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boxhead

Where is the game heading?

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Ever since I've known rugby league there have been predictions of its imminent death.  There are more threats now but rugby league in the UK will still survive in some format as a professional sport.  I do see us going backwards a couple of decades though in terms of development.

 

There are a few big concerns I have though:

 

London:  If London Broncos go, I'm not convinced they'll survive at all, it'll take a particularly dedicated financial backer to keep it afloat never mind succeed.  Homeless and on a shoestring relegated parachute budget isn't enough to pay ground rent as a tenant anywhere within the M25 except for the smallest of grounds while still having enough money to pay for a scratch side.  Regardless of what some people think, a pro side in the south is a big draw for development and recruitment.  Shrink that back to Widnes being the most southerly pro side in England and you're instantly a northern sport.

 

Development Officers: Whoever thought that the game would do well without development officers strategically placed throughout the country is a blithering idiot who deserves to be removed from the sport for lfe (with no review).  Having seen the work that other sports' development officers do just to keep the game going at school level, never mind everything else, I'm convinced that we've saved a few beans this decade but next decade will see a marked downturn in the number of adults in the game just because of this one idiot move.

 

France:  I'd really, really love to see Toulouse do well and use it as a stepping stone to a proper French professional league in the early 2020s.  Unfortunately, it's extremely unlikely they'll get a SL berth in 2015 as the bar is a bit too high to be realistic.  If they come into SL2 (or whatever it'll be called) then you're getting into the same problems as last time.  Even if they do get into SL, they're going to be highly reliant on the very fickle French TV to bring in more money to the deal and a relegation will see all that go.

 

Salary cap:  We're so far behind union now on salary cap terms that I'm genuinely surprised that more people haven't gone over.  It's even worse in France.  I think we'll reach a time when love for the game can only keep players for so long when they see even third-rate union players getting more than rugby league marquee players.

 

I could go on but I have to do some work today...

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Why cant we enthuse our sport like they do in other code's?

 

Because we spend so much time focusing on what's wrong with it instead of what's right with it. We're always sending out negative messages, why would anyone new want to associate themselves with that?

 

For whatever reason, the RFL have embarked on a league restructure debate in the run up to a major World Cup tournament. Why now, in World Cup year? It's madness! The end result of it is that the game and everyone associated with it is looking inwards endlessly discussing its limitations, running down its existing competitions and clubs and making declarations of doom depending on which side of the restructured fence they sit. It is a totally corrosive atmosphere, pure poison to anyone outside the sport who will not give a toss how we organise the domestic league.

 

Instead of repeatedly pulling our own sport to bits like this, we should be projecting the enormous virtues of Rugby League to the outside world right now if we want anyone outside our enclosed environment to pay attention to it, which we desperately need them to in order to increase crowds and sponsorship revenues.

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The game in England is at a Crossroads.

It lost the Test and International goodwill with its serious competitors (Oz and NZ) years ago (partly due to jumping ship to Murdochs game and partly due to never winning) it gave up on France to a point (bringing in the Exiles rubbish concept) after failing to develop them as a Test playing nation similar to what the NRL has done with the Kiwis.

Its expansion into Wales and London have failed badly.

What happens next will dictate the future of the game.

We beat NZ in a 3 game series 3-0 not so long ago

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In Oz they are prepared to merge rivals and cut even the biggest and oldest names to advance the sport as a whole

In M62 land they are prepared to retard the games advancement and put back development decades to protect small mining village clubs and their own self interest

That's the real difference

If our Admin is so bad ( and I'm not saying it isn't) and the Aussie Admin is so good we could always ask them to run our game too.

If we did you could guarantee that they would do exactly as Ant suggests above.

Ant is right we are too parochial.

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In M62 land they are prepared to retard the games advancement and put back development decades to protect small mining village clubs and their own self interest

That's the real difference

Which clubs are these you mention?

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I never thought i would say this, but my enthusiasm for Rugby League is dying everyday. The days of me watching my club play home and away are gone.I don't even post on here much to what i did in the past. I can't even be bothered to go to every home game nowadays. My late father must be turning in his grave with my lack of enthusiasm for our sport and club.

To me its looks like the flatcappers have won the day and that we will be just a Northern part time professional sport again in 5 years. We will return to being seen by people outside of the mythical heartlands as people who where flat caps and always walk around with our whippets. A great image for attracting big name sponsors

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For me the game is heading into a period of no growth, and will stay there until whoever is in charge at the RFL/clubs decide the current situation isn't working, as has been the case now. But rather than address the real issues will tip toe round it and look for an alternative solution which just pushes the issues away for a short period, only to be revisited again a couple of years down the line.

The game needs real leadership and people running the game with a great knowledge and ability to govern.

While we sit around twiddling our thumbs hoping an idea will work other sports are putting in the hard work, making the right decisions for their sport and putting themselves in a much better position to benefit financially from those endeavours.

Rugby League is a truly fantastic sport, with more potential than most, but as a previous poster mentioned, success starts in the front office, and at the moment the current group of leaders collectively couldnt even find the light switch in the office!

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Ever since I've known rugby league there have been predictions of its imminent death.  There are more threats now but rugby league in the UK will still survive in some format as a professional sport.  I do see us going backwards a couple of decades though in terms of development.

 

There are a few big concerns I have though:

 

London:  If London Broncos go, I'm not convinced they'll survive at all, it'll take a particularly dedicated financial backer to keep it afloat never mind succeed.  Homeless and on a shoestring relegated parachute budget isn't enough to pay ground rent as a tenant anywhere within the M25 except for the smallest of grounds while still having enough money to pay for a scratch side.  Regardless of what some people think, a pro side in the south is a big draw for development and recruitment.  Shrink that back to Widnes being the most southerly pro side in England and you're instantly a northern sport.

 

Development Officers: Whoever thought that the game would do well without development officers strategically placed throughout the country is a blithering idiot who deserves to be removed from the sport for lfe (with no review).  Having seen the work that other sports' development officers do just to keep the game going at school level, never mind everything else, I'm convinced that we've saved a few beans this decade but next decade will see a marked downturn in the number of adults in the game just because of this one idiot move.

 

France:  I'd really, really love to see Toulouse do well and use it as a stepping stone to a proper French professional league in the early 2020s.  Unfortunately, it's extremely unlikely they'll get a SL berth in 2015 as the bar is a bit too high to be realistic.  If they come into SL2 (or whatever it'll be called) then you're getting into the same problems as last time.  Even if they do get into SL, they're going to be highly reliant on the very fickle French TV to bring in more money to the deal and a relegation will see all that go.

 

Salary cap:  We're so far behind union now on salary cap terms that I'm genuinely surprised that more people haven't gone over.  It's even worse in France.  I think we'll reach a time when love for the game can only keep players for so long when they see even third-rate union players getting more than rugby league marquee players.

 

I could go on but I have to do some work today...

If London go thats Rugby League finished in London for good at professional level.

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I never thought i would say this, but my enthusiasm for Rugby League is dying everyday. The days of me watching my club play home and away are gone.I don't even post on here much to what i did in the past. I can't even be bothered to go to every home game nowadays. My late father must be turning in his grave with my lack of enthusiasm for our sport and club.

To me its looks like the flatcappers have won the day and that we will be just a Northern part time professional sport again in 5 years. We will return to being seen by people outside of the mythical heartlands as people who where flat caps and always walk around with our whippets. A great image for attracting big name sponsors

The really sad thing is that there are some people who want exactly that - a small time operation, involving small clubs, playing semi-pro rugby league. Just so long as they can get the bus to the away game against their fierce rival in the next village.

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Rugby League is a great entertaining sport to watch and play.

 

If we spent more time projecting that message and less time navel gazing and picking fault in it, who knows how many new fans and sponsors we might attract.

 

The negativity surrounding the sport is suffocating.

John

I could not agree more... And there is more to be proud of than the two reasons you mention..

 

However, I have been increasingly worried about the direction of travel and the abilities of the driver. I am so hacked off - I have ceased posting and debating.

 

I find it extremely worrying that the calibre of the person at the helm does not attract quality sponsorship, appears abrasive and amateur to the media and possesses a narrow band of past experience.

 

I have a genuine fear for our future and can only hope that at some point - a quality and deserving person is appointed to the pinnacle of our system.

 

:(  :(  :(

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The really sad thing is that there are some people who want exactly that - a small time operation, involving small clubs, playing semi-pro rugby league. Just so long as they can get the bus to the away game against their fierce rival in the next village.

I'm sure when the local derbys take place between, Fev, Cas, and Wakey the whole of the UK will be on the edge of their seats with excitment. Think of all the locals going to watch them game's on the bus.The bus comoanies will be delighted with the trade. 

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I never thought i would say this, but my enthusiasm for Rugby League is dying everyday. The days of me watching my club play home and away are gone.I don't even post on here much to what i did in the past. I can't even be bothered to go to every home game nowadays. My late father must be turning in his grave with my lack of enthusiasm for our sport and club.

To me its looks like the flatcappers have won the day and that we will be just a Northern part time professional sport again in 5 years. We will return to being seen by people outside of the mythical heartlands as people who where flat caps and always walk around with our whippets. A great image for attracting big name sponsors

 

Perfect summary and me too - Subscribing to Premier Sport next year. Of the 12 people who used to go home and away with us - none are involved or attend games anymore.

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Rugby League is a great entertaining sport to watch and play.

 

If we spent more time projecting that message and less time navel gazing and picking fault in it, who knows how many new fans and sponsors we might attract.

 

The negativity surrounding the sport is suffocating.

 This

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The game in England is at a Crossroads.

It lost the Test and International goodwill with its serious competitors (Oz and NZ) years ago (partly due to jumping ship to Murdochs game and partly due to never winning) it gave up on France to a point (bringing in the Exiles rubbish concept) after failing to develop them as a Test playing nation similar to what the NRL has done with the Kiwis.

Its expansion into Wales and London have failed badly.

What happens next will dictate the future of the game.

Agree with you on the rubbish exiles concept, I'd rather watch a game of union than watch that non event. I really thought we were on the verge of something very big in international rugby league after the 95' world cup, what with Wales having a great side and selling out games in Wales but it was as usual not to be.

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Yes.

In all seriousness while I'm desperate to see my team in Superleague (and in all honesty think this will see them secure for years) if the advancement of the game meant they had to go then I'd accept that, so long as it was to advance the fortunes of RL as a whole and not like when the league was split up originally and like when SL was first spawned both of which probably owed more to back handers and dodgy deals in car parks

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So let's see, the game is doomed to a lingering death as a part-time village sport, but if they just took the right decisions it would become a massive sport able to attract top flight sponsors and compete with RU and the NRL ...

 

... nope, can't see either of those happening. I dunno what you're all getting aerated about, whatever setup is chosen will get changed again as soon as they get fed up of it, and everybody will moan about that, too.

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The issue is the present situation is the best one we've ever had

It's still flawed and still needs improving yes - but it's a hell of a lot better than what proceeded it, which is what we are returning to!

Fix the system we have, don't abandon it the moment something in the wider world upsets it

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like when SL was first spawned both of which probably owed more to back handers and dodgy deals in car parks

It was based on League position and the introduction of a French team.

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If London go thats Rugby League finished in London for good at professional level.

 a bad season for Catalan and that's them sorted

 

there'll be some happy people in the backwoods

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Fortunately it's most likely the backwoods types will be likely to be the ones to fall foul first...

I predict London will have a stormer next season

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Because we spend so much time focusing on what's wrong with it instead of what's right with it. We're always sending out negative messages, why would anyone new want to associate themselves with that?

 

For whatever reason, the RFL have embarked on a league restructure debate in the run up to a major World Cup tournament. Why now, in World Cup year? It's madness! The end result of it is that the game and everyone associated with it is looking inwards endlessly discussing its limitations, running down its existing competitions and clubs and making declarations of doom depending on which side of the restructured fence they sit. It is a totally corrosive atmosphere, pure poison to anyone outside the sport who will not give a toss how we organise the domestic league.

 

Instead of repeatedly pulling our own sport to bits like this, we should be projecting the enormous virtues of Rugby League to the outside world right now if we want anyone outside our enclosed environment to pay attention to it, which we desperately need them to in order to increase crowds and sponsorship revenues.

a big change of policy like this is bound to get a reaction John.

Once people have got their thoughts off their chests, it will settle down to the usual people who think that everything is unfair and unjust, only now they'll have something else to whinge about that's unfair and unjust, because they've got their on way on this one.

 

I'm hugely dissappointed by this, but I'll let the luddites get on with it once the post mortem is over There are far more important things to get upset about.

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i'm sorry but a long time ago some of us predicted that it wouldn't be a case of the part time clubs having to catch up to the full time superleague, rather the superleague clubs would come back to the part timers, and this is the start of that process. supeleague has proved to be unsustainable, and that is not down to flatcappers, or anyone else , other than the people charged with running the sport.

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My negativity at the moment is a direct result of the hurt and pain of watching the game I love, consistently shooting itself in the foot with weak decisions from the governing body.

 

This frustration is heightened when I see the massive publicity, sponsorship and general fawning currently being given to an inferior code of rugby.  

 

We need strong leadership from the top (with new people in charge who have a track record of successful administration of a major sport).  Would another sport react to a request to scrap it's under 20's competition to save £100k a year?  No chance!  What the RFL needed to do was stay strong insist all clubs ran all junior age groups or they wouldn't receive their full Sky funding as they were damaging the future growth of the game.  The bottom line is if Fev and Sheffiled can run teams at all levels, without the benefit of central funding, then there is no excuse for SL clubs.

 

I'm sick of hearing that our game needs to shrink as the "player pool isn't large enough".  Rubbish!  The pool is only shrinking because insufficient time, funding and coaching are being applied to junior development in this country.  If we continue to pull in tighter to save money the game will eventually die at a professional level. So we may have a few years where the standard goes down if a lot of young kids are introduced, but this will soon improve whilst strenghening the national team for the future.

 

Why have the RFL taken the positive steps of introducing 3 new teams to Championship 1, only 6 months later to look to move the goalposts by aiming to restructure the league system?  There are countless other examples of short-termism and papering over the cracks.  RL fans are passionate about their sport by nature.  Why do we have to keep putting up with this ineptitude?

 

In answer to the original OP, RL in this country has no direction, no clear plan for growth, no strong leadership at RFL level and little media profile.  In the next 5 years I believe the best we can hope from the current regime is to stay still.  Now is the time to draw a line in the sand and appoint someone with the guts to stand up to the SL clubs who want the game run for their own benefit.  An ideal candidate IMO would have been Jim Doyle, the Scotsman who turned NZRL around.  He has now joined the NRL but could he be tempted over?

 

 

 

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