Or, as a thought is it the area's that are to blame, have the once great sporting public of west, West Yorkshire no longer have the desire to attend games?
Halifax and Huddersfield are by my guesstimate some 8 miles apart (by route, not as the crow flies)and they have a very poor collective average attendance between them, probably broken down again to home fans of about 1200 for Fax and 5000 for Town.
Leigh are more or less in a position that when we take Wigan Saints and Wire the furthest away is Saints which is 10 miles, the attendances at Leigh in the 8's with very little away support in attendance (Saturday afternoons and televised) was over 4000, and we know how well the other 3 are supported.
I know this has nothing to do with the OP but the thought came into my head on reading Parkys reply.
Outside Odsal on the top roundabout is both the Halifax and Huddersfield roads
In and around that triangle in 2000, 23,500 people were watching Rugby League.
In 2014 due mainly to two clubs losing SL status that had dropped to 15,000
In 2003 Leigh were competing for the NRCup and second division title with Salford. Both games pulled over 4,000.
In 2004 Leigh pulled 4,600 for Whitehaven on their way to promotion.
Their consequent SL season saw crowds only average 100 more than that.
Not sure of your point Gary, all I know support levels are limited to circumstances and we have an avalanche of evidence of this.
I thought it was great. Some really good matches in the middle 8 with a fantastic final (M£G).
The Super 8 was also nail biting.
In Halifax, Leigh, Bradford and Sheffield, we have the best of the rest who have a degree of potential.
I would go with 2 leagues of 8 with more equal funding. We can't compete with NRL or RU anyway when it comes to keeping any players in demand, so lets just go for 2 equally funded leagues all full time.
It was great.
Halifax. Leigh and Sheffield have no potential to be SL clubs. You can't grow a professional club in small towns in the shadow of Fartown or Wigan. They don't even play RL in sheffield.
With respect 14 SL clubs fell apart financially and resource wise so, why would the RFL extend that to 16??
SKY wouldn't allow £Millions of their money to be given to clubs they don't televise.
1. I strongly believe that structure is largely irrelevant to the bigger picture.
We need to prioritise above everything else:
- broadening the player pool; and
- strengthening the international game. Slowly but surely I see the second being done......
2. As regards the clubs, I am happy with p and r for precisely the reason Dave T gives. Where we have perhaps a dozen clubs of equal resource/potential, outside of the big 8, what do you do? Invite them all in (my preferred option), or have the ability for them to rise and fall, sort of what we have now. There is a constant refrain/complaint that too few teams win SL. To my mind, that begs the questions - why do these clubs do well? What can other clubs do to match them?
1. You need to explain to me how the international game is strengthening. There is no professional International game in northern Hempishere RL, particularly since the England-France games were abandoned. Think about that - what a disaster that was - sadly it was also understandable.
2. Leeds, Saints and Wigan do well as constant success breeds interest in these places (ever since I started watching in the 60's these clubs were big) and they develop players and big fan bases off that. In addition they can pick off players from other clubs to strengthen their sides and weaken their opponents below the big three. Warrington are not far off them though.
Big clubs are possible in other places like Humberside, Calder and south Bradford areas but there is no one club to mop up all the resources, instead they fight over the same fan and player base and struggle for both a decent ground and adequate private investment in the Calder area. Both Hull and Bradford have been at the top so they can work.
Along with Catalans these clubs/areas that are strong in RL rescourse actually make up the top eight as it stands now. The RFL have succeeded in getting the biggest clubs into a small Elite league who get all the priveliges.
As Brian Smith says struggling to stay in SL whilst the top eight go off to play each other again will make it hard for the lower SL clubs to compete
As regards the "dozen clubs" below the top eight both you and Dave T identify as being relatively weak clubs but with "potential" I think your right in the analysis.
But your wrong in terms of potential IMO. Their fan bases are too low and their local players bases are far too weak, it all goes back to resources and there aren't the fans or players for 20 or even 10 competitive clubs - which is the reason licensing won't work, it will trap poor clubs in with the Elite as it did last time.
This is why the RFL have created their elite super 8 and left the rest to happily go play P & R. It's a resounding success.......
If we had put Toulouse in 5 years ago, there may have been a third opportunity in France. We will never know because we don't follow our convictions and stick with things.
Indeed but Toulouse were set to be admitted 20 years ago and of course there may be a third option in France, only heartlands can sustain professional RL now and for a few years it has been obvious that the northern hemisphere game's soundest plan is based on a strong anglo-french competition and internationals, blocked of course by parochial club interest.