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Toby Chopra

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Everything posted by Toby Chopra

  1. Is the Wigan quarter final still guaranteed to have England playing in it (if they reach QFs) in the same way they were guaranteed to play at Anfield? I held off buying QF tickets first time round, as I can't travel north every week. Now I'm tempted, but only if England are guaranteed.
  2. Big fan of Toulouse being in Superleague, but they really should be entering the CC now they are there. I hope this is still down to some sort of COVID-related exception for 2022, and not just a choice to opt out.
  3. They've already done that: Manchester. Except then it was because they were too CLOSE to existing clubs. Too far, too close, too whatever else they can think of. I'm starting to see a pattern...
  4. Will they be playing in Coventry? The statement doesn't explicitly say so.
  5. Relative to what? The existing stsndard in L1? They'd get walloped like WWR, possibly worse.
  6. There's two ways this can work: 1/ It's a pro team, at least at the standard Ottawa started to assemble. That's going to set someone back 500k a year for the first couple of years. OSEG/TD Place were going to pick up the tab in Ottawa. I don't see anyone yet fronting that cash in Cornwall. Eric doesn't have it himself. 2/ A part-time team based in the heartland that buses itself in for "home games". Players will demand a premium for the extra travel but it's probably affordable. If they decide to try to rely on local players we'll have another West Wales on our hands. Interestingly, their statement says: ""On the pitch, Cornwall RLFC will be made up of the very best Cornish rugby talent, where that is both practical and feasible" That "practical and feasible" is doing an awful lot of work there. My bet is on a northern based team.
  7. Sorry, but you're setting them a standard that many existing clubs would fail. The Rangers would have put far more in financially than they were taking out, and they were offering to set up a club in a major English city and promote rugby league in a good stadium. That shows them as all about rugby league in my book, compared with some of the other teams in the locality. They were knocked back because some barely solvent local shell clubs were terrified of the competition. All that's happened since then is that those basket case clubs have got even weaker with nothing to show for it. If by some miracle another set of investors offers to set up L1 a team in Manchester we should bite their arm off.
  8. But presumably that was when Bradford were good, and Sky wanted to show them and locals were happy to take a passing interest, even if not regular attenders. I don't think anyone doubts that a financially solvent Bulls that could fund a team good enough to challenge for the playoffs would be an asset for SL, and one that would enhance the TV product. There are two or three other heartland teams we could substitute in here too. It's just that until those conditions are met - and in Bradford's case I truly hope we one day get there - including them won't be more attractive to Sky than we have now.
  9. Just a reminder that Hemel/Ottawa don't hold a RFL "license" - there are (currently) no such things a licenses in English RL. They are members of the RFL and subject to the rules of that club. They can't just pitch up where they want and start a team, the rest of the RFL membership will determine whether what they propose is acceptable. On past experience, anything that intrudes on exisiting catchments (however poorly exploited) will be blocked. Indeed, even Nottingham feels too close to the heartland player pool to be acceptable to some of the existing clubs. We'll have to see whether they can generate the votes needed to find a good spot.
  10. In the UK, the only way the identity of a new club affects ratings is whether that new club has the ability - quickly - to become competitive with the top 8, or just becomes another yoyo club that loses more games than it wins. If the latter, it very quickly becomes a drag on the product, and its appeal to TV. Geographical location has *some* impact on this, but only in the sense that it may provide some opportunity to generate strong matchday revenues to fund a competitive team. Either by effectively tapping a new, big market (say Toronto), or reviving a dormant fanbase (maybe Bradford or Fev). But tbh those factors are usually more complex than people make out, and success will depend on whether the club has substantial funding to embark on a multi year plan. You only have to look at the Dolphins bid to see that - they're absolutely loaded and can fund themselves at competitiveNRL level for 5 years while taking very little out. This was clearly the winning factor for the NRL.
  11. Agreed. I always think it comes across well on TV, especially floodlit games. A lively bouncing crowd, right on top of the players. Which is largely down to the fact that over the last few years its been host to an attractive brand of winning rugby. No-one who enjoys that on TV cares that it's a dump in person.
  12. "pouring money" is hyperbolic. Rugby league players are the worst rewarded of the mainstream full time sports, and if we cut it back further we won't be able to call ourselves a professional sport. Things would dissolve very quickly indeed if rugby league couldn't offer viable career pathways to aspiring players, and we're only barely doing that as it is.
  13. It's going to be a real eye-opener on how Superleague is perceived in Australia. The NRL suddenly needs another 25 NRL standard players, either directly for the Dolphins, or to replace ones they nab. As much as we don't want to lose our best players, it'll be pretty disappointing if at least half a dozen UK players aren't in the mix.
  14. You can't park anywhere remotely near Spurs or Arsenal these days on a match day anyway, but the 'ends of the lines' are still outside the ULEZ so northerners who want to do the drive-park-tube thing can still do it. Real pain for Skolars though, my banged up old diesel doesn't pass, although to be fair, living south of London I've only been there twice. New Plough Lane is outside the ULEZ so OK for Broncos. Anyone know any parking that's walkable to NPL that's free on Sundays?
  15. I don't think that's quite fair. Mr Koukash himself funded a decent quality team that ultimately made 2 finals in two years, offered free entry on occasion, put bands on and tried his best to make a noise about the club. Despite all that, hardly anyone extra turned up. Some will say it was the location, others that the COVID shut down came at the worst possible time. Maybe those things made a marginal difference, but plenty of other sports clubs have overcome similar. The bigger picture is that rugby league just doesn't capture the imgaination of many people in Salford any more, if it ever did. Had they stayed at the dilapidated Willows, even remaining in SL like Wakey and Cas, the numbers would have caught up with them in the end and we'd probably be where we are now, or worse.
  16. Is it really bonkers? It's just what inevitably happens when a team goes part time. Anyone who wants to continue as a full time professional has to leave. Which means just about everyone. This was always going to happen.
  17. So is he going part time, or in fact are London going to be a hybrid team next year? If the latter, maybe there's some hope yet.
  18. February 2022 is too soon for a one-off game, given there will still be quarantine of some sort even if the Aussie borders are open. Hopefully in 2023 we can get them over here, although as many players will have just come back from the world cup (we hope), then perhaps playing in Oz next year would be fairer.
  19. Good to see the two clubs still have a working relationship, I'd figured they were heading for falling out, what with all the changes. Hope they can find a way for them both to have a niche. I snuck into the HAC to watch the match a couple of times when I worked on Bunhill Row, it was surprisingly unguarded for a military site! A good afternoon out topped off with a couple of pints in the Artillery Arms after.
  20. Totally agree. If there were more Saturday SL games I'd definitely make more trips up north. It's the only day which I can guarantee trains, and not to have to take a day off work. I did see Salford play on a Saturday about 3 years ago and then had a cracking night out in Manchester after, now that's a trip I'd love to repeat!
  21. I have nothing but respect for how Batley conduct their business and the work they've done to promote the game, but it would be an absolute travesty if any club tried to pocket the money they were given for their place in Superleague. The money is provided for teams to assemble the best squad they can and contribute to the strength of our flagship competition. If Batley, Fax or Fev receive £1.5 mln from Sky - or whatever it will be next season - they should spend ALL of it on players, minus anything they need to spend to upgrade broadcasting and media infrastructure, which are in the operational rules. I don't expect any club to overstretch themselves, but I certainly don't expect them to pocket any cash either. The simple fact of a year in SL would work wonders for any of the potential candidates as it is. And on your last point, unfortunately the underdog story will disappear very quickly if we get another season like Leigh have had, which has been a stain on the competition. The aim should be a year like London had in 2019, and there's no reason a heartland club like Batley, Fev or Fax couldn't do the same, given their average crowd will probably be higher than London managed.
  22. Is the main stand rebuild beginning this off season as was planned? I think Carter said the build would take 18 months.
  23. I think you've hit on something here. Critics have said "what's 50k to a Supergreed club to keeping L1 afloat"? Well, rather than just giving the L1 clubs the money with nothing guaranteed in return, clubs like Coventry with proven ability to develop players from scratch may well find that a bigger club will contribute in return for a player development relationship. Very common in other sports around the world.
  24. You're right that Yorks vs Lancs makes us look parochial, and it even suffers vs Aussie origin, where at least NSW and Queensland make up half the population. But East vs West won't catch on either - sport almost always needs identities that people have have real connection to. Of course, in the UK we potentially have something even better than origin - the home nations, just about the oldest sporting rivalries in the world. We should never give up on somehow trying to find a way to make that work.
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