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Pottsy

Yorkshire v Lancashire really 'failed' didn't it?

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This has got to be the biggest piece of flawed received wisdom in rugby league.

Look at the facts:

2001: one-off game at Headingley; 10,253 crowd; Lancashire win 36-24

2002: Two game series; first game at Wigan won by Lancs 22-18 - 10,000 crowd. Game two in Leeds; Lancs win 36-18 - 9283 crowd

By 2003 the fixture was relegated to a midweek slot at Odsal (which hardly has a recent history of successfully hosting rep games etc) - Yorkshire win 56-6 in front of 8258 supporters.

The thing to remember about this event is that it was woefully underpromoted by the RFL (the only thing they got right was the kits) who seemed almost embarrassed to admit that the game's powerbase is in the industrial north.

If they'd have spoken to the players, many of whom had been playing against each other in these inter county games since their junior days, built up the hype/rivalry (not hard!) and made sure there was a clear and visible route to the Test team then they could've had a success on their hands.

Basically, they buggered the whole thing up and then lost their nerve and I can see them doing the same thing soon with the Exiles.

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I went to 3 out of those4 games and none of them had a brilliant atmosphere. They also were fairly well promoted.

It was also stupid having a Londoner playing for Lancashire and a Geordie for Yorkshire.

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Maybe  have a 4 team tournament - Lancs, Yorks, Cumb + a team made up of any other area - based on the origin of your NCL grass roots club - even get Ray French to commentate  ;) - and took players from Championships and SL , with even room for players from the actual clubs. Although, some of the best rivalries are neighbouring clubs, so maybe needs another think.

 

How would you divide the attached clubs into 4 or maybe just 2 teams?

http://www.nationalconferenceleague.co.uk/clubs

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Maybe have a 4 team tournament - Lancs, Yorks, Cumb + a team made up of any other area - based on the origin of your NCL grass roots club - even get Ray French to commentate ;) - and took players from Championships and SL , with even room for players from the actual clubs. Although, some of the best rivalries are neighbouring clubs, so maybe needs another think.

How would you divide the attached clubs into 4 or maybe just 2 teams?

http://www.nationalconferenceleague.co.uk/clubs

Too complicated IMO. One game. Loads of promotion. End of.

Cumbria could also play London & the South during same window

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There's room for both the Exiles (if it's wanted) and county football. You just need to have a 22 week regular season.

But you could only do that if you reduced Super League to 12.

Hang on ...

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Too complicated IMO. One game. Loads of promotion. End of.

Cumbria could also play London & the South during same window

I'd back Cumbria to beat Yorks or Lancs given a home game and the right conditions.

They should be given that chance.

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why cant we have our own barbrians adbuikld a tradition around it.

 

I love the idea of the union barbarians

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I went to 3 out of those4 games and none of them had a brilliant atmosphere. They also were fairly well promoted.

It was also stupid having a Londoner playing for Lancashire and a Geordie for Yorkshire.

Speaking as someone who was still working as a fulltime sports journo at the time, I have to STRONGLY disagree with you about the quality and quantity of the PR, promotion and marketing.

There were so many angles they could've gone for to hype this up and they didn't.

I still think this fixture could be successful (not necessarily instead of the Exiles, I hasten to add) but I sometimes get the feeling that the RFL has yet to learn the lessons of the past.

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why cant we have our own barbrians adbuikld a tradition around it.

 

I love the idea of the union barbarians

I do think that's what should be done with the Exiles.

A festival type game before the real deal of the Autumn tournament.

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Just to be clear, you are absolutely right. The attendances were excellent for the period when they were played, and look amazing compared to the Exiles, which have now posted 2 sub-8,000 attendances, something the Roses matches never did, both of which below the same season Super League average (even with the decline this year) which the Roses attendances never were.

I broke down the numbers recently on this thread

http://www.totalrl.com/forums/index.php/topic/240691-lets-get-it-on-in-2014-who-would-win/page-3#entry2719648

If the Roses matches failed, the Exiles concept has been a bigger failure with, in my view, fewer benefits to developing international standard players.

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why cant we have our own barbrians adbuikld a tradition around it.

I love the idea of the union barbarians

Isn't that essentially what the Exiles is supposed to be?

They've missed a trick (although I'm told it's due to visa related complexities) by not allowing Welshmen, Frenchmen and the likes of Danny Brough to play.

I was actually writing about the need for an RL Barbarians over a decade ago. Makes me feel old!

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They try to make out that no one cares about the "Roses" thing any more. If that's so, why do we get chants of "Yorkshire, Yorkshire" whenever the Yorkists come over the hill to play?

It seems to me that they are still smarting over the tussle on the 22 August 1485.

I recommend that they make an annual challenge - on or close to that date and like the original play it on a neutral midlands venue.

OR, As its pretty close to Challenge Cup Final date how about a double header at Wembley featuring players from clubs that are not involved in the final?

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I don't want to get into which concept is better; there's room for both.

Rugby League's problem has always been over-egging the pudding before it's baked (eg, rushing headlong and cack-handedly to a two-game series before the concept has bedded in).

The presence of an mid-season Exiles game in 2002 would actually have strengthened the Roses concept as the players would have had something tangible to aim for.

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We've had Harlequins RL. We should just ask Barbarian FC if we can borrow their kit for a thirteen a side game.

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Speaking as someone who was still working as a fulltime sports journo at the time, I have to STRONGLY disagree with you about the quality and quantity of the PR, promotion and marketing.

There were so many angles they could've gone for to hype this up and they didn't.

I still think this fixture could be successful (not necessarily instead of the Exiles, I hasten to add) but I sometimes get the feeling that the RFL has yet to learn the lessons of the past.

I don't doubt what you say. But at the time the cry was 'bring back Yorkshire v Lancashire and it will pack em in'. It didn't and neither will whatever future fixture anyone can come up with. RL fans simply do not get behind rep games. (Or most other ones come to think of it)

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We've had Harlequins RL. We should just ask Barbarian FC if we can borrow their kit for a thirteen a side game.

I take it the name Steele-Bodger has clearly passed you by!

There's more chance of Arthur Scargill being invited into the Bulligdon Club.

The Exiles works fine; it just needs managing and promoting more smartly.

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I don't doubt what you say. But at the time the cry was 'bring back Yorkshire v Lancashire and it will pack em in'. It didn't and neither will whatever future fixture anyone can come up with. RL fans simply do not get behind rep games. (Or most other ones come to think of it)

The 'build it and they will come' has never worked for rugby league in the modern era. Anywhere. Ever.

If that really was the RFL's belief then we really were/are in trouble.

The paucity of promotion at the time almost gave the impression that they wanted it to fail.

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The Exiles works fine

If it's meant to be an exhibition match it's at the wrong time of year. If it's meant to be a test match then it's showing signs of failing. If it's meant to be something else I don't know what that is.

But if we're going to sell it to the outside world as 'sort of like the Barbarians' I think they should be out there in black and white (confusing all the FC fans) and called the Barbarians. There seem to be quite a few rah-rah "Barbarians" that have no connection to the original Barbarian FC anyway.

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I do think the RFL's promotion of pretty much everything has got a lot better since the days of origin. This was in the aftermath of the 2000 World Cup after all.

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Lancs v Yorks and the exile concept could both work if there was a big pot of cash available for the winners. Vulgar i know, but if we want both sides to actually at least pretend they're interested which would make the likes of me want to part with my money to watch then its the only way.

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If it's meant to be an exhibition match it's at the wrong time of year. If it's meant to be a test match then it's showing signs of failing. If it's meant to be something else I don't know what that is.

Agree. I think there's definitely room for it, but better as a end of season warm up for the real tournament. To try to build this up as something it will never be will just harm promotion of other events IMO.

if we're going to sell it to the outside world as 'sort of like the Barbarians' I think they should be out there in black and white (confusing all the FC fans) and called the Barbarians. There seem to be quite a few rah-rah "Barbarians" that have no connection to the original Barbarian FC anyway.

Can't agree. I don't see what's wring with the Exiles?

Calling them Barbarians will just get unwanted and unnecessary comparisons to union every time they play. Lets stick with our own concept and own idea for a change.

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TRL was around in 2001 and I am pretty sure the same things were being said then as now. ..nothing much changes.

Pottsy, it wadnt the rfl saying 'build it and they will come' but a lot of rl fans claiming tha it would pack them in. As usual. ....

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If it's meant to be an exhibition match it's at the wrong time of year. If it's meant to be a test match then it's showing signs of failing. If it's meant to be something else I don't know what that is.

But if we're going to sell it to the outside world as 'sort of like the Barbarians' I think they should be out there in black and white (confusing all the FC fans) and called the Barbarians. There seem to be quite a few rah-rah "Barbarians" that have no connection to the original Barbarian FC anyway.

What could you possibly seek to gain by 'borrowing' a brand synonymous with an institution that spent 100 years trying to systematically crush us other than ridicule and negative comparisons?

Did the doomed Harlequins RL folly teach us nothing?

Rugby League should be celebrating its own proud heritage, not fawning pathetically over someone else's!

The Exiles would've seemed like far less of a contrivance had someone at the RFL had the sense to make the obvious link with the proud history of Other Nationalities games. A few tweaks to the kit, a couple of grainy VTs/interviews with past ON stars and a bit more reverence to our own past and the Exiles would've had (and still could have much more lustre).

We are rugby league!

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As for bringing back Yorks vs Lancs, there needs to be an aim for them pretty close to the game IMO. If we took a two week break, had the Roses in week one and then travelled to NZ in week two (picking the players that performed best in the Roses, not players who have shown "good long term form" (code for: they're out of form now but were good once)), I think the passion for it by the players and fans would be far higher and the concept taken as more genuine.

You could also have England Knights travel with them and play a Pacific Islands team.

Cumbria vs the South would be pretty good as well. I suppose you could through in Midlands for North East and cover all the regions then. If all regions are playing, it stops it from being just a "northern game" with Yorks/Lancs only.

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Lancs v Yorks and the exile concept could both work if there was a big pot of cash available for the winners. Vulgar i know, but if we want both sides to actually at least pretend they're interested which would make the likes of me want to part with my money to watch then its the only way.

Cash would certainly help, but heritage, prestige, incentive and a smarter structure would be more powerful drivers.

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