at Parkside of 267. The club earlier that season had suffured a players strike and had to turn out a team of amateurs from Bison Sports against 
 
Oldham losing 54 - 5.
 
In December 1970 Leigh admitted they were struggling to reduce their overdraft.
 
In January 1972 Wakefield where struggling and a place in the JPS final was looking to be their salvation 
A Wakefield club spokesman said: “ We are considerably in the red and winning this match would be a big help. It could bring the club over £6.000 in prize 
 
money, television fee, and gate receipts. As far as finance is concerned it is the most vital game we have played since Wembley in 1968.” 
 
In January 1973 the clubs voted to abandon the fixture system they had based on region which had only been in place for one season, although they voted 
 
to scrap the current system they didn't have a system to replace it. Clubs were variously proposing two divisions, three divisions and a system of three 
 
divisions and then half way through the season splitting into regions. They eventually settled on the two divisions.
 
October 1973 and the touring Australian's manager Charlie Gibson was expressing concerns about poor attendances at their tour matches, stating that 
 
rugby league is a business and should be run like a business, you have to go out and sell your product.
 
In December 1973 Harold Mather in the Guardian was reporting of concern over falling attendances.
 
Leigh and Oldham's crowds slumped to just a few hundred each in 1974, it was so bad that both clubs were given special permission by the RFL to play 
 
their games on Sundays to try and improve their situation.
 
September 1974 and a Leeds v Wigan game at Central Park only attracts 3,036 spectators.
 
November 74 Promoted York have lower attendances in first division than in second, they lose £5,732 Increasing their overdraft to £20,888
 
August 1975 and Oldham players are on strike after refusing a 20% increase as not enough and demanding an extra £5 per game for playing on Sundays.
 
January 1976, Yorkshire County League describes the county match attendances at Odsal and Central Park as deplorable.
 
In June 1976 Bramley were proposing a return to one division after they accured losses of over £10,000 for the previous season
 
That is just a small snapshot of a few of the depressing things from the early seventies, attendances did pick up a bit towards the end of the 70s, but only to an average at the top division to about 5.5k

Just a quickie because I'm off to bed, didn't Leigh become champions just four or five years after their crowds slumped in 74 and I'd relate most of those negatives to poor management. Hull FC had a crowd of around 7,500 last Friday, in 1978/79 they averaged over 10,000 per game - I'm sure if we had access to all stats we could easily find as many good points, the game I'm sure did start to grow in the mid 70's and 80's (Could that have because of the BARLA boom)


Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.



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#33 Ant

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:35 AM

Impossible

Everything was brilliant under P&R

Even the skills were better!


Utter tosh. I watched the game for 30 years and the skills of players across the board have improved out of sight. Individuals have got stronger, faster and fitter

Teams have become more drilled, defences more organised & play more varied - to say players of another era were more skilled is just idiotic. Why not return to the even more skilled days of Albert Goldthorp, Harold Wagstaff and Albert Rosenfeld - after all Rosenfeld must have been the best payer of all time since no one has matched his try scoring have they?

People have listed player and I watched a lot of them, and yes they were great to watch

But to say they are better to watch that the likes of Sam Tomkins, Hardacre, Ratchford etc is just foolish. I'd argue those players were better than their predecessors because they have to play their trade against much better defences

#34 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:41 AM

Maybe not for the next 20 years but:-

 

 

In 1970, Hunslet who had only 5 years earlier played  in a challenge cup final with a crowd of over 80, 000 managed to play to a then all time low for the 
 
club at Parkside of 267. The club earlier that season had suffured a players strike and had to turn out a team of amateurs from Bison Sports against 
 
Oldham losing 54 - 5.
 
In December 1970 Leigh admitted they were struggling to reduce their overdraft.
 
In January 1972 Wakefield where struggling and a place in the JPS final was looking to be their salvation 
A Wakefield club spokesman said: “ We are considerably in the red and winning this match would be a big help. It could bring the club over £6.000 in prize 
 
money, television fee, and gate receipts. As far as finance is concerned it is the most vital game we have played since Wembley in 1968.” 
 
In January 1973 the clubs voted to abandon the fixture system they had based on region which had only been in place for one season, although they voted 
 
to scrap the current system they didn't have a system to replace it. Clubs were variously proposing two divisions, three divisions and a system of three 
 
divisions and then half way through the season splitting into regions. They eventually settled on the two divisions.
 
October 1973 and the touring Australian's manager Charlie Gibson was expressing concerns about poor attendances at their tour matches, stating that 
 
rugby league is a business and should be run like a business, you have to go out and sell your product.
 
In December 1973 Harold Mather in the Guardian was reporting of concern over falling attendances.
 
Leigh and Oldham's crowds slumped to just a few hundred each in 1974, it was so bad that both clubs were given special permission by the RFL to play 
 
their games on Sundays to try and improve their situation.
 
September 1974 and a Leeds v Wigan game at Central Park only attracts 3,036 spectators.
 
November 74 Promoted York have lower attendances in first division than in second, they lose £5,732 Increasing their overdraft to £20,888
 
August 1975 and Oldham players are on strike after refusing a 20% increase as not enough and demanding an extra £5 per game for playing on Sundays.
 
January 1976, Yorkshire County League describes the county match attendances at Odsal and Central Park as deplorable.
 
In June 1976 Bramley were proposing a return to one division after they accured losses of over £10,000 for the previous season
 
That is just a small snapshot of a few of the depressing things from the early seventies, attendances did pick up a bit towards the end of the 70s, but only to an average at the top division to about 5.5k

 

 

Maybe not for the next 20 years but:-

 

 

In 1970, Hunslet who had only 5 years earlier played  in a challenge cup final with a crowd of over 80, 000 managed to play to a then all time low for the 
 
club at Parkside of 267. The club earlier that season had suffured a players strike and had to turn out a team of amateurs from Bison Sports against 
 
Oldham losing 54 - 5.
 
In December 1970 Leigh admitted they were struggling to reduce their overdraft.
 
In January 1972 Wakefield where struggling and a place in the JPS final was looking to be their salvation 
A Wakefield club spokesman said: “ We are considerably in the red and winning this match would be a big help. It could bring the club over £6.000 in prize 
 
money, television fee, and gate receipts. As far as finance is concerned it is the most vital game we have played since Wembley in 1968.” 
 
In January 1973 the clubs voted to abandon the fixture system they had based on region which had only been in place for one season, although they voted 
 
to scrap the current system they didn't have a system to replace it. Clubs were variously proposing two divisions, three divisions and a system of three 
 
divisions and then half way through the season splitting into regions. They eventually settled on the two divisions.
 
October 1973 and the touring Australian's manager Charlie Gibson was expressing concerns about poor attendances at their tour matches, stating that 
 
rugby league is a business and should be run like a business, you have to go out and sell your product.
 
In December 1973 Harold Mather in the Guardian was reporting of concern over falling attendances.
 
Leigh and Oldham's crowds slumped to just a few hundred each in 1974, it was so bad that both clubs were given special permission by the RFL to play 
 
their games on Sundays to try and improve their situation.
 
September 1974 and a Leeds v Wigan game at Central Park only attracts 3,036 spectators.
 
November 74 Promoted York have lower attendances in first division than in second, they lose £5,732 Increasing their overdraft to £20,888
 
August 1975 and Oldham players are on strike after refusing a 20% increase as not enough and demanding an extra £5 per game for playing on Sundays.
 
January 1976, Yorkshire County League describes the county match attendances at Odsal and Central Park as deplorable.
 
In June 1976 Bramley were proposing a return to one division after they accured losses of over £10,000 for the previous season
 
That is just a small snapshot of a few of the depressing things from the early seventies, attendances did pick up a bit towards the end of the 70s, but only to an average at the top division to about 5.5k

 

 

Impossible

Everything was brilliant under P&R

Even the skills were better!


Utter tosh. I watched the game for 30 years and the skills of players across the board have improved out of sight. Individuals have got stronger, faster and fitter

Teams have become more drilled, defences more organised & play more varied - to say players of another era were more skilled is just idiotic. Why not return to the even more skilled days of Albert Goldthorp, Harold Wagstaff and Albert Rosenfeld - after all Rosenfeld must have been the best payer of all time since no one has matched his try scoring have they?

People have listed player and I watched a lot of them, and yes they were great to watch

But to say they are better to watch that the likes of Sam Tomkins, Hardacre, Ratchford etc is just foolish. I'd argue those players were better than their predecessors because they have to play their trade against much better defences

tip of the iceberg

 

for instance

1978 champions have a player strike over wages having attracted an average of 3,000 spectators in their championship winning year: found guilty of bringing game into disrepute.


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#35 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:43 AM

Just a quickie because I'm off to bed, didn't Leigh become champions just four or five years after their crowds slumped in 74 and I'd relate most of those negatives to poor management. Hull FC had a crowd of around 7,500 last Friday, in 1978/79 they averaged over 10,000 per game - I'm sure if we had access to all stats we could easily find as many good points, the game I'm sure did start to grow in the mid 70's and 80's (Could that have because of the BARLA boom)

 

 

Just a quickie because I'm off to bed, didn't Leigh become champions just four or five years after their crowds slumped in 74 and I'd relate most of those negatives to poor management. Hull FC had a crowd of around 7,500 last Friday, in 1978/79 they averaged over 10,000 per game - I'm sure if we had access to all stats we could easily find as many good points, the game I'm sure did start to grow in the mid 70's and 80's (Could that have because of the BARLA boom)

bloody hell there was a lot of poor management then: not that I'm disagreeing with you. There was a destructive league structure in place as well.


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#36 Padge

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:44 AM

Just a quickie because I'm off to bed, didn't Leigh become champions just four or five years after their crowds slumped in 74 and I'd relate most of those negatives to poor management. Hull FC had a crowd of around 7,500 last Friday, in 1978/79 they averaged over 10,000 per game - I'm sure if we had access to all stats we could easily find as many good points, the game I'm sure did start to grow in the mid 70's and 80's (Could that have because of the BARLA boom)

The mid seventies was the low point, you will find headlines later reporting growth in attendances, the problem is they were growing from a very low level.



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#37 boxhead

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:07 PM

Once England stopped building the foundations of bringing Juniors through and found it an easier soft option to import mediocre Austratians rather than develop their own players the game went backwards at Test level and probably SL level.
Quick fixes usually have long term problems.

#38 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:23 PM

Once England stopped building the foundations of bringing Juniors through and found it an easier soft option to import mediocre Austratians rather than develop their own players the game went backwards at Test level and probably SL level.
Quick fixes usually have long term problems.

 

 

Once England stopped building the foundations of bringing Juniors through and found it an easier soft option to import mediocre Austratians rather than develop their own players the game went backwards at Test level and probably SL level.
Quick fixes usually have long term problems.

there have been transfer bans haven't there? Did they make any difference?

 

edit: anyway that'll be the early seventies then if you check out GB's record against Australia.


Edited by l'angelo mysterioso, 14 May 2013 - 12:25 PM.

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#39 Lobbygobbler

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:48 PM

The mid seventies was the low point, you will find headlines later reporting growth in attendances, the problem is they were growing from a very low level.


mid 70s working class Britain was a low point anyway wasnt it - not just RL

#40 Padge

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:11 PM

mid 70s working class Britain was a low point anyway wasnt it - not just RL

RL had been nose diving since the swinging sixties though.



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