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.......
- GaryO likes this