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Wendall

RL could end up like Speedway in 5 years

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EDITED BY CKN: Please don't post entire articles. The Times is now behind a paywall, if that means we can't read their articles then so be it. If the article is outside of the paywall then link it.

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Should the RFL start to purchase column inches for news about the sport, won't be cheap but they have to do something.

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London sports desks are consumed now by football year-round. Its locust-like influence has left a scorched earth of flattened and trampled sports, rugby league among them. Pick up any newspaper and you often struggle to find much more than soccer in the "sports" pages.

The most recent Sunday Times: lots of soccer, a couple of pages of cricket, an article about a south african bloke who runs on springs, big article on swimming, a page of golf, some tennis, big article about some woman who plays union - and a tiny bit of RL squeezed in the margin of the article about the union woman. Soccer isn't all the papers care about, they cover many sports - unfortunately it is generally the case that RL isn't one of them.

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Should the RFL start to purchase column inches for news about the sport, won't be cheap but they have to do something.

They tried that with a london paper, they were told to sod off.

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Chris is one of the first victims of the Times paywall, so he has a right to be a bit narked. Let's hope that wasteful and pointless agglomeration of protein and calcium Wiggy Jones is next.

As for newspaper coverage, one month of the Irvine online blog pretty much surpassed in quantity what we'd actually get printed in a year (unless there was bad news, naturally).

The really jawdropping thing is that, these days, one of the best outlets for RL this side of a pricey Sky subscription is - gasp! - the BBC.

Hands up those who saw that coming. Okay, all those people with their hands up are liars. :P

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I am more worried about the world cup coming up as the lack of coverage we get now isn't going to help put bums on seats, the RFL can't rely on the same set of fans to go to every match to boost crowds (as much as i would love to go to every game)

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RL like Speedway?

Merge the 2, and have a Rollerball variant.

Watching a guy on a motorbike try a conversion would be worth it.

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The most recent Sunday Times: lots of soccer, a couple of pages of cricket, an article about a south african bloke who runs on springs, big article on swimming, a page of golf, some tennis, big article about some woman who plays union - and a tiny bit of RL squeezed in the margin of the article about the union woman. Soccer isn't all the papers care about, they cover many sports - unfortunately it is generally the case that RL isn't one of them.

osses! tha forgot t'osses.

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I'm not sure what exactly the RFL can do about any of this. The media has set it's face firmly against Rugby League, that much is obvious, and no amount of wining and dining will change that. They see us as irrelevant. I vaguely remember Richard Lewis once saying that when he came into the sport he thought we were being chippy when we complained about our media coverage, but he had come to realsie that we were being sidelined and little was changing. I think that form that ppint the RFL strategy became focused upon regional and local media as they saw it as the only outlet available to us.

Short of buying Trinity Mirror and a few others, I really don't see what can be done to change things.

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I was watching some speedway on Sky recently and the commentators mentioned how much damage it had done to the sport losing all the clubs in London. Strangely there would be some on here squealing with delight if that happened in RL.

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I was watching some speedway on Sky recently and the commentators mentioned how much damage it had done to the sport losing all the clubs in London. Strangely there would be some on here squealing with delight if that happened in RL.

in the same sort of way that Greyhound racing has all but lost all its London tracks. Wimbledon i suppose in the only track left in London if we are talking London postal codes. Romford is Essex and Crayford is Kent. despite what certain people say we do need Rugby League in London, and we do need a Super League club there as well.

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I was watching some speedway on Sky recently and the commentators mentioned how much damage it had done to the sport losing all the clubs in London. Strangely there would be some on here squealing with delight if that happened in RL.

They'd hardly be squealing with delight and it's not analogous. I presume they were saying it had done damage losing strong clubs in London whereas we've pretty much never had one.

The Capital is of course important but Quins are hardly cracking that nut.

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The RFL have spent a lot of money wining and dining London based sports editors and writers and every single penny of that money has been a waste. The London media don't give a toss anout rugby league. Chris Irvine should have known the writing was on the wall when Stephen Jones used several of his many articles to laugh about rugby league being sidelined by his paper and becoming mostly an online afterthought - once the paywall went up even that afterthought wasn't worth persevering with.

The problem will only get worse, there is no career to be had in rugby league journalism other than as a local reporter. Once what remains of the current crop of freelancers who get an occasional match report published nationally hang up their pens the other papers will just drop coverage other than to put some press wire stuff up occasionally, send some snooty, condescending ###### to a final every now and again or mobilise their brightest teams of investigative journalists if an aussie player forgets to tip a waiter.

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In response to the general article, it is correct.

Rugby League has shown remarkable resilience over the years against the odds but ironically I think we are in a more precarious position than ever before and I think there is a real chance that within a generation we will be a collection of diehards watching with a few hundred others.

It's not particularly anybody's fault and the most worrying thing is that there's possibly very little that anybody can do about it. The world has changed and is global and it is these sports that are swamping everything else. People want to be seen as superstars and get the money and fame associated with it. RL is not in a good position when it comes to this.

I've said it before but it's remarkable that we're still here. I know of no other sport in our position, that still survives to a decent size despite little national coverage and no special place within the establishment. The two other localised sports that I can think of; GAA and AFL, are under less threat because they are so big in their respective countries and do hold a special place within the establishments.

The biggest problem and it pains me to say this, is Rugby Union. Despite being a poorer version of the sport it has sorted itself out on the professional front and is now a much larger sport especially internationally. Whereas we used to have a bigger domestic game they have overtaken us on this and are continuing to grow. It is this difference in the domestic games that may eventually facilitate this demise. We struggle to hang on to our best players now but it is only going to become more difficult when the gap between the two sports grows. They have the media on their side and as such create genuine national sports stars, some who earn in the millions. They offer a European competition that is genuinely interesting and even now a domestic game with bigger crowds than Super League. If I was a 17/18 year old talented RL player and not so staunch in my RL ways, then I would definitely consider switching. Players are doing as well and at a younger age.

Football is of course a massive issue for any heartland club but there is definitely a niche there for other sports, I just hope it isn't Union that eventually fills it.

I don't like the above facts and they do worry me but it is what I honestly feel. I used to think the sport was so good that it couldn't die and once it was given exposure it would rapidly expand but it isn't the case. You just have to look at the game in France as to what can happen when Union gets so big in comparison to League. Anybody who is any good is poached. You just have to look at the game in and around Manchester to see how quickly we can become a thing of the past.

The most annoying thing in my opinion is that as a sport we are going about things in a generally good way with setting down grassroots and the like. We just aren't expanding fast enough in comparison to another similar sport. We need some sort of a big break, like the game taking off in a couple of other nations. The USA would be one such place but that in reality would be a pipe dream.

Edited by Maximus Decimus

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In response to the general article, it is correct.

Rugby League has shown remarkable resilience over the years against the odds but ironically I think we are in a more precarious position than ever before and I think there is a real chance that within a generation we will be a collection of diehards watching with a few hundred others.

It's not particularly anybody's fault and the most worrying thing is that there's possibly very little that anybody can do about it. The world has changed and is global and it is these sports that are swamping everything else. People want to be seen as superstars and get the money and fame associated with it. RL is not in a good position when it comes to this.

I've said it before but it's remarkable that we're still here. I know of no other sport in our position, that still survives to a decent size despite little national coverage and no special place within the establishment. The two other localised sports that I can think of; GAA and AFL, are under less threat because they are so big in their respective countries and do hold a special place within the establishments.

The biggest problem and it pains me to say this, is Rugby Union. Despite being a poorer version of the sport it has sorted itself out on the professional front and is now a much larger sport especially internationally. Whereas we used to have a bigger domestic game they have overtaken us on this and are continuing to grow. It is this difference in the domestic games that may eventually facilitate this demise. We struggle to hang on to our best players now but it is only going to become more difficult when the gap between the two sports grows. They have the media on their side and as such create genuine national sports stars, some who earn in the millions. They offer a European competition that is genuinely interesting and even now a domestic game with bigger crowds than Super League. If I was a 17/18 year old talented RL player and not so staunch in my RL ways, then I would definitely consider switching. Players are doing as well and at a younger age.

Football is of course a massive issue for any heartland club but there is definitely a niche there for other sports, I just hope it isn't Union that eventually fills it.

I don't like the above facts and they do worry me but it is what I honestly feel. I used to think the sport was so good that it couldn't die and once it was given exposure it would rapidly expand but it isn't the case. You just have to look at the game in France as to what can happen when Union gets so big in comparison to League. Anybody who is any good is poached. You just have to look at the game in and around Manchester to see how quickly we can become a thing of the past.

The most annoying thing in my opinion is that as a sport we are going about things in a generally good way with setting down grassroots and the like. We just aren't expanding fast enough in comparison to another similar sport. We need some sort of a big break, like the game taking off in a couple of other nations. The USA would be one such place but that in reality would be a pipe dream.

I'm not quite as pessimistic. The game is big down in Australia and I can see them making real gains over the next ten years, Perth look a certainty for 2013 and a second NZ team or even a PNG team could follow a few years after. Yes the game could sink into obscurity in Britain, but I'm fairly optimistic that we'll win the war of the codes down under. So in a sense, even in the most pessimistic scenario in Europe, the game would be strong on another continent.

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I'm not quite as pessimistic. The game is big down in Australia and I can see them making real gains over the next ten years, Perth look a certainty for 2013 and a second NZ team or even a PNG team could follow a few years after. Yes the game could sink into obscurity in Britain, but I'm fairly optimistic that we'll win the war of the codes down under. So in a sense, even in the most pessimistic scenario in Europe, the game would be strong on another continent.

where do you live?

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where do you live?

England, but I was just saying that technically, the game wouldn't die.

Edited by skep155

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I'm not quite as pessimistic. The game is big down in Australia and I can see them making real gains over the next ten years, Perth look a certainty for 2013 and a second NZ team or even a PNG team could follow a few years after. Yes the game could sink into obscurity in Britain, but I'm fairly optimistic that we'll win the war of the codes down under. So in a sense, even in the most pessimistic scenario in Europe, the game would be strong on another continent.

Yeh I left out Australia because it's a slightly different situation. They do get the media exposure and regular national TV coverage. It's also seen off the threat of Union and Soccer looks like it's going by the wayside too.

I worry for the game in the UK. The diehards will never let it die but I think we're fewer in number than we like to think we are. Of the thousands attending Super League I doubt more than 15% would watch it exclusively.

We're not finished yet, it gives me some comfort that many many people have before written the sport off but when I look at the facts and try to leave out emotion it looks very difficult to see a way out for the game over here. Despite outwardly appearing stronger than many times in the past if you scratch below the surface the signs are possibly more worrying. The decline of the media presence cannot be underestimated, we have also concentrated our resources on a few bigger clubs which has seen a reduction in our geographical spread. This is one of the reasons I often think we shouldn't write off smaller passionate clubs like Leigh and Halifax. Whilst we obviously need to expand and within Super League, we also need to ensure the retention of as many passionate fans as possible, as this is one of our great strengths.

All we can do is keep plugging away and play to our strengths. We need to offer a decent alternative to Football and Union and a sold-out Challenge Cup final is a good start. What I was trying to get at in the above post is that we are starting to look less of a decent alternative in comparison to Union if it carries on growing domestically at its current rate.

Edited by Maximus Decimus

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England, but I was just saying that technically, the game wouldn't die.

Which would be nice for the australians

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Which would be nice for the australians

They'd probably love it and rename the sport or something.

'Australian Rugby Footie'

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They'd probably love it and rename the sport or something.

'Australian Rugby Footie'

Don't be so daft, they would never use the word "rugby" - what would happen is there would be 2 names, Sydney Footy and Queensland Footy.

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RL is not helping itself though in this country. We know RU is our main threat due mainly nowadays from its indirect from higher echelon society who have all the media power, however we are doing our utmost to lose our opwn power bases. The sport is also in danger of becoming to hard to play with less shocks/close scorelines

The current lack of P&R is alientating everyone outside the top flight, and we'll lose fans in all towns bar those in SL

Also the expansion teams have been disasters, due mainly to poor strategy form those clubs (i.e. moving around, chooing poor locations) and lack of RL support. Quins RL is the worst offender and the RFL needs to step in and get them out of Twatters FFS

RL needs to work its way down the country. In many ways Wrexham is a good move as it is outside the heartlands but by not much so away fans will swell gates

Also I feel that more needs to be done in schools. There are no franchise points for work done in schools. RL is still a stranger in inner city Manchester, Bradford, liverpool etc

I would like RL to provide an alternative stratgey to football/RU and become a game again which is played by mainly local lads. I feel this would help bind fan allegiance and civic pride, in a way that soccer could lose over time

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RL is not helping itself though in this country. We know RU is our main threat due mainly nowadays from its indirect from higher echelon society who have all the media power, however we are doing our utmost to lose our opwn power bases. The sport is also in danger of becoming to hard to play with less shocks/close scorelines

The current lack of P&R is alientating everyone outside the top flight, and we'll lose fans in all towns bar those in SL

Also the expansion teams have been disasters, due mainly to poor strategy form those clubs (i.e. moving around, chooing poor locations) and lack of RL support. Quins RL is the worst offender and the RFL needs to step in and get them out of Twatters FFS

RL needs to work its way down the country. In many ways Wrexham is a good move as it is outside the heartlands but by not much so away fans will swell gates

Also I feel that more needs to be done in schools. There are no franchise points for work done in schools. RL is still a stranger in inner city Manchester, Bradford, liverpool etc

I would like RL to provide an alternative stratgey to football/RU and become a game again which is played by mainly local lads. I feel this would help bind fan allegiance and civic pride, in a way that soccer could lose over time

The lack of relegation and promotion is a problem but so was the previous system. A return to promotion and relegation is not a simple answer. Even when we had it there were numerous problems and crowds in the lower divisions had been dropping. Most clubs already didn't see Super League as achievable because they were too small.

The game is hard to play and the RFL should run different levels where there are easier versions such as 5m and tag.

Working it's way down the country is an ideal but not realistic, you need places to actually want Rugby League and you can only move where they do.

A lot of work has been done in schools and I read in a teacher paper last year that RL was actually the fastest growing sport in schools. It is now played in 33% of secondary schools in comparison to 66% for Union, which I didn't think was that bad considering our geographical isolation.

Edited by Maximus Decimus

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I'm not quite as pessimistic. The game is big down in Australia and I can see them making real gains over the next ten years, Perth look a certainty for 2013 and a second NZ team or even a PNG team could follow a few years after. Yes the game could sink into obscurity in Britain, but I'm fairly optimistic that we'll win the war of the codes down under. So in a sense, even in the most pessimistic scenario in Europe, the game would be strong on another continent.

and each of those teams is given massive help when they are given the chance.. somethine we need to learn over here that for the good of the game when we do expand to do it 100% and not just tick the spot on the map and sit hoping to god it will work..

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and each of those teams is given massive help when they are given the chance.. somethine we need to learn over here that for the good of the game when we do expand to do it 100% and not just tick the spot on the map and sit hoping to god it will work..

The difference is that they have the money to do it. Their clubs are also entering a high profile competition that gets regular national media coverage.

That said Melbourne aren't a roaring success and without their Grand Final wins, they would have also likely been relocated.

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