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  1. League Restructure 2019

    And as if by magic we successfully manage to change the mood in the thread! Wish more of us had such fun on here!
  2. League Restructure 2019

    This is a really depressing read. Sounds like you don’t believe in the game and might not even like it. Not sure what any restructure could do to change that view apart from perhaps more local derbies between established clubs. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion of course, but I love rugby league and I do see great potential if we can grasp and support the right opportunities when they arise. The potential in North America is enormous and it’s not even costing us a penny at the moment - other people are investing in it because they believe it’s worth a go! Back to the original thread, I think there are quite a few tweaks that might be being considered, although the effects of these both positive and negative are potentially minimal. Personally I’d love to see something more radical at the top end but also something with a whole game philosophy in mind right down to conference and amateur leagues. I love my derby games enormously but there’s been too many of them and I would prefer a better balance to the fixtures and an influx of new investment be it from North America or elsewhere.
  3. I really like Rugby League, and wonder why some people spend so much time moaning about it on here whilst still claiming to be fans of the game. 

    I also don’t like the faux facts used by some to attempt to prove their often warped points.  I like evidence but ###### or selective statistics are even less good than a gut feeling. 

    I believe our future is in controlled expansion nationally and globally or we are facing a managed decline. It’s as simple as that. I was born in the heartlands but have lived my adult life at various border outposts and worked overseas aplenty. Our game is brilliant if only we can seize the opportunities available to us and not be held back by nostalgic and paranoid views that somehow struggling old clubs have anyone to blame for their predicament but themselves. 

    The biggest challenge facing the game is its brand perception and I would encourage a global united front to tackle this. Challenge every misuse of ‘rugby’ and write it into all media contracts that insist on the two sports being described by their fuller names, everywhere. Be proud to support rugby league and tell the stories of our struggles, the prejudice we continue to experience and the amazing sporting experiences we create. 

    Everyone can be part of this and I would even go so far as to include appropriate clauses in all players and coaches contracts to ensure they don’t slag off the game in public, state they quite fancy a contract in union or whatever - you can’t do this in normal employment environments so quite how it flies in our sport is beyond me. 

    I would favour a form of franchising but one in which the production of world class players and on field success are key criteria. Every club would only get its money if it ran academy and reserve sides (or equivalent), had a direct link to a minimum number of junior clubs and schools, etc etc. I would seize the opportunities presented by foreign markets such as North America but balance this with support for a strong team in Cumbria (for instance) even if it could never aspire to 10k crowds. The UK has to have a shorter season or our players won’t improve and we will continue to have half the season played in poor weather. 

    Internationally I would scrap the grandparent rule as it’s too far removed from recent nationality for me, and I would go with Great Britain instead of England except in world cups. I would have two international windows, a Southern Hemisphere mid-season one maybe overlapping with State of Origin, and a northern hemisphere one at the end of our seasons. 

    I have supported Wigan and London, and funded Gateshead too, even though I was born in St Helens. 

    I love league and believe that if enough energetic people shouted its merits from the rooftops we’d be able to change the perception of our game and grow into the sport we deserve to be. 

  4. I think we’d have had a slightly smaller World Cup or slightly less competitive but still a good one. We’d have had an even more competitive World Cup if we scrapped eligibility and let countries pick players one at a fine from all the talent available, but that wouldn’t make it right either! I mainly don’t like the fact that there’s not a great incentive to get more people playing the game in a lot of the developing countries at the moment when the main talent can come from grandchildren of natives. France and to a lesser extent Wales play the game in their countries but will struggle against other countries with a smaller (or indeed non-existent) competition, and I am less comfortable with that to be honest But it’s not a massive issue - and I don’t want to detract from a great World Cup on the field - and the current ruling is at least consistent with most other sports, I just prefer a tighter one, that’s all.
  5. My experience is quite different, with most acknowledging a connection via their heritage but actually being brought up with the nationality of their birth and residence as opposed to even that of their parents. The key is that you have to draw the line somewhere. Scotland for a recent commonwealth games had eligibility that recognised residency and birth but didn’t even allow children of born and bred Scottish to represent them - that was a step too far for. But the grandparent rule without any other qualification opens the door to far too many people who don’t necessarily describe themselves as being from a country, and in almost every case they’d declare themselves as having a different nationality first. But for all the debate about League’s eligibility rules I would say that we are fortunately a long way off other sports who will actually recruit players from other countries into their national team (even from another sport) without breaking the letter of the law. That for me is way more laughable than any of the condescension League experiences because of our use of heritage players.
  6. The main thing I’d change in our eligibility rules is to restrict heritage to parents rather than grandparents. It’s just too tenuous at the moment. I think countries like the Celtic nations and Italy would suffer the most, with the Pacific island nations probably being ok. Other than that I’d increase the period for residency as it’s still not quite long enough for mine. I’ve no big issue with being eligible for two countries, nor people playing for countries they weren’t born in - nationality is a very complex issue, and some of the ‘born in Britain only’ stuff on here makes me very uncomfortable.
  7. Outstanding game and excellent England performance. Our best showing so far and the last 10 mins will focus their minds on the need for further improvement. I agree it was a loose carry at the end, Benji and others don’t, but Fifita gets away with enough of them so I’ve no dramas over the refs call. Some amazing performances by our boys, everyone contributed to a wonderful spectacle. And we are in the World Cup final - you’ve got to be in it to win it!
  8. England Team for the Semi

    Start with Percy and Roby, spell Burgess more and have maybe three props on the bench. If Brown is out then that’s a reprieve for Hodgson but in the halves for mine.
  9. England team For France Match

    Really interesting to see Widdop at fullback with those two halves and gorgeous on the bench. Think this could be Wayne’s option for next week given the lack of fluency in our attack. Odd that Percy is on the right wing with Bateman on the left though, looks like a token run out selection which is a shame given he’s streets better than basher. Also curious to hear the Aussies reckoning Hodgson has been virtually our best player but the experts on here think he’s been useless. A little from column A and a little from column B. International league 7 times a week - I’m loving this World Cup!
  10. This thread really has been dragged down. And I thought we all loved rugby league and might get along? Why can't we find some joy in what we watch and what we write? ?
  11. Some people have WAY too much time on their hands! As I said, this deal is a good thing, not an incredibly sooper dooper thing, but if anyone feels so strongly negatively that they want to spend 15 minutes on a post to make us all know the deal hasn't solved world hunger then that's the benefit of free speech I suppose! I love this game, and so far I am loving Toronto!
  12. This is a big positive isn't it, even if it is for free? I'm confused...
  13. Not sure we are getting anywhere new now with this. The debate has been had, issues been discussed, and I think there is a clear majority view on here. No one could expect any more from a forum that both celebrates diversity of opinion and includes quite a few stubborn blighters.
  14. It wasn't a farce as I wrote earlier in the thread. There were indications that if they'd been given the same funding as the other clubs and the merger incentives hadn't been around they would have been able to transform the business into a going concern within 3-4 years. They had carved out a niche in the local sporting scene and were in many ways out performing Newcastle Falcons at the time. They certainly wouldn't have folded when they did. The game didn't 'go for it' at all really, Shane Richardson went for it himself with his own money. And despite their demise, money wasn't wasted any more than it was on Workington, or Oldham or Leigh first time around, as there was still a legacy of a phoenix club in the north east and the beginning of a supporter and player production line too.
  15. It's a digression but since Gateshead were mentioned I thought I'd chip in on that. I lived there for a decade and invested in Thunder Mk2. If the original Gateshead had been given the same funding as the other SL clubs they would not have gone under and merged with Hull. Whilst the immediate resurgence of Hull was great for the game, I think it more likely than not that Gateshead would have grown a lot and been a solid fixture in SL by now with its own supply of players and a large new market for our game. Others can disagree and there's no surety to this of course, but the there were indications that the extra £250k per year could have made them break even within perhaps 3-4 years, and that the general awareness of the game in the region and the positive associations it was already generating would also have steadily built crowds and the local game. Something to ponder as we debate raising the drawbridge, making an exiting new venture fend for itself, or seizing and supporting a fabulous opportunity to grow our game.