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Toby Chopra

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Toby Chopra last won the day on October 2 2019

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  1. The problem isn't frequency as such. London could easily sustain a game a year in a major stadium, but only if it's a "big" game: that means Australia, New Zealand or a World Cup. And in fact every year in which we've hosted one of those in the last decade (apart from 2018) we've had a London game with a good crowd. The problem is we need to create more big international matches to fill the off years. We can't feasibly host the big two or a world cup more often and a European championship just isn't high enough standard to do it in the London market, where you have to go big or not bother. (Playing Wales at Brentford for instance isn't going to do it.) So there's no easy solutions, especially now the Pacific nations are committed to the Oceania Cup in the end-of-year international window.
  2. Spot on. I actually jumped up and ran around the room to the hilarity of my family when Welsby appeared to have scored. Not because I support Saints or even particularly wanted them to win, but because the tension and intensity of the preceeding two hours was such that I just couldn't help it when something so unexpectedly sublime happenned. It was a visceral response.
  3. I've watched an enormous amount of big sporting occasions over the years - pretty much all of them it feels like - and that will be one of those that stays with you forever. Gripping game, astonishing finish, and then almost overwhelming emotion from players, coaches and even commentators afterwards. After the year from hell, it meant more than anyone realised. Rugby league, we scrub up well when we want to.
  4. The biggest issue won't be habit or covid, it will be money. Jobs and wages are going to take quite a hit next year, even if the direct covid effect is reduced, so that will inevitably hit some people's ability to attend. To what extent, and whether it will be worse/better than other sports, I don't know.
  5. I agree with much of that in principle, I suppose the issue is that we can't look at any of the factors in isolation, we have to see if its possible to address them all at the same time. That is: quality, repetition, player salaries, attendances, viewing figures, subscriptions etc. Each one has an effect on the other, and over time. For instance in your example about HKR-Leeds is the issue repetition, or the mismatch in quality? If the first game was a high quality nailbiter, fans might well turn up for a second installment. So you're right that SL hasn't indicated in the past that it's taken a strategic approach to things. Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but recent comments from Elstone suggest that the SL executive is looking at the big picture, and how to employ "transformative capital" as he calls it to drive through a fundamental change. It seems, however, that not all the clubs are on board, and some want to go it alone with their own business plans. In my view a club by club approach is always destined to fail.
  6. What else is there that will at least make up the difference in lost revenue from offering season tickets with 3 fewer games, and three fewer corporate nights? It's unrealistic to think that every season ticket holder would happily pay the same for fewer games, or that corporates would pay more per event, and stuff like 9s, or home internationals, just won't cut it, however much we wish they would. We will only move on from loop games when we can attract additional external income into the sport to enable us to expand to 14 teams without spreading the pot more thinly. For me, that means taking the PE gamble.
  7. That's a total of 35 rounds of fixtures in 31 weeks. That's doable, especially if we schedule league games on the CC semi and final weekends, with only the teams involved bumped to midweek. Four rounds of midweek fixtures max.
  8. SL expansion comes in many shapes and forms: for instance numbers rather than locations. It could easily be adding Bradford and Newcastle rather than Toronto and Toulouse. But neither of those scenarios is possible without more money into the game. If you listen to the interview, I was just struck how bullish Elstone was about PE and what it could achieve. He clearly alluded to the roadblock being one or two holdouts among the owners (Hetherington?) For him, securing a PE investment is probably his legacy, given the TV deal is unlikely to grow. And I tend to think it probably is the only option left to try to avert the pattern managed decline we seem to be in.
  9. In Elstone's interview with Dave Woods last week he confirmed there would be p&r next year. I maintain my position that the smart move is to stay in the championship this year and seek to get promoted on am orderly fashion, rather than be bounced up and almost certainly come straight back down. The only way that might change is if some PE investment comes in - which Elstone seems very enthusiastic about - which funds an expansion. He said it wouldn't go toward paying of debts. That might mean we get promotion, but not relegation next year.
  10. I hope whatever the final financial figures, more games will be filmed and broadcast to network standard, either as part of the main package or some sort of Gamepass style extra subscription service. In this day and age inventory for broadcasters/vod is important and we're not making the most of what we have.
  11. Yep, the deal for the Championship, Challenge Cup and Internationals is still to come. And although I doubt the combined total will match the last deal, we're certainly not in disaster territory. The game is secure for another stretch. The fact that the top SL clubs have kept signing players on longer term contracts was a sign that the deal was going to be OK, given they must have had an inkling what the level was likely to be. The biggest concerns for me would be an even bigger disparity between top and bottom of SL if the TV distribution falls a bit, which has an impact on the quality of the competition, and whether all Championship clubs will competently manage a transition to lower TV distribution. They should be able to relatively easily, as they have very few players on long term, full time deals, but some will no doubt overstretch.
  12. And the G Burgess high shot on the 5th tackle gave with just 60 seconds left gave them an extra life. Unbearable. I was with a Kiwi and two Scotsmen, and even though they had started the day for NZ, the Scots were as devastated as I was at the end. Second most miserable journey home from Wembley I've ever had, only beaten by trying to get home after the Euro 96 semi defeat when many of our "fans" decided to smash the place up on the way through.
  13. Any SL bid that relies on volunteers - including from another sport - to fix up the stadium should be dead in the water.
  14. It's not that the raw material is inferior - why would it be? It's just that the English development pathway and ability to earn a living is clearly inferior to the Australian one. If you get spotted, you'd be mad not to go.
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