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ghost crayfish

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  1. It is an interesting read that highlights the legitimate challenges, but there's also a few "we could have handled that better" type situations too. The fact they didn't legally push George Williams to come back isn't a great look, particularly given they go on to explain all the salary cap benefits they'd get with him! Time and again, they're showing people can walk all over them as they don't enforce contracts. Similar theme came through in how he talked about situations with the soccer club. Just a bit of resignation, weakness, and 'it's all a bit hard'.
  2. I think it's a bit of both. Vlandys very clearly has the news corp press in his pocket. They're like his own PR firm, and they are in control of much of the agenda setting in the coverage. Then we also have club-affiliated media figures at channel 9, like Phil Gould and Darren Lockyer. They all have vested interests in burying it. Beyond that though, the media treatment of the issue also probably is an extension of the unfortunate general apathy for test football here.
  3. As long as players are willing to do it, the tournament needs to go ahead without Australia and NZ. This is a big moment for international RL. The players have the chance to expose the administration for what they are by playing, sacrificing two weeks of leave to turn up to training earlier and making the tournament a success. Tonga beat Australia last start and beat NZ at the last world cup. Fiji knocked NZ out of the last world cup. Samoa has a potentially world class side. The tournament can still be a good one and it can show arrogant Sydney administrators that the game is bigger than them.
  4. A generally overlooked part of Australian apathy towards international rugby league is its timing: a lot of people simply stop watching rugby league after the grand final. Even last year's state of origin TV ratings dipped considerably. That is added to other factors like poor organisation, lack of consistent competitiveness over what is now generations and the fact clubs are so hostile to it (because unlike origin, it doesn't make them money). Here's hoping the world cup is a massive success and beyond that, a proper well organised international schedule is set in stone. Personally, I think a single standalone international weekend after the origin series is essential. Suddenly the origin series becomes a high profile, six week ad for test football, as players compete for test selection. Then that test weekend becomes a high profile ad for the post season tests to follow.
  5. I think there's been a mishap... Story published through the regionals probably too early. They're syndicated and all run the same stuff, aside from local news. I'd say a media management foul up and there's still room for the story to change.
  6. The clubs pressure players into having their off season surgery or rest instead of playing tests every year. I'd expect that will intensify this year, as will legitimate reasons players don't want to travel. But if it was going to be on a mass scale, surely that would've come out and the tournament would be cancelled. So safe to expect withdrawals, but if we want a world cup, that's just the way it will have to be.
  7. Withdrawals are inevitable, as they are for most end of year internationals. I wouldn't call it a catastrophe.
  8. It is hidden behind a pay wall, but this very promising article just went up online in a News Corp regional paper I can't see the full article, but the text that appears with it in the google search has excellent news, saying: Rugby League World Cup will go ahead despite severe reservations from NRL clubs. Michael Carayannis, News Corp Australia Sports ... 33 mins ago EDIT: And their sports home page now has this: World Cup call made as NRL clubs lobby against decision A decision has been made on this year’s Rugby League World Cup in England — and NRL clubs are far from pleased with the verdict. If NRL clubs are unhappy, it MUST be good news!!
  9. Luke Thompson's first stint last night was really high quality. Strong defence, quick play the balls and good work rate.
  10. I don't think a team ever rises to the top of the ladder without it being a combination of them improving and others slipping. They've built a good squad and have had a good run with injuries. If they keep it up, some people around here might even need to concede McNamara can actually coach a little bit!
  11. Exactly. Now there's a policy announced, there's a bit more clarity and hopefully they can find a solution. I think the easy and tempting option would be to cancel - maybe I'm naive, but they fact they haven't yet suggests there is good will! Along with the practicalities of getting there/back, I think the players will have to be willing to cut their contracted 8 week leave entitlement back to 6. If they truly want to play, I would've thought that'd be an easy decision...
  12. I think a delay in the decision right now is actually good news. In Australia right now, state governments are saying hotel quarantine facilities are at capacity, the PM is threatening even stricter border restrictions than we currently have and a lot of the country is in lockdown. Right now, it's probably either no announcement or bad announcement. While the club's obviously have self-interest in this, the decision is much bigger and more complex than their concerns. For example, how do players from Fiji or PNG get there and back home? At the moment, they're looking at a month in hotel quarantine on the return leg - and what if borders become even more restrictive? Australia's IPL cricketers weren't even allowed to come straight home, for instance. I know this is frustrating and disappointing, but it is also a global health crisis and complicated political issue. And as much as may want it to be, the RLWC is not the Olympics... So fingers crossed we can still go ahead, because news of a delay in decision is much better than the headline I feared!
  13. The comparison with the NBA above is spot on. I think that's exactly how a lot of Australians see the NRL and international rugby league. It is disappointing, but true. There are a lot of different factors behind this and it didn't happen overnight, but it is where we are at as an international game now.
  14. Agree, that is a huge risk, particularly with the RLPA getting involved too...
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