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World Cup set to break records


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#1 John

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:03 PM

Martyn Sadler - Talking Rugby League column

First published in League Express, Monday 21st Oct 2013

The World Cup begins on Saturday and already it looks to be a record-breaking tournament in terms of attendances, even if no more tickets are sold this week.
The opening double-header will draw a crowd well in excess of 40,000 to the Millennium Stadium, and, provided too many supporters are not deterred by England's disappointing performance against Italy on Saturday, or the fact that the rail line across the River Severn will be shut down, it may even touch 50,000.
It's funny how Network Rail has decided to close the Severn Tunnel just when the World Cup is kicking off.
The Welsh First Minister Carwyn James has also commented on that particular coincidence, saying: "If there were events taking place every single week in the Millennium Centre, the Millennium Stadium or the [Cardiff] City Stadium, you might say 'okay, there are some weekends when that's inevitable' but for some reason they choose weekends when there are big events taking place in Cardiff."
A bonus, however, is that the World Cup was discussed on the Sunday Politics Wales programme on BBC Wales, which may be the first time Rugby League has been discussed on that show.
And, with more than 60,000 tickets already having been sold for the Old Trafford final, that crowd will now eclipse all bar the 1992 final, when 73,631 spectators turned up to see Australia beat Great Britain at Wembley.
Last week we heard that England's game against Ireland at Huddersfield on 2nd November has been sold out. And I'm sure that other news about sold out games will soon follow.
That's a great achievement, and a credit to the RLWC2013 staff who have organised the tournament, which appears to be on track to generate around £15 million for the worldwide game.
Even the Prime Minister David Cameron has recorded a video message welcoming the World Cup and encouraging people to get out and see a game or two.
If there is one legacy that I would strongly like to see after the tournament is over, it is that money going towards a fully funded Rugby League International Federation office, which should be charged with developing the game worldwide.
At last I think we're within touching distance of attaining that objective.

Ghostbusters, are you there?

When Steve McNamara walked into the press conference after England's 15-14 defeat against Italy at Salford on Saturday, he had the look of someone who had just seen a ghost.
Unfortunately it's a look that we've seen on the faces of plenty of England coaches in the past.
In fact it's hard to remember an England or Great Britain coach who didn't have it at some point in his tenure.
The difference in their case, however, is that they normally looked haunted after losing a Test series to Australia.
To lose to Italy is on quite a different scale.

Super League Showdown

I would dearly love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting of the Super League clubs this Wednesday.
The RFL is hoping that the clubs will finally pass a formal vote in favour of its Policy Review proposals, and that it will be able to see off the challenge from Wigan Chairman Ian Lenagan and the other Super League clubs that called time on the proposals on 7 October.
Since then letters to the Super League clubs have been flying around from various sources, including Gary Hetherington of Leeds and Eamonn McManus of St Helens, both of them opposing the Wigan Chairman's intervention, claiming, among other things, that it had come too late in the day.
Gary's letter in particular goes through the issues point by point, trying to demonstrate that the clubs have effectively agreed the new structure and suggesting that it is far too late to change anything.
In typical Gary style, it's a very smart letter.
The trouble is, however, that the proposals haven't yet been formally adopted, so until they are, it's never too late to change them, or to reject them entirely. That is what the clubs may decide to do on Wednesday.
In my opinion the proposals will take the game down the wrong road, and therefore I support the idea of scuppering them, even at the eleventh hour.
Unfortunately, anyone who plans ahead on the basis that the proposals will probably be adopted can therefore get their fingers burned, as some clubs in the Championship claim to have done.
The RFL now seems confident of being able to muster its forces to win the day at the Super League meeting. It has been applying pressure to some of the more shaky clubs over the last few days.
But will the clubs really go down this road?
Are the Super League clubs prepared to slit their own throats?
By adopting the RFL's proposals we will soon move to a position whereby there will effectively only be eight Super League clubs - the eight that continually end up in the top echelon of the three-eights at the end of each season. Only the most inveterate optimist would think that it wouldn't work out that way.
Those clubs and their supporters will get sick of playing each other too frequently, and the other six will gradually decline. I wish it were not so, but I fear it will be.
The Championship clubs need support in being able to raise their profile and make progress, but there are better ways to do it than by the method the RFL has chosen to adopt.
Strangely, the RFL and the Super League clubs had agreed to undertake negotiations to resolve their areas of disagreement.
The RFL had agreed to discuss, over a three-month period, the management of Super League business by Super League within an RFL framework and the representation by the Professional and Community Game on the RFL Board of Directors.
It now looks as though the RFL is going to try to push its proposals through the Super League clubs on Wednesday.
It may succeed, but if it does I don't think it will just be the Super League clubs that will live to regret it.


Edited by John, 23 October 2013 - 12:04 PM.


#2 willy

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:30 PM

I agree with the good news over the crowds at the RLWC - heart busting good stuff

 

As for McNamara, best get the uglies out of the way and press on. Least said soonest mended

 

I do take issue with the stuff about Super League and I think you have missed the point of the 3X8 system

 

Right now there is no real way the likes of Fev Leigh or in time Oxford will get into Super league - franchises as they now are = self interest so no one is ever going to let that go. Even London cannot be forced out next year

 

I would rather see a top 8 with a changing bottom 4 that actually gets the chance to show it has the potential to win a place at the top table. And the top 8 will always have to play hard in the first half of the season or they wont be in it!! And as the saying goes you gotta be in it to win it

 

No periodization of players there then, no state of origin here but by crikey if you don't go to win every week you might find yourself in that middle tier and then what?

 

Can you imagine Hull v Bradford in the second tier? Or Toulouse v Catalan? Standards will actually have to go up all season, and its driven bottom up year on year.

 

One transitional year gone wrong at wigan as has happened in the past and bang! Hello North Wales Crusaders.

 

I thought that's what we all wanted, real jeopardy, cut throat stuff, edge of your seat every match means something. Or else.

 

And the best thing? No other sport dares to do it because of the self interest of those right at the top, the so called untouchables - just ask Celtic in Scotland why they really voted against it.

 

Is it a good idea for the various business models? No because any procrastination at board level would spell disaster - no wonder Heatherington likes it

 

Would it drive up standards over time? yes

 

Is it really that difficult to understand? No, its just different



#3 Exiled Wiganer

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:32 PM

I'm glad someone cut and pasted this, as it jogged my memory about Cardiff ticket sales already being 40k plus. 50k would be splendid, unheard of, a wonderful launching pad etc.



#4 RSN

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:52 PM

RFL out.

#5 The Future is League

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:56 PM

Good news about record breaking attendances for this world cup. If as a game we are smart we can keep pushing the attendance crowds at all the following world cups.



#6 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:17 PM

I'm now hearing that ticket sales for Saturday have passed 50,000, after a big rush for tickets this week.

 

There is a chance it could still sell out.

 

NZ v Samoa just about sold out at Warrington on Sunday.



#7 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:20 PM

Is it really that difficult to understand? No, its just different

But if it's different, it has to be easy to understand, and not just by geeks such as us.

 

There are many things in life that work theoretically, but prove to be disastrous in practice.

 

This will be one of them.

 

I wish it weren't so.



#8 YCKonstantine

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:27 PM

I'm now hearing that ticket sales for Saturday have passed 50,000, after a big rush for tickets this week.

 

There is a chance it could still sell out.

 

NZ v Samoa just about sold out at Warrington on Sunday.

###### brilliant!!


It's time to park the camels.


#9 Ponterover

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:27 PM

But if it's different, it has to be easy to understand, and not just by geeks such as us.

 

There are many things in life that work theoretically, but prove to be disastrous in practice.

 

This will be one of them.

 

I wish it weren't so.

 

I don't see what's so hard to understand.  The 3x8 is perfectly simple.

 

I think you're wrong Martyn, time will tell.



#10 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:29 PM

I don't see what's so hard to understand.  The 3x8 is perfectly simple.

 

I think you're wrong Martyn, time will tell.

It's not hard to understand for us, as I say.

 

But most people, other than the dedicated fans, will not bother trying to understand it.

 

They will just dismiss it.



#11 Scubby

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:32 PM

I'm now hearing that ticket sales for Saturday have passed 50,000, after a big rush for tickets this week.

 

There is a chance it could still sell out.

 

NZ v Samoa just about sold out at Warrington on Sunday.

 

That is unbelievable news if true Martyn.

 

I think it is just dawning on a few of us who have been around here for a long time just how big a milestone this is for the game. We have seen the sport get excited in 1995 while trying to destroy itself at the same time (SL War). Then seeing it at its lowest ebb in 2000/2001 with Union stalking and debts etc.

 

In 2013, we will be playing games to massive audiences across all the venues. Having people like SBW and Sam Tomkins just wanting to be part of the RL vibe (with all the opportunities elsewhere) just adds to it. A large number of Welsh-born players playing for Wales is another. The RFL made a bold decision to push to 2013 (the year after the Olympics) and the efforts on limited budgets has been spectacular.

 

TBH I think the organisers, Sally Bolton et al, deserve a massive crowd of 50-60k for the first one!


Edited by Scubby, 23 October 2013 - 01:34 PM.


#12 Maximus Decimus

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:34 PM

It's not hard to understand for us, as I say.

 

But most people, other than the dedicated fans, will not bother trying to understand it.

 

They will just dismiss it.

 

Spot on. It looks desperate too, mainly because it is desperate.



#13 Gruff

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:36 PM

Fantastic news if true.

 

The stadium will be bouncing - and if England win...bloody hell, how can you not be there!



#14 Maximus Decimus

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:37 PM

That is unbelievable news if true Martyn.

 

I think it is just dawning on a few of us who have been around here for a long time just how big a milestone this is for the game. We have seen the sport get excited in 1995 while trying to destroy itself at the same time (SL War). Then seeing it at its lowest ebb in 2000/2001 with Union stalking and debts etc.

 

In 2013, we will be playing games to massive audiences across all the venues. Having people like SBW and Sam Tomkins just wanting to be part of the RL vibe (with all the opportunities elsewhere) just adds to it. A large number of Welsh-born players playing for Wales is another. The RFL made a bold decision to push to 2013 (the year after the Olympics) and the efforts on limited budgets has been spectacular.

 

TBH I think the organisers, Sally Bolton et al, deserve a massive crowd of 50-60k for the first one!

 

It could be everything that the 2000 tournament was supposed to be but wasn't. The game desperately needs a boost and something to drag it out of the constant negativity that has surrounded our domestic game for the last couple of years.

 

Sally Bolton deserves the RL version of a damehood.



#15 roughyedspud

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:50 PM

give her nigels job

OLDHAM RLFC
the 8TH most successful team in british RL


#16 Dave T

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:51 PM

I'm now hearing that ticket sales for Saturday have passed 50,000, after a big rush for tickets this week.

 

There is a chance it could still sell out.

 

NZ v Samoa just about sold out at Warrington on Sunday.

Stop getting us excited Martyn! I've intentionally kept my expectations low so as not to be disappointed! If we get less than 50k now, I'm blaming you!



#17 Walter

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:57 PM

give her nigels job

 

That would be a good call mate



#18 Scubby

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:59 PM

Stop getting us excited Martyn! I've intentionally kept my expectations low so as not to be disappointed! If we get less than 50k now, I'm blaming you!

 

Dave you bl**dy pessimist! (we all think that really)  Stop posting on here and get your sandwich board on to help get those last few tickets at Wire snapped up. Outside Tesco's would be ideal



#19 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:06 PM

But if it's different, it has to be easy to understand, and not just by geeks such as us.

 

There are many things in life that work theoretically, but prove to be disastrous in practice.

 

This will be one of them.

 

I wish it weren't so.

I agree: I think the proposal will be disastrous for professional rugby league and will result in a retrenchement back to the so called heartlands: which I find depressing.

I think the complexity of the idea, whilst certainly being a concern isn't the main issue however.

I gave up on trying to understand the play off system years ago: but I fully support it(apart from perhaps club call) since it produces a true champion...it's a complex but elegant idea.

The coming weeks will show people-including the parochialists within the game just what a large and vibrant family Rugby League is. The proposals will IMHO undo a lot of that.


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#20 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:12 PM

I agree: I think the proposal will be disastrous for professional rugby league and will result in a retrenchement back to the so called heartlands: which I find depressing.

I think the complexity of the idea, whilst certainly being a concern isn't the main issue however.

I gave up on trying to understand the play off system years ago: but I fully support it(apart from perhaps club call) since it produces a true champion...it's a complex but elegant idea.

The coming weeks will show people-including the parochialists within the game just what a large and vibrant family Rugby League is. The proposals will IMHO undo a lot of that.

Absolutely correct!

 

Just when we are about to see what I hope will be a fabulously successful tournament, to change the league structure to something that most people can't fathom will be to shoot ourselves in the foot with a vengeance.

 

We saw it, by the way, with the move to an eight-team play-off, which was a step too far for most people in terms of ease of understanding, and has resulted in some very poor play-off attendances.

 

But for us geeks, the play-offs are also easy to understand.






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