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What is the World Cup telling us about UK Rugby League?

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#21 GeordieSaint

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:54 PM

I'd actually like to buck the general trend of this thread. I think the World Cup has shone the UK teams need to concentrate on some of the basic skills more. Some of the tackling by ALL the home nations and France has been poor (how many do we see tackle around the legs?) and some of the passing skills have been very very poor...


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#22 creditwhereitsdews

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:26 PM

The greatest thing about this tournament has been that it has been structured around making it inclusive - giving every team a chance, however little the odds. New fans and lapsed ones, myself included, have been pulled in.

The 'big 3' countries have barely flexed a muscle yet, but the smaller nations have been captivating.

Yet there's an odds on chance that at the end of it the British domestic competition is going to return to being exclusive, the preserve of the chairmen with the biggest pockets and fewest scruples.

It would be great if the legacy of the tournament here was to unite the game so it can be structured in a similar way to the World Cup and give the smaller sides the chance to dream once again. It doesn't even have to be promotion and relegation, but there must be some structure that can give the smaller clubs a chance to emulate what USA, Scotland, etc, have achieved in the last two weeks. Towns like Rochdale, Workington, Leigh and even Bristol have shown how they can respond and others would follow.



#23 Methven Hornet

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:49 PM

 

As a Londoner who has been watching Rugby League for many years, I've been asking throughout why does it ignore its heartlands in pursuing expansion. I have only though been watching the game since I moved into a League town. For the first 24 years of my life, it didn't register. London has no interest in it. Nor, looking at the attendance in Neath for Wales v Cook Islands, does South Wales. I was at the half full Millennium for the opening games. It wasn't exactly busting with Welsh folk either.

 

The crowds at Halifax, Leigh, Workington, Avignon have all shown that there is still an appetite for the game in its traditional yet unsupported homes that does not exist today in London and South Wales. Last season only five SL clubs had average gates that exceeded those in Halifax and Leigh this week. Yet today the focus remains on the need to continue to have development that rapes our game of money it cannot afford, whilst not defending in its core business. 

 

Other examples are cited in support: The NFL is interested in investing in London. Yes it is, but not at the expense of say Cincinnati. Aussie Rules has clubs outside Melbourne. Yes it does, but in addition to, not in place of its home market. It is a myth is that our game is played in small regional towns that cannot sustain the game. Whilst not forgetting West Cumbria, collectively the M62 corridor is the second largest urbanisation in the whole UK, much like Melbourne is in Australia. It's true that the AFL has a Sydney club, but it wouldn't die without it. 

 

The model is clear. Add to what you have. If it works great, incorporate it. If it doesn't, shelve it.

 

Let's have a bigger top division rewarding local interest. If in time a London club like Skolars evolves and is worthy of a place, that's wonderful. But let's not kill the goose in trying to artificially make it happen. As for the excuse that there isn't enough quality to sustain more SL clubs, well, look at this World Cup. There's quality everywhere. It just hasn't been invested in!

If you define heartlands as those few towns in northern England where the game has traditionally been played, Rugby League certainly does not ignore its heartlands and never has. The vast majority of the funding goes into clubs in those towns and always has done. If the inaccurately named 'whole game solution' goes through the proportion of funding received by those traditional towns will actually increase. This isn't new. There have been times in the past when the game has tried to expand, got scared when the going got tough and scuttled back to its confort zone.

The games in Halifax, Leigh and Workington have been world cup games, internationals, special occasions that have been promoted well. Those clubs playing at the level they can sustain will not attract those sort of crowds, and it is pointless trying to pretend that every northern club can play at the top level. Rape is an inappropriate word and bears no resemblence to what happens. The game made a decision, on the back of increased funding from BSkyB, that it would organise an elite, full time competition for the first time. No one has been violated. Even then attempts at expanding the game have been half-hearted: Gateshead not being given their full allocation of TV funding, Paris rushed in meaning that their players often had to double up by playing for their home town clubs in the same weekend, London and Wales being placed in Super League without any real idea of what was needed for the game to become established

The sports you mention - NFL and AFL - are extremely successful in commercial terms, but even they have recognised that standing still means stagnation - they have no compunction in dropping traditional clubs that dont come up to the mark, or transferring them to expansion areas, and both governing bodies have done so. To actually retreat back to their respective heartlands would be unthinkable.

As has often been noted on here, rugby league clubs just don't evolve, certainly not by trading through playing rugby league. What evolution has the club you mention, London Skolars, been through since it entered the league? They may finish a few more places off the bottom, but that is because weaker clubs have been introduced (or, in the case of Gateshead, bigger clubs have largely collapsed). The only way Skolars will 'evolve' is if someone, whether the game's authorities, sponsors or financial backers, invests substantial amounts in order to yake them to another level (as happened when Brisbane acquired London and took them into Super League).

As we've seen in this world cup, rugby league is a fantastic sport; but it is just that: a sport. It needs to be available to everyone, just as it states in the Rugby Football League's constitution. That that duty has been neglected for most of the RFL's history is no justification for neglecting it now. The game is not the property of those few northern towns. It needs to sustain, if not increase, its expansion efforts if it is to maintain anything like a status of being a mainstream sport.

By the way, about the title and subtitle of this thread. Ireland, or at least the part where rugby league is played, is not in the United Kingdom.


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#24 Methven Hornet

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:56 PM

 

The greatest thing about this tournament has been that it has been structured around making it inclusive - giving every team a chance, however little the odds. New fans and lapsed ones, myself included, have been pulled in.

The 'big 3' countries have barely flexed a muscle yet, but the smaller nations have been captivating.

Yet there's an odds on chance that at the end of it the British domestic competition is going to return to being exclusive, the preserve of the chairmen with the biggest pockets and fewest scruples.

It would be great if the legacy of the tournament here was to unite the game so it can be structured in a similar way to the World Cup and give the smaller sides the chance to dream once again. It doesn't even have to be promotion and relegation, but there must be some structure that can give the smaller clubs a chance to emulate what USA, Scotland, etc, have achieved in the last two weeks. Towns like Rochdale, Workington, Leigh and even Bristol have shown how they can respond and others would follow.

 

 

The way the competition has been structured has contributed to its success, with teams playing at the appropriate level. My fear is that there's an odds on chance that at the end of it the game is going to return to being exclusive, the preserve of those traditional clubs from the few northern towns where the game exists. Why do we continue to hide the game from the wider world?

 


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#25 foozler

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:06 PM

Rugby league's birth was in the mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire (and Cheshire in the case of Stockport.

 

I suggest you re-read my post in which I was responding to the question about why there is no pro RL in East Lancs, so towns like towns like Burnley, Accrington and Blackburn, Bolton none of which are a million miles from Wigan. Why was it that in those Mill Towns that soccer was favoured over rugby?



#26 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:11 PM

That it has a lot more going for it that the parochials within the game give it credit for or even want to give it credit for

Even now there are desultory sneers from some of them
Meanwhile the rest inside and outside the game have been re energised in some cases enlightened and in others have brand new box fresh memories to carry forward with then
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#27 sweaty craiq

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:55 PM

The legacy must be an understanding that a united RL with a common expansion goal at every level and a clear guaranteed pathway to the elite level is in the interests of all. SE, Bristol and Wales must be prioritised, London must survive in SL and be stronger for the experience of recent years. The Elite must be Elite, no more protecting the weak at the top table.

10500 at Leigh, 10400 at Fax and 9000's at Dale and Wakey show the dormant heartland support to be ignited, the reaction of local supporters at Wembley says it all about our sport - lets not waste this chance by giving time to the dinosaurs holding us back protecting the non elite



#28 Saintslass

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:27 PM

 

10500 at Leigh, 10400 at Fax and 9000's at Dale and Wakey show the dormant heartland support to be ignited,

Not true at all.  I went to Leigh, for example, but I live in St Helens and support Saints.  Some fans during the world cup have travelled to every game in every location.  Those crowds you refer to were attracted from all over the country and possibly beyond.  They are not an indication of local support for the sport or a particular club.  The numbers which turn up week in, week out are an indication of that.



#29 Johnoco

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:43 PM

Not true at all. I went to Leigh, for example, but I live in St Helens and support Saints. Some fans during the world cup have travelled to every game in every location. Those crowds you refer to were attracted from all over the country and possibly beyond. They are not an indication of local support for the sport or a particular club. The numbers which turn up week in, week out are an indication of that.

Yeah otherwise you could argue that the crowd at Wembley indicates the Broncos will get big crowds

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#30 Northern Sol

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:51 PM

Yeah otherwise you could argue that the crowd at Wembley indicates the Broncos will get big crowds

If you look at that thread, some people do seem to be making that point.



#31 Johnoco

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 06:12 PM

If you look at that thread, some people do seem to be making that point.

I wouldn't know about that but people are using the argument that decent crowds in Leigh etc are an indication that we should retreat to the 'heartlands'. My experience of this WC screams the opposite.

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Pull off that cover, I will too, and learn to understand

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#32 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 06:17 PM

The legacy must be an understanding that a united RL with a common expansion goal at every level and a clear guaranteed pathway to the elite level is in the interests of all. SE, Bristol and Wales must be prioritised, London must survive in SL and be stronger for the experience of recent years. The Elite must be Elite, no more protecting the weak at the top table.

10500 at Leigh, 10400 at Fax and 9000's at Dale and Wakey show the dormant heartland support to be ignited, the reaction of local supporters at Wembley says it all about our sport - lets not waste this chance by giving time to the dinosaurs holding us back protecting the non elite

People travelled from my all over the place to these games


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#33 The Parksider

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 06:30 PM

10500 at Leigh, 10400 at Fax and 9000 at (Roch)Dale show the dormant heartland support to be ignited


Ha ha Craiq - you didn't get away with that one did you!!

Did you have border guards turning non-Leigh RL fans away from the town?

#34 dogthebountyhunter

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 06:47 PM

The facts are and always will be that Leauge is a Northern based game and whatever Union thinks there Southern based with at least over half of there top teams based in London and surrounds and west country. Develop where your most strongest where the fan base is.

That's not a fact, we have four league clubs in Devon alone....


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#35 Northern Sol

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 06:55 PM

That's not a fact, we have four league clubs in Devon alone....

Not really enough to change the stat that RL is still largely northern based. We need more clubs in Devon. RU has far more than just four.


Edited by Northern Sol, 25 November 2013 - 06:56 PM.


#36 G Las D

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:05 PM

With reference to the question in the topic title in the short term:  the more of our top players play regularly in the NRL the more competitive our international side will be.


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#37 charlie stones boots

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:25 PM

I think the world cup has been a massive success for the supporters has there been huge interest outside the heartland. . Probably not. It wasn't helped by the bbc covering it to be honest. I would like to know the percentage of fans attending who didn't come from the m62 corridor. I hope it was lots.
I personally attended 3 games and didn't hear many non northern accents.
I also hope the day will come when traditional clubs the rfl has forgotten get us back to a stronger game.
I don't think London has worked over the years. I do think
Catalan has been a success. Wales was never going to work. The rfl should realise the Welsh have a tradition of union just as much as Hull or Saint Helena has league.
If the rfl had spent all the money they waste on expansion on the traditional areas of the game things may be different.
As it is we havethe greatest game in the world all played within 15 miles of the m62, I for one rejoice in the fact and dont really care if it stays that way.

#38 Johnoco

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:34 PM

People can have a Northern accent and have never attended a RL game in their life you know. I didn't get into RL until I was 30. There's millions of others like it.

And how can something be as good as you claim if it stayed within such a tiny range?

Edited by Johnoco, 25 November 2013 - 07:35 PM.

No I don't care if you're if you're into different bands

No cause for so much hatred, I'm just a different man

Pull off that cover, I will too, and learn to understand

With music deep inside we'll make world unity our plan

 

7 Seconds -Walk Together, Rock Together


#39 charlie stones boots

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:51 PM

I dunno ask the followers of the arl maybe. I am sure there are many non northern supporters of rugby league but not enough to sustain a superleague club at the expence of the likes of oldham, featherstone, hunslet, halifax ect.
Most of the people on this forum would say rugby wasnt that bad before we tried to expand it south. Although the product was not as professional and not played to the standards of today it was probably attended by a lot more fans than it is today.
Its easy for me to have a 'remember the good old days' attitude but its how I feel having been going to see hull for 40 years.

#40 Padge

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:52 PM

I suggest you re-read my post in which I was responding to the question about why there is no pro RL in East Lancs, so towns like towns like Burnley, Accrington and Blackburn, Bolton none of which are a million miles from Wigan. Why was it that in those Mill Towns that soccer was favoured over rugby?

 

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