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Pride & Heritage

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  1. The only criticism I have for the officials in the barrow game, is for failing to penalise Miloudi prior to Worthington retaliating. If they had managed the situation, and penalised Miloudi for the high shot, headbutt or the choke hold on the floor, would Worthington have reacted like he did? Probably not. The biggest criticism should go to the disciplinary panel. Miloudi has form for this sort of behaviour and for feigning injury, so why did he only get a one match ban? My understanding is, the disciplinary panel takes previous misdemeanours into account when sentencing, yet not in this case.
  2. I really enjoyed that one, a very proud Bulldog tonight. Huge thanks to Piggy's Mate for the lift up, it's really appreciated. I still haven't managed to wipe the smile off my face throughout the trip back to Wales. There's not many better feelings than driving back after watching the lads do a number on a much fancied, full time opposition on their own backyard. Well done lads!
  3. Personally I would put the cash to use in either narrowing the gaps between the SL and the CH's divisions, allowing a smooth transition for P&R between all clubs. Or I would make a serious push and try to get the game played and recognised in as many schools as possible. I maybe wrong, but the best chance to expand the game IMO is from a position of strength within the heartlands of the game. Then gradually expand the game once we have our house in order with 20-30 strong self-sustained and well supported clubs.
  4. Sadly Acroman, if we all take that attitude we are playing in to the RFL's hands in killing the game off below SL, as all of the clubs outside of SL will go to the wall. Maybe they will anyway, but I fear it will be the begining of the end for the whole game if it happens. I too disagree with the Toulouse inclusion, I simply cannot see what they are doing for the game over here. The same goes for Catalan for that matter, they bring nothing to the sport, no fans, too many 2nd or 3rd rate Aussies, and they are taking money out of the game on travelling and hotel expenses every week either by them coming here, or by teams from this country playing them in France. It is money that could be better spent on trying to strengthen the game in this country IMO.
  5. Maybe the solution is to introduce a national junior competition though schools to ensure that all or certainly most kids grow up playing or at least have a good exposure to the game, perhaps we need to add imputous to the existing schemes. I'm sure that is why Union is so strong, even in the area I grew up Union was the only code of rugby we played at school. I think it might bring the gates at the big clubs down a little in the short term, but it should be balanced out by the increase in travelling away support as we would be guaranteeing more close games, which should result in cutting some of the apathy where fans of the big clubs do not see the point in paying to watch their team win easily in games against the bottom clubs. Fartown is a good case in point, I watched them against Batley for years in the lower divisions with gates no better than Batley's at the time. They are a classic example of how a dead and buried team with no ground and very little support can become a major force in the game. Continued success and competitiveness on the field over the last few years has seen their gates and standing in the game increase to now make them a major club again. For the game to significantly grow over the next few years, and really take off, and to help it get closer to the elusive national sport status it wants to be. I would like to see the same growth achieved at Fartown at clubs like Salford, Wakefield and all of the other clubs that are struggling at the moment. The only way clubs can do this is through money at the moment. A sugar daddy is one avenue to success for them, but it can also lead to disaster in many cases, like at Oldham, Doncaster and more recently at Blackpool. By lowering the cap however, it would reduce the need for a sugar daddy at most clubs to make them competitive, it would ensure the future of the clubs and the game by maintaining a level of spending on players that would be sustainable, and in the future they would hopefully become self funding and profitable entities. Getting the big clubs to agree is a different matter though. It could be achieved by a totally independent RFL who had the best interests of the whole game as its objective, but at this point in time I am not convinced that it is capable of being independent from the influence of the big teams and acting for the games best interests.
  6. It is an excellent point and I do agree that it would be almost impossible to drop a Batley, Hunslet or Dewsbury for example in to the SL at the moment for the examples you rightly point out. It could also be said for the likes of Leigh and Widnes to a degree too, with Wigan, Saints and Warrington who are all in close proximity to them too. At the inception of SL I thought the best thing for the game would be for the traditional clubs to stay as they were playing in the winter. Then have the SL franchises playing in the summer. Emotion should have been totally taken out of the equation and the best thing logically for game would've been to franchise SL teams to large areas across the country and remove all of the historical clubs of the past and put a franchise in all of the big cities, like Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Hull, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leicester, Nottingham, Cumbria and London for example would be best candidates IMO, making the game truely national and not just seen around the M62. However, as has been proven in London and Sheffield who both in theory should attract huge gates every week, neither have managed it though, and both have historically struggled to attract fans and in reality you'd have to say catchment area does not/has not guaranteed large attendances, so why would it work in say Birmingham or Newcastle? However, I would love to know what promotion the RFL has done in the likes of Sheffield and London to attract fans and help to grow the game, at a guess I'd say not much, particularly in Sheffield. 100% agree mate, but that is why I think the salary cap is too high at the moment and needs to be set to a level that can be maxed by all of the competing teams. If the SC was able to be maxed out and afforded by all of the clubs in the SL, then we would see the spread of talent I am advocating. The likes of Richie Myler would still be at Salford for example as they would have as much cash to spend on the squad as Warington who bought him. Or if Warrington did buy him then someone like Monaghan would 've had to have been released to make room under the cap. We would then see a spread of all of the top stars playing the game and top players would be seen at the likes of Salford and Wakey for example, making them a better proposition to fans and help them to be more competitive on the field. At a guess I'd say maybe 4 clubs at the current time are in a position to spend the allowed
  7. I'm only going from first hand experience at Batley, I obviously cannot speak for fans at the Bulls etc. but most of the fans we lost after we were denied promotion to SL have been watching the likes of Bradford, Wakefield and Leeds ever since, it would be logical to assume that the new fans gained at a club doing well would not be entirely new/first time viewers to the game either. Sorry about given example, I have to agree I over simplified it and my figures are based upon all home fans travelling away too. Obviously only a percentage of home fans will travel away too, The point I was making should have read as:- A bigger percentage of fans would be more likely to travel to away matches if the game was likely to produce a close unpredictable result. The one sided games between the top and bottom clubs are where the revenue is needed most by the game to help reduce the chasm between top and bottom. For instance you will take perhaps 6000 fans to a game against Leeds, where as you may only take 3000 to a game at Salford. It would be better for the game if you took 6000 to Salford who really need the revenue to help in being competitive. The only way of doing that is to make all games close and as attractive to fans as possible. That is why the gulf between the divisions needs to be narrowed, it would ensure the survival of clubs that drop out of the top flight as well as the smaller clubs hoping to come up in the future. Surely the financial meltdown by teams dropping down cannot be seen as a good thing. I 100% agree about the SC transparency, and in it's current state I also agree that it isn't working, and it should be made completely transparent IMO too. Surely it would make the RFL's job easier in policing the SC if it was transparent? Barrow amongst others have had a lot of specualtion regarding their spending on players this year and have they/not broken the cap, it is also important the rules of the SC have to be tightened up and existing hoop holes need to be tightened up or removed. I'm also sure you right in saying the SC was not designed to spread talent across the game, but it does give the game the easiest and fairest way of governing the spread of talent amongst all of the teams. However I do think you have some excellent ideas, particularly the "sugar daddy" limit and profit publishing. The problem is though it wouldn't help the clubs at the bottom in getting nearer to the teams at the top. On overseas players, perhaps reducing the quota to just 1 overseas player per team could help in spreading the talent. However a draft system as you mention seems like an excellent idea, but difficult under current E.U legislation to be allowed. A quota reduction however would also help to develop home grown young talent and overcome the reliance of key players in most SL clubs (centres and half backs for example). In the past, prior to the Bosman ruling, small clubs relied to a degree on fostering and nurturing young talent which ensured there long term survival. The transfer fees involved when those lads made the step up to the big time, kept small clubs afloat, it allowed them to "buy in" future talent to replace the lads they had lost. Since that revenue flow has now gone, smaller teams can no longer replace the lost talent, and as most young lads are signed by the big clubs on good contracts in some cases from an early age these days. The loss of that revenue stream has also taken the glimmer of hope and main route for the small clubs to ever get to the top. That lost income of the past also helped to lower and manage the gulf between the top and bottom clubs. Due to this change in all sports, the game has to find a new way to overcome this issue and to ensure the survival of the smaller clubs and ultimately the survival of the game in general. Controlling the spending of all clubs by way of the SC on players seems to be the fairest and most logical solution to overcome this issue, and to spread the talent around and keeping the game competitive. It should also stop the laughing stock instances that have graced our game like Runcorn and Doncaster before them. There are problems with it though. This system could be used to prop up totally unsustainable clubs, e.g. Harlequins, Blackpool etc., but that is something for the governing body to decide on an individual basis; they would have to rule on what is in the best interests of the game's long term future. However, with the control and influence placed upon the RFL by the big clubs intent on feathering there own nests at the current time, I would doubt that a balanced or unbiased decision could be made on what is truely right for the game by the RFL.
  8. It is impossible to say for sure, HKR would be the last to successfully make the leap. But if you are asking who would be the last club that could possibly make it at the top level, then it totally depends upon who is winning at the time or who is in with a good chance of winning something. People will not watch a losing side. At the moment a winning team is bought, so it is largely down to available money to spend on the team. For instance if a Des Johnson or Roman Abramovich (sp?) esque character with pots of cash came in with a big enough budget to any club, every club could and would make the journey and would be successful, with enough financial backing. I think it is a case of both, but the majority though will still watch the game "live" elsewhere. Some of the 14000 Bradford fans of the year 2000 are without doubt now supporting the Rhinos, Giants or whoever is doing well at the moment. The big clubs will continue to be generally bigger than the smaller ones for a few years, until the balance is addressed, and the trophy's are won by different teams on a regular basis. Generally new fans are introduced to the game by parents and friends etc. who are current fans of the game. The more fans you have, the more opportunity you have to increase gates through things like word of mouth and having kids who go with their parents etc. who eventually become your "hardcore" support that will continue to support the team through thick and thin. I think the gates of the big few would invariably decline slightly, but not massively, as they have built up a big "hardcore" and those "lost" fair weather fans from the big few would be found watching the team that is winning/doing well at the time, certainly not gone from the game entirely.
  9. I am talking about a long term plan for growing the sport. I do agree, short term we will lose some of the top talent, but we are doing that to some degree anyway, in Burgess, Ellis etc who are in Australia. We would also lose the majority of the 2nd rate journey men Aussies that are in our game too who are only here for the pay packet. That would give our home grown youth development a better chance to succeed. So although we are "dumbing down" as you put it initially, long term though the game will benefit and become sustainable with all clubs working profitably. It is the only way all professional sport will survive in the country eventually, look at Man U,
  10. Yes, salaries have to be sustainable for everyone in the division. We also need to close the SC gap between the top and bottom divisions so that promotion and relegation is not such a big gulf. Therefore not a big issue no matter which division you are in. That would bring back the magic of the challenge cup too. Whatever is sustainable by the lowest of the 14 clubs included in SL, for the time being, we need to keep the division competitive. I can see the arguments for increasing the cap but it is a road that only leads to elitism, with only 2 or 3 clubs with the most money for players ever in the hunt for ewinning trophy's. At least if all clubs have the same chance to sign big name players everyone should be in with a shout. I think you are right, but people do travel to watch sport these days, take Man U or Liverpool for example? Most of there fans are not from the city's they support. Do you think it is right to have the clubs running the game? In the current position the game is in, could you imagine say Leeds getting the treatment of Melbourne for the same offence? It would only happen where the game is run independently of the clubs, and the fairest way of doing things for the overall good of the game.
  11. That is kind of my point Shrek, we need to get the smaller clubs up by investing in them, to get them to a state where the gap between all of the divisions in minimal. That will mean taking Sky money etc. off the SL teams and investing it in the smaller clubs, which won't happen because the SL clubs have 2 votes to 1. But that is the best future for the sport IMO. We also need everyone in each division to have the same budget as each other. That would mean cutting the salary cap in SL to say
  12. So Celtic got in to SL based on facilities at The Brewery Field, infrastructure and youth talent, or set up as you call it? The inter divisional games have all become a joke other than the Barrow v Cas cup game, the others were settled by upwards of 40 points in the main between each of the 3 divisions, that is hardly competitive is it? Brewery Field was a far worse ground than any I have ever visited in 30 years of watching rugby; McLaren Field, Bramley, even the current Barrow ground were like Wembley compared to that. But that was o.k. for them to get in. How many young players has Nobby played this year from the junior ranks of Celtic that was deemed good enough for them in their franchise application to SL? Not even mentioning the infrastructure that was so solid that the club moved 150 miles north in search of fans. They went bust and were bought out by a new company just like the reasons given to Widnes when there application was rejected, but were Crusaders/Celtic kicked out of the league or deducted points? No, they got to carry on regardless without punishment. How other than location can Celtic's application be deemed any better than either Leigh's, Widnes' or even Halifax's? When you look at fans, ground etc. It is also things like that that make our game look a joke to the rest of sporting world, and why we struggle to get fans interested and national press coverage. I could go further and mention the expansion plans and relegation fiasco of Leigh and Gateshead last year too. We know at Batley, as most of other Championship clubs do, that we will never get in to SL under the current regime. We earned the right, met the criteria as it was, as did Keighley in the same season only for the rules to be changed after the season had ended to stop us getting in. Hence, we know the dream of playing top flight rugby has gone along with upwards of half of our support, who then went to watch the Bulls, Rhino's and Huddersfield who were aloud to chase the dream to become the best, and none of whom have been seen again at the mount. In regard to Sh!t or bust promotion campaigns, surely that is what the salary cap is for? To ensure that there can no longer be a sh!t or bust approach. I thought it was designed to make sure clubs could not overspend on players and therefore down to sensible investment and infrastructure of the club to ensure they are the best in the league?
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