TheObserver

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  1. The Challenge Cup semi finals are held at neutral venues very year.
  2. welshexile, there was a thread about this last month called scrum. Posters bobrock and I argued that a contested scrum would add an extra dimension to the game and to RL forwards.
  3. Bulliac and Steve, you are both correct. However the league leader system to decide champions was used from 1973-74 to 1997, for 25 consecutive seasons, so perhaps for some supporters of the game, it had become the norm, so it can take time to change people's attitudes. However, 4 posts back, Dallymessenger listed stats that showed a 58% increase in finals crowds from last year. I posed the question in my earlier post whether the length of the season and finals might lead to fans taking a break from attending in early rounds of finals.
  4. Australian RL authorities only instituted regular finals series and Grand Finals since 1954. Australia has had 44 more years than England to build the tradition with fans. Another factor could be the length of the season. The regular season began in February (late January for two clubs), with no pre-scheduled byes, so fans may decide to take a break. The NRL season only begins in the second week of March, five weeks later than Super League, with two byes built in.
  5. I'd agree with that. I think eligibility should be binding based on any full international match, not whether it counts toward a World Cup or not. Personally, I'd tweak the current rules slightly to allow different periods of transfer depending on the gap in tiers jumped. So a transfer between national teams on: same tier = 3 years stand down one tier above or below two or more tiers above or below = 1 year I'd split the current full test members into two tiers Tier 1 = Kangaroos, Kiwis, England, a future combined Pacific Islands team Tier 2 = France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cooks, Fiji, PNG, Samoa, Tonga Tier 3 = Lebanon, Russia, Serbia, USA Tier 4 = the rest Like cricket and the ICC's eligibility rule, I'd suggest that a player could switch to play for only one other, different national team, but could return to the original national team after another stand-down i.e. you can't play for three national teams - which players have done in international football (Alfredo Di Stefano), Rugby Union (Topo Rodriguez). Cricket Ed Joyce played for Ireland, then England, and is looking to play for Ireland again. Cricket's ICC allows that. FWIW, I'd like to see players like Williams and Uate play for Tonga and Fiji, and hopefully stick with them. However, I think the game has to provide incentive for them to do that, but if they then want to switch, then they stand down as above. I agree that Fiji and Cook Islands' Leagues attention to grassroots development has been commendable, their structures are well planned and structured, and CI is producing home grown players, Kevin Iro and Matthew Rua seem to have done a lot there. In part, Cook Islands had relatively few heritage players to choose from, so they may have felt compelled to develop local talent. The Cooks tried to get Karmichael Hunt to play for Cooks in the Pacific Cup last year before he switched to AFL, he wanted to play, but the ARL blocked him, as they did with Israel Folau and Tonga this year. Either way, Cook Islands have put good structures into place and performed remarkably, and the other PIs will hopefully learn from them.
  6. Firstly, Harrison did not set foot on the field for England, so the switch was not realised. However, Bridge did step on to the field for England, and so made the switch. Thirdly, RLIF allows players the right to apply for special dispensation, but it is not guaranteed EDIT - both of us are correct, roughyed. According to the RLIF website's rules on International Eligibility:
  7. Did Tony Williams actually play in the Pacific Cup last year? It appears not. According to David Middleton's Big League Annual of 2009, in the Pacific Cup 2009 review, he is not listed in the final Tongan squad, and is not listed in the team lists for either Tonga game. The team lists for the games were: Toshio Laiseni (Papakura) Etuate Uaisale (Parramatta) Siuatonga Likiliki (Warriors) Sione Tongia (Auckland Vulcans, Game 1)/Pita Maile (Melbourne, Game 2) Sam Huihahau (Canberra/Souths-Logan) - in 2010, now called Sam Latu. Feleti Mateo (Parramatta) Eddie Paea (Cronulla) Richard Fa'aoso Kim Uasi Sione Tovo (Game 1)/Inoke Tapa'atoutai (Game 2) Ukuma Ta'ai Valu Nasio (Game 1)/Willie Mataka (Game 2) Atelea Vea BENCH: Joel Taufa'ao Sioaia Vave Pakisonasi Afu Soane Palau (Game 1)/Valu Nasio (Game 2) So if Williams did not play last year, he could be eligible for the Kangaroos this year, but it would depend when the two year period is counted from. That aspect of the RLIF rules isn't clear - whether it is from the last game, or whether it runs in blocks e.g. 2007-2008, 2009-2010. The NSW Supreme Court judgement on Moi Moi and Tuiaki's RLWC 2008 bid to play for Tonga suggests that may be two years since his last match: Given Williams' last Tonga match was against Scotland in RLWC, on 8th November 2008, Williams would only be eligible to play for Kangaroos on 8th November 2010, which would only leave the 4N final on 13th November.
  8. Not all dual-eligible players will become selected for Aus/NZ, but I already acknowledged that point. Fortunately, under the present RLIF rules, those dual-eligible players could potentially play for Aus/NZ or a PI, then stand down and play for the other later if they want to - IF they stand down the required two years. Therefore, that fortunately renders your hypothetical case null and void because that situation does not have to come about. Even under the present rules, some players may hold out for the preferred national team because they have little interest in playing for another national team, some may decide to switch. What I said was, under a One Nation rule, the majority of dual-eligible elite players will not risk their chance to play for Aus/NZ. Non elite players may declare for lower tier nations earlier. Do you mean that those dual eligible players should follow your particular prescribed values for international football i.e. choose one national team permanently? Over 98% of RL players stick with one national team - that is under the RLIF current rules. As I've said, of an estimated 4,020 players to have played international RL for the RLIF's 13 test nations (Aus, NZ, Eng, Wales, the 5 PIs, France, Russia, South Africa as well as Scotland and Ireland), only 80 have played for another national team - 3,940 have stuck with one nation. A tiny percentage of players, less than two percent of international players may look to play for a second national team, just as some people in the real world acquire dual nationality and a second passport to a second country.
  9. The International Cricket Council Player Eligibility Regulations On Page 3: The Full Laws are on PP 8-9 of the document, section 3C. It appears as though a male Full Member rep CAN transfer to another full member, or down to an Associate/Affiliate, as long as they stand down for four years. An Associate/Affiliate moving to another must wait four years, but moving up to test, needs not wait. A women player need only wait two years. So cricket allows players to play for a second national team, either on the same level, to move up/down levels, and to go back to the first national team.
  10. Agreed. I speculated on a thread on LeagueUnlimited called "Richard Lewis' View on International Eligibility", post 54that a One Nation for Life rule would have that exact effect. I've cited the example of Rugby Union where the IRB's Eligiblity Regulation 8.2 has seen a whole host of dual eligible players opt for NZ, Australia and England RU national teams over Pacific National teams. Post 56 specifically outlines the decline of Manu Samoa national team. Post 57 describes how the Pacific nations in Union have lobbied the Six Nations (who form the powerful voting bloc at the IRB) yet again for the eligibility rule to be changed. Cricket's eligibility rules are like the RLIF's - they allows players to represent more than one country if they stand down.
  11. I agree with this sentiment. If England's test stars were limited to playing about 18 regular round SL & CC games for their club, plus finals (rather than the 29 SL & CC games they play), given time to recondition before the test season, give time to train together as a group and some decent warm-up games, you could beat us and the Kiwis with the talent you already have at your disposal. Unfortunately, as it is, England will fall at the final hurdle.
  12. No system is perfect, but the straight knockout system as above would still reward teams for finishing higher on the table, give 1st place a week off and put them one game away from the final, but also allow the finals finish more quickly, mean that elite national team players play potentially one game less, and allow the test players more rest/preparation before the test season. In playoffs, teams will be eliminated eventually. Consider the many other competitions that use a straight knockout and do not give a second chance: * World Cups in most sports (RL, RU, soccer) * the Challenge Cup * English Soccer's FA Cup Finals * UEFA's Champions League * NFL's finals * All the major professional RU competitions use a Shaughnessy Playoff system i.e. a Top 4 straight knockout, such as English RU Premiership (a top 4 only), Celtic League Rugby (a Top 4 only), France's Top 14 (Top 6 only by straight knockout), Japan's Top League (Top 4) European Cup (finals are a knockout, with no home ground advantage) and the Super 14 (this will move to a top 6 straight knockout when the competition expands to 15 teams). You make a fair point. The idea was to give higher places reward for finishing higher, particularly to reward the league leaders for finishing first. The first reward was the week off in 1st weekend of finals. The second was giving them the best chance of playing a lower ranked team. So, I guess there would be two choices a) give 1st the lowest ranked winner (from Week 1) to play. E.g. in your scenario, if 4th beat 5th, but 7th beat 2nd and 6th beat 3rd, then 1st could host 7th, and 4th could play 6th somewhere. allow 1st place the club call - they can choose which Week 1 winner to play. In the aforementioned scenario, they could choose any of 4th, 6th or 7th to play. However, the major reason is to maximise the attendance that you can attract to that game, and maximise the standard of the venue, its capacity, and accessibility to the teams involved. Using a neutral venue in later stages of the finals is done here, and its use is justified by the history of what has happened in finals here. Putting a Preliminary final at the home ground of one of the team would more than likely limit the crowd you can gain. Moving to a neutral venue could increase the crowd significantly, add a lot more interest, more of a finals and big game feel. It's happened here a lot. Also, to give teams more than one shot at a home venue in a finals series is unfair, gives them extra chance to progress to the final.
  13. Agreed. The criticism of Hohaia was ignorant, he isn't a conventional fullback, but adds a second five eighth style presence. Consider his 61m chip-and-chase try in Round 25 vs Broncos (go to 1:10, which was his second try). I rate him highly, he is definitely the starting fullback and a key player in the team. In ParisSurtOut's video, Kenny-Dowall's tries are at 1:39, 2:12, 4:00. Also a great line break assist by offload at 3:27. I'd select this 23 man squad: 1. Hohaia, Nightingale 2. Perrett 3. Kenny-Dowall, Mannering 4. Ropati 5. Vatuvei, Duffie 6. Marshall 7. Foran, Heremaia 13. Blair, Warea-Hargreaves 12. Sika Manu, Pritchard 11. Harrison, Matulino 10. Sam Rapira, Nuuasala 9. Luke, Lewis Brown 8. Moi Moi, Asotasi Former captain Jeremy Smith may struggle to make the team, which gives good indication on the depth of talent in the forwards. The Warriors utility Lewis Brown could be a great addition, very strong, can play a number of positions. The Kiwis are a definite chance of winning the 4N, and they'll beat England. NZ Maori could well beat England with the talent at their disposal. England has some great talent, but as in previous years, the long season, large workload and poor player management will be detrimental to the squad, and they'll fizzle at the crucial stage. Captain and senior prop Peacock won't be the only loss.
  14. An interesting point about scrums that was made elsewhere: There is a risk, mainly from the hit/engage between front rows, and a return to competitive scrums could minimise that risk by not using a hit to bring front rows together. However, there is significant risk of serious injury (including to neck and spine) in regular collisions and tackles in general play.
  15. There may be no law against pushing, but as RL1908 said, referees discourage it. In the Four Nations last year, referees were telling forwards not to push in the scrum. Emasculation of the scrum continues in the NRL. In last nights R25 clash between Souths and Parramatta, Souths had the scrum feed, using lock Jamie Clark at hooker, with Isaac Luke clearing the ball from lock. Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne packed in at lock in that defensive scrum. In the Broncos/Warriors game, on a number of occasions, Warriors dummy-half Aaron Heremaia packed in at the back, lock Simon Mannering packed at hooker. Sometimes fullback Lance Hohaia packed in at lock in defence. Broncos centre Alex Glenn packed in at lock several times. In last week's R24 Manly/Warriors clash, Hohaia packed in at lock several times. There was at least one scrum reset (at 62nd minute). The Bulldogs/Roosters game saw Jared Warea-Hargreaves pack at hooker, with fullback Anthony Minichiello packing at lock in at least two scrums. Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowell and Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten packed in as locks at another. I wouldn't mind the tactic of the dummy-half packing at the back, if he were there because the pack had to push. Perhaps. However there might still need to be a dramatic change in the game's approach towards the scrum - if referees gave more differential penalties at the scrum, it might encourage teams to push properly. Not necessarily, in Southern Hemisphere RU, players still put big hits on in defence. There's just more of a mix.