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  1. We spoke with Brazil’s Hugo Fróes about the great work currently being done to get Rugby League up and running there. Tell us a bit about your country. Brazil, as everyone knows is a stunning country with a unique natural beauty, great food and friendly people. Brazilians are also passionate about sports, especially football, which dominates the television and is undoubtedly the national sport. In second, but far away from football, we have volleyball, practiced by most women in general. Also we practice basketball and individual practice sports such tennis, swimming and running which are quite disseminated. Motorsports and martial arts are very well known as well. Rugby union is the fastest growing sport in the country today, and it is his shadow, we are developing rugby league. How long has RL been played in your country? Rugby league began in the state of Espirito Santo in Brazil in 2013 if I am not mistaken, with Wander Ferraz. In São Lourenço, we started in 2014, but are still individuals and not joint practices. What are you in most need to help the game grow? I think we need refereeing courses, coaching courses, sports management applied to sport in particular. The knowledge we have about the sport is superficial. We also need to the help of rugby league’s governing bodies to help spread the game in Brazil. What are the biggest challenge that you face? It is quite complicated, we have no equipment for training or even balls. And as I said earlier, the knowledge of rugby league here is very superficial. Any support or investment, even if very little will help to lift the sport here. What is your dream scenario 10 years from now for your RL organisation? Brazil has a huge potential! We love contact sports (MMA , Boxing, Rugby Union and others) and rugby union in Brazil is very elitist and the Confederation injects money only in the southern richest states and southeast. Rugby league could cover this gap in the market. We would love to have a national league and national team and why not, Brazilian athletes playing semi- professionally and professionally abroad. That would be a huge dream, and what makes me most excited about is that we do not need so much to achieve this. Finally, I appreciate the opportunity and the support of the ERL . I also thank the friends who help us to develop the sport in Latin America. Robert Burgin of Latin Heat , Carlos Varela (Argentina Confederation of Rugby ) and Wander Ferraz of Brazil. We are organizing the first rugby tournament involving Argentina , Chile and we the St. Lawrence Rugby, representing Brazil , Argentina in November and if anyone can help , please donate to our crowdfunding . https://www.gofundme.com/BrazilRugbyLeague https://www.facebook.com/EverythingRugbyLeague/photos/pcb.1239529679445570/1239526276112577/?type=3&theater
  2. Here is our accompanying video for 5 Questions with ERL- Kenya https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NBBNbMixw0https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NBBNbMixw0
  3. 5 Questions with ERL: Daniel Vasquez Daniel Vasquez is a highly rated Cronulla Sharks junior who played Australian Schoolboys and NSW 18’s in 2015. Vasquez is a strongly built prop who played in the NYC this year. 1.Tell us a little about your background and how you became involved in Rugby League Well I've always had a love for footy, the first time I watched it on TV I fell in love with it, but it wasn't the first sport I started playing. I constantly asked my Dad if I could play ever since the age of 5 but I wasn't allowed until I was 10, so I played soccer until then. I also played basketball for a while but when footy started to get serious I had to give it up. The first RL club I played for was the St Joseph's Joeys. I stayed there until I was 12 years old but when my age group were told that they we were going to be dropped from A grade to B grade, it was time to look for a new club. I wanted to improve in my game and B grade footy wasn't going to do me any good in that regard. So myself and a close friend of mine who was in the same boat as me decided the best club to go to was The Yarrawarrah Tigers. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. We went on and won 5 consecutive grand finals. I first started playing for the Cronulla Sharks when I was 13-14 years old and have been in their system ever since. 2. You were selected in the 2015 Australian Schoolboys squad alongside players like Curtis Scott and Nathan Cleary who have since made the move to first grade, do you see yourself achieving that goal? I certainly like to think so. Curtis and Nathan are fantastic players, they have tremendous talent and a great attitude, that's why they're in the NRL. I like to believe that I have a good attitude and work ethic. I don't drink alcohol and some of my mates think I'm boring because of that reason, but if you want to make first grade, sacrifices have to be made and I'm sure Curtis and Nathan have had to make some sort of sacrifice to make the NRL. Hard work is just one of the many things that will get you to the NRL. Getting the honour to represent my country in rugby league was a surreal experience and was a reward for all the hard work I had put in leading up to selection. I'd like to think that, the same hard work and more will get me to the NRL. But it is a long and gruelling journey for some but I'm willing to put in the hard yards to fulfill my dream of playing in the NRL. 3. What are your thoughts on International Rugby League what you think can be done to improve it? I was reading an interview that you guys did with George Rose and you asked him the same question and I really agreed with what he said. Australia is arguably the most dominant team in the International competition overall. Although it's great seeing them win I don't like watching a football game when a team wins so easily. The eligibility of players need to be genuine and TV coverage and advertising in other countries could also improve the games fan base. 4. Who was your favourite player growing up and why? My favourite player growing up was Mark Gasnier. I'm a Dragons supporter, I have been since I was born thanks to my Dad. Gasnier was my favourite because he was electric on the field. He was an awesome player and could create something out of nothing. He was one of those players that made you sit on the edge of your seat every time he got the ball. 5. Where do you think NRL should expand to? Why? I think that the NRL should expand to a few European countries. I think it would really open up the fan base of the sport plus make it a bit more culturally diverse. It would raise expenditure but I think the NRL would get back what they spend and more. Thanks for speaking with us, all the best. Follow Daniel here: https://www.instagram.com/dannvass/?hl=en
  4. 5 Questions with ERL: Federazione Italiana Rugby League We spoke with Fabio DiPietro from the F.I.R.L.recently about Rugby League in Italy. 1. Tell us a bit about your country Everyone knows a little bit about Italy. Italy is in Europe, faces Mediterranean sea, and it is a beautiful country with a rich history. 2. How long has RL been played in your country? Rugby League was first played in Italy in 1949. This was thanks to Ginnastica Torino who switched from Rugby Union to Rugby League. At the beginning of 1960's there were 2 divisions and lot of clubs playing Rugby League. Then Rugby Union, with political help, caused Rugby League to collapse. In 1995, Italy started playing Rugby League again via participating in the Coca-Cola World Sevens tournament in Sydney, Australia. After several years playing in the tournament, Rugby League came back to Italy in 2002 when Italy played the Republic of Kazan and the Scotland Students side in Padova. In 2006, we started to think about our own domestic competition. In 2007 the Federazione Italiana Rugby League was created with some domestic activity and international matches. 2016 has been our largest domestic rugby League season since we started. 3. What are you in most need to help the game grow? We need full time development officers to work with schools & clubs to help raise the profile of Rugby League in Italy. We are working very hard to achieve full recognition from the Italian National Olympic Committee but this is a very difficult task. 4. What is the biggest challenge that you face? Without having Rugby League on TV, our biggest problem is making the image of Rugby League popular, and gaining passionate Rugby League fans as we are. 5. What is dream scenario 10 years from now for your RL organisation? We are talking about 2026 so our dream is to have a solid domestic championship, a solid junior championship and mini rugby league development in our local schools. We would love to have gained official government recognition and maybe have a professional Rugby League club playing in theSuper League full of Italian players. Thanks for speaking with us Fabio, all the best. Follow their progress below: Website: http://www.firl.it/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ItaliaRugbyLeague/?fref=ts Twitter: https://twitter.com/italia_rlxiii
  5. 5 Questions with ERL: Omar Slaimankhel Omar Slaimankhel currently plays for the Sydney Roosters / Wyong Roos. He has previously played for the New Zealand Warriors and the Japanese rugby union club, the Canon Eagles. Slaimankhel was born in Pakistan to Afghan refugees. When he was two years old his family moved to New Zealand. He grew up playing rugby union until he switched codes to join the New Zealand Warriors development side. 1. You played First XV Union for Auckland Grammar. Why the switch to League? Growing up in New Zealand, sports was very much apart of everyday life. I found myself to always be attracted to League, once the opportunity came up for me to try out league I took up the challenge. 2. What are your thoughts on International Rugby League and what you think can be done to improve it. Just like many other sports, there is a lot of politics involved in international RL. I think it would be a positive step to put aside politics and focus on the game and the talent of its players. 3. What has been your biggest sporting highlight/achievement to this day? There has been many moments in sports for me that I can say has been a highlight, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is my first NRL game with the Warriors against the Sharks in 2012. The Warriors were a team I always followed growing up and admired, to then be walking out on the field with them and being part of the team was a complete surreal feeling and a highlight of my sporting career to date. 4. Was it a huge change from living in Japan to living in Australia? I had never lived out of home until I left for Japan at age 21, that in itself was a huge change for me. Australia has always been like a second home to me, the transition from Japan to Australia was much easier than the one I had from New Zealand to Japan. I find Australia to be very similar to New Zealand and that made things much easier. 5. Where would you like to see the NRL expand to? I would love to see NRL become an international sport like soccer. I think it is a game that many people around the world would love once they got to know the sport. Thanks for speaking with us Omar, all the best.
  6. 5 Questions with ERL: Michael Lichaa Lichaa currently plays for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the NRL. A New South Wales City representative, he plays at hooker and previously played for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. From Wollongong, NSW, Lichaa is of Lebanese decent and played his junior rugby league for the Cronulla-Caringbah Junior Rugby League Football Club and the Yarrawarrah Tigers. 1. You were named Hooker of the year in the 2013 NYC Team. What are your thoughts on the scrapping of the U20's NYC? I loved my time on the U20's and it was great fun but I think Intrust Super Premiership NSW Cup is probably more important for players development. 2. With a Rugby League World Cup next year, are you a chance of turning out for the Lebanese Rugby League Federation? Yeah for sure I hope we get all the NRL players that are available to play and have a pretty decent side. 3. What are your thoughts on International Rugby League and what you think can be done to improve it? I think it's awesome. It will be good to see who's the best team out of NZ, England and Australia at the World Cup. 4. Who was your favourite player growing up and why? Brad Fittler for sure. He was probably the best player at the Roosters and I went for them 5. Tell us a bit about your junior days and what advice you can give the younger fans. I loved junior footy and loved playing with my mates every week. My advice would be don't give up. You might not be the best player your at 14 but if you stick at it you might be by the time your 20. Thanks for speaking with us Michael, all the best.
  7. 5 Questions with ERL: Kenya Rugby League Stuart Morris from LeagueCulture spoke with Glenn Jamieson from KRL for us recently about Rugby League in Kenya. 1) How many teams are in Kenya? We have seven teams, six are in the Rift valley four in Nakuru (main city and government of rift valley and Kenya's 3rd largest city) another from Kiti 15 mins out of Nukuru and one in Gilgil 45 mins south of Nakuru and also one in Baringo, Gilgil is looking into women's rugby league it is a large catchment area including one of the main bases for the Kenyan Army in the town. There are also several primary schools and youth teams, but an issue has been we introduce league to a school ( most public schools have very little sports equipment, when they introduced free education in 2003 schools were overwhelmed with students and sports got left behind ) we provided balls, cones, travel expenses to play other schools, drinks and meals for all children and helpers, unfortunately not all schools have welcomed rugby league, and sadly the children are the ones missing out, but lucky most can appreciate and see the benefits to the children. 2) What further opportunities are there? There is a huge hunger for league here so many approaching us we haven't even touched Nairobi even though we are getting many requests to do so, but finances stopping us from expansion at this stage in saying that, because of recent controversies in several sports many major sponsors are looking for other avenues for their sponsorship, also we want a strong base before we grow too fast, which I believe we have. As we gain senior teams we also don't want to lose focus on the original goals in Kenya of providing League to children who would otherwise never have the opportunity to participate in sports, so we are continuing to offer league in the less fortunate communities of Nakuru, and have expansion plans to introduce youth teams to as many as possible in Africa's biggest slum Kibera in Nairobi, we are hoping to start that project next year, the government are building high rise apartments to house its residents and we are hoping during the building the government may allow rugby leagues grounds in the vacant areas, and we will try to put a proposal to the government next year. We have seen some real talent emerge, many would fit into club level in Australia, New Zealand or possibly the UK without too many problems, one, in particular, a 12 year old training with the seniors and doesn't look out of place despite his size he has great ball and evasion skills and could go a long way in the future, so we also plan to form relationships with clubs globally over the next year or so, to give those players opportunities for their future, we are hoping foreign club may give Kenyan players an opportunity in playing league overseas by helping with their passage and perhaps helping find employment Where does the money come from ? You may remember our givealittle page that lasted one year and raised about $180 nzd which was fantastic in fact most of that came from the UK ( we spend about $10,000 a year on league here ), that page was run by the Spark foundation a charity division of Spark a telecommunication company in New Zealand, we have now set up an identical Givealittle page, the Spark Foundation love the idea of children less fortunate getting the chance to participate in league and had drink bottles, bags, caps, note books and pens 25 of each item made-up for us to deliver to Kenya. The school that received these is Nakuru Teachers Primary School, the school has taken to league and been very supportive of rugby league with all children getting the chance to participate, the school is happy for it grounds to be used by other league teams and competition anytime, which is great as access to sporting venues for training and games can be very difficult in Kenya. 4) Who has given you support? Kenya rugby league has been very lucky to have a great hard working Development officer Lawrence Okello, Lawrence has a passion for rugby league and is a primary school teacher which has been essential as he has had access to the school system something we couldn't have done with him, We have support from New Zealand prime minister John Key and the minister of foreign affairs who have contacted the embassy in Canberra, Australia ( also looks after NZ affairs ) on our behalf to try to get government recognition and a meeting for us but we have had no luck with them or the Australian embassy in Kenya, we also have support from former NZ prime minister and former Patron of NZ rugby league Helen Clark who put us in contact New Zealand Labour MP Louisa Wall (dual international in rugby and netball) who auction a signed warriors jersey in the New Zealand parliament that was donated by the CEO of the warriors NRL team and that was purchased by Labour MP Stuart Nash for $500 nzd. Just last week we got a meeting with the ministry of sports in Nairobi, something we had been trying to get for some time, there was a lot of positives that came out from our meeting and the government has indicated that they will support rugby league. We also have had a lot of guidance and support from the Rugby League European Federation in particular MEA Regional Director Remond Safi. 5) What challenges do you face in Kenya? The fact that most is Kenya had no knowledge of rugby league has been a problem, with many having trouble understanding there is a difference between League and Union, This has been a large issue with registration and government recognition with them believing rugby union can be the only recognized code, but we believe the recent meeting with the ministry of sport has cleared this up, and of course rugby union see us as a threat to union and have also tried to stop our growth, for example our development officer Lawrence introduced league to his school and after a couple of months the principal who is involved in rugby union banned league in the school, another school directly across the road whose kids still had rugby league in school, allowed the children from the banned school to use their school after school hours, once the principal found out he demanded that our development officer stop or he would lose his job, he continued and eventually left to another school because of this, the new school was very welcoming of rugby league and the technical college down the road seeing league have also taken the sport up. Finances will always problem being that many clubs will struggle to support themselves ,most of the funding for training gear, kit etc for each will need to come from a central body until rugby league's profile grows with at this stage is primarily funded by myself and my wife Caroline. Thanks for speaking with us Glen. Follow their progress below: FB: https://www.facebook.com/Kenya-rugby-league-892678664132950 Donate to the cause here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/rugbyleague4kenyanchildren#
  8. 5 Questions with ERL: Confederacion Argentina de Rugby League We spoke with Carlos Verela from the C.A.R.L about rugby league in Argentina and what their goals are. 1. Tell us a little about your country Argentina has a large youth population who are essential to our country. Young people are open to and keen to learn new experiences. The youth is very important to establishing Rugby League in Argentina. 2. How long has RL has played in your country? In 2005 a game was played for the first time of Rugby XIII with an Australian police representative. At the end of 2014 we made contact with Australia, a leading RL country. After several conversations we took the initiative to venture into Latin America and especially in Argentina again. This is how Latin Heat outlined a strategy of introducing Rugby League in a way to capture young people so that they can practice Rugby League and have personal growth from the support that this sport can offer. Argentina, as part of Latin America, is also in the plans the Latin Hear. This is partly because it is seem as a country with young people with very special characteristics for playing competitive sports, such as intelligence, creativity and versatility essential for Rugby League. Today 20/22 players participate and know the rules of the game but the lack of competition makes development very slow. Unfortunately this causes them to abandon playing Rugby League switch over to Rugby Union. 3. What are you in the greatest need of help grow the game? Two things are greatly needed to develop Rugby League in Argentina. The first is awareness. This is based on promotion and mass media in Argentina but today there is no media to transmit or mention the sport of Rugby League. The contacts that we’ve made so far have not had the desired results. Sports TV channels (Fox, ESPN, TYC) only transmit widely followed sport and not developing sports. It would be good to see a channel for development sports to help increase the knowledge of Rugby League. This would speed up development and its awareness amongst youth. The second thing we are in need of are sponsors. We could aim to increase the presence of potential sponsors brand with all sporting events having a good uptake of spectators. In Argentina, you mostly have to settle for small businesses or family businesses that contribute for the good of youth but their participation is very limited and this is not enough to cover costs. In short this is our greatest need, without funding it is almost impossible to have sustainable development long term. 4. What are the biggest challenges you face? Rugby League in the Argentina is virtually unknown. It is loosely know as a similar sport to Rugby Union played in Australia but not known how to play here in Argentina. Today there is great opportunity for the sport of Rugby League to take up in Argentina. Rugby Union has growth problems because the parents of the players fear for injuries. Lately many Union players have suffered injuries in the fixed and mobile formations and only practice it until 13 / 15 years of age. These formations are controlled but as they grow these game situations become more physical and therefore riskier. In short, if we could tap into this potential youth with the benefits of Rugby League quickly I think we would have a stable competition. 5. What is your dream scenario 10 years from now for your RL organization? This question has two scenarios. One with the current limitations written above and the other with the necessary support for their development. The big push and support provided to us Robert Burgin of LHAU (Latin Heat), their contribution to clothing and equipment for practice and the encouragement we receive daily is an important addition to keep this initiative alive. In saying this, we are from Argentina and cannot take on full cooperation as we should because we are not known and have very few resources. Another would be the situation if we could have a promotional base from which we can project ourselves; the youth who are looking for a less risky, more attractive show of rugby that they can find in Rugby League. We would love to have a local competition formed which would create an increase in participation levels with a view to participate in events on an international level ensuring a solid introduction of Rugby League in Argentina. Thanks for speaking with us Carlos, all the best. Follow their progess below: https://www.facebook.com/carugbyleague/?fref=ts
  9. Wales RL CEO Chris Thair We found this interview quite special. The insight and detail provided was incredibly intriguing and we can't thank Chris enough. Feel free to share on other forums if you like. We currently only have a representation on this forum due to the respect we hold for Total RL and what they do for the British game. 5 Questions with ERL: Wales Rugby League - Rygbi Cynghrair Cymru We spoke with Chris Thair from WRL recently about rugby league in Wales, what their goals are and where they're heading. 1. Tell us a bit about your country Wales is a mighty proud small Celtic nation sitting to the East of England on the map and a country of 3 million people which is also part of the UK and Great Britain. With a green and mountainous landscape the majority of the population reside in the northern or southern edges of the country. The Welsh people are renowned for their passion and humour. Many famous Welsh people have reached the top of their global profession, these include footballers Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale, poet Dylan Thomas, author Roald Dahl, singers Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey and actor Anthony Hopkins The Welsh flag with the famous red dragon is the most prominent form of symbolism however the Prince of Wales Feathers (aka 3 feathers) is also a symbol of great pride as it appears on the jersey of both codes of rugby. Rugby Union is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness. In Wales, union’s roots are embedded in working class mining communities and very much differs to the sports origins in England, this certainly adds to the rivalry. 2. How long has RL been played in your country? Since the very start of rugby league’s formation in 1895 Welsh rugby union players have been signed by English clubs and ‘gone North’ to play professionally in the other code. Indeed many of the sports greatest ever stars have been Welsh, reflected in Gus Risman and Billy Boston, both from Cardiff being two of the five players on the new Rugby League statue recently unveiled outside Wembley Stadium. Welsh players have always signed in sufficient numbers for professional clubs, for Wales to have a very competitive international team. Wales played the sport’s first ever international under Northern Union rules in January 1908 defeating the New Zealand All Golds 9-8 in Aberdare, South Wales and have played many internationals since. Winners of 7 European Cups and semi finalists in 2 World Cups, the country has an illustrious past. Domestically in Wales the sports growth has been sporadic, only achieving any sustained continuity in the last 15 years since the formation of the Welsh Conference in 2003. This domestic club competition was born out of two recently formed Welsh clubs that played in English competition (Cardiff formed 2001 and Swansea 2002), ex pro’s who had moved back home and enthusiasts from university rugby league which had been played in Wales from the 1980s. Champions of the 2016 Welsh Conference, Bridgend Blue Bulls RLFC, have won nine of the 14 championships to become the most successful community club ever in Wales. Two welsh clubs joined the Northern Union in 1907 and by 1908 there were sufficient numbers for a separate Welsh league however by 1910 this had folded. This failed attempt to establish the sport in Wales is reflected in very similar stories from the 1920s, 40s, 50s and 80s, a short burst of success and then nothing. Apart from the Welsh universities and one men’s team in North Wales, the sad realisation was that during those magical moments in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup semi final where Wales nearly beat the mighty Australia, domestically there was very little rugby league being played in Wales. The RFL recognised this and invested in growing the sport in Wales by employing a fulltime Development Officer. Since this point rugby league in Wales has been growing and in 2006 ‘Wales Rugby League’ was officially recognised by the Welsh Sports Council as the official National Governing Body and went on to become full members of the RLIF and RLEF. At present around 6000 people play annually in Wales, 1500 with clubs and over 5000 in schools. Wales also has two professional rugby league clubs in the European competition ran by the RFL. 3. What are you most in need of the help the game grow? We are most in need of investment, a home, an agreed long term international calendar for the sport and good governance; and probably in that order. In life you tend to get out of things what you put in. Good levels of investment allows for the resources and systems to be put in place which would ensure the sport grows. The sport in Wales is living proof of this however in recent years we have been operating under lowering levels of grant aid. This is similar to everybody else in and outside of sport in this time of economic austerity so we have adapted and just worked smarter with what we have. We are now a lot more commercially focused, underpinned by strong levels of governance and financial management. No rugby league entity in Wales such as WRL or a club owns or runs their own facility. Hundreds of different facilities throughout Wales have been used over the last 15 years and many clubs, professional and community, have continued to move grounds. This has not helped the sports growth and not allowed long term partnerships to develop in communities. The sport needs to change this nomadic existence and WRL and its clubs are aware of this challenge. The clubs are now thinking long term trying to source assets, and so are we as a National Governing Body. WRL ran 17 representative teams last year and numerous courses, meetings, festivals and finals. If WRL became primary tenants on a facility which could also play host to a community and a professional club then there would be sufficient activity to make such a venture work. More importantly it would allow the sport to establish some deep roots in a community and some long term partnerships. Outside of each nations control, there are two fundamental things which will ensure the international game continues to grow; A successful 2017 Rugby League World Cup and establishing an agreed long term international calendar of events. From this everything will cascade down beginning with broadcast deals, sponsorship and a much improved environment for each nation to operate under. I mention good governance last on the list as I feel we currently have this at Wales Rugby League and if we didn’t it would be much higher up on the list of what we need. If people go to the Wales Rugby League website and click on “about us” and then “governance” you will see through the annual reports and other documents that we are now doing well in this area. Good governance is essential and is the self responsibility every organisation should take. Personally I feel it is the sports biggest downfall and has been the most detrimental factor to its growth. Regardless of competition structure how much stronger would the sport be in the UK if no club in the last 30 years had entered an insolvency event and been managed in a responsible manner. Wales Rugby League was no better and was certainly insolvent on paper when I came into post in May 2013 as it had six figures worth of debt and an unsustainable operation. A lot of great work also took place before 2013 however it was quickly undone by poor governance and financial mismanagement. When organisations get into such a mess, it takes years to recover and growth is stifled. I’m extremely proud of our record since this point of insolvency in 2013 however I would rather these things weren’t required. The sport in Wales would be much better off now if the time and energy put into the change process was put into other areas however there’s been no other choice. We still have much to do however have plans and a solid foundation from which to build. Since 2013 we have posted annual reports and accounts showing 3 years of profits, participated in a World Cup, set a new attendance record for the national team, won a European Cup, a Wheelchair Celtic Cup, run 17 representative teams, saved the two Welsh professional clubs - taking over one for two seasons, breaking the clubs all time attendance record during this time and providing a large loan to the other – run domestic school and club competitions, courses and established some financial reserves for the first time ever. There is a lot of good work to build upon and optimism for the future! 4. What are the biggest challenges that you face? Acquiring investment, the fragility of the clubs and progression planning are probably the three biggest challenges we face. Qualifying later this year for the 2017 World Cup would be catalyst for new investment, indeed offers are already on the table for when we do however we could be smarter elsewhere. Registration fees and membership schemes are all planned for the future however the biggest thing would be to turn the men’s international programme into a profit centre. Good levels of sponsorship and gate receipts from an international would ensure that programme is paid for in full and the surplus could be invested elsewhere in the business i.e. community game and junior pathway. At present that is not the case however the cash reserves could ensure a home international takes place in 2018 which is a game changer. The fragility of the clubs is something we are trying to change. The two professional clubs are now under solid management and we are working with the community clubs to ensure they get more depth and quality to their operations. When coming into post no club in Wales operated with more three teams and many with just one team. We have worked on this in recent years and a lot more is planned. Progression planning is a challenge to any business however it is more of an issue when you are a small. Many clubs are linked to one or two key individuals and it is similar at the NGB. I feel we are becoming more attractive as a sport, which helps and we have spoken to many clubs about this subject. Getting that key individual to mentor others instead of doing it all themselves. Progression planning is a challenge that will never go away. 5. What is your dream scenario 10 years from now? In 2026 following WRL putting four teams in the 2025 Rugby League World Cup, a men’s, women’s, students and wheelchair team, the domestic club league shown weekly on S4C reaches new levels of participation, exposure and sponsorship following Wales reaching the previous year’s World Cup Final. One of the three professional clubs in Wales is in Super League and the other two are packed full of Welsh talent coming through the system. Following regular attendances over 10,000 for internationals in recent years, a near capacity crowd in 2024 at the Cardiff City FC Stadium and a successful 2025 World Cup; WRL take their first home international of 2026 to the Millennium Stadium. At WRL’s new permanent home in South Wales there is a feeling true optimism over the future and 10,000 people are signed up WRL members along to join the ride. WRL engage over 100,000 more people on a weekly basis through fun, thought provoking and action packed social media and video content; a handful of which have gone viral and reached over a million. Following the long term partnership with Wales Rugby League, over half of the Super League clubs have Welsh talent as regulars in their first team. Thanks for speaking with us Chris, all the best Follow WRL's progress below: Website: http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WalesRugbyLeague/?fref=ts
  10. 5 Questions with ERL: Isaac De Gois We spoke with NRL stalwart Isaac De Gois recently about his rugby league career De Gois is a Wests junior from the Liverpool area. He attended All Saints Catholic Senior College. He has played for the Wests Tigers, Cronulla Sharks, Newcastle Knights and currently plays for the Parramatta Eels. Of Portuguese descent, De Gois made his international debut before his first-grade debut. He was selected to play for Portugal against Fiji A in Oct...ober, 2005, alongside his two brothers. 1. You captained the first ever Portuguese Rugby League team in 2005. How does this compare to your other achievements in the sport? Every time you put on a Portuguese jersey or your club jersey you are always proud to represent. However being captain, and acknowledging my heritage was an especially proud moment, but more so because I was able to play alongside two of brothers. 2. Can you tell us a bit about your junior playing days? What advice can you offer our younger fans? I played for All Saints Liverpool as a school boy from under 6s to under 17s. I really enjoyed my junior footy, it was a great local club. I was fortunate to have coaches and an extremely supportive family that fostered my abilities. My advice would be back yourself and most importantly have fun with your friends. 3. After your NRL career what do you want to do? No firm plans on life after football, but I have been a part of the NRL community for 12 years, it is basically all I know, what I love so I hope I can find something in the industry. 4. What are your thoughts on the current state of international Rugby League and what do you think can be done to improve? It would be great if Rugby League could grow internationally and be more widely played. 5. What is your most memorable moment in your Rugby League career to date? My debut, and milestones like my 200th game are stand outs but in the NRL, it is a short lived career so every game should be memorable and not taken for granted. Thanks for speaking with us Isaac, all the best. https://www.facebook.com/EverythingRugbyLeague/
  11. 5 Questions with ERL - George Rose 5 Questions with ERL: George Rose We spoke with former NRL player George Rose recently about his views on the All Stars game, NRL Expansion, International Rugby League, his junior years and what his most memorable moments are. He has played for the Sydney Roosters, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Melbourne Storm and the St George-Illawarra Dragons. He has also represented his culture playing in the Indigenous Dreamtime team in 2008 and the Indigenous All Stars team in 2015. 1. You represented the indigenous all stars and received the Preston Campbell medal for man of the match. Do you believe it's important for the All stars game to stay in the RL calendar? The All Stars game for me has always been an exciting start to the season. It's a great game for many reasons. Fan interaction. How often do you get to actually play a part in voting for and selecting your own team as a fan. Kicking off the season with the best players in the game all o n the field at once witnessing the best from UK (Aus based), NZ, Aus Pacific nations all on one team. The community and cultural benefits from players on both teams is awesome. What happens off the field during that week does more for rugby league than what half the games do on the field. Plus celebrating indigenous culture the longest continuous culture on earth over 60000 years of history and unique to Australia only. We can all share, learn and be proud of this culture and of the great players representing in this game. I may be biased but I love the game. 2. Where would you like to see the NRL expand to? The next expansion I'd like to see is Perth. I think they've been pushing for it for some time now. To make the game truly national I'd like to see Perth, Darwin, Adelaide all eventually with teams. Then further down the track perhaps PNG and Fiji. I'd love to see the game grow this big in my lifetime. I think to grow financially I'd love to see the game pushed into the American TV market. Their population and love for sport could create a great avenue for future TV revenue to be pushed back into game expansion. 3. What are your thoughts on International Rugby League what you think can be done to improve it? I love seeing Australia win, but hate seeing them win easy like they often do. I think players with genuine dual international eligibility should be given the right to play for other nations if not selected for Australia. If Samoa or Tonga pick the best 20 Samoan and Tongan players in the league they become very competitive with the top 3 nations. The more competitive the international game is the more exciting it becomes. And again I believe pushing TV coverage into other countries is the way to go. Force it on them gradually gain fans build the base up internationally. 4. Can you tell us a bit about your junior days and what advice you can give to younger fans? I was a country boy picked up in Bathurst by Penrith scouts. I never made any NSW or Aus schoolboys or even country rep. But I got an opportunity and took advantage of it. I worked hard to get success. I wasn't a good trainer at the start. But I never gave up. I trained hard I did extras. I kept building on my strengths and working on my weaknesses. My advice would be just that. Not everyone is the perfect player but whatever your strength is make sure you showcase it every opportunity you get. Keep working on your weaknesses but be the best at what you're good at. I could run hard and make good metres on every carry so I made sure I did that. It lead to 12 years in the NRL and changed my life. I've always played rugby league for enjoyment and still play it now for that same reason. I love it. 5. What is the most memorable moment of your RL career? Probably 3 moments. Winning Grand Final with Manly was awesome. That club was home to me for 8 years of my life. I loved my time there and the people I met. Winning the Preston Campbell medal in 2015 in an All Stars game against the best players in the world and winning my first Koori Knockout in 2009 such an emotional and proud moment. Thanks for the questions mate. I love the work you guys do. Great for Rugby League. Cheers George, thanks for your time and all the best. Follow George below: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gorgeousgrose/?fref=ts Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gorgeousgrose/?hl=en Twitter: https://twitter.com/gorgeousgrose
  12. First interview is with Sydney Roosters forward Abe Papalii who came through the NZ Warriors U20 ranks to now represent the Sydney Roosters. 5 Questions with ERL: Abraham Papalii We spoke with Sydney Roosters player Abraham Papalii recently. Abraham Papalii arrived in Bondi back in 2015 following an impressive U20s career with the New Zealand Warriors. His junior club was the Glenora Bears... Standing at almost two metres tall at just 23 years of age, Papalii is a wide-running and skillful backrower that is no easy man to stop for any defender. 1. Who was your idol while you were growing up? I idolized the All Blacks team back in the day. Carlos Spencer, Luke Mcalister, Doug Howlett and Jerry Collins were my favourite players. 2. You came through the Warriors U20s ranks and are currently in the Roosters system. With players like Omar Slaimankhel and even Suaia Matagi there for a while did this make it easier for you to fit in? I was at the Roosters before those guys but I had Kiwi boys like Siua Taukeiaho and Isaac Liu there who made it easier for me. It was then good for Omar and Suaia to come in. We pretty much had that Kiwi group which gave you that sorta 'bro' environment like how it is back home. 3. You were born in born in Auckland but are of American Samoan decent as far as we're aware. Would you consider turning out for the USA Hawks at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup if they approached you? It's funny you ask that. I actually thought I was and I got a call from the USA hawks coach himself about playing at the 2013 World Cup. I told him I had a grandma with some American Samoan background. I went home and asked Mum and Dad and they said that I actually don't. So that dream was shattered. 4. What are your thoughts on the current state of International Rugby League and what do you think can be done to improve it? Well I haven't played any International league yet, but maybe they could put more money into the programs for the Pacific Island teams to help out more or even get a few games/comps going in the Islands to motivate the Islanders and even give an opportunity for them to succeed from home instead of having to move away. 5. What is your most memorable moment in your Rugby League career so far? Making my first grade debut for the Roosters this year. Thanks for talking to us Abraham. We wish you all the best
  13. Hi Folks, Whilst the first couple of months of Everything Rugby League's new series "5 Questions with ERL" we're solely Rugby League administrators from around the world (see international section of this forum), we've also branched out to professional RL players. You might notice that most questions we ask in this series have a distinctive international theme. We've made no attempt to hide the fact that we see international RL as the only way forward for our great game and will continue to work hard to get the brand out there. We're currently working on access to Super League players too Enjoy guys. As always, feel free to visit the page at facebook.com/everythingrugbyleague.
  14. 5 Questions with ERL: Abraham Papalii We spoke with Sydney Roosters player Abraham Papalii recently. Abraham Papalii arrived in Bondi back in 2015 following an impressive U20s career with the New Zealand Warriors. His junior club was the Glenora Bears Standing at almost two metres tall at just 23 years of age, Papalii is a wide-running and skillful backrower that is no easy man to stop for any defender. 1. Who was your idol while you were growing up? I idolized the All Blacks team back in the day. Carlos Spencer, Luke Mcalister, Doug Howlett and Jerry Collins were my favourite players. 2. You came through the Warriors U20s ranks and are currently in the Roosters system. With players like Omar Slaimankhel and even Suaia Matagi there for a while did this make it easier for you to fit in? I was at the Roosters before those guys but I had Kiwi boys like Siua Taukeiaho and Isaac Liu there who made it easier for me. It was then good for Omar and Suaia to come in. We pretty much had that Kiwi group which gave you that sorta 'bro' environment like how it is back home. 3. You were born in born in Auckland but are of American Samoan decent as far as we're aware. Would you consider turning out for the USA Hawks at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup if they approached you? It's funny you ask that. I actually thought I was and I got a call from the USA hawks coach himself about playing at the 2013 World Cup. I told him I had a grandma with some American Samoan background. I went home and asked Mum and Dad and they said that I actually don't. So that dream was shattered. 4. What are your thoughts on the current state of International Rugby League and what do you think can be done to improve it? Well I haven't played any International league yet, but maybe they could put more money into the programs for the Pacific Island teams to help out more or even get a few games/comps going in the Islands to motivate the Islanders and even give an opportunity for them to succeed from home instead of having to move away. 5. What is your most memorable moment in your Rugby League career so far? Making my first grade debut for the Roosters this year. Thanks for talking to us Abraham. We wish you all the best
  15. Thanks Oxford. We've had a great response from various organisations around the world. It's a series with a lot of potential. We want to get as many people involved as we can over the next year or two with this series. Players, fans, administrators etc. RL is a community and we're happy to be doing our part to hopefully bring up all together.
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