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About MidlandsJohn

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  1. The wonder of YouTube.... I managed to find France v Italy in the European Championship. If that's the "crowd" for what I assume is the top level of this sport then being the sports correspondent for this must be the worst job on the newspaper!
  2. Thanks for that - I'd just assumed with handball that international success would filter down to the national league, but obviously not. Also, is there regional bias in terms of sport - has RL for example always been seen as a "Southern" game in the same way that people who don't really follow it in the UK think it doesn't exist outside the North?
  3. Having read through the "next French team in the UK structure" thread I thought of a question, but didn't want to derail the main thread. The question is, just how much of a minority sport is RL in France? Obviously football rules over everything, I would assume Union is the clear number 2 (for its TV/media exposure if nothing else) but what happens after that? I know the likes of handball and volleyball are highly popular so does RL find itself in fifth place or are there other sports that still beat it?
  4. Those options are extremely limited. Arena football is in dire straits financially and the Arena League (the Premier League of the sport for anyone who isn't aware) is down to just four teams. Other leagues are purely local/regional and are usually on even shakier financial ground - these localised leagues tend to have a lifespan of a decade or so before you see mergers, re-structuring or simply going bust. Canada is a viable option if you want to have a full-time career playing football, although even then players in the unglamorous positions on the lowest end of the wage scale need to take second jobs in the off-season to supplement their income. The problem for Americans is that teams are required to have a minimum number of Canadians both in their matchday squad AND actually out on the field during a game, so opportunities are more limited than they would be in a completely open-door league. It's a MAJOR stretch to call any indoor football league "semi-pro", unless you're defining it as simply being paid to play no matter what the money actually is. Top players in these lower leagues (and by that I mean, the levels below the Arena League) are looking at $300 per game at the very most, if there is a win bonus or "Player of the Week" bonus involved it may only be an extra 100-150 on top. Again, that's if a team is being very generous. One route that RL should definitely look at is players from the smaller colleges. When people talk about "college football" they are nearly always referring to the top end of Division 1 level - the top 128 teams. The lower end of division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 have around 300+ teams combined, where 99.9% of the players know they have no shot at the NFL, but if League offered them a new possibility to have a pro sports career.....
  5. It could be worse - Estonia's national football team plays at the Le Coq Arena. About the only thing mildly amusing about this is the prospect of Saints playing at a Wicked stadium
  6. What kind of standard is this league like? Are we talking village teams or are there a few Elite 1/2 reserve sides involved?
  7. I can see two main problems with the international game growing among the lower-tier nations - one is player depth. If you have the choice between League as a true amateur or low-grade Union for money (even if It's only expenses), you'd have to assume a large percentage will look for the money. Secondly, there's the issue of giving the minor nations meaningful competition amongst themselves. Union realised this years ago with the European Nations Cup (effectively the lower divisions under the 6 Nations), and recently introducing qualifying rounds for the Challenge Cup (which Enisey in Russia have taken huge advantage of). RL needs to find some way to make something similar like a Euro Club Cup for the winners of the Serbian, Czech, Italian leagues, as an example. As much as Scotland's performance has been great, for every shock like that you'll get PNG shipping 50-60 points whenever they step up to play Aus or NZ. Why not have a Four Nations Division 2 to at least give some extra competitive games?
  8. Something else to consider is that the second largest Turkish city in the world after Istanbul is.....Berlin. I know in football the Turkish Super Cup has definitely been played in Germany, so the overseas communities could have a role to play if they get interested in RL. The dream target would be getting the "Big Three" involved, even if It's just amateur teams with the right to use the name. Besiktas v. Galatasaray RL anyone?
  9. Standard 4 points for a try but an extra bonus point awarded if the try is scored by the fattest player on the pitch if he has to run 10 or more metres to score. Touchline conversions and drop goals get an extra point if they are taken by anyone other than your recognised kicker. Olympics taekwondo/judo inspired rule - if a team concedes a certain number of penalties the opposition are awarded 2 points. If they still haven't got the message and they go over-limit again they concede a further 2, and so on... Add a 50-10 kick alongside the 40-20 so the attacking gets possession even closer to the try line. Speedway-inspired "joker" rule - if a team is trailing by a suitably large margin, they can call for a 10-minute period in which all their scores count double. Finally, make the "Four Nations" tournament into the spectacle fans really want to see - Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Rest of the World.
  10. If you've ever seen the US Army, Navy or Air Force playing American football, their style is far, far closer to League than it is to anything you'd see in the NFL. Hardly any forward passing, their tactics revolve around tackle-breaking, running lines and lateral passes. There are times when it literally looks like RL with pads on. I'd imagine the Canadians would be similar as this style of play is meant to take advantage of superior fitness levels.
  11. The blurb says It's part of the basic package - so It's a channel for those who don't have or want the full multi-channel sports package. Given the amount of filler and repeats across the channels as they stand, I begin to wonder just what extra stuff they can actually show. If I was being devious, I'd cook up a plan where a tournament like the T20 Blast (for example) has early round games shown on Mix, but then if you want to see the Finals Day it will only be shown on the Sports subscription channels. Ultimately, Sky are launching this to tempt people into paying for the full-whack Sport package.
  12. Does Elite 1 receive any kind of coverage across France as a whole, or is it a case of, once you're out of the South, RL might as well not exist? Also, with Perpignan playing yet another season in Union's second division, are Catalans starting to take up more media coverage in the city?
  13. This has already been tried in other sports. Like Cookiepuss mentioned, Union has done this in European competitions with the Bucharest Wolves (Romanian domestic league all-star team), and a Georgian league selection competed last year. The 50-over knockout cup in cricket used to feature Scotland, Ireland and Holland playing the county sides. In handball, Austria and Hungary have had their Under-21 teams in the league playoffs. In Latvia, their Under-16s played a full domestic season (admittedly finishing last). Anyway, don't the Forces sides and British Police already count as rep teams in the Challenge Cup? So It's not exactly a wild idea for European squads to enter.
  14. No - It's the only one of the "big four" American sports that doesn't. There have been a few attempts at creating a minor system but the leagues usually limp along for a few years then fold. Arena football (as in the fully national Arena League) is struggling financially and could fold, while the regional leagues are tiny operations where $200 a game puts you at the high end of the payscale. Canadian football is fully professional and can offer good pay (depending on your position) but Americans are at a disadvantage because each team (and there are only 9 pro teams) must have a minimum quota of Canadians in their squad.
  15. If this has any truth at all, why don't they put the team in Quebec City? In Montreal you've already got NHL, American football and MLS so RL would get swamped. Quebec City has nothing at the top level so RL would get more exposure there (and the city would gain exposure through the sport). If Toulouse are feeling adventurous maybe they can go over for a game the same way Catalans did playing in Barcelona.