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Everything posted by DC77

  1. The streets were flooded with kids playing in the 90s and early 2000s, the era I grew up in. It was constant noise. Those same streets are now largely empty, and It’s got nowt to do with cars. The size issue is a problem for the rugby codes as any sport where power can be such a determining factor in success means there will be no let up in “bigger, faster, stronger”, ultimately transforming the game further away from what it was. With weightier collisions it also makes it more dangerous. Can’t see anyway back for RU unless they radically change the game (speed it up, and remove mass changes, factors that would require players to have greater endurance, forcing them to trim down and look more human). RL the players still largely look normal, although they are in much better shape which makes it a tougher game for attackers to excell in, hence clubs have scoring records that date to East German records in athletics.
  2. They are no more obsessed than Geordies or Mancs. Both are every bit as football obsessed as scousers and the cities are dominated by the football clubs. However no populous is 100% one (team) sport. This would mean literally one sport, and that’s it, and when another one comes on (regardless of what it is) the channel is switched over. A significant number who follow a sport are casual viewers to others. Big events such as the Ashes (which dragged in Arsene Wenger who had never seen cricket), Five/Six Nations, these pull in casual viewers. Its casual viewers that a sport also needs to appeal to.
  3. I have lived in Liverpool (went to University), been in students union bars etc. Like many other football dominated places such as Newcastle and Manchester, football is king, but as I say, you rarely restrict yourself to one sport (team sport in this case). When I say follow, I’m not saying they would have anywhere near the same devotion to another sport (If Sky lost rights to football they would ditch Sky, as I would, as would RL devotees with RL), however you would still watch another sport that appeals if it’s on TV, or possibly even go to a big event. When RU was appealing to watch it got significant ratings for the Five/Six Nations, pulling in casual viewers. With its decline as a spectacle ratings now would be more confined to RU diehards ie. people that put RU above all else and would watch anything related to the sport.
  4. I don’t agree with this. Most people who follow sport don’t only follow one sport. Football is my main sport, just as most others have a main sport, but you rarely restrict yourself to just one. As much as I appreciated the sublime skill of a Zidane, there’s an enjoyable contrast with a Lomu rampaging through an opposition defence bowling them over like skittles. “The Liverpool”...always loved how some Europeans referred to the club in this way (mainly Italians if I’m not mistaken). And just on Salah, he recently became the fastest Liverpool player to score 100 top flight goals, surpassing Roger Hunt from the 1960s. Could a Wigan player break the record (or get anywhere close) of a much more recent player (Offiah) for 100 tries for Wigan? Point is the platform that was afforded to Hunt is afforded to Salah, the same doesn’t apply to the like of a Makinson. Look at the St Helens scoring records, all from years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Helens_R.F.C.#Player_records Its the equivalent to those East German records that still stand in athletics. You shouldn’t be making the game harder, and that’s ultimately the major issue for both rugby codes.
  5. “playing any sport bar basketball on concrete is not fun“ Eh? Street football is played on concrete...Wayne Rooney is one such product. It was easily the surface I played football on most on growing up (home and at school). Besides those two, another popular sport on concrete is rounders (baseball) although it doesn’t have the same mass appeal in terms of gameplay. Swinging a bat is fun, but you are still somewhat limited in what you can do in comparison to having a ball at your feet or in your hands. On the drop in outdoor activity, it’s much more recent than the advent of cars. It’s over the last couple of decades that the change has been ramped up, sparked by the use of hand held gadgets. The change in physique in RU I wouldn’t put down to Pacific Islanders (although they do play a role). Clive Woodward’s England basically won the RUWC playing 10 man rugby (mammoth pack, and the boot of Wilkinson). France have always had better back players, but when you can bypass back players to win they become redundant. France were getting crushed by bigger teams, as were Wales, so in order to compete with the like of England they have had to join them, beef up, become attritional, and unwatchable. The transformation can be summed up in one change in the France midfield, from Phillippe Sella, 12-13 stone of skill, to Bastereaud, 18 stone of brute force. Unlike France and Wales the Aussies to their credit still try to play a more attacking game which, to their cost in the now war of attrition dominated game of RU, has made them far less competitive. Wayne Bennett made England more competitive, and far less watchable. Shaun Wane did similar with Wigan. There’s a lot of cross pollination between the two codes (RL defensive coaches flooding both), and with players getting bigger, faster, stronger, it makes it more difficult for the same attacking play as before. This has contrasted with both basketball and football where attacking play has actually got easier and as a result you see records get broken (in the case of football, Messi breaking Pele’s scoring record for a club, Ronaldo breaking the international goalscoring record, Salah breaking the single season Premier League goalscoring record etc.)...records aided by better playing surfaces than the past, more protection from referees than than the past, laws like the back pass rule being removed so the gk cant just pick the ball up, and whereas in the rugby codes players have got bigger (making the obstacle bigger) the main change to footballers is they are quicker/more athletic, meaning they are at it for the full 90 minutes, and also have longer careers. In basketball you see similar advances that aid attacking players with records being broken by Steph Curry, Lebron James etc. A Jonah Lomu, the last RU superstar, scoring four tries at will vs England would never happen today, he’d run into James Haskell and co., fuelled by whey protein shakes, and get shut down. The prolific try scoring of Offiah, that couldn’t happen today, nor the runs of Hanley through the middle of the field. Those same gaping holes in defence aren’t there. It’s more regimented, structured, tighter, bigger obstacles, the wrestle, slower PTB, just much harder for individuals to shine. Ultimately it’s the on field product that is the best advertiser for a game. Get that right, and allow attacking individuals to stand out and become known (or even a household name) in the process, and you will attract new viewers.
  6. That’s true. Anecdotal yes, but I regularly cycle a few miles my area and pass a number of housing estates and the silence is deafening. Those streets used to filled with noise with kids playing. In addition to being less active (from what I gather anyway), society is much more conscious about safety when it comes to playing sports, with much greater scrutiny on collision based sports. I’ve largely ditched RU as physically players now look like transformers (to steal another quote from Jonathan Liew), and no longer resemble humans (“80% neck”). The flair (and there wasn’t that much previously) has largely gone. It’s dominated by mammoth sized blokes colliding, and now there are court cases galore. It’s baffling that the physicality/danger has increased, just as society has become more safety conscious. And these are supposedly intelligent people running the game. Bonkers. I will hold on to my memories of Brian O’Driscoll (especially the early years before the size really took off) as it’s unlikely that form of RU will be seen again. The result of this transformation of RU is it has never had a lower profile than it does now, with not a solitary household name in the UK. Stars cannot emerge as physically it’s too stifling for attacking play. Each RUWC passes and not a single individual emerges, they can’t. RL has an opportunity to fill this increasing void left by RU’s self inflicted demise by going back to playing a more open attacking game. There’s nothing as appealing in rugby than seeing a slick attacking sequence (dummies, long runs...a Rob Burrow in the grand final)...have plenty more of that, and less of the more attritional stuff, and RL will advertise itself and thrive.
  7. As Tony Collins says in his podcast, a sport that gets in there first is a major factor for catching on in an area. While that is undoubtedly true, where I disagree with him is him not seeing the different appeal of each sport that also makes it catch on...fact is sports are different. Some are just more appealing than others. It’s not merely by chance that football and basketball are the two biggest team sports on the planet, or that tennis and golf are the two biggest individual sports. Regardless of where you are from or who you support, chances are you have access to playing both football and basketball, whether that’s in your own garden (football net), side of house/garage (basketball hoop), or the local playing field/court, or school, or sports club etc. The reason they are the most accessible to play is due to their gameplay. The inherent advantages being able to express yourself/manipulate the ball with it being round (execute tricks, flicks etc.), the satisfaction of shooting into a net, and then there’s finishing the game in one piece. I played basketball as a kid despite having never seen an actual game on tv until I was 17 (and that was the only time I watched it) so you don’t need to be brought in up a basketball (or football) household to play it. Very few who aren’t from the heartlands (or have no family connection) of a collision based sport will pick it up as such gameplay is an acquired taste. It’s footage of skills that predominantly go viral not hits, hence Messi, Federer, Jordan and co. are the megastars and millions try to emulate their plays. Ultimately any collision based sport will always play second fiddle to one that isn’t. It’s for this reason that the rugby codes need to revert back to a more open, attacking era as they are too geared towards the attritional stuff. A Rangi Chase type dominated game would see RL soar as that kind of expression is what is most appealing (if I had a rugby ball I’d have been practicing that move he pulled off).
  8. Players from their 20s to their 50s. I’d hazard a guess that for RU the concussion issue and resulting brain damage is getting worse as players are much, much bigger than just a couple of decades ago...”80 neck” as Jonathan Liew referred to those who play it today. You don’t really hear so much of older players with problems, or at least not to the extent of more recent players. Up until professionalism RU players still looked like regular sized blokes, so the collisions to the body wouldn’t have been anywhere near as impactful as they are now. A wirey, slight figure like JPR Williams wouldn’t be allowed on a rugby field today for his own safety, unless he bulked up by adding about four stone of muscle to withstand the increased blows. The difference with RL is it has always been professional, so while the change in physicality has likely increased, such a change probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as profound as what has happened in RU, therefore I’d posit that those with problems in RL are more evenly spread out among those who played the game over various decades. The most obvious thing that can be done to make both codes safer is players having less bulk. These are collision sports, so impacts to the body will happen unless you want to do away with them which would make them different sports (therefore unlikely to happen). It’s lessening the effect of those impacts that will be the issue to solve, something that is very difficult. In football it’s much more straightforward as the main issue was the weight of the ball, and the high frequency with which they were headed both in training and during games. That England ‘66 team has been littered with brain issues. Spending time solely heading a ball hanging from the ceiling was the norm in training according to Geoff Hurst. Those laced balls were bleedin heavy, and during a game soaked up water and mud, making it even more hazardous. And play back then was more aerially based, with wingers getting to the byline and swinging in cross after cross, while others just went direct by launching it high upfield.
  9. RU is an extremely dangerous sport, arguably more so than RL. While RU has a lower frequency of impacts than RL, the impacts themselves are bigger. An 18 stone centre (who previously would have weighted 12 to 13 stone) hitting you is the equivalent of a mini car crash. And the impact doesn’t have to be direct to the head to do damage (most impacts are not to the head). The result of an upper body collision (a common impact) can be whiplash, ie. rapid brain movement. You often see a player’s head jerk forward when hit on the body. CTE was defined in the BBC source as: CTE can develop when the brain is subjected to numerous small blows or rapid movements - sometimes known as sub-concussions
  10. Or they could just play a safer sport (the likeliest option). There are only circa 45 thousand across all age groups who play RL weekly in England. You make a collision based sport even more dangerous with bigger, faster, stronger, that small number will only decline. I know I’m coming from a football perspective on this but I’ll never grasp why RL players get lauded for getting a battering during games. It’s a tough sport yeah, but the body wasn’t designed to take brutal punishment. Phil Caplan in last weeks forty20 podcast was extolling the virtues of a Catalan player who played down his injury in an interview after the Grand final (would need to check again what injury he got, might have been ribs). My first thought is mug. Taking such punishment is for very few, and even fewer as the ferocity of the hits increase which is what is happening. RU the physicality is even worse with mammoth players now “80% neck” and no longer resembling humans.
  11. With players getting bigger, faster, stronger, for a collision sport, the effects of impacts on the body will only get worse. The collisions in RU for instance are now like mini car crashes. Steve Thompson cannot remember a minute of the 2003 RUWC final. In RL the collisions are even more frequent. More collisions equals more concussions. The “improvement” in physique has only made collision based games more dangerous to play, and harder for an individual to stand out. The increase in physicality is accompanied with a greater emphasis on defence. The result of this is attacking play gets shut down much quicker than previous, hence there hasn’t been a household name in either code for donkey’s years. Absolutely no chance does an Offiah or a Campese get the platform to do what they did in today’s era. It’s harder to make eye catching plays, and it’s more dangerous to play. Both codes are inflicting this on themselves. Contrast this with football where there’s far less heading during a game (passing style dominates), heading in training has been minimised at pro level (no heading routines like Geoff Hurst spending 10 minutes just heading a ball hanging from the ceiling) and removed at junior level, and the balls are much lighter today than the heavy balls of yesteryear (even heavier when they soaked up water). Add in greater protection from referees today than previous it has made football safer to play, allowing individuals to stand out even more than they did before. George Best today, playing on carpet like surfaces, ball played much more on the ground, and referees penalising any infringements they previously didn’t (no Ron “chopper” Harris or Tommy “Anfield Iron” Smith being able to take him out), he’d have a field day and would have been even more eye catching than he was. Probably wouldn’t have had to retire at 27 either. The aim for a sport should be about making it better.
  12. And Newcastle. I remember when the great J.Wilkinson was at Newcastle Falcons and it was as though he was out in the wilderness while his England teammates were playing in RU heartlands for Wasps, Saracens, Leicester and co. And the Falcons had millions pumped into them but there wasn’t any Melbourne Storm type effect.
  13. John the comment you responded to, taken in isolation, looks like a “X is more popular than X”. But that isn’t the gist of it. It’s merely a follow on to a broader comment about differing viewership among the codes (I’ve linked the podcast on this). I’m done with the subject in any case but the podcast is a good listen for anyone that’s interested in the sporting landscape of another country.
  14. That’s a problem in RL, any neutral comment is seen as “an attack”. The other poster went on about subscribers (pay tv), continually overlooking the crux of the point (ie. the data) that Aussie Rules is more popular than RL.
  15. I think one improvement would be ensuring the PTB is fast (penalising any players slowly getting off the man in possession) so you get more disorganised defences, thus better attacking opportunites. It can get very samey with players slowly rolling of their opponent (one by one), taking long enough to allow the defensive line to get organised, and then the same process starts again with the next batch of players slowly getting off the man in possession one by one. It’s suffocating for attacking play, and it’s attacking play that ultimately makes the headlines, and makes the stars. Being risk averse (in terms of changing rules) is a much bigger risk than doing nothing at all. As a spectacle RU has destroyed itself with the transformation in player physique with the game now 80 minutes of attrition, so there is an opportunity for RL to garner viewers who have ditched the other code, but it has become more attritional itself. Even hardcore RL fans are voting with their feet with Wigan’s attendances down, and many put that down to the style of play. So if devoted fans are put off by it, what chance casual viewers won’t be?
  16. Professionalism has destroyed much of RU. It’s unrecognisable from the sport I grew up watching. The best description I’ve heard on the change of player physique that has largely ruined the game as a spectacle is by Jonathan Liew 17 minutes in: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/786569 Rugby union players “no longer look human”. Busy downing whey protein from their early teens they now look like “weird mutant creatures that are 80% neck”....the game is now “transformers colliding, where the skill”? I think he’s summed up the why the sport is in freefall. There hasn’t been a household name in RU in over a decade and a half and that’s because it’s a much more physical, attritional game played by mammoth sized players in a now overcrowded field with space and line breaks at a premium. The last RUWC (and the one before that, and the one before that etc.), no big name has emerged from it. It’s nigh on impossible for an individual to stand out now as they get shut down. When the players looked “human” (to use Liew’s phrase) individuals had more space to attack and there was more onus on open, running play, which allowed a Campese to shine. He’s lucky he played in an era when a player like him had a platform to shine as he’d starve on the scraps players with any quality get served today. Rugby league, while it hasn’t gone down the players “looking like mutants” route or “80% neck”, it’s still a much harder game for an attacker to shine as before. Those wide open spaces an Offiah and Hanley were afforded are no longer. Bigger, faster, stronger players, better defensive set ups, the wrestle, holding on in the tackle (and often it’s multiple players slowly getting off the man in possession one by one), it’s far far harder to make eye catching attacking plays today that made stars of the aforementioned players as well as Tuigamala, Robinson and co. It’s gone the opposite in football as players today play in far better surfaces than previous, and are afforded far more protection from referees, so you routinely see individuals shine....Salah lighting up the Premier League the latest one. Stunning play that he (and the others) are allowed to execute which instantly goes viral, elevating them as individuals and the sport as a whole. RL has the capacity to make stars if it afforded them the on field platform to do so, which it hasn’t done for donkey’s years. As a result there’s no face/household name (or poster boy) for the sport which the game could use in adverting etc. to promote the game in the media. Who could Sky use in a RL promo that the public would recognise and/or be a draw? The answer is no-one. That’s not because the talent isn’t there, it is, talent generally doesn’t alter that much from one generation to the next, the difference is the platform on the field is no longer there to make a star.
  17. Can only assume the responders haven’t listened to the author of code wars or the data accumulated. Another titbit, The RL Origin games, are put on in an uncompetitive midweek time slot, the result of which it is able to garner casual viewers for the “events” who otherwise would not watch RL. Because Aussie Rules has a higher % of fans who are solely interested in their sport than RL fans are with RL, Aussie Rules can garner strong ratings regardless of what it is up against, which is not the case with RL hence they will move games around as they did this year with the Melbourne Storm fixture, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/sep/14/nrl-puts-rugby-league-back-in-its-box-by-appeasing-afl-with-finals-fixture-move Aussie Rules has more solid foundations than RL.
  18. Mature response. i have no interest in Aussie Rules so I’m not fighting it’s corner in any battle with RL. I don’t see it declining the way you do, and as the most popular football code in Oz over 150 years after its creation it looks more than durable to withstand any changes (including an Asian influx).
  19. Aussie Rules has a bigger fanbase than the NRL. They have more members, and they have more people who go to games. More people who watch Aussie Rules on TV, are interested in Aussie Rules, than those who watch the NRL on TV, are interested in the NRL. The NRL has four times the number of “event” games than Aussie Rules, and they are able to garner casual viewers for these games who otherwise have no interest in RL. All of this is directly from the data, published in the fella’s book, which he explains in the podcast. Your post is opinionated and not based on data. https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/811618 So which football code is Australia's most popular - and why isn't it Rugby League??
  20. This entire post is personal opinion (and a biased one). Don’t think Aussies will ever have a strong domestic league in football, which is the only way I could see it displacing Aussie Rules. You are too small a market (all the best tend to go overseas quickly, Harry Kewell left in his early teens if I’m not mistaken). A smaller sport can thrive in Oz as there’s little else outside it to compete with...for instance Aussie Rules being solely Oz will always have its best players there, therefore Aussie fans will continue to be able to watch the best Aussie Rules has to offer, and the NRL has next to no competition outside Oz (the sport’s only other pro league Super League earns peanuts in comparison, less than a sixth of NRL’s tv money), so again, Oz will always have the best RL players there. If say the Super League here was the Premier League with almost all players of real quality earning 100k per week (the top ones 350k plus), there’d be a conveyor belt of Aussie RL players heading over here sharpish, stripping the NRL of all of its best talent, resulting in a nosedive in popularity in Oz. This won’t happen of course. Aussie Rules (and the NRL) will continue to have the best domestic league in their respective sports, thus their status won’t be touched. There may well be more Aussie footballers produced (as you say, due to more Asians arriving in Oz, or even a FIFA World Cup held in Australia triggering more development), but I think the main effect of that would be more Aussie exports arriving in the top leagues. The physical aspect (concussion) is an increasing concern for collision sports, and while a decline in % of the population who play these sports is likely in a more safety conscious world, there will still be enough talent for Aussie Rules (and RL) to maintain their status. It would take a monumental shift in playing numbers to really alter things.
  21. Ahh ok. Didn’t realise Aussie Rules was also called footy in Oz. Think The Rocket is underestimating the devotion Aussie Rules followers have towards the game in Oz. I don’t think they care about it being international, similarly neither does anyone in Ireland about Gaelic football. Had a quick read through a few team articles on Wikipedia (Carlton, Essendon, North Melbourne)..while I already knew they were old I still found it amazing to see images (team photos, scenes from games) from the mid 19th century. My own club Liverpool FC didn’t even exist. We’re a mere pup compared to these. Aussie Rules has been embedded into the fabric of Australia almost from the get go. That’s not going to shift anytime soon.
  22. The podcast touches on Vlandys’ bashing AFL, saying it’s counterproductive as it feeds into the image of RL as a downmarket, working class ruffian type activity (they didn’t use those words specifically). I have seen the Aussie word Bogan used for RL followers in Aus, types like that bloke from Crocodile Dundee, Donk. Personally the working class label wouldn’t bother me, but Aussies appear more conscious of it than I’d previously thought. I know RL can be rough (“bring back the biff”), but Aussie Rules is no shrinking violet either when it comes to dishing it out (our Gaelic players routinely got a hiding during the international Rules series), so any perception that Aussie Rules is the more classier product would be a surprise. The bigger take from the podcast though is that going by the data Aussie Rules has got much deeper roots and devotion in Aussie society than RL.
  23. Wikipedia article on The Front Bar: “In April 2017, the show moved timeslots from 9:30pm to 8:30pm to go head-to-head with the Nine Network's long-running The Footy Show” Having listened to the podcast below on the Aussie “football” codes, I’m not surprised by the above entry. Going by the data, Aussie Rules is a much bigger code than RL, with far more members, more spectators, basically a more devoted fanbase, hence them confidently putting their show on at the same time slot as the RL one. Those who watch Aussie Rules on tv do so as they are devoted to it, whereas RL, having four “events” (three State of Origin games, and the NRL final) they are able to garner more casual viewers who don’t really care about RL. This would explain the gulf in numbers who go to watch the two codes. Also, polls of Aussie Rules followers show a much higher % who are solely interested in Aussie Rules than RL followers are to RL. This last poll surprised me, for I know this is anecdotal but I’ve come across many folk from Melbourne (and Victoria) in Liverpool FC message boards, and yet, from the data, it’s Sydney that is more diverse (spread around) when it comes to sporting interest. https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/811618 Such a fascinating listen. The sporting landscape there is completely unlike here, as we have one behemoth, the Premier League (football in general), while the rest feed off the scraps. There is no competition here, or any needle (ie. Vlandy type) among the leaders of different sports. They also compare the A League there to the Super League here...sometimes looking to expand, other times going into protect mode. Going by the views expressed and the data Aussie Rules seems a lot more confident in its product, more secure, which is why the RL chief Vlandys and RL followers there are more attacking than their Aussie Rules counterparts.
  24. Couldn’t agree more. The one ground I miss most is Highbury. The two goal ends (North Bank, the clock End), the tight pitch, the marble halls, that place was Arsenal. Now they have a generic bowl with no character. It could be anyone’s stadium. Arsene Wenger spoke about this last year: “I moved from Highbury, which was similar to Anfield, but there was a soul in the stadium. We built a new stadium but we never found our soul – we left our soul at Highbury” https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsene-wenger-admits-arsenal-lost-21312779 On the character of Fenway Park, that’s the reason the same owners kept Anfield as opposed to a new generic bowl in Stanley Park. You cannot replace character. If you are going to build a new stadium (which should be a last resort) then priority #1 should be make sure it’s unique, that it could only be the home of the team in question. If you remove all the team signs from inside the stadium, blindfold a person and put them in the middle of the field, remove blindfold, and they don’t know where they are, that’s a ###### stadium (which applies to many). There’s nothing worse or as depressing as identikit stadiums.
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