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Toby Chopra

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Everything posted by Toby Chopra

  1. Salford just about weathered the storm, and then cut out the mistakes. Then they could show what they had, and they look dangerous. They'll believe they can do this, but they can't afford to gift saints all that territory again, error free football needed in the second half.
  2. I know we've been around this block a load of times but... the problem isn't that they aren't backing GB long term, but that it was brought back at all. For a whole load of structural reasons, England will be the main rugby league identity for the RFL for the foreseeable future. Therefore it makes sense for them to develop it as much as they can, particularly ahead of the world cup, which is such a defining moment for our game. They barely have the resources to promote one identity, let alone two, so it's no surprise GB will be a flash in the pan. But we are where we are, and I'll still enjoy the games, and I do like the merch.
  3. Head = Saints Heart = Salford I said the same before the Wigan Salford semi and heart came out on top then, so here's hoping history repeats itself. Nothing against Saints, I think Holbrook has brought so much to Superleague over the last 2 1/2 years. His team have set a professional standard that has forced the others to keep up, with an attractive style of play to boot. In some ways it would be a travesty for him to depart without winning any (proper) silverware. But this Salford team is a special story that'll long be remembered if they go all the way. With the impending departures it's now or never, and I hope they get it done on Saturday night. Can't wait.
  4. Fantastic performance by Fev, they were switched on right from the off and played to their limit. For a few minutes in the second half, they glimpsed the promised land. Ryan Carr is a hell of a coach and I hope we can keep him in the British game. For Toronto, well, pressure does funny things, and I did wonder whether they were going to blow it again with all the errors, but once the dam broke, they relaxed and took it home. So this weird and wild ride is still going, who knows how far it will go and when/if it will end. Whatever happens, time for Elstone to stop being such a grumpypants and show some excitement about the Wolfpack and make the most of the publicity boost of their arrival next year. I suspect they've got some big names up their sleeve.
  5. I don't have a problem with Hastings and the others qualifying through the heritage rule, it's pretty standard across global sports now so I don't see why we should be any different. It also reflects a more pluralistic view of identity and nation that fits the modern day. If he commits, then he should be welcome. I do, however, think that if he does commit, that should lock in his tier one choice, and the same for Coote in a slightly different way. It has been suggested that GB won't count in the same way as being capped for England would. Is that still the case?
  6. They look like good appointments to me, a range of experience from outside the bubble is definitely welcome, as it's our inability to adapt to the modern sports business - while retaining the good bits like last night - that holds the sport back. That said, is the RFL really the organisation that matters? The RFL doesn't really have the remit or the independent resources that its peers like the FA, ECB or RFU do - it's basically a members club, not a proper governing body like those others. Now that Superleague has struck out on their own, that's the organisation that really needs to be equipped for the modern world. Like it or not, the future of the sport in this country is entirely dependent on the success or otherwise of Superleague. Does SL have the skills and experience that it needs to be the driving force of the sport? I must confess I don't know its governance structure. There's Elstone, and the 12 (11?) chairmen. Are there any non execs from outside the sport? Will it call on the skills of the new RFL board? We effectively have two governing bodies, neither that well equipped to take the sport forward. I supported the SL split, largely because I felt the RFL was not fit for purpose for many of its roles, particularly running the flagship competition at such a defining moment. But if this is a sign that the RFL is finally modernising itself and skilling up, maybe that would eventually entice the SL back into the fold The reality we're just too small a sport to be able to afford - monetarily and otherwise - to be duplicating and competing with ourselves.
  7. Fortunatley, most people these days don't define community and identity through an ethnic purity test, so I think they'll be fine.
  8. Fantastic for Salford, fantastic for British rugby league. And those fans and the players at the end, what scenes, so happy for them. We need to send those pictures far and wide. You can't buy that sort of emotional connection to sport.
  9. The Wolfpack aren't the "lead body" for rugby league in Canada, they are a professional sports club, who contribute to our system by providing full time, well paid (for rugby league) playing opportunities for mostly British players, entirely using resources they have generated themselves, taking not a penny from the existing pot. In the 21st century, this is a crucial part of the player development system. Without such opportunities to aspire to, players won't be making the commitment to devote themselves to the sport from their teens, and the game will wither. It won't matter who's devoping them in their early years as the flow will dry up. They certainly won't be flocking to play for the mostly penniless clubs that populate the British game, inclding those that tried to blackmail their own players into taking pay cuts or face the whole club being shut down. Given these options, no wonder we are struggling to attract young people to commit to the sport. They will be lost, and so eventually will the British game. It's not like the old days any more, players don't play rugby along side their actual job, in their home town. In an ever more competitive and internationalised market, sports have to provide serious career opportunities to prospective players, as well as giving them a structure to develop in. Only a hand full of our clubs provide both of these aspects, some provide one - either early career development or well paid jobs. Most of our clubs provide neither and frankly are professional in name only. It's fair to examine what clubs put in and take out of a sport as a whole, but any examination of the Wolfpack will show they are well in credit. Attempts to single them out over player development is either based on a complete lack of knowledge of how modern sport works, or a wilful attempt to mislead.
  10. Why not? It's not like it's going to be enforced on every rugby match, just those where the players are specifically opting in to this format. If a weigh-in before the game is the price to pay for making the format work for those that want to take part, so be it. Clubs should be doing a registration check before the game anyway, so there's already pre-game checks happening. Rowing does it without any problems.
  11. To be fair, it was actually my rabidly union-supporting boss who said it to me, while waffing on about how good his game is, as he so often does. But as the words came out of his mouth, his face started to sink as he realised he'd unintentionally stumbled across why league is a much better game after all! Deep down, they know...
  12. What a bitter little post. Toronto Wolfpack have built a fanbase of thousands of fans from nothing, arranged television coverage of dozens of their games, both home and abroad, so English fans can see their clubs play, and generated more column inches in 3 years than most clubs do in 30. Except for when they're going bust. And yet "others are doing all the work for them" and they should fcuk off? Just desperate.
  13. Why? No one's saying it'll be a pro spectator sport, but it's true that both codes of pro rugby have become dominated by giants in recent years and the games at the lower levels are being dragged along by that. Given we bemoan on here regularly the decline of the amateur game, why wouldn't we look at ways to widen the pool of players that could participate? I know from playing union and American football in my teens and 20s that it's nothing to do with bravery, it's just that in sports built around collisions, the smaller player is at a disadvantage and is just easier to knock over. I was one of those. It just gets boring and good teams will target it. Sure, some smaller players carve a niche, or are exceptional talents, but most of us aren't. We just want to play rugby - and not touch/tag which has its place, but is not the same thing.
  14. I think the shot clocks made a huge difference this season to keep the game flowing, which on balance was a very good thing. But I also agree with others that if we do more things to "speed the game up" we may actually do more harm than good as things would become more frantic and improvised, rather than focused execution. So I think we need to keep scrums as they give players a moment to take a breath and reset lines, which is good for the contest. The shot clock will stop them dragging on. Absolutely not to line outs or contested scrums or rucks. League is ultimately a contest of execution, while union is a continuous contest for possession, which is why league is better in my view. Two refs enforcing offside and a proper play the ball would probably clean things up and force teams to be more organised - a good thing. A slightly slower ruck but defence at proper 10m would change the onus of attacks, for the good I think. Unfortunately we just are nowhere near the strength in depth of refs, so this change would cost money. One for another day. Basically, I think the game rules are largely good as they are, we just need to look at things that enable players to perform better, and more consistently well. That's the difference I see with the NRL.
  15. Fev are clearly a well run club that make the most of the player and fan bases in their area. So realistically, what sort of crowds do you think they could attract in Superleague? Could they get as high as 5k? Can they draw from beyond the town? Anything less, and the risk is the club ends up being overstretched and put at risk, when they've been a well run ship for years.
  16. If Toronto, or Cats for that matter, don't supply broadcasts of their home games, then their respective projects are over. Sky has no incentive to arrange broadcast of their games, as it adds nothing to their subscriber base. The sport won't be able to afford to carry them, even Cats, I fear. Fortunately, I think Cats games are likely to remain, SL are just trying to screw a few more quid out of them. An unnecessary risk in my view if it threatens a complete blackout, but hopefully resolved soon. TW I worry about. The club can't fund their own coverage indefinitely, they need a local broadcaster to come in and at least pick up production costs like BeiN did. The fact that TW dropped coverage for their last few regular season games without anyone seeming to miss it was concerning. The club's done well to establish a spectator base with their fun, easily accessible gamedays. But the local TV audience still seems negligible, and the club will live or die on that point.
  17. I've enjoyed it too, not every game can be one for the ages, and I agree Wigan and Cas have shown some positive signs. But it's not been great rugby and in other years I don't think they'd have had enough. But sometimes you have to make the most of what you've got, and they can say they've done that.
  18. It's the depth of quality that's the difference, and you can see the difference visibly just watching both leagues' finals series. Any of the top 4 in the NRL would be worthy winners, whereas Wire have been poor for weeks.
  19. I wish it was that, but I have to agree more with Bod's interpretation. Certainly from watching all the TV games, Hull, Wire, and Cats just put in some poor performances over the last couple of months of the season, and Wigan and Cas were average. They ended up where they did becasue others fell away badly, not because good teams were beaten by even better ones, and the game quality reflected that sadly. The only exception to that in my eyes was Salford, who, although not perfect, clawed their way up to third with some quality rugby.
  20. Thing is, apart from number 5, all of those are legitimate reasons for a person not to attend a game, and most of which apply to other sports as well who largely do better at overcoming them. Rather than blaming the customer for not buying the product (not saying you are) we need to specifically focus on how we can resolve these objections. Some are more difficult than others, and some solutions make others issues harder to solve. But that's our task. Be resolutely customer focused, not admin focused.
  21. But the whole point of the competition IS to leave it, and indeed if you read on here, it's the supporters of the championship clubs who are most vociferous about this. When people like me suggest automatic promotion might not be the best system and a self-contained regional semi-pro comp in its own right might be better, we are howled down immediately. They can't have it both ways. On the wider point. I always felt that the MPG sounded cheap, but I have to say, from where I sit a long way from the heartlands, it did seem to attract a smidgeon of notice from people who frankly don't even know the rest of the championship exists. It's a branding that, despite my misgivings, does seem to have made a connection, albeit small. So I can see why they've stuck with it, which is a very un-rugby league thing to do!
  22. However that does bring a financial benefit. Without the 14 French games that Sky gets from "swapping" coverage, it won't pay as much for the main contract. Which means SL loses out. As long as French and Canadian teams can contribute broadcast quality games into the pool, they more than pay for their place in SL.
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