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Everything posted by Cerulean

  1. Wouldn't it have been a little less unreasonable to say: earning millions in tv money, in the same way as, say, Leeds or Wigan or any of the other teams who have maintained a place in Super League?
  2. Thank you for this. Very interesting. RL, which has a cascade of possibilities from every play, at every moment, is not to be compared with baseball, which is more or less built around a long series of set plays, each one with measurable elements. What Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball shows, though, is that you can collect and work from the wrong statistics. I know you are careful to point out that conclusions from your analysis should be made with great care, but it is really interesting to consider them. A high completion rate has become the expected and attempted strategy for success, and maybe it isn’t the best approach. Your figures ( and you will have considered them deeply, and your conclusions are worth very much more than mine) perhaps suggest that a low error count could be more significant than completion rate. Pass accurately, catch cleanly, and hold on to the ball in the tackle seems to be a good starting point. Avoid giving away penalties, which I assume is part of the error count. And after that, worry less about completion, and perhaps be more adventurous. Pass accurately could be the important part of this. It is really difficult to drop a good pass. A good pass enables you to position the ball well in your arms and torso, gives you more time to position your feet, more opportunity to look up and assess your next action. Doing a “Moneyball” on rugby league is deciding where to best spend your recruitement money. So, first choices: an acting-half-back who can pass cleanly and efficiently from the play-the-ball; and a ball distributor who can catch, assess, and pass. But we’ve always known that, haven’t we?
  3. My point, as you well know, was about also remebering and celebrating iconic moments before and outside Super Legue. Your point evades me, though I do find something disturbing in the subtext of animosity within your sarcasm.
  4. Can't find a picture, but back then you could get boots which had a flat front edge, made specifically for the straight on kickers. Long ago, in a distant galaxy, I had a pair myself.
  5. Eddie Hemmings (a valuable part of Super League, an excellent commentator, an enormous enthusiast of the game) worked hard to promote Super League as a new sport with a new name and a new ethos, and rarely mentioned the history of the game, and the layers of the game below and outside of Super League, and even avoided the label of Rugby League. It was his job and he did it excellently. Less excusable, in my eyes, are those who promote the belief that the lower clubs - and therefore much of the game’s heritage - are an embarrassment, and the sport would look so much better without them. There are a number on this forum: they are, of course, entitled to an opinion, and they may be correct.
  6. The queen handing the Challenge Cup to Mal Dixon in 1967 is iconic, not least because there is a subtext there enhancing the image of Rugby League and its place in sport. The Challenge Cup has long been iconic; the sport itself is iconic. The photographic, video, and narrative history of the game is packed with iconic images: from wingers in flight at Wembley, to the Australian tourists leaving the tunnel to enter the field, to bloodied and exhausted warriors, to Sunday morning park games with five spectators, to the Grand Final winners celebration, to crowds streaming from the streets into the ground, to Thursday night training under rickety floodlights on practice pitches, to ... There’s a fantastic wealth of iconic moments, an enormous amount to celebrate and highlight, which should not be wasted. Subtext is important: having a clear understanding of what the game is, and was, and can be, and where it fits, and will fit, in the sporting landscape, is essential to explaining and enhancing any image. No apologies for this, and I can be annoying over it, but: attempt to sanitise the game, reject where it came from, regard the lower clubs as an embarrassment and the history as distracting, creates an activity which can be lost in a morass of other modern entertainment endeavours, and the images mean less, and the iconic moments become harder to find. And will lead even further to a diminishing game, constantly struggling to retain its visibility.
  7. That, as I suspect you well know, is a disingenuous inference from a dubious premise. However: the money passed on to the lower divisions could be seen as the buying of essential support services. Or not, if you don't want it to seem like that, or if you believe that Super League could exist comfortably without this particular underlying structure, or any underlying structure, or if you could be certain that Super League could develop (and pay for) a different underlying structure of its own design.
  8. And is this also self-evident? Is it a widely held belief? Who has done the costings and evaluations? And is it axiomatic that the “value” of Super League should be separated from the value of the rest of rugby league? It doesn’t seem a clear enough issue to me to make such definitive statements.
  9. "... giving above and beyond to the lower divisions..." I'm wondreing if this is an almost univerally held opinion. Someone set it up at one time, so they must have believed in it.
  10. Any re-interpretation of the rules will have a cascade of consequences, difficult to fully predict, and there will always be attempts to gain advantage at whatever the cost to the spectacle. A mechanism to react to how the coaches react would be essential. And personally, I’d be happy to see new initiatives trialled in the lower divisions, which is where I watch most of my rugby.
  11. It isn’t a universal perception, but there’s a general unease that the game is losing out in the battle for the attention and interest of sports enthusiasts, and in the search for a decent share of leisure spending. There’s enormous structure debate about correcting this by adjusting which teams should play the game, which teams should be predominately visible in the game, and how the top division and its season should be constructed. My opening post was to suggest that the attractiveness of the game on the field is at least as important as the structure. Is the game being seen as too brutal, too dangerous, lacking in visual impact, insufficiently accessible, too difficult to play, too homogeneous? Is it putting off existing fans in significant numbers, putting off potential new enthusiasts, possible new teams and areas? The issues are the same as the structure debates: if it’s fine, leave it as it is, if there are problems, examine possible fixes. And there’s some impressive depth of thought and analysis which has been displayed on the forum. I just hope that whoever eventually takes charge of the sport puts in the same amount of determined consideration.
  12. Nope. I enjoy watching RU 7s, as I once enjoyed playing it. But after decades of watching, playing, coaching, teaching and preaching RL, I’d still prefer to watch RL. It seems to me a shame to highlight time and space earned by pushing, pulling, twisting, holding, and manoeuvering in a tackle, when it can also be earned by evasion, footwork, accurate and incisive passing, clever kicking, efficient tackling, and many other attributes which RL has the potential to display. But we each seek what we like from the game. What really counts is that it is attractive enough to entice new players, retain existing fans, bring in new enthusiasts and teams and areas, and retain its various sponsors and tv contracts. If it doesn’t do these things, then it really ought to consider its visual appeal.
  13. Pehaps many younger fans have seen nothing else, and see it as an essential feature of the game. There are certainly those on this forum who celebrate their team's dominance of "the wrestle", and tv commentators appear to enjoy all the fine details of it. Eliminating much of it could be achieved with alteration of the interpretation of the rules. Of course, any re-interpretation of the rules will have a cascade of consequences: most of them for the better, for me; but a worry for some.
  14. This is correct, and easily seen: but often denied. 25/30 years ago, generally the aim of the tackler was to put the man on the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible. The evolution to vertical tackling and wrestling is to delay the end of the tackle: doing so brings lage advantages to the defenders, and begins an arms race of searching for an advantage, with the ball carrier also involved, looking for opportunities to dominate the wrestle, or gain a penalty. This is a thrilling and enthalling aspect for many fans: a frustration for other, perhaps older, fans. Unintentionally, I can see the beginning of the end for upright tackling, as the worry of brain damage caused by high velocity impact and severe deceleration of the head becomes more evident.
  15. Your complete post is an excellent advancement of my opening post, seriously enriching the debate. And yes, you are right. My perception of the game is personal. The game has moved on and I have no right to expect it to revert to what I want. The issue is not me, but the general view: is the game that has evolved attractive to new markets, can it develop a new demographic, will it retain enough of the existing fans to be a base for development and expansion? Is it fine as it is, or do some changes need to be made?
  16. For Padge: Oops! Can I apologise? The highlighting of the phrase was not meant to reflect back on you or your post, which was an important one, determinedly stated. It was that I felt that the phrase was unneccesarily harsh within the discussion: but that's my problem, not yours. Perhaps I'm not suited to internet forum discussion. Again, apologies.
  17. Honest and important qualifiers. We don't know what the solutions are, and they won't be easy, but what is important is that those in control give some consideration to the attractiveness of the game as it is played.
  18. Three possible starting points: If the referee were to call “held” when the ball carrier’s forward progress comes to a halt (this may still be in the laws), and then strictly enforce no movement forward by the ball carrier and no continuation of the tackle by the defenders it would reduce wrestling and reduce the need for strength and power players. If the defensive line was very strictly kept on-side, the referee not sprinting forward to avoid giving too many penalties, there would be more opportunities for the attack to spread the ball and look for means to evade to defence, and a greater need for creative ball handlers and evasive runners. If “avoidable” contact with the head was penalised properly, tackles would become lower, tackling technique would change, the ball carrier would be put on the ground faster, the game would look better and more playable, the physical qualities required by the players would change, perhaps producing players with a wider range of skills, some of which would be easier for potential new enthusiasts to appreciate.
  19. Just occasionally thrilling and dramatic: too often tedious, sometimes unpleasant, occasionally ugly; a brutally uncomfortable and relentless contest of high speed impact; wrestling, pushing, pulling, twisting; with little of the flow and movement and visible skills which should be the foundation of the sport. The game has become, too often, not a spectacle which will attract new fans, new investment, a new demographic; or retain existing enthusiasts. This is not down to Leigh, Featherstone, Wakefield’s ground, old supporters, forum negativity, misunderstood nostalgia, the structure of the divisions, Keir Starmer, the course of the River Calder, or the salary cap. It will not be solved by beer tents, DJs, hoping for the best, fireworks, waiting for the end of covid, playing top-trump positivity on a forum, seeking to attract millionaires. It will most certainly not be solved just by altering the divisional structure. This is down to SL, the visible arm of the game, the part with exposure, profile, control, which has allowed and encouraged rule interpretation to drift towards a sport dominated by size and power. Perhaps summed up by “Why bother with craft to beat a defensive line when the defensive line can be battered into fracturing?” Recruitment, coaching, training, are all firmly tied in to the impact aspect which now dominates the game. Do you not wonder, when the biggest celebration of a game is often when five defenders push a single ball carrier into touch or back over his own line? Is that the best we’ve got? Briefly, the game on the field needs to be made more attractive to potential fans and potential players, more watchable, more playable. Only Super League can lead this. The good news is that a great deal of initial progress could be made simply with re-interpretations of the rules.
  20. Thank you for a fully considered and comprehensive answer. It would be good to think that those who will make the decisions, whoever they are, are already considering many of the elements you propose. I’ve no doubt that a carefully and well presented strong top division, (not to be called Super League, please: a confusing designation which suggests it is a different sport from Rugby League) is essential for strengthening the profile of the game, and then a sound and carefully thought out structure below the top division will help provide opportunities for progressing the spread of the game. Intent is important here. If the intent is to provide a satisfactory fixture list for Leeds, Wigan, St Helens, Warrington and Hull (and mostly it is, and will become more so as these clubs take more control), then the introverted game so produced will stagnate quickly. If the intent is to maximise every strength, every quality, every fragment of interest and enthusiasm which already exists and which can be uncovered, then the game has a chance. A major and enormously important issue: the focus on structure, the shuffling the teams into a hopeful arrangement, detracts from the real problem, in that it does little to address the attractiveness of the sport. I’m afraid Super League has encouraged the game to become one of high speed battering - to casual and potential new observers, a contest of impact, wrestling, pulling, pushing, battering; played out by robotic giants. It has become tedious, often unpleasant, occasionally ugly. The qualities of movement, passing, catching, evading, free running, reading the field, have been hidden. There is little to attract new players, new watchers, new families and individuals who want to become part of the game. Forget structure - other than make the best of what exists - and look carefully at what will bring in new enthusiasts.
  21. Your extreme contempt for a number of folk who perceive the game in a different light from you, appears to blind you to the true nature of the difficulties. The game does not in any way cling to the particular fan base you describe. There are those fans who cling to the memories of a sport that has been a major part of their lives, supporting, playing, encouraging, coaching, financing, for decades. They certainly now have no influence on the sport, are not pandered to, have no say, and it is hard to see how they can have blame attributed to them, or how the sport can be blamed for their existence. That they have no influence is clearly shown (clear to anyone with an unclouded judgement) by the extent to which the game has already moved on. Perhaps to move towards a more useful contribution, you could provide a definition of the new fan base you crave, and suggest initiatives on how they may be persuaded to invest emotionally and financially into the sport.
  22. An unhelpful contribution, probably with some ulterior intent. With a league of over 30 teams (impossible to play everyone twice), each team played the others from the same “county”, and some opponents from the other “county”. For numerical balance, sometimes a team would voluntarily change county. The league table was the single league table and that is what fans looked at. The single league was a sensible and successful format, the format for the sport for most of its existence, through years where Rugby League was acknowledged to be the country’s third sport. You enjoyed the local derbies, you looked forward to visits from teams from the “other side”. It was an arrangement that worked well. The county championship was an almost accidental by-product, an extra table derived from the results, which added another interest if you wanted to look at it. ‘62/’63 season was an experimental two division season, with a short county set-up at the beginning. It couldn’t be judged because ‘63 turned out to be a “big freeze” winter.
  23. A perceptive and thoughtful analysis, fully worthy of wide applause. The game would halt its decline, recover, and prosper: if only Wakefield's massive and controlling influence could be reduced.
  24. I don’t understand your response. If you re-read my post, you will see that I criticised no one. I expressed agreement with someone’s list of suggestions for developing the sport to strengthen it’s profile and attractiveness. I said that some would not agree with the suggestions, implying - using the words “cosy existence” - that the majority of those would belong to the few top clubs who would be most impacted by the suggestions. There are fans of the sport and there are fans of their own team, and I offer no criticism for supporters who, like me, spend their money, time, enthusiasm on the sport as a whole, or on their specific team. Judging by the discussions on here, many seem to believe that the game needs to revitalise itself if it is to survive and prosper in a world where leisure activity and spending is changing quickly and drastically. I attempted to highlight what I believed was a sound list of ideas produced by another poster. Who is it who can bring about change? I suggest that any discussion would benefit from clearly identifying who it is who can drive forward development, who it is who will be creating the direction for the sport. Despite the obfuscation of some, it is most certainly not the smaller clubs and their fans, who have no power whatsoever. Until those who want to make change can identify those with the power to make change, there will be no progress.
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