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Wendall

RL could end up like Speedway in 5 years

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You're first point is related in no way to what I was talking about.

In Union and Football there are many many more competitive international teams than in RL, so it is less likely to get old. Winning is a real achievement. Beating Australia would be but once it's been done then it's been done, there's no other level to go to.

Yes it is. You said we only had two teams worth beating. I replied by saying that competitiveness as an illusion. So what if we always beat France in RL? The All Blacks always beat Wales but no-one complains about it being uncompetitive. It's not an achivevement at all, they do it everytime.

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Is that exactly what he says or just the spin you would like to put on it?

He talks about poorly thought through expansion clubs and to be honest just because they are expansion clubs doesn't mean that they weren't poorly thought out.

A failing expansion club such as Quins probably does the image of our game more harm than it does good. It certainly does more than anything else to give the impression that RL is simply a northern game as it struggles so badly in the south.

Face it, if Quins were a northern RU club we would be laughing at them, claiming it proves that the north doesn't want RU.

Nail on head

Nadera and I usually agree on London RL matters, so I'm suprised to hear that he interpreted my views as anti-expansionist. Quite the opposite. Truth is the London Broncos have been a disaster ever since the ridiculous decision to move to the Stoop in 1994/5 when there was nothing there! We actually co-funded the build of the Stoop for Quims RU!!! Truth is they should have stayed at Griffin Park straight after the Wigan game in 94/95 when there was over 8k on. Crusaders need to learn the same lesson and have already moved once. Another move for Crusaders will be the end. London RLFC needs to move any ##### where apart from the Stoop

Edited by Lobbygobbler

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Wasn't there an 8 page pullout in the People for this?

the people is not that great a paper but fair play there was.. so we WILL get national coverage if we push hard enough.. we have to get it right and if so we get it.. great lets get it right then an continue this on.

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Nadera and I usually agree on London RL matters, so I'm suprised to hear that he interpreted my views as anti-expansionist.

I must have misunderstood then, mate. No offensive meant.

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The whole game is club-centric and we pay a price for that.

True. Whether we like it or not, when most non-RL people think about 'Rugby', the international scene is what catches their attention, because that's the way it is in RU (the code that gets all the attention). They apply those perceptions to RL, as they can't be bothered to find out that there is a difference in where the main power of our code lies.

When it comes to international competition, the media does take more of an interest in Rugby League. Not a huge amount more, but definitely more. England/GB winning a bit more would deliver even more coverage, but it's been decades since we won a significant trophy and we can't count on the indulgence of Football's massive following.

Even an international dimension at club level helps - the BBC were prepared to schlep their broadcasting team down to Toulouse a few years ago, when they played Widnes. Neither of them were SL teams, which is what the BBC usually picks for their televised ties.

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I must have misunderstood then, mate. No offensive meant.

No problem mate.

Hopefully the club I once followed with passion (London RLFC) can get itself sorted again if/when they get away from Quins

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There's no point fretting about how much coverage RU gets, because there's nothing any of us can do about that. However, a successful national RL team would get more national press coverage than an unsuccessful one, and more coverage than a successful club RL side ever will. Moaning in advance that however much coverage that might be will not be as much as other sports get by default is a waste of energy, IMO. It'll still be more than RL gets now, which is the important thing.

They're not doing nothing, but they're not doing enough. The whole game is club-centric and we pay a price for that.

spot on.. far too much time is taken looking at everyone else and how hard done to we are.. lets just look at what we have and grow it, more is better than nowt rather than "we want as much as thye have"

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True. Whether we like it or not, when most non-RL people think about 'Rugby', the international scene is what catches their attention, because that's the way it is in RU (the code that gets all the attention). They apply those perceptions to RL, as they can't be bothered to find out that there is a difference in where the main power of our code lies.

When it comes to international competition, the media does take more of an interest in Rugby League. Not a huge amount more, but definitely more. England/GB winning a bit more would deliver even more coverage, but it's been decades since we won a significant trophy and we can't count on the indulgence of Football's massive following.

Even an international dimension at club level helps - the BBC were prepared to schlep their broadcasting team down to Toulouse a few years ago, when they played Widnes. Neither of them were SL teams, which is what the BBC usually picks for their televised ties.

the thing is that we seem to forget IMO.. is that they are national news papers... so they will be more interested in national things.. a few smaller towns in the north can be dismissed and left to the locals.. a good national team changes that.. IMO that is what happened to RU and then for them the interest in the club level was a "what happens underneath this".. at the moment all we really seem to have are these club teams all in different pockets of the north.. RU although pocketed in areas still has the international dimension that these papers sell it on the back of.. "who will get picked from this team for england" "johnny saves starling" etc etc they are sickening with the fawning over a couple of people but that is the national angle.. and we dont have that yet.

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The decision makers are too soft.

Fight all the wrong claims, press conference it up everytime someone lies shoiwng that the truth is x rather than rugby union.

Furthermore, RL is the toughest sport to play. By a mile. Let's celebrate this.

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sorry thats just not true.. "whatever we do, the national media will ignore us"... we do plenty of things the national media do not ignore.. not all positive but with success etc then they may become interested again.. we CAN get national coverage becuase nothing is set in stone...

an expanding game over the last 10 years can open up corridors into companies and into news media with the universities etc.. this is still a bit off as it takes time for people to move up a ladder but you cannot write off the whole future of the universe becuase of what is happening today..

they CAN be brought back on side if we get things right.. whether they WILL or not is down to getting these thigns right but to sit back and say "it wont happen no matter what" is (sorry to say) daft.

I'll just have to disagree with you (and the others who share your view) on that. I happen to think there are vested (and powerful) interests out there who want to see us put in our place and kept there. I admire the optimism of those who believe that the national media can be brought on side, but I think it is misplaced and we should be looking to generate our own publicity. The national media will give us nothing. The only sensible suggestion that I've read so far is that we should buy our way in. If we take out adverts in the press, they will print them. It would, however, cost more than I believe we can afford.

Sorry to be so downbeat, but I despise soccer and the way our sporting world is being turned into a monoculture with the assistance of a spineless press.

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They wouldn't ignore a successful national team. But we don't have one of those. All efforts should be channelled into getting one, if RL really, really wants to crack the national media. Having that successful national team playing in the biggest, most iconic venues in front of big crowds would help too.

Tinkering about with the club game will not increase national media coverage.

(For the sake of balance, and sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, but I believe The Times have also ditched their staff rugby union reporter too, so it isn't just RL on the backfoot here).

True, but we are in a chicken and egg position. Without publicity to help grow the game (in terms of participation), we are highly unlikely ever to have the talent to beat Australia. (Actually, it's not the talent we lack, we have some very talented players, it's probably 'athleticism', whatever that is.)

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I'll just have to disagree with you (and the others who share your view) on that. I happen to think there are vested (and powerful) interests out there who want to see us put in our place and kept there. I admire the optimism of those who believe that the national media can be brought on side, but I think it is misplaced and we should be looking to generate our own publicity. The national media will give us nothing. The only sensible suggestion that I've read so far is that we should buy our way in. If we take out adverts in the press, they will print them. It would, however, cost more than I believe we can afford.

Sorry to be so downbeat, but I despise soccer and the way our sporting world is being turned into a monoculture with the assistance of a spineless press.

but where do you get the publicity without the press? you need someone to publish your stuff for that publicity.

they can be brought on side, it could take a while but it can be done.. never is a very very long time.

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They're not doing nothing, but they're not doing enough. The whole game is club-centric and we pay a price for that.

Correct. The last time RL had a real national presence was the decade pre-SL. This was because GB were competitive in the test series, but most importantly, they were played at places like Wembley and Old Trafford in front of crowds of over 50,000. The games had the feel of being events. Genuine international sporting events that demanded attention.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the RFL stage international matches in Wigan, Huddersfield and Leeds. To an outsider, to whom RL means Yorkshire and Lancashire and nothing else, this merely reinforces this image. Especially when our showpiece games like England V Australia don't even sell out the DW stadium. The game seems less important and so the rest of the country treats it so. The move from BBC to Sky of the international games didn't help either. Out of sight, out of mind.

No matter how good a SL game is, it will only ever attract a small fraction of the possible newcomers to the sport. To a man in say, Birmingham, a game between Wigan and Leeds may be enjoyable, but a game involving England has an emotional pull. He might not know the players, but it's still his team. The team that represents his country. As far as he's concerned Wigan is just a town up north. What does it matter if they win or not?

The chance for RL to grow its club game disappeared well over 100 hundred years ago, that's if it ever had one. There will never be a mad dash of new clubs wanting to join, which leaves the club game pretty much stuck where its always been.

It's all very well people on here saying we should all make an effort to get to Cardiff for the Magic Weekend, but what about making an effort to go to one of the internationals this autumn? Even if Cardiff was a full house it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference, because on the same weekend it's the RU 6 Nations. Big international sporting events that the whole country can take an interest in. Not because there neccessarily RU fans, but because it's England, Wales and Scotland. The sooner the game realises the importance of international RL the better.

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In the changing face of how we consume media is there not scope for an RL News Agency, someone like like League Express would be well placed to sell content to either the electronic versions of existing newspapers such as The Guardian or to budding app writers of which there are many.

I was having a browse through the Apple "app store" last night and saw that Bradford and Hull KR both have official apps out and there were a few others, I bought "The History of Rugby League" for 59p and its an ok read for the money.

I think we'll soon be bypassing traditional media.

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I fear that Murdoch News Corporation has both codes of Rugby by the balls and will look to merge them in around 20 years or so. Murdoch funds both games in the UK and has alot of power in Australasia.Who owns the Broncos and the Storm? Who runs the NRL at present? Who controls the media in Australia?

Laurel and Hardy (Woods and Lewis) at the RFL are trying to expand the game at all costs and have succeeded in upsetting a large section of fans with franchising. Rugby League professionally is probably at its weakest it ever has been. St.Helens, Hull KR, Wakey, Quins, Crusaders are losing money. Others like Huddersfield and Warrington are living off a sugar daddy-but for how long? The RFL have no money, no power and no control over the game. The Media has control of what Murdoch and his organization wants. So because League is the weaker of the codes it can easily strangle its growth or at least have more say in what it does.

Union in the UK is kept going in many cases by Sky (same as most other sports) Sky can say to League and Union to merge or they will drop both games and whilst Union could probably survive to some degree it would be a lot weaker and likely would have to go back to part time. League at Pro level would disappear and the clubs that do survive would maybe forced in to playing Union to survive at a Semi pro level. Sky saved Rugby League to an extent in the late 90s. But now it can kill off Rugby League very easily and by not reporting Rugby League it can slowly kill off League. Soccer is pumped down the throats of the Youth alongside Union. League cant cope with that sadly.

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They wouldn't ignore a successful national team. But we don't have one of those. All efforts should be channelled into getting one, if RL really, really wants to crack the national media. Having that successful national team playing in the biggest, most iconic venues in front of big crowds would help too.

Tinkering about with the club game will not increase national media coverage.

(For the sake of balance, and sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, but I believe The Times have also ditched their staff rugby union reporter too, so it isn't just RL on the backfoot here).

Could not agree more. Comparing the current more fair , just and broadly-based method of promotion and relegation with the old style short termist approach is irrelevant.

International sport is the media's top priority and as its isn't ours we will continue to slip down the media coverage league.

An example? Swimming and cycling get virtually no media coverage...unless there is an international dimension and they they are all over it like a rash. Lots of TV coverage of swimming at present.. because there are internationals on.

Part time England RL coach...part time England RL results.

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Correct. The last time RL had a real national presence was the decade pre-SL. This was because GB were competitive in the test series, but most importantly, they were played at places like Wembley and Old Trafford in front of crowds of over 50,000. The games had the feel of being events. Genuine international sporting events that demanded attention.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the RFL stage international matches in Wigan, Huddersfield and Leeds. To an outsider, to whom RL means Yorkshire and Lancashire and nothing else, this merely reinforces this image. Especially when our showpiece games like England V Australia don't even sell out the DW stadium. The game seems less important and so the rest of the country treats it so. The move from BBC to Sky of the international games didn't help either. Out of sight, out of mind.

No matter how good a SL game is, it will only ever attract a small fraction of the possible newcomers to the sport. To a man in say, Birmingham, a game between Wigan and Leeds may be enjoyable, but a game involving England has an emotional pull. He might not know the players, but it's still his team. The team that represents his country. As far as he's concerned Wigan is just a town up north. What does it matter if they win or not?

The chance for RL to grow its club game disappeared well over 100 hundred years ago, that's if it ever had one. There will never be a mad dash of new clubs wanting to join, which leaves the club game pretty much stuck where its always been.

It's all very well people on here saying we should all make an effort to get to Cardiff for the Magic Weekend, but what about making an effort to go to one of the internationals this autumn? Even if Cardiff was a full house it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference, because on the same weekend it's the RU 6 Nations. Big international sporting events that the whole country can take an interest in. Not because there neccessarily RU fans, but because it's England, Wales and Scotland. The sooner the game realises the importance of international RL the better.

Totally agree. I used to attend all the GB games in the 80s and 90s when they were played on a Saturday afternoon. I would use public transport. Now they play games on Saturday evenings at 6pm in places like Blackburn (which would have meant me turning around as soon as I entered the ground to make my way back home on the last available train). I understand the reasons why the RFL took the Sky money but they consigned the game to a virtual media blackout once the international game's TV rights went with the domestic one.

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Totally agree. I used to attend all the GB games in the 80s and 90s when they were played on a Saturday afternoon. I would use public transport. Now they play games on Saturday evenings at 6pm in places like Blackburn (which would have meant me turning around as soon as I entered the ground to make my way back home on the last available train). I understand the reasons why the RFL took the Sky money but they consigned the game to a virtual media blackout once the international game's TV rights went with the domestic one.

That's a point I've thought about before, the evening kickoffs favoured by Sky make it hard to draw well playing in London since so many fans would have to travel down from the north which is much more difficult for evening games. Consequently they moved them back to northern venues that are out of sight and out of mind where the media's concerned since they're all based in London.

That being the case, would it make sense to have them somewhere in between like the Midlands, somewhere like Birmingham or Coventry which are both 120 miles from Leeds which is a 5/8 of the distance from Leeds to Wembley? If they played at Ricoh Arena, St Andrews or Villa Park could they fill the stadium for an evening game there? If they did fill it, would that make the desired impression on the media? What do people think?

Edited by Big Picture

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That's a point I've thought about before, the evening kickoffs favoured by Sky make it hard to draw well playing in London since so many fans would have to travel down from the north which is much more difficult for evening games. Consequently they moved them back to northern venues that are out of sight and out of mind where the media's concerned since they're all based in London.

That being the case, would it make sense to have them somewhere in between like the Midlands, somewhere like Birmingham or Coventry which are both 120 miles from Leeds which is a 5/8 of the distance from Leeds to Wembley? If they played at Ricoh Arena, St Andrews or Villa Park could they fill the stadium for an evening game there? If they did fill it, would that make the desired impression on the media? What do people think?

Why not jut sell the international TV rights separately and get back to 3pm Saturday afternoon kick offs?

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I think gb tours need to come back,also games need to be terrestrial tv every week. sky has ruined the game.

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Why not jut sell the international TV rights separately and get back to 3pm Saturday afternoon kick offs?

The current deal has a few more years to run, they'll have to wait until it comes up for renewal. Is there a reason to think the BBC would bid enough for them to make it worthwhile to sell them that way? If not, would extra ticket sales make up for the difference?

Evening is prime time for TV networks the world over, evening games get bigger audiences. That's why Sky wants the evening kickoffs in the first place. At one time NFL games were all on Sunday afternoons until they found out they could get more for TV rights if they included evening games and Monday Night Football was born, followed in time by Sunday Night Football.

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I think gb tours need to come back,also games need to be terrestrial tv every week. sky has ruined the game.

Absolutely. I totally agree. I know why the RFL took the money, but where is our soul now?

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The current deal has a few more years to run, they'll have to wait until it comes up for renewal. Is there a reason to think the BBC would bid enough for them to make it worthwhile to sell them that way? If not, would extra ticket sales make up for the difference?

Evening is prime time for TV networks the world over, evening games get bigger audiences. That's why Sky wants the evening kickoffs in the first place. At one time NFL games were all on Sunday afternoons until they found out they could get more for TV rights if they included evening games and Monday Night Football was born, followed in time by Sunday Night Football.

I don't really think the problem is what time of day you play it, it's where you play it and who shows it. Any RL match on Sky will be watched, largely, by the converted, not to mention the proportion of those who subscribe to it. But put a game on BBC1 and it can watched by anyone, and more people will be exposed to it.

A good example is this year's Wimbledon tennis tournament. When Andy Murray was playing they moved the match from BBC2 to BBC1, because they felt it was an important event. Even though everyone knows how to switch channels, it probably got more viewers than it would've on BBC2.

More important than any of that though is trying to galvanise the RL fans into supporting the national team. This years England match against France in Leigh is a good example. We couldn't even fill a relatively small ground for Englands only home international of the year. I know people will say it was only France, but plenty of other sports manage to get bigger crowds for similar type games. That's where the RFL should try to change the perception of the fixture. At the moment it's almost regarded as just a friendly, a sort of warm up for the more important games in the autumn. Stage the game on Bastille Day, play on the history of the 2 countries - basically build the game up. Not just put a few press releases on the RFL website and hope a crowd turns up.

You wonder sometimes what the pioneers of the sport, who took the game abroard, who took the early internationals around the country, who were always on the lookout for the next way to develop the game, would make of the way the game is run today.

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Ok I've read all the replies and would like to chip in...

Firstly I don't think it's quite as gloomy as people are making this out to be. The original post was about national awareness of the sport, which I admit is in decline, but the actual sport isn't. Infact I would say that the sport is in the best shape it's ever been, the Super League is a solid competition with high attendences and great facilities, there are strong grassroots development programs throughout England and Wales and of course there has been a lot of work done in schools, most of which never gets reported. Rugby League is the second fastest growing sport in England (behind womens football) and fastest in Wales and Scotland. But onto national awareness and media coverage...

The biggest problem with rugby league is the fact that it's called

RUGBY league

This to many people gives the impression that it is not a seperate entity but just a subordinate games with slightly differing rules. I have asked many, many people who live in the same city as me "Do you know the difference between rugby union and rugby league" or "can you name a rugby league team" etc and 80%+ of them look at me with blank faces. These are guys and girls, aged 15 to 55. Heck even some rugby union players I've spoken to don't know of rugby league. Nobody even calls it rugby union, they just call it rugby. And when I tell football fans that I like watching rugby league they just tell me how boring rugby is and how it's just a bunch of fat men rolling around in the mud. I know it's great to preserve history, but on an issue so damn important (I mean it's the name of our game ffs!!) sometimes it's best just to concede defeat. "Rugby" will always mean Union for 80% of England, and 90% of Planet Earth. Either call it League, or something else (shame it was invented in Huddersfield), but why we continue to market ourselves as an offshoot of Union just for the sake of "history" I will never know...

Another major problem is the games only London team is called HARLEQUINS RL. Do you know what? I walked past Twickenham HQ a few weeks ago and I still heard RFU officials laughing their asses off at that. There might as well not even be a London rugby league team if they're going to be tarnished with a name which has become synonomous with Rugby Union since 1866! I mean come on please! London Broncos, London Griffins, London Titans, even London Bluetits would be better!! They're the closest Super League team to where I live so technically I should support them, but I never will because they're a Rugby Union club. Because of the money it has helped their grassroots development but no wonder few LDNers actually support the club when they've got the same name, the same colours, the same ground, the same strip, the same website, the same identity as a rugby union team! Tell me Salford fans would you support Sale Sharks RL, hey guys what about Wigan Athletic RL? Hull City RL? Leeds Tykes RL?

Something else, why did it take 100 years for the RFL to finally realise that the vast majority of the population see themselves as English, or Welsh, or Scottish, and not British? Thank god they've finally made the change, and I was quite impressed by how well they created "Brand England" but lets continue shall we. Should "Brand England" be playing in Leigh? Hmm no. Should Brand England attempt to distinguish itself from other "Brand Englands" by having a different kit that could then become recognisable down the high street? Hmm yes. See it isn't that hard, but hey at least the 2008 World Cup kicked them up the backsides with regard to this. Now if you could do the same for Wales BEFORE they get big (for instance before they get a Super League team, before they're in the European Cup with a chance to get into the Four Nations, before they start hosting World Cup matches in their own damn country etc etc etc) then that would be terrific. But hey if your 100 years late to the party, then don't winge if your told to join the back of the queue and wait for a few decades.

These are little tiny things, names and brands etc, but they make a big difference. 2013 will be the biggest year ever for rugby league, and whilst I wish it wasn't the case I think it will be kind of make or break, especially in terms of national awareness and media coverage.

Edited by ShotgunGold

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True, but we are in a chicken and egg position. Without publicity to help grow the game (in terms of participation), we are highly unlikely ever to have the talent to beat Australia. (Actually, it's not the talent we lack, we have some very talented players, it's probably 'athleticism', whatever that is.)

Oh for the days when English RL actually had dominant influence over the direction of the game's rules and the style of game that delivered - one suited to natural and instinctive footballing skill over athleticism and set plays.

I can't see how England will ever catch the Kangaroos & the NRL-bred Kiwis whilever the game's rules encourage athleticism over talent. The same for every other aspiring RL nation. Everyone in RL across the globe is playing (and struggling) by RL rules evolved to suit the needs of the NRL athletes game.

Why does RL put this 'athleticism' requirement (via the game's rules) onto every current and prospective RL player? It doesn't help tp expand the game, nor does it engender competitiveness (unless you call 2 teams struggling for 80 minutes as 'competition').

The RFL needs to be exercising greater influence at the rules table, and pushing for changes that suit your footballers' attributes.

Not saying that will be easy to achieve, nor that the Aussie and Kiwis players aren't talented (they obviously are), but by getting the 'athleticism' angle reduced, it becomes more of a fair fight on the playing field.

A competitive and winning England side is the best means for RL to gain wider media.

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