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  1. This, certainly for Manchester. Its been two decades since I used the playing fields in Manchester (Liverpool too) and I can’t ever recall seeing a rugby ball. With a sizeable Asian populous in Manchester there was some cricket being played there, but other than that it was football only. Both rugby codes have their own mini cultures; RL: former coal mining towns in the north, and RU: leafy suburbs in the south. You don’t hear much about either from the outside. They are very much tied into their own communities. Because neither are in mainstream culture you just don’t hear joe public talking about how Widnes are faring, or how Wasps are getting on. It’s not in general conversation, which makes it very difficult to attract new interest. There’s not one rugby player playing today (either code) who the general public could name. The last one was Johnny Wilkinson, which was due to an event that broke into mainstream culture. Still, only he (and two or three other England internationals) benefited from that exposure, as club RU remained in the shadows, stuck in its own mini culture. After that RUWC I don’t recall seeing any more coverage of club RU, or it being talked about more in the media or on the street. The 2005 Ashes. That series was able to attract new followers to the game. It did so as it entered mainstream culture, with those not accustomed to cricket becoming interested (cricket to an Irishman is akin to ice hockey to an Indian, so the impact was big enough to break through such a barrier). Think I’ve watched most ashes series since, and wanting England to win.
  2. No such thing as “free speech”. Voice a bigoted opinion about a person of colour at your work place, see how long it takes before your ass is fired. Speech has never gone unchecked, ever.
  3. The leading story is rainbow flags being discarded by stewards, as expected the game itself is secondary as no-one gives a scoobies what the backward bigot does on the field. The woman being interviewed who held one of the flags backed up the story...she also mentioned all this flies in the face of RL, one of the few sports with an openly gay player. None of this is good for RL. Phil Caplan on last week’s forty20 podcast stated there is such thing as publicity being bad, and that this is such a case. After the Catalan game their coach looked pretty miffed being asked more questions about the bigot (and the flags) than the game...”I’m here to talk about rugby league”..adding “don’t agree with anything he’s said, and he won’t be saying it again”. The knuckle dragging bigot is dragging honourable men into his swamp.
  4. Saw it too. That’s the main story, how he does is meh. Everything he is is against the values of RL and its followers here, so I hope he has an unpleasant year then crawls back into the cave he came from.
  5. Didn’t hear a peep about how he played. No-ones arsed. What is interesting is the story about the rainbow apparently being removed.
  6. Carney is a good presenter, but bland (very much like Lineker). Agree though she would make a better host. Her interviews are always spot on.
  7. It’s a bad advertisement no question. The increase in Polynesians at youth level in Australia is given as a reason less Caucasians youngsters are playing the game. With their faster physical development they dominate at that level, making it a mismatch, and turning off parents to put their kids up against them. It must be demoralising for the kids in that clip, and at that age you are more inclined to turn to something else. I didn’t know which code it was when I saw it. Probably should have looked closer to see that there were no beanpoles or rotund players. Only when I seen this thread from a Salford fan and the name of the player did I get which code it was. Without the tackle (so no PTB or ruck) it’s not always easy to make out which code it is.
  8. Yes, pretty much. It’s been my own experience while at two universities in the north of England (Liverpool and Manchester), and trips to other parts of the north where I didn’t see any RL presence. I was very active in playing fields in both cities, and I never saw anyone playing with a rugby ball (and these were vast playing fields). RL historian Tony Collins in his RL podcast goes much further; in one podcast he gave an example to a guest of the lack of spread of the game, mentioning one northern town eight miles outside a RL town where RL has no profile. I think the main reason there is no spillover from a RL town to the town next to it is because RL is not in mainstream culture, it has its own mini culture which is concentrated in the towns (and Leeds/Hull) where it originated. It hasn’t expanded beyond that for whatever reasons. For your last question, see the last RLWC final http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/42191891/rugby-league-world-cup-the-final-hardly-anyone-seems-to-be-talking-about Although there wasn’t that much mainstream interest, I believe the international game is still the way to attract others outside RL heartlands, be it only for international games. This applies to RU, which only generates interest for the six nations, RUWC. Rivalry aside, I’ve never understood why Aussies are so desperate to see the England RL team doing badly. A win for England may spur some more interest in the national team, which would benefit the game as a whole. Outside RL heartlands, Aussie RL players are unknown here, but an England RL team with a raised profile would have a knock on effect of other RL nationalities becoming known. Not too bright. When retired RL players from Oz come over here they have meet and greets in community centres, rather than appear on TV shows or sports news stations.
  9. Ahh it’s good to put a name to the player. He’s the absolute spit of Mo. I showed it to my mate (another Liverpool fan) who was convinced Mo’s head had been superimposed on it. https://mobile.twitter.com/JCLFC_/status/1227041155097022464?s=19
  10. You must be an aboriginal Australian. It’s 2020, and still Australia has “Australia Day” to mark the pillaging carried out by white folk that occupy the place. Along with native Americans, blacks and Jews, aboriginal Australians are among the most wronged people on Earth, you have my sympathies. Unless you are Real Madrid.. From a rugby league standpoint though I don’t think an all white strip works. It works in football as it’s a much more graceful sport...ie. Zidane in all white was a perfect fit. A collision based sport suits more darker colours. Seeing big Sam Burgess in all white just didn’t look right...he didn’t look as intimidating as he should. Same applies to James Graham and any other enforcer. Certainly the socks could be changed, and possibly navy/dark blue shorts.
  11. It’s aimed at a UK audience. Natural most people answering the poll will only have seen players from here. They have thrown in a token Aussie in the five. Few people here know RL players from here, even far fewer people here know RL players from Australia. If you are a RL anorak and watch extensive footage of old games from here and Oz, then you will have a much more broadened view, but you would be in a tiny minority that would have such knowledge, and a poll such as this is not specifically aimed at those people. My top five would all be from the UK. You cannot assess the five best players just from hearsay. If you do that then your view is null and void, as it isn’t your view. I’d have Hanley at #1. Two reasons. 1.Superior athlete. Players of African descent are much quicker than Caucasians, it’s a mismatch in a sprint, and so much of RL is just evading players on the run. Don’t think I’ve ever seen an Aussie even make a sprint final. Offiah would be ahead of them too in this category as he leaves them in his wake. 2.Hanley had the skills to go along with his athleticism. Jason Robinson was awesome in league too. That side step could leave anyone for dead.
  12. You’re deluded with your last sentence of you actually believe that. Rugby league has come across as a backward sport with no regard for minorities. RL welcomes medieval bigot who was banned elsewhere, that’s the story. Now this isn’t true (welcoming a bigot) as it was the act of one club, and SL felt its hands were tied, so in effect one no-mark owner of a club from the south of France has dragged the sport in England through the dirt. You second para, yeah, obviously, ban every degenerate. Unless you have no qualms cheering on a mindless thug who bashes women away from the field? The Aussie product is a dreadful watch with its ultra structured, no risk, attritional five drives (I didn’t give it long, I’d seen enough), but even more so knowing the game there is rampant with domestic abusers. They talk about doing something about it, not aware anything has been done. It’s not been a good week for Robert Elstone, but he has shown he is a man of integrity by stating SL got it wrong. Many others would have tried to sweep it under the carpet and let it die down, but he has confronted it head on. What SL could have done I haven’t yet heard.
  13. A big problem up to now is that due to the low profile of RL here, scandals haven’t received much (if any) coverage in the media, so SL hasn’t been pressed to do much/anything about them. Signing this Aussie bigot Folau has received extensive coverage, and only now is SL taking any action by implementing a code of conduct. It’s a welcome, if late, development. The Aussie game is rampant with degenerates, and as RL there is covered in the media their competition has rules in place to ban players that doesn’t exist here. An example of the difference in profile and action can be seen with Albert Kelly (and an incident that took place here), with his tirade at a woman in McDonalds, https://www.thesportsman.com/articles/opinion-why-the-albert-kelly-incident-is-a-wake-up-call-for-super-league “What struck me particularly about the Kelly episode was both the lack of comment and action from both his club, Hull FC, and the governing body, the RFL. There has also been a lack of coverage in the UK media. The ugly video was covered extensively by media in Kelly’s native Australia, where player scandals receive huge column inches and also in New Zealand. Apart from being buried briefly at the end of one story in a UK paper about something else, the story was virtually ignored in England, at least at first. Only on Monday, roughly around 48 hours after the video came to light, did Hull FC comment publicly. All they said was: “The club has dealt with it internally”. No more details on what that entailed, what punishment, if any, had been handed out. No comment on the abuse, nor any public apology - effectively trying to sweep it under the carpet.”
  14. It’s the stand out scene from Holy Grail....Life of Brian is a much better film though!
  15. I think the poster you responded to makes a valid point. I’ve yet to see a place where the two codes co-exist. They are after all competing for the same playing pool. Where one has a strong presence the others is weak. Always thought a non rugby playing nation (95% of the planet) was the best bet for RL growth. Ive often been puzzled at these expansion debates. For me, expansion means the game being played in a new territory. International heritage teams for example is not expansion, as the playing footprint hasn’t actually spread. The emphasis should be on getting kids to play the game, a grassroots approach. Throwing money at clubs seems a waste (how much has been spent on London over the years, for little return?) What evidence is there that the top down approach works? (as well as international heritage teams, this includes setting up clubs in far off places and filling them with Aussies/English etc). Ive also seen expansionist devotees post links to amateur games being played in far off places. Great that those are taking place, but do people from here really want to watch those? You would need to be an absolute diehard to watch that level of play. When it comes to comes to rugby league, I’m only interested in Super League, the highest level in the game. Similarly from a football standpoint, I’m only interested in the Premier League (and Barcelona vs Real Madrid games). Great that it’s played in leagues around the world, but not because I want to watch any of them, but because theres a bigger pool of talent that can play in the Premier League (117 different nationalities to date). Ultimately if you support St Helens you want to be able to pick RL players from around the world. Greater playing pool means greater quality. My own team Liverpool having a forward line made up of Salah from Egypt, Mane from Senegal, Firmino from Brazil, midfielders from Holland, Japan, England, Guinea, Switzerland. If we could only call on two or three nations, the quality would be nowhere near as good. That’s the great benefit of genuine expansion, a global playing pool to pick from, but without feeling the need to watch any of those leagues.
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