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  1. This is the one thing that us in Australia cant get our heads around, how can you have Promotion and Relegation in a competition that is regulated by a salary cap, its like telling Usain Bolt he has to run the heats in bare feet and then walk around in shock if he doesn't make the final. If you want Promotion and Relegation, open the floodgates and get rid of the salary cap. The top of the competition will get stronger and there will be no concern for the marquee clubs to be relegated, the weaker will fall away and create a regular battle for survival at the bottom. What would be the benefit to the competition of Leeds being relegated for Fev. (Almost happened remember) The NRL would never have relegation (you know, the competition with the $2B TV deal). Big sponsors dont want to play Russian Roulette on whether teams will be in or out each year, they need stability. Most of the teams in the NRL have long term sponsors, how do the bottom teams in Super League attract Major Sponsors for multiple years when they cant guarantee their spot in the competition. Over the last 10 years, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Parra, Cronulla and the Roosters (yep, the roosters) have finished last, imagine if they were relegated and for some reason or another didnt get back in and were replaced by Burleigh, Wentworthville, Newtown, Ipswich etc, that $2B is disappearing fast. I know the scenarios above are far fetched, but why put everything to chance like Super League does. We here all the talk about how good it would be for the game if Toulouse were in Super League but then sit back and hope they make it. How about putting together a strategic plan to get them into Super League with a plan to guarantee their place, grow their brand and also grow the game in France, instead of leaving it to chance that they make it.
  2. NZ will be playing Tonga next year from discussions I heard on the radio the other day.
  3. This is the correct statement, what Kiwi 13 6 is saying is correct but from what I heard on the radio they were including people of heritage as well.
  4. Holmes apparently wouldn't count as he is a recruit from the NFL
  5. Reported in the Daily Telegraph in Australia that they are in talks with Ben Teo and are also interested in Val Holmes https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/having-landed-sonny-bill-williams-toronto-wolfpack-chase-other-big-names-including-valentine-holmes/news-story/ae7004c458d21961c7781496bc37b067 One point worth making is that i've never seen an article in the Australian papers regarding recruitment by Wigan or St Helens, they get a small mention when a player from the NRL goes over but the article is about the player, not the club.
  6. The biggest change that was discussed here in Aus is the fact that there is approx 500k Tongans in the world, only 120k actually live in Tonga, the rest are either in NZ, Aus or US. There is estimated approx 100k Tongans in both NZ and Aus, all of who would have previously followed the Kangaroos or Kiwis, now will have aspirations from a young age to play for Tonga. This can be a game changer, and I emphasis 'can', if done correctly. Almost 50% of the NRL is now Island players and when you look at all the junior rep teams they make up a significant amount. There is no reason that there cant be an ongoing production line of quality players into the Tongan, Samoan. Fiji, PNG etc into the future. I'm a proud Aussie and always want the best for us, and in this case the best is to have sustained competition. I want to watch the Kangaroos and hope they win, not expect them to win every time. I enjoy Origin as well, but the fact that a State competition in Australia is considered the pinnacle of the sport is not healthy, International matches need to be the priority for the sport to grow.
  7. https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/toronto-target-tuilagi-as-their-next-rock-star-alongside-sonny-bill-20191106-p537vk.html Toronto target Tuilagi as their next 'rock star' alongside Sonny Bill Manu Tuilagi is the next high-profile rugby union star to be targeted by Toronto Wolfpack as they prepare for life in Super League with cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams. Toronto, who were promoted last month, are close to confirming the signing of Williams on a lucrative two-year contract. The Telegraph, London revealed that Brian McDermott, Toronto's head coach, watched the 34-year-old play for the All Blacks in their World Cup semi-final defeat by England in Yokohama, in which Tuilagi played. They later held face-to-face talks and Williams has been offered a deal that includes a minority stake in the Canadian club. Now the club wants to sign Tuilagi to further bolster their ambition to become a global sporting brand. The 28-year-old Leicester centre turned down a big-money move to French club Racing 92 this year and signed a contract extension to keep him at Welford Road until June 2021. Ben Te'o, the Toulon centre, who won 18 England caps under Eddie Jones, also remains on Toronto's radar. It is believed Toronto have had contact with representatives of both players. The Wolfpack would be required to pay a sizeable fee to sign Tuilagi, but the acquisition of Williams in a sports-mad city has set the pulses racing on both sides of the world. One source told the Telegraph, London: "A lot of NRL players are now cold-calling Brian Noble, Toronto's director of rugby, about joining. "The signing of Sonny Bill shows how serious the Wolfpack are in trying to crack the North American market. They want to sign players who are considered 'rock stars' in order to change the face of Super League. Manu Tuilagi is definitely next on their list." Significantly, new rules were introduced two years ago to allow Super League clubs with sufficient funds to bring in players from outside rugby league without it affecting the wage cap. The Wolfpack are unable to play at the Lamport Stadium until April because of the harsh Canadian winter and the unavailability of their local authority-owned stadium, so have switched their first three home fixtures. They open against Castleford in a double-header at Headingley on February 2 and play champions St Helens at Allianz Park, home of Saracens, on February 29.
  8. Well that answers that question, obviously has a stocky build but appears to be in good knick. As others have said its probably the lack of opportunities, Catalan are continually outsourcing their halves. Best thing for Albert may be to move to another club like Fages and establish himself as a regular first grader.
  9. A majority of the time the media down here have been referring to them as England, the whole GB thing is totally missed on anyone outside the UK. If we had been playing regular games against Wales, Scotland and Ireland over the last 12 years as well as England and all of a sudden these 4 teams were combined then you could see the benefit (See RU). But this is the same players from the England WC squad in different shirts.
  10. Albert is a puzzling one, we saw him play in Perth a couple of years ago in the WC, in a well beaten team he looked like he could match it with the English players. Just doesn't seem to have kicked on, I'm not sure if he's a naturally stocky guy or he's carrying a bit of weight, maybe not a good trainer. Would love for Robinson to pick up a couple of these young French guys and put them in the Roosters development squad, might help them kick on.
  11. Whilst it is great that France came out for these games, they didnt do anything for the credibility of International RL. They have sent out a B team that got totally humiliated by the Australian B team (not even a B team, U23's) and have then struggled to beat a team of local Country players. Meanwhile Samoa put 50 on a NZ provincial side in a canter. I totally appreciate where the game is at in France and realise that its nothing like it is in Australia, but they've had a fulltime professional team for over a decade playing in Superleague. At this stage they should be able to send out a national team of Super League standard players, competing with the likes of Samoa and Fiji. The blame for this is squarely on the shoulders of the administration, firstly for creating the culture in FRL where the best players dont want to commit to the national team, and secondly for funding and going ahead with this tour that was a hiding to nothing for the players. The place needs a broom put through it, its obvious that there are good coaches in France and with the likes of Fages, Gigot, Escare etc it shows that there is talent there that can be nurtured, its just the politics in the FRL that seems to be holding everthing back. Although not a good example at the moment, RU is barely played in Australia outside private schools. Yet we have won a couple of World Cups and compete with the best teams in the world. A coach once said when questioned about our playing numbers compared to other countries, they can only put 15 on the field same as us so we just need 15 good ones. France need to get rid of the excuses and plan to utilise what the have to the best of their ability.
  12. To make things worse this isn't just a Test match, its a triple header featuring the 4 top teams in the world.
  13. Ticket sales for the tour are very poor atm, only half the stadium is opened at Eden Park for the Triple Header.
  14. Australian Rugby League worked this out over 30 years ago, although it has had plenty of road bumps along the way. It was realised that a competition based around suburban Sydney teams was not viable in the long term. Gone are Newtown & North Sydney, mergers between Wests and Balmain, Saints and Illawarra. In have come Brisbane, Canberra, Newcastle, Cowboys (Townsville), Warriors (NZ) and Melbourne. The NRL has plenty of problems and nothing is perfect, but it has gradually evolved from where it was 30 years ago to a point where it now has a TV deal worth $2Billion. I'd suggest that apart from all the juggling around the competition structure nothing has really changed in the English game in the last 30 years, same teams and I'd say no extra money in the game. I dont think Brian was suggesting that they drop all the current teams now and move everyone to a major city, but rather having a team like Toronto in the comp is a move in the right direction. The competition would also benefit from having Toulouse as well as London, instead of sitting back and hoping they one day earn promotion the League should be actively working out how to not only place them in Super League but also how to support them and make them a long term sustainable club.
  15. If by some weird set of circumstances Australia was running low on halves, one phone call and both Austin and Hastings would be on the next flight to Sydney and into a Green and Gold jumper.
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