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Honor James

Sixty Year Anniversary of Rugby League in Serbia Celebrated with Repeat Fixture

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Sixty years ago in Paracin, at the FK Jedinstvo stadium, Partizan defeated Radnicki 21-11 in the first game of rugby league in Serbia.

 

Seven of the players who faced each other on 25th April 1954 were present and guests of honour when the sides met again this weekend at the same venue.  Skoknic Miodrag, Arsenijevic Vlasta, Conkić Predrag represented Partisan that day and Tomanovic Budimir Tambe, Petar Marjanovic, Jovicic Djordje and Puzic Stevan, wore the kit of Radnicki. 

 

Then they travelled by train and after the match a dance was organized in a high school.

 

This time the match up, watched by over 500 fans, saw over 30 children from the youth section of the OFK Paracin club put on a pre-match demonstration and then Partisan repeated their inaugural success, this time 32-20.  The sides were level 10-all at the break, Radniki’s tries from Trifunovic and Jovanovic, Zogovic with a goal; Partizan replying through Stanisic and Cirković, Jasari with the extras.  Jankovic and Cirković with his second extended the Partizan lead before the hour, Djuric replying; Jankovic with his double and Ilic for the victors sandwiching a Radniki touchdown from Kostandinovic.

 

After the game, which was broadcast via livestream on the internet, the players of both sides were presented to the delighted veterans.

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I wonder how many of us knew that Rugby League has been being played in Serbia for 60 years?  I didn't.  The common assumption seeems to be that the game in Europe is a relatively new, development initiative.

 

Or maybe I have just not been lucky enough to hear or read of anyone talking about it.

 

Anyway, a sixty years anniversary seemed to merit more than just posting on the international forum so here it is.

 

Congratulations Serbia ................. :curtsey:   :yahoo: 

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It hasn't been played there for 60 years - there was a long period where RL was dormant in Serbis, before being revived. 

 

But still, a great anniversary to celebrate.

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It's absolutely wonderful they went to the trouble of finding these old guy.

 

Paying tribute to their history, for such a small organisation shows they hold the game in some esteem

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And some resent any money spent on foreign development. These kind of stories rekindle my enthusiasm for the game.

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Serbia are quietly becoming one of the success stories of international expansion.

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And some resent any money spent on foreign development. These kind of stories rekindle my enthusiasm for the game.

Hang on, you wanted the Frogs out yesterday as they don't have the same draw as Leigh or Featherstone.

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Hang on, you wanted the Frogs out yesterday as they don't have the same draw as Leigh or Featherstone.

 

1. I didn't say I wanted them out. I just don't think they are a drawing card here in England. The best bet would be to have half a dozen French SL teams operating in a French Conference playing English teams only once a season, the rest of their fixtures being against fellow French teams.

 

2. France is not a development area. They have been around since the 1930's, have their own ruling body and have been to the World Cup final twice and beaten the Aussies in a test series in Australia.

 

3. This thread and my comments are about fledgling international development for RL.

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Serbia does appear to be one of the quiet success stories.Realistically,I believe rl should concentrate it's limited resources on a few countries,where there is proof of local,genuine interest/support,rather than trying to pretend we will dominate the world with Australians with two passports.Pacific Islands and the American/Canada/Jamaica area to me are areas to support/concentrate on.

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When I was there last April there were two games of RL taking place on pitches below the castle.

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Given the right support; a country like Serbia could become a reasonable contender in 10-15 years. They should be given as much support as is available. Hopefully the will is there to help such genuine development.

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It's a young nation, bursting with the desire to prove itself on the national stage, whether that's sport or Eurovision or whatever. Okay, some of that national pride is rooted in the blood and slaughter of the Nineties, but we must move forward and look to a happier future.

 

It also seems that the two Ruby codes are coexisting quite comfortably at the moment in Serbia.

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It's a young nation, bursting with the desire to prove itself on the national stage, whether that's sport or Eurovision or whatever. Okay, some of that national pride is rooted in the blood and slaughter of the Nineties, but we must move forward and look to a happier future.

 

It also seems that the two Ruby codes are coexisting quite comfortably at the moment in Serbia.

 

RL needs to ensure Serbian RL is not subsumed and relegated to second fiddle as happened in Georgia where we went from being the pre eminent Rugby code to nothing in quick order.

 

Co existence and RU are an explosive mixture that needs to be kept a wary eye on.

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RL needs to ensure Serbian RL is not subsumed and relegated to second fiddle as happened in Georgia where we went from being the pre eminent Rugby code to nothing in quick order.

 

Co existence and RU are an explosive mixture that needs to be kept a wary eye on.

That's probably going to depend on whether RU starts pumping money into the country's RU setup to nullify any perceived threat.

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Given the right support; a country like Serbia could become a reasonable contender in 10-15 years. They should be given as much support as is available. Hopefully the will is there to help such genuine development.

 

Definitely, Serbia has far more potential than countries like Ireland and those tiny Pacific islands. We should be helping them as much as possible, with equipment, coaching or whatever they need, we should not waste or ignore their development. The only problem is they're not in the EU, otherwise we could see floods of Serbians playing in the lower leagues. However, I think within 5 years, they could have a semi-pro top league the way things are going. 

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Their biggest problem in having any sort of paid league is income. The famous Red Star Belgrade FC have an average crowd of about 6000 and average ticket price is under 4 quid. Given the history and interest in soccer they are really struggling so hard to see how any other sport could raise enough income to pay any sort of salary

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Their biggest problem in having any sort of paid league is income. The famous Red Star Belgrade FC have an average crowd of about 6000 and average ticket price is under 4 quid. Given the history and interest in soccer they are really struggling so hard to see how any other sport could raise enough income to pay any sort of salary

Wow didn't realise that. But still, I wouldn't expect them to be world beaters anytime soon but it would be great to have a 'new' face on the block and they could give some of the 'lesser' RL countries a game given time.

After all, RU did fine by not paying players. ;)

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Their biggest problem in having any sort of paid league is income. The famous Red Star Belgrade FC have an average crowd of about 6000 and average ticket price is under 4 quid. Given the history and interest in soccer they are really struggling so hard to see how any other sport could raise enough income to pay any sort of salary

 

http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm

 

19,382. Most Balkan country crowds are poor since the break up of Yugoslavia and their old league, and with the attraction of the bigger Euro leagues, its hard to draw fans unless its for European games. In saying that, Red Star have bucked the trend in recent years as that link shows. 

 

All this talk about Serbia fails to take into account that its a poor, rapidly ageing nation. That has never been a recipe for international success in any sport. The ex-Yugo countries time as big players in football and basketball is, and has been, coming to an end for some time. Their best bet is to produce players for bigger leagues, which is what they continue to do well. That would be the best path for developing a competitive international team. Stay amateur, and when the talent shows up, ship them over. Someone said they're not in the EU, but they will be in the next 3-4 years. 

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If Serbia is a poor country then that is probably in RLs favour.

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If Serbia is a poor country then that is probably in RLs favour.

 

How? Especially when you're dominated by football/basketball, which as two of the biggest and most accessible sports in the world is probably the one duo you don't want to be going up against in trying to break through. When I say poor I mean relative to British standards , not sub-Saharan African. 

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How? Especially when you're dominated by football/basketball, which as two of the biggest and most accessible sports in the world is probably the one duo you don't want to be going up against in trying to break through. When I say poor I mean relative to British standards , not sub-Saharan African. 

 

Any pro or semi pro league would only need to generate enough income to pay players what might be considered a decent ancilliary pay chque in Serbian terms, which would probably not even amount to CC1 wages.

 

Any top players produced could find themselves a spot in a French or British pro job. Another source of players for SL. If the Serbian national team was to greatly strengthen as a result, this would be good for the game. Another decent team in the WC cup and maybe some opponents for the likes of Wales and Scotland in the meantime.

 

A trip to Serbia for a WC game sounds great to me.

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How? Especially when you're dominated by football/basketball, which as two of the biggest and most accessible sports in the world is probably the one duo you don't want to be going up against in trying to break through. When I say poor I mean relative to British standards , not sub-Saharan African.

RL has traditionally had a lower social grouping and is used to existing in such circles.

Why does it need to compete or go up against anything? Why not just worry about doing the best for RL and those that want to get involved without planning to take over the world? It could be the case that they turn into a half decent RL nation. ...or it might not. But why hold back on helping them because other sports are also popular.

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Will be at least a decade before Serbia gets anywhere near the EU. But if they keep doing what they're doing and the RLIF/RLEF support them, they're a good country to invest in.

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Take out the partizan game and the odd european gate and attendances often are below 10k. But I take your point. Still, 16,000 at 4 quid a go isn't going to pay many wages. Sounds a bit like Bradford a couple of years ago

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Take out the partizan game and the odd european gate and attendances often are below 10k. But I take your point. Still, 16,000 at 4 quid a go isn't going to pay many wages. Sounds a bit like Bradford a couple of years ago

that depends on what the average wage in Serbia is.

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