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Bondi Cannon

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  1. I live in Auckland and have been involved in league here for 15 years, principally as a referee, but also a journalist and coach. Happy to give you any details you like. My observation is the game is on the decline here in terms of participation, particularly at senior levels - but then all team sports seem to be everywhere in the western world.
  2. OK, so I actually work as an investigative journalist and just wanted to echo what JD has said here. Some of my stories take several months to deliver; the cost of the legal advice alone would head comfortably into four figures on most of them. I work for a major news organisation and feel very lucky to have my job - my company employs around 400-odd journalists, but there's only about ten doing my kind of work because it is so costly. The prospect of a sports journalism outlet being able to run and fund such an operation is impossible, esp given most mainstream media doesn't bother any more. So I suppose I am saying give these guys a break!
  3. Some interesting names there. The South London halfbacks: Dixon McIver went on to be New Zealand's leading kickboxing promoter and is now an NRL player agent. Bhima Bhana is a Northcote stalwart and his son Dave Bhana played NRL for the Newcastle Knights and for the Warriors reserve grade.
  4. John, Joe, Tea, Iva and Peter Ropati played together twice in the same Mangere East team in 1991. A sixth brother, Romi, played rugby union.
  5. there has been a very significant decline in Pakeha playing numbers here in the past 20 years and the issue with that is it has increasingly restricted league demographically - if Auckland is - roughly - 15% Pasifika and 20% Maori, and that's where you draw your players from, your potential playing base is quite small (let alone the issue of trying to appeal to the 15% and growing Asian population from Korea, China, India and the Phillipines). There's multiple sociological reasons behind it - league has retrenched a bit to suburbs which have high Pasifika/Maori populations, the issue of getting league played in high schools, middle-class parents reluctance to let their kids play contact sports, and an image problem of league as a working-class sport all play a part, then there is the very real issue of the significant size differential between Pakeha and Pasifika children and their rates of physical development. Most Pakeha players in Auckland, anecdotally, seem to be kids from very strong league families - like Eiden Ackland, or Bluey McClennan's son Regan, who is the halfback for Hibiscus Coast.
  6. Eiden Ackland is John's son, Geoff's nephew. Was with the Warriors lower grade, then played Fox for Mt Albert this year (his dad was the coach).
  7. I live in Auckland. I'd agree with gnidir that league is on the decline here to some extent, but so is rugby. Playing numbers here at a senior level have dropped hugely in the past ten years, but so have rugby's... what you'd see in Auckland is almost the northern England effect where the sport is say big in Wigan, but not Bolton. So parts of south and west Auckland, it is undoubtedly the biggest sport, but on the shore and the city, not so. The Warriors give league huge visibility, and media coverage, so everyone is aware/has a passing interest,but whether that translates into it being their no1 sport... The Fox still has some quality players but as gnidir said, it is shamefully played on park fields: the facilities at clubs here rank way behind NCL clubs ijn the UK. One area of NZ where league is definitely no1 is the working-class northern Waikato towns: Huntly and Ngaruawahia. This is thanks to a particularly strong Maori, marae-based league support.
  8. For years there was a problem around NZRLs use of LeagueNet which meant numbers weren’t properly collated and so wildly varied year to year. I’d say whatever they are now would be very reliable but you couldn’t say that about the numbers from a decade ago.
  9. Hello Ray. Didn’t run through every district but sure, Canterbury is still strong and Northland seems to be growing; Waikato and Bay of Plenty are doing okay. Wellington is an absolute shadow of what it was. The Aoraki comp is a four team four week comp post rugby union season - it’s good to see a new area involved but it’s only small so far. I’m not trying to say it’s all doom and gloom as there are still plenty of very talented kids out there but the game is weaker than it was five years ago and lacks strong leadership and direction.
  10. This is a myth from Peters, or at the least very selective reporting. The reality is that playing numbers in Auckland for the 15 plus grades have dropped off a cliff in the past 5 years. Last year Auckland ran no under 18 grade. The restricted weight grade which had 10/15 teams a decade ago and six last year has gone. Senior A, which is lower grades, was down to 12 or so teams this year from 30 five years ago. Essentially now in Auckland there are about 45 men’s teams. Seems a lot but the entire NZ game is founded on it as elsewhere it’s very thin - no comp now on the west coast, three teams in Tasman, four each in Otago and Southland, nothing in Hawkes bay, six in Taranaki-manawatu. We’re much further from a second nrl franchise than five or ten years ago
  11. From personal experience and that of several friends, 100% what the previous poster, a man who knows his onions, has said.
  12. played and refereed the game in UK, Australia, NZ but also Germany, Ireland, the USA (sent off the-then captain of the USA, much to his outrage), Russia. The Russians were quite uncompromising and the field was covered in some sort of weird fluff like the seeds off a dandelion pod.
  13. Martin Dean, I think if it is the same guy, refereed for some years in the London Society, now the Southern Referees Society. You could contact Alan Smith or Allan Steven down there and I reckon they could find him for you. Or try an old Barla handbook ie about 8-10 yrs ago which listed referees contact details.
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