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Rugby League Yearbook 2014-15


Member Since 06 Dec 2005
Offline Last Active Mar 09 2015 09:12 PM

#3085627 Rugby League at the Olympic Stadium London

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 09 March 2015 - 02:40 AM

According to league express there is another terrestrial tv station bidding against the bbc for this test series! Interesting


If this was the case then I would have thought they would not have announced kick off times. That said Channel's 4 or 5 would do a better job in presenting and packaging the sport than the BBC. I would be tempted to accept the bid from the other terrestrial company simply because a fresh approach is required.

#3083466 England to play France at end of this year

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 05 March 2015 - 08:57 PM

Should be in France but I suspect Leigh Sports Village is being lined up for this.

#3078180 WCS: Overall impressions, conclusions and bonkers theorising

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 24 February 2015 - 10:21 PM

Watching this on TV in Christchurch those with me were nonplussed that St Helens were and unquestionably are the best side in English Rugby League as they were well and truly schooled by Souths.There is a gulf between the standards in the NRL and Super League and the three games demonstrated this.


I can compare this with cricket where there is a consensus amongst fans, players, the broadcast media and administrators that change is needed and the game cannot go on the way it is. Yet I see no sign of any such radical moves within Rugby League. Surely the gulf in class indicates that Rugby League needs to concentrate on expansion both of the playing and spectator base as a priority.


Currently under  Wood and Solly, supported by certain journalists and pundits such as Garry Schofield - the Al Murray of Rugby League. The game is contracting being aimed not at a new audience but in making an old and declining audience within the M62 feel better about themselves. With platitudes about "organic growth" being trotted out as justification for some amateur teams outside the M62 watched by friends and family constituting expansion.


What is need is a counter revolution with expansion a priority, it does not need a substantial transfer of funds, ring-fencing or the end of promotion and relegation what expansion really needs is:  


An understanding that expansion clubs need a relaxed overseas quota for a fixed period of time say 10 years. This is because theses areas do not have a ready made local conveyor belt of young players and recognises that the only way to attract and retain supporters and sponsors is to be a competitive outfit in contention for honours.


Concentration on development work in the areas with the expansion clubs to create a local conveyor belt of talent which not only benefits the expansion club but also the game as a whole . For example look at the number of ex-London Bronco players now in Super League.


The cry of "fairness" will be raised but there is nothing "fair" about a situation where a club without a local conveyor belt of young players is forced to competed against clubs that do.


It would also be a recognition that to get a substantial TV contract, which does pay the bills for most sports these days not whether you bring 300 away fans, depends upon having a national appeal and that means having clubs in other parts of the UK not clubs playing in a limited geographical area. This will not happen overnight and the best way for this to happen would be for expansion clubs to be taken over and either run by or in partnership with an NRL club. This would be a radical step but this is the only way in which the current parlous plight of Rugby League in the northern hempisphere can be retrieved. It will face severe opposition probably than the original super league and franchising but for the good of the game needs to happen. 


What is needed is a counter revolutionary alliance between fans, owners, journalists and administrators to take on the vested interests and move the game forward in this county and to ensure that if you view the BBC website from overseas Rugby League no longer appears as a "other sport" accessed via a drop down menu


Rugby League in the northern hemisphere has a choice to evolve or die.- Which option will it be.

#3078133 The NRL take control of the Gold Coast Titans.

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 24 February 2015 - 09:16 PM

Pity something like this did not happen in London in September 2013.. Gold Coast has potential and is the surrogate second "Brisbane" team. Their first game was played at Suncorp v St George, I should know for I was there. If Brisbane has another team it will be in the North at Redcliffe. Queenslands a growing state so I would imagine adding to the Queensland clubs in the NRL not relocation. More clubs in Qld would also stop sydney fans beefing about the Broncos being on Nine every Friday....  

#3076194 bbcrugby

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 21 February 2015 - 10:22 PM

Brings back the old chestnut does it not about whether the game would better off as League rather than Rugby League.

Down here in the shaky isles it has always been League and Rugby (Union)

In Australia the owners of Rugby League week called their paper League Week for a while before reverting to RLW due to subscriber pressure.

As in the rest of the UK outside the M62 "Rugby" is Union. It might be worth a punt with a bit of brand differentiation which would prevent embarrassment such as recounted by Keith Hogg at a fans forum in the days of Harlequins Rugby League. Coaches would go out to school with the Harlequins RL logo and be welcomed as Harlequins Rugby Lessons.

Of course traditionalists may wish to rename the sport Northern Rugby League. The initials being as close to the standards of the NRL as super league is ever likely to get....

#3076181 Cricket

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 21 February 2015 - 10:12 PM

After a 30 hour flight I made the game in Wellington. Comfortably the worst England Performance in an ODI, I have seen.


Was on the flight with the team to Christchurch, along with Mike Atherton, David Lloyd, Geoff Boycott (seated together), Dean Wilson from the Mirror and sundry other journos.The biggest smiles were from those who did not play in the game because your stock always rises when the sides beat and your not in it. Only Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara stopped to have a chat with Lloyd and Boycott. Eoin Morgan in glasses (he bats in contact lenses) gave the pair a swerve as did batting coach Mark Ramprakash. 


Stuart Broad sat detached from the rest of the team because they gave him the emergency exit seats for a bit of extra legroom. Though he looked a bit lost separated from the rest of the group on his mobile at Christchurch Airport


Been drizzling here in Christchurch this morning so we might not play full stop tomorrow...


Sniff I hear if we get on the field - Two changes Chris Jordan for Steven Finn and Alex Hales for Gary Ballance. They might like to bring in James Tredwell but bringing tricky Treaders in poses the question of who to leave out and neither Joe Root or James Taylor have quite done badly enough to be left out...


This calls for a bold decision and this is England...

#3072230 So what is a good crowd?

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 15 February 2015 - 08:05 AM

Definition of a good crowd;

  • Where all have paid the normal price to get in and not padded by free ticfkets or heavily discounted ones
  • Where less than 33% of the attendance is not made up by the travelling support of the visiting club
  • Where the average attendance of a club has risen at the end of the season

Factors to consider

  • Free tickets and discounted tickets go to those people who are interested in the game but not committed. Only those people who are committed to the game pay full price and have season ticket,s with a club's season ticket base the yardstick for its popularilty and health
  • Adding discounted tickets inflates the average and when attendances drop when everyone is asked to pay the thread turns to a decline in a club's attendances when it may be nothing like as sharp as the statistics say.
  • Thursday nights. the weather the opposition and SKY coverage are used as excuses to explain away poor crowds yet the committed fan will always find a way to be attewndance. Other sports fans do not have this as an excuise which has a marginal impact on crowds at best.

#3068307 Crowd watch - 1st week

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 07 February 2015 - 08:09 PM

Surely the harbingers of doom have something to say about this?


First game of the season, 3,000 freebies at the Halton Stadium and a heavily subscribed  £ 10 offer at St Helens..Actually I am not knocking this as much as you think because even with a Free ticket you have to have some interest in the sport to attend in the first place. I have been offered freebies to AFL at The Oval but I gave that a swerve because I am not into it. It does remind me of when Ken Davy opened the gates at the McAlpine as part of his BIG announcement when 15,000 turned up for Ken to announce discounted season tickets. There's not been 15,000 since and while I freely admit had I been in the north west on Thursday and been offered a freebie the Chemics would have had the pleasure of my company. The acid test will be when the novelty value of the first game and the Free / Discounted tickets.have been replaced with normal pricing how many will then actually turn up.


We will have to see will we not, but it's a bit premature to be declaring "jeopardy" a mega success.



A very decent 11,864 for Warrington's opener. Bigger than every crowd they had last year bar one (vs St Helens).


Does make the case for more Saturday games in the Super League schedule does it not ?


The only professional RL game in town going head to head with a full soccer programme. It must have drawn some neutrals and like Ray French I would suggest more Saturday 3.00 kickoffs will enable the crowd to be drawn from a greater geographical area.


Saturdays are worth persevering with.

#3049114 High Profile SL Game in London 2016: Craven Cottage?

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 26 December 2014 - 06:07 PM

To paraphrase Michael Corleone in one of the later Godfather movies try to stay out ofr thise TRL debates but they drag me in.......


The facts are these :


NRL clubs and the commission have made it very clear to their counterparts in the RFL that without a top level presence in the Capital City the game lacks credibility in the northern hemisphere. As Martyn Sadler put it if the cannot expand into London then it will not expand anywhere.


At Red Hall cold reality is beginning to bite, a small niche sport played around the M62,gets little in way of sponsorship and media exposure and the way Jeopardy has been set up it reflects less jeopardy than predictablity. So an air of panic ensues and more "initiatives" are tried out.


For sure I have advocated on this board the playing of matches outside the M62 as a way of stimulating interest in the sport. However this needs to be part of a concerted plan not a one off effort of which examples such as Windsor park in 2000 and Bristol; in 2013 stand out. Just what is the plan here ? 


Comparisons with the NFL are facile simply because to see an NFL game outside of Wembley involves a 7 to 10 hour plane trip and going through borders wheras in the UK it involves a 3 hour train journey from the Capital and no borders, though the idea of a "wakefield wall" does appeal...  ;)


So you would end up with a game whereby the majority of attenders are from the participating clubs, either beefing about losing a Home game from their season ticket * or losing the "magic" weekend That fun event that means so much to many of you on here and if the majority of attendees are from the north then it kind of defeats the purpose does it not.


Of course you could argue that by strategically placing a Super League game it prevents the chances of a NRL game perhaps between say the Roosters and Manly being played in London. This game would sell out as any one who attended Australia v New Zealand at the Stoop a few years back can attest for there is the antipodean fan base for the NRL if not for Super League within Greater London. This is an idea that has been bandied about and could work but will not for the commission would not want to tread on Red Hall's toes at present, but of course as the feeling grows that League in the northern hemisphere is a secondary game, as with proposed changes to the rules of the game it could be that there comes a point in time where the NRL Clubs no longer care what the RFL thinks if they feel they can make a buck or two...


Does it help the moribund Broncos?. Well I was at the shirt launch in potters fields during my lunchbreak and while London does indeed now have the kit to kill for and one I will buy, the rest I am afraid highlighted to me how much the club has sunk, Something I did not do on this board was report what I saw for fear of being labelled the grinch that stole christmas. As opposed to a season launch in 2009 much better attended over the other side of the river this one imvolved an impromptu strip in chilly potters fields and lining up in a V shape in front of iconic Tower Bridge with the diminutive malteser Joe Grima at the apex of the V for the benefit of the few die hards in attendance and curious Japanese tourists snapping away. I had to laugh on going away at the following conversation between two young women heading to City Hall "who are they"  "there a Rugby League team" "where was Jonny Wilkinson" Sorry folks I could not resist interjecting at that point to the girls that "Jonny is a Wigan fan this is London Broncos"..


ts laughable to suggest that more Home fans will be turning up this year, As I have posted many times previously, fans down south have a portfolio of sporting interests, most of which predated involvement in Rugby League. Unlike Championship fans who pack out the local Golf course if their club cannot be subsidised into Super League, fans down here return to their other sporting interests. It doies not mean you cease to be interested in Rugby League the game or watch it on TV but what it does means is that the game does drop down your sporting pecking order so you watch from the sofa or from the stands less than before. In my case I am only slated to watch 5/6 Home Games , the pre-season against Skolars and Skolars-Wigan at the HAC, plus about 4 NRL games during the CWC.


Now I am a fan some of you may have inadvertantly met who has been since the dawn of Super League traversing the country in search of Rugby League. Yet for the first time, I may not be at the end of year England v New Zealand Series or the Grand Final. As John Drake once posted after 30 odd years or so why was London still regarded as an "expansion" area and not one of Rugby League's heartlands. if that holds true, then is not the gradual disconnnection from the game of heartlands supporters like myself from down south every bit as concerning to Red Hall as the disaffection of Leigh, Featherstone, Halifax and of course Keighley fans ?


* it does also remind me of the time when Wigan tried a ladies day which women would be allowed in free to the JJB and idea that was spiked when a  male  Wigan Season pass holder claimed Sex Discrimination. So imagine the meltdown a game at Loftus road would cause.

#3049096 Super eight or relegate?

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 26 December 2014 - 05:05 PM

At the end of the day if Featherstone or Leigh get into Super League and they have a chairman capable of bleeding red ink to the tune of £ 2 million plus per year then yes they could well aim for the eighth spot. However sooner or later simple economics will take its toll as it did with Blackburn Rovers in Soccer once Jack Walker went. The only way one of these clubs could ever be an established super league club would be for one of their closest rivals to collapse on and off the field and they would replace them. i.e. Featherstone taking over from Wakefield or Castleford or Leigh supplanting Warrington, Saints or Wigan.Unlikely but not entirely out of the realms of possibility.


I call the social darwinism this entails the Peril of Proximity, whereby the only way a club can progress is to cannibalise the support base, and junior base of its local rivals. Without this descending into the tedious Union v League debate. The reason promotion and relegation works in Union is that clubs like Exeter, Worcester, and Newcastle have no local competitors and therefore the financial, junior and support base is there. The Union club that does fish in the same pool as others, London Welsh, is sinking like a stone on and off the field.  


Rugby League has opted to become and remain a small niche sport played aloing the M62 and is being remunerated and covered in the press and TV accordingly. It's like the powerful argument put by the No campaign in the Indy ref, for in the same way you cannot say "i tried this independence lark and dont like it much can we go back to the way it was" you cannot say "I tried this contraction lark back to the heartlands and don't like it much can we expand the game again". Life will have moved on without you.


Panic stricken initiatives from the RFL on which I will comment elsewhere reflect the fact that jeopardy really is not the panacea many on this and other boards claimed it would be. 

#3006918 Nathan Brown to leave St Helens (merged threads)

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 03 October 2014 - 04:36 PM

Not a big problem for them if they appoint Keiran Cunningham Head Coach with Mike Rush as his assistant.


Nathan  Brown's lucky to get an NRL gig as it was not a tour de force on his part when he was in charge of a talented St George - lllawarra team and being a head coach in the UK - without silverware - is not exactly the strongpoint on your CV when it it comes to appointments in the NRL.

#2986775 Sinfield Quits International Rugby (Merged threads)

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 01 September 2014 - 07:32 PM

There are times when you just have to say thank you for your service.It would appear some don't have the decency to do that.To be expected.


Agreed, Kevin Sinfield is a bit like Andy Farrell was in that he is an outstanding leader and player for his Club in Super League and another modern era player who due to the change in seasons was never able to test himself in the NRL during the northern hemisphere off season.


It could be argued that Kevin was found lacking at international level against NRL standard players but he is certainly not alone in that respect. He never gave less than 100% when wearing an England / Great Britain shirt and really that is all as a fan you can ask for. 


His retirement from the International stage is a dignified exit as befits a model professional on and off the field

#2982456 Empty Seats On The Telly.....

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 25 August 2014 - 11:59 AM

I agree with a lot of what you comment but have highlighted the NFL bit.   Again I agree they as a organization have a far better marketing & PR team but then they have the money too... However I think the NRL games at Wembley may not be a fair comparison.  That is that an awful lot of fans will be travelling from across Europe.  The NFL event is a true European wide event.   Not sure what the percentage of fans will be from outside the UK but it will be a relatively very high percentage.


Two points I would make in response as to why it's a closer comparison than you think.


Firstly, the TRL "post code test" for everyone living south and west of Birmingham and in South Wales this is the "local" BIG rugby league event that does not result in an overnight stay in much the same way that European NFL fans can see a game without going stateside. Normally events such as this and the world cup semi-final have a 33-50% southern audience claimed so given the drop in the number of neutrals this year it could be viewed as a disturbing but predictable loss of interest in the sport outside the environs of the M62.


Secondly, Having gone to the NFL games, Aviva Premiership Finals and a Heineken Cup Final along with International Cricket matches what you get as part of the event is a lot going on outside the ground as well as the game itself. it's a big part of being at the "event". The Minnisota Vikings v Pittsburgh Steelers game last year was the best day out at a sporting event, including a close game, that I have had in the last decade. Now I take your point about the NFL having greater funding but a lot of what they do in the car park could be replicated by the RFL for minimal cost. You could have had the cheerleaders on stage, interviews with past players, your Rugby Leagfue bouncy castle games, Food and Drink on sale at the fans village. Autograph signing sessions with Castleford, Leeds and Rugby League legends for the fans - cheap 30 minute slots with players signing a printed action card and posing for fan photos. or even have your photo taken with the Challenge Cup,/ Super League trophy. There is a very poor mans attempt at this made at the Grand Final but not at Wembley. The RFL can do this as at Trafalgar Square for the world cup. What I am posting is why the RFL does not try to enhance the fan experience at what should be a celebration of the game and much more than shuffling from Wembley Park tube to ther ground hanging around in the "wind-tunnel" effect for the doors to open then shuffling back post-game.


Being involved in other sports makes me want at times to smash the keyboard when it comes to hoiw Rugby League almost delights in selling itself short. The game should be looking at other sports to benchmark how they operate and to see waht they do that might work for you. Other sports do take note of what League does which is why the likes of Peter Deakin, Dave Swanton and Sally Bolton are now elsewhere as to quote from the bible Luke 4:24 "no prophet is accepted in his own country".


On TV rights, David Davies proposed that the RL Challenge Cup Final ceased to be a listed event in November 2009



The Coalition has kicked this issue into touch until after the May 2015 election. This does not preclude SKY TV and the RFL putting pressure on political parties to revive the Davies proposal post election. SKY wants exclusivity, the RFL wants the money and political parties want to stay on the right side of Uncle Rupert  so 2018 is not as fanciful as some on this thread feel.


One Final point on TV - the BBC and SKY pay for the product- that means making the armchair viwer feel part of a live sporting event with a packed house and atmosphere. Patently judging by the comments of those of you who watched on TV this year it was less atmospheric than usual with the empty seats and therefore less of a televisual experience for you. So going back to comments made by Keith Hogg at a Broncos fan forum many moons ago when fans were herded into the one stand at the stoop. this was partly at the request of SKY TV who made a similar request to some Soccer clubs (i.e. cluster the fans on the side facing the TV cameras). The way things are going how long before the Challenge Cup final gets similar treatment with the lower tier still full but the upper tier seats sold only on the side facing the TV cameras ? 

#2982214 Empty Seats On The Telly.....

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 24 August 2014 - 02:55 PM

Waiting for this thread to come up, could it be to quote Maurice Lindsay "the love affair with Wembley is over". You can choose a reason for the low crowd

  • Full Soccer Programme and Cricket's T20 Finals day in opposition
  • Music Festival in Leeds so I'm told
  • August Bank holiday is the last full week of the School holidays and where Parents can get 5 days off for 4 days annual leave so that's when they go
  • General disillusion with League amongst once hardcore fans

Certainly the number of neutrals was radically reduced and I do not think that has anything to do with pricing or whose playing because I like many others I suspect do buy early because it is a Rugby League event and IMO the Rugby League event


I remember telling "Dally Messenger" when he was over for the St Helens v Catalans Final that the Challenge Cup Final unlike the Grand Final was a celebration of the game of Rugby League. The tradition of the people's cup final is the ONLY thing about northern hemisphere league they envy down under. However like much else under the misrule of the Wood, Barwick, Hetherington Axis it's lost its mojo


It was announced as August 29th 2015 and there will be a 25% discount beginning Tuesday IIRC, I actually think the discounts are the problem as with everything else League, where the game gives itself the "ratners" effect. The same posters that beef about ticket prices will merrily pay Soccer Premiership prices (and whisper it Aviva Premiership prices) , Cheerfully sink many pints in the bar beforehand but for League wail that prices are too high. It's a legacy of the world cup, not that I blame Sally Bolton - she had a brief and executed it - but the legacy was then those who like me paid discounted prices still felt robbed when folk come up to you at the Headingly bus stop and tel you they paid only a Fiver to get in. As I have found out on e-bay the more you discount the less value people place on the item wheras if you raise the price then because its more expensive people value it more. I am not suggesting charging the ridiculous prices seen in other sport but I do advocate charging the market rate for the product which in this case is Rugby League.


In league you get discount, after discount, after discount. What that encourages is punters to put off buying tickets and the longer people put off buying tickets in the hope of a further discount the more it becomes likely that they will find something else to do on the day. I am going to be at the three NFL games at Wembley and I can tell you this, they will sell out, people will pack the full whack, and pre-game it will be an "event". If the NFL can sell out three events for a imported sport why cannot the RFL do this for the one event?


We need to restore the games heritage and make the Challenge Cup final the event for all Rugby League fans, it always was up until recently.

#2979565 What can we do to increase attendances?

Posted by THE RED ROOSTER on 18 August 2014 - 02:54 PM

A number of factors apply here, chiefly the failure to expand which has contracted both the playing base and the supporter base.


Then you have clubs that voluntarily opt for Friday Night League and in turn become truly a local game for local people, League has difficulty with anyone outside the heartlands having an interest in the game, Notably Gary Hetherington's incredulity at anyone from Plymouth ordering from the Rhinos shop or the Castleford CEO of the time back in the day when Q&A's were something on this board responding to a question from myself about supporters coming from Goole. He was asking me if I knew anyone who wanted to come... Do people seriously think that Manchester United and City get all their fans from Manchester or that either club would opt for Friday Night home games? So why then do Superleague clubs - most of whom are off the beaten path so to speak - deliberately opt to geographically restrict attendees


Then as Rugby League contracts voluntarily you get the tyranny of proximity, where soon the game will have reverted to too many clubs chasing the same fanbase with a small geographical area and of course this affects crowds.


You can learn from Soccer and Cricket that less is more and rather than sacrifice the international game on the altar of the 30 game 8/8/8. have a proper planned season in which every game is an event on which on the majority of occasions you will see a first grade side put out rather than the squad rotation that will be commonplace next season.


The quality of the league has gone down, granted I may be jaundiced by watching the worst team ever to have played a season of superleague yet when I am watching other league games there is no comaprison between the quality of league now and that of the league in the midnoughties. Part of this lies in the lack of realisation that the balance of purchasing powe between the NRL and Super League has permanently changed for the forseeable future with the most popular winter code in the Eastern states commanding its market value in revenue as opposed to a soon to be M62 sport with Southern France appendage, now regarded as a Tier 2 sport by Sport England getting the market value a geographically restricted Tier 2 sport gets.

The answer to the league's lack of star quality has been provided by the Good Doctor in that you have to spend and spend big to attract NRL veterans to play in a vastly inferior league. This of couse opposed by those clubs who already have a lock on the juniors in their local area - Junior development is their mantra - carefully omitting the fact that if you are without a successful Junior structure the only way to build one is through having a successful First Grade side that attracts interest to the club and enables the buliding of a junior development structure.


Self-Interest rules within the game, The game never understands that clubs that are outside the heartlands do need exemptions when it comes to playing and development. To argue that its inherently unfair and not a level playing field for my small town club is to say the non-heartland club should play with one hand tied behind its back and as we have seen that does not work. This I might add is not an arguement for central funding but to realise that clubs outside the "glamour" clubs of Super League which includes the likes of Salford and Huddersfield do need to splash the cash to attract the king of quality player that not only benefit the club going forward but also benefits the league as a whole or are there posters on here who think if Salford signed Jonathan Thurston they would be less likely to attend when the Reds come to town ?


The alternative, carry on the way the game is going and you will achieve John Kear's prophesy of no professional Rugby League in a faster timescale than his 50 years.


My point, punters in whatever sport pay to see the best playing against the best in a meaningiful event. They pay to see stars, players that truly can do exceptional things. They do not pay to see - One sided clobberings, Journeymen players who cannot command a place in the NRL, Games featuring reserve graders on rotation against the lesser clubs, or international fixtures where the last men standing after an exhaustive 30 game season face humiliation from fitter and more skilful players from a superior league.


On the subject of Strippers, Dave Hadfield mentioned the strange goings on at Rickys Bar in Leeds Road, Huddersfield - which is always well populated on International matchdays -seeing this review I now see why



I thought Ricky's bar was outstanding and i am very proud to say that th service was very good quality I would recommend this to anyone which loves strippers and that kind of stuff. Ricky is a great person to get along with.. so try it out 311 Leeds road Huddersfield opposite the Galapine stadium