It is a great sport, and plenty of people do care about the guff around the edges, thats why they dont watch it, and plenty of people do care about the fact we are 2nd best in terms of player quality, thats why they dont watch it.
We have a problem generating new supporters, but anyone pointing out that or low fanbase and lack of new supporters might be down to the product, its image and its environment is just complaining.
Im a big fan of the game, i think the game itself is brilliant and i think we have a whole heap of potential in this country. I'm not negative about our game, im genuinely excited about it. But i want it to be the best it can be. I think we can be so much more than we are right now but we wont ever get there by simply pretending these problems arent problems. They are and we are good enough to overcome them but we do need to address them.
Just knowing that there is a league in Australia and it is better than ours is enough to make it more difficult to sell ours. Because knowing the Australian league is better means knowing ours is worse. And our effort becomes selling a product to people who think we are inferior.
As I said in a previous post to solve a problem you have to properly define it. Do you have any real evidence that Superleague's real problem is that it is second best to NRL, and that it is an image problem?.
For image problems check out soccer's overpaid cheats, or upper class twits rolling around in the mud in winter, before barbecues and berbours.
I can't see that problem. All the half interested floating fans I have known and often taken to a game over 40 years have no interest in what's happening in Australia. These lads like what they see, but in the main don't stick because it's not a game they have an affinity with, they played the all engulfing soccer at school
and the clubs I took them to they also have no affinity with but they all know Leeds United.
The real problem is to me clear. Soccer is shoved down their throats and even if they prefer Rugby at many schools they can't play league. History has pushed us into a region and in that region we get squeezed further. That's much more the problem not "Image" all my guests respected our game, one said he preferred Leeds Carnegie.
As for an inability to "sell it" we have just "sold it" to SKY again for a record £200,000,000, and we have sold it to a large TV audience too. I quoted you the main markets for the game Leeds, Wigan, Saints, Warrington, Hull, Bradford, South France and Calder. In 1996 64,000 fans on average watched Rugby league in these areas. Today up to 113,000 fans watch Rugby League in these areas.
We have tried expansion and as we don't have people with the same affinity to RL outside the north - a problem even evidenced with many of my northern friends as above - then any solution remains a mega £Million one and we do not have the money.
So with respect we are left with creating a talking shop on image, or defining the real problem which for me is that we can see what works and what brings in the fans. Big well resourced SL clubs. We need to grow more of them and we are not doing that. The self interested Leeds, Wigans and Saints prefer to raid the Hulls and Calders for their players, they prefer to preside over rules that stifle growth and investment in Salford/manchester, they block growth in France, manipulate their puppet RFL leader, and they seize on any difficulty at their colleagues businesses by backing points deductions, taking their SKY money and raiding their playing rosters.
If you want the real problem it is the self destruction of the dream league of well spread out big SL clubs currently being reduced down into an 8 club rump. But guess what, the so called "great businessmen" at these clubs have now made themselves bigger fish in a smaller pond whilst using the small clubs thirst for P & R to engineer that. That's the problem.