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DC77

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  1. Aussies and Kiwis who play for Aus and NZ is the same thing as the other Aussie and Kiwi born NRL based players who play for other nations. The NRL.com fella outlined this as being the major reason for their reluctance to go. With RU (wallabies) it’s just one group of players, likewise the Aussie Olympians all under the roof of one building, whereas with RL it’s a group of players who represent most (if not all?) the 16 teams in the competition who would be spread out and sharing facilities with the general public. Such a spread out group cannot be contained. In Australia they are taking such drastic measures that NZ players are stuck in Aus until Christmas. Take the little Englander approach if you want, the Aussies ain’t bowing down to anyone.
  2. The more I hear from the Aussie side on this (the last being the BBC podcast from 5 August which I heard yesterday) the more the English response reeks of the insular “little Englander”. The NZ players from the NRL have been stuck in Aus and cannot get back to NZ before Christmas. And yet we have folk here, including esteemed folk on Forty20, claiming the virus is just an excuse for the Aussies/Kiwis not travelling 10,000 miles to a virus riddled island and that there is an ulterior motive. The BBC presenter, after hammering the Aussies in multiple BBC podcasts, finally gave the Aussies a brief consideration after hearing about the extreme situation in Aus from the NRL.com fella. How gracious of him. I get now why Vlandys responded in the way he did (not a colonial outpost, we are a sovereign nation).
  3. An Aussie, saying better quality in the NH, will get Aussies excited about watching international RL. ....and yet there’s some on here (in fantasy land) who think the opposite. That a stronger England, and a challenge to Aussie dominance, will see Aussies have even less interest. The Aussie has spoken folks. Also agree with the stars point. From what I’ve seen Schofield was a maverick of a player. I enjoy listening to him partly for this reason. He also detested the stifling style of Wayne Bennett with England and demanded a return to their open running style of old. That ankle tap on Grace game you mention, that was an 80 minute arm wrestle. This point about the lack of eye catching players I’ve touched on previously, and put it down to the more defensive nature of the game today. RU certainly has killed almost all creativity with the field now overcrowded with mammoth players. RL hasn’t gone as far down this attritional path, but it’s not as open or swashbuckling as previous. Stars are vital for the growth of any sport. With Messi leaving Barcelona one commentator today called him a “tourist attraction” in that wherever he plays next (possibly Paris) people will travel from everywhere to that location just to see him in the flesh. Not that I’m comparing a RL player (or a player in any sport) to Messi as his status is on another level but RL (certainly in England) doesn’t have one player that is a draw, that would make a non RL devotee, or an Aussie, or dare I say it even a RL devotee, tune in to watch him and his team. I remember being glued to the screen when Ronaldo (Brazilian) played for Barcelona, likewise Lomu with NZ...every time they got the ball they lit up the place. With this RLWC being postponed, there wasn’t any star/household name for the media to grab hold of for a response, so there wasn’t much noise about it.
  4. You could only class them as insular if it was across the board, but it isn’t. It’s solely restricted to RL that they don’t look outside their shores. If for example Super League was a billion pound league, with Anfield, Old Trafford, Emirates etc. as RL grounds, and a couple of million in England were playing the sport as opposed to the 44k figure Sport England put out, I think we can be pretty sure the Aussies would be looking up here, a lot. Most of the best Aussie players would be playing over here too as opposed to coming over for a few weeks at the end of their career. The Aussies would be salivating at the prospect of all this, as it would raise the game even more in Australia knowing there was another big player in town. The tv companies would be building games up much like they do with the Ashes, much like they once did with the Bledisloe Cup. English rugby league (the only other pro league outside Aus) just isn’t a big enough player to turn heads in Aus, and until that changes (which Toronto may have provided a decent first step) they will continue to look towards their own league. NZ RL really is an extension of Aussie RL (especially having a club in it) so them winning the odd game will not cause much of a ripple in Aus. NZ RL in some ways is akin to Welsh football in that both have a pro team(s) in their next door neighbours league (NZ Warriors in Aus, Swansea/Cardiff City in Eng). If NZ RL was the size/standard of the all blacks, with their own top league, income, sizeable playing pool etc. that would be a different story. They be seen as genuine challengers to Aussie supremacy. They would also have won more than one RLWC in half a century that’s for sure.
  5. I’m coming from a more neutral perspective as an outsider with no foot in either camp, so I’m not taking sides here. The international game not offering loads (or any?) money is tied into the reason the Aussies have pulled out of the RLWC. I believe they are genuine with their concern over covid (their lockdown in Australia would back this up) and that there is no ulterior motive, but at the same time had the international game been lucrative, meaning the Aussies (and all the NRL players they send out to the other teams) could receive no expense spared top notch facilities, travel, hotels etc, they’d currently be planning to play in the tournament. The fella from NRL.com on the BBC podcast spoke about players having to share facilities with the public. This is in contrast to their other sports teams including the Olympians. The 4 minutes notice I agree was shabby. Dutton has been a class act (even going as far as to apologise for the tournament not happening) so the Aussies could learn a thing or two about decorum. Not sure I agree with withdrawing earlier as the covid situation in Oz changed. Look at the Olympics, spectators were only prevented from attending a matter of weeks before the games, so nobody can really plan too far ahead. The Premier League kicks off this weekend, full stadiums, I’m wondering for how long for. We are at the mercy of this virus.
  6. “They see the growth of the International Game as direct competitor to State of Origin and something which can undermine their claim that SoO is the highest standard of RL in the World.” Do you genuinely believe this? Didn’t State of Origin take off because of the absence of a top quality international scene? When the Aussies make those great player lists they don’t look outside their shores (which maybe gingerjon would see as insular). They don’t respect the standard outside Australia, and will only consider including a player in such a list who has played in the NRL. I’ve heard in NRL commmetary “such and such a player is good enough for an Queensland/NSW jumper”. Again, this could be construed as insular, or it could just be (like their greatest players list and the NRL) they see Origin as the highest level. Don’t English lads talk about the prospect of playing in the NRL as being the ultimate for them? Think I heard a few in the Mick Gledhill podcasts. Players in the Scottish Premiership do this with the Premier League.
  7. It was a genuine question. To win a three (now four) nations, does it carry much weight? The RLWC you know you face the best of what the opposition has to offer.
  8. Ive just outlined that in spite of having a pro domestic league, the Scottish national team has deteriorated to an extent it now has a single quality player (two if being generous). And cherry picking them qualifying for a solitary tournament backs up your point does it? Can I join in? Oh here goes....Ireland qualified for the previous Euros, and in doing so we beat defending world champions Germany, and at the tournament we beat Italy which saw us get out of the group. “Don’t you understand”....Ireland are great! The deterioration in the Irish national team echoes what has happened to Scotland....there ain’t the quality coming through. Mr J. Giles has spoken often about this, as has the Dunph.
  9. But surely if Aussies aren’t insular, why would a league run by Aussies be? It’s a successful multi billion dollar (Aus) league, they are not incompetent. If something is lucrative, they are not going to turn their nose up at that.
  10. Ultimately the breadwinner cannot be punished. It just happened recently with the Premier League not punishing (to any great degree) the “big six” clubs who were attempting to break away to form a European Super League. Those six clubs generate the most interest and money, and the others rely on them for the vast sums they make. Australia provides how many players across the 16 RLWC teams? It’s a big number. You alienate them they then completely close the door and there is no RLWC again. It unfortunate, but it’s reality.
  11. “Hence why they are playing at the Euros”... good lord. The Scots should sign you up as their PR man. Their first tournament in how long? And a tournament that’s become so enlarged that it’s almost harder not to qualify for it. Comparatively speaking, Scotland have declined far more than Ireland in that the Scots could have picked an entire squad full of top class talent, now it’s restricted to Andy Robertson (Ryan Tierney too, If being generous). That’s it. From Ally McCoist banging them in for Rangers, to who? *crickets* From Alec McLeish and Willie Miler forming a imperious central defensive partnership for an Aberdeen team who beat Real Madrid to win the UEFA Cup Winners Cup....to who? *crickets* From Dalglish, Souness, Hansen, Law and the greatest Scottish (and Celtic) player ever, Jimmy Johnstone, to who? *crickets* This decline in spite of having a professional domestic league. The reason for their decline is the same as here, not enough kids are being produced because of the decline in street football which is where most of the previous talent came from. None better than Georgie Best who developed his game on a playing field in his Cregagh estate (now since protected). Where once there were playing fields, now there are housing estates and supermarkets. What’s happened is because the sport is global, Premier League clubs can now fill any shortage of players from Scotland or Ireland with players from around the world that still have street football (front three at Liverpool, Salah from Egypt, Mane from Senegal, Firmino from Brazil, are all a product from playing on the street).
  12. While I agree they should have handled it better (4 minutes notice), their general apathy towards international RL is completely understandable, unless you are blinkered. They have played in every previous RLWC, so they haven’t disrespected it, and in all that time the dial hadn’t budged in terms of “growing the game”. As it happens I think they are genuine in pulling out due to their concern with covid as they are taking extreme measures in Australia, similar to here at the start. The Aussie Olympic team is in a bubble, and competitors go home when they are done. Both the Aussie cricket and RU team are in a bubble when they tour. In contrast players from the NRL would be spread out over 16 international teams, and would have shared facilities with the general public. This is the reason they gave for the differing attitude with other sports. Of course if the RLWC was lucrative they’d almost certainly go the extra mile to make sure they (and the other NRL players) were there. With extra funds from the tournament they would also be able to afford the cost of top notch accommodation, transport, facilities etc.
  13. The thing I’m referring to is Aussies routinely get labelled “insular” (even John Davidson, an Aussie, did so this week) which is complete nonsense as it is contradicted by every other sport they participate. When they got zero golds in the Montreal Olympics they started the Institute of Sport in response...there’s also a constant rivalry with how many medals GB has won. When it’s Ashes time the country comes to a standstill. When they played Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup the tv viewership was over 4 million for a game played in the middle of the morning. When RU was popular there they got huge ratings especially for epic games vs NZ when they were the two best teams. When it’s competitive, and lucrative, Aussies (like anyone) are interested. International RL has been neither of those two things for a long time. When tv stations show old footage of games which one in Australia is going to show a clip of the ‘71 RLWC final played before 3k in France? It’s small time. This is contrasted by their domestic game which is lauded (think of the epic gladiators image from around the same era that is replicated on the NRL trophy). They created/elevated the state of origin series because they had to. There was a void that needed to be filled as international RL did not provide what is required. If and when international RL becomes competitive and also becomes financially rewarding then the Aussies (which includes the NRL) will give it more attention. The tri (four) nations, honestly how serious is that taken? And do Aussies send their full strength XIII for these? In the event this thread is about, the RLWC, they have lost one tournament in half a century. The only world championship (of the top of my head) with dominance comparable to this is Phil Taylor in darts. I watched Penrith games recently (the few before they got thumped by Melbourne) and it was like watching a different sport. Nathan Cleary was orchestrating things unlike anything I’d seen in Super League. Until such time that gulf in quality is bridged Aussies won’t go out of their way to arrange games here, much like England’s (justified) attitude towards France. There has to be something close to parity, or a continuous challenge, to fire up public/player interest in Australia. That must be the long term goal for England and others.
  14. They have dominated the sport unlike any national team in any other sport. Half a century bar one RLWC of complete dominance. And losing one tournament doesn’t affect you when it’s rare. It’s greeted with a shrug. For Australia to pay any attention to the game outside Australia there has to be a challenge, a sustained challenge. Half a century of near complete dominance, yeah they are the best. By a long long way. With a lack of competition outside the club game they elevated State of Origin to fill the gap. Apathy caused State of Origin to take off. If the situation was the same in cricket with little competition outside Australia there’d be a state of Origin in Aussie cricket to match RL.
  15. I agree that the NRL running the game won’t change a thing. They are pushing a wide open door in Australia. The onus is on the people running the game here to have a better plan. Toronto I feel was a way forward as I can only see growth happening if it comes from outside these shores where there isn’t any perception of what RL is (a regional game detached from those outside it), but they were treated pretty shabbily imo. Vlandys, Gould and co. don’t come across well at all, but the general criticism of Australia I have never got. Their apathy towards the game outside Aus is fully warranted. As 17 stone giant rightly points out, Aussies are not insular when it comes to sport, in fact they are arguably the least insular as it’s their major chance to shine on the world stage. The problem is RL doesn’t give them the competitive or financial incentive that is required. Won every RLWC bar one for half a century, won every series against GB for half a century. Winning is humdrum when it’s that frequent. Of course it’s the opposite for GB (or Eng) as having not won in so long winning would then become monumental, but you can’t judge them by your own standards. You have to take a step back and see it from both sides. Then there’s the financial disparity. If your domestic league is worth billions (Aus), and a what is deemed a successful RLWC makes £4 million, this affects the Aussie brand. The Aussie media builds up RL as a big time sport, a RLWC counters that effort. Ultimately the game outside Aus has to make it worthwhile for Aus.
  16. Fantastic post. Everyone critiquing Aussies need to grasp this. Their apathy is understandable, much like the apathy of England towards the like of France.
  17. There’s a good comparison between England’s treatment towards neighbours (ie. France) with Australia’s towards England. There just isn’t the financial or competitive incentive for Australia in international RL and it’s been that way for a long time (State of Origin has had to fill the void). 50 years since GB won a series. Likewise England doesn’t really have much to gain playing France right now. England would win at a canter. RL is akin to that class sketch with John Cleese being Australia (“I look down on them”), Ronnie Barker as England (“i look up to him, but down on him”) and Ronnie Corbett as France (“I know my place”). While the criticism of the Aussies for pulling out is understandable, their general apathy to the game outside Australia is too. The general criticism they get I feel is wholly unwarranted. They have a successful product in Australia, if that success isn’t matched outside Australia that’s not their fault. The 2013 RLWC made less than £4 million, the NRL meanwhile is a multi billion dollar (Aus) league. The Aussies would have made minimal amounts (if not a loss) from that tournament, and playing games against the like of us (Ireland) in front of 5k and Wales infront of 5k would only harm the perception of the sport in Australia. You want Australia to play these tournaments to help “grow the game”, but they’ve played every single tournament since the 1950s and the dial hasn’t budged. They have a lot to lose playing these tournaments as it damages the brand in Australia that their media has built up. The 1971 RLWC final between GB and Aus was played before 3k in France. Is it any wonder State of Origin was created to fill the void of no big time, competitive games outside the club season?
  18. Aussie RU doesn’t have pot to p-ss in. Playing internationals is their lifeline. Its the complete opposite with Aussie RL. Unfortunately for quite some time internationals haven’t been enticing due to the lack of money as well as competitiveness. That Aussie RU, Aussie cricket, and the Aussies at the Olympics, are all prepared to take the necessary measures/sacrifices to go overseas and participate, completely shuts down the “insular” Aussie claims. Give them enough of an incentive and they will come. Until such time international RL is competitive or lucrative their attitude towards it won’t change. If the shoe was on the other foot and England hadn’t lost a series to Australia in 50 years, had a domestic league with earnings that dwarfed everything outside it, there would be similar apathy here. The Aussies could have handled their pull out better though. Judging by his comments on this the Gould fella seems to spout nonsense too.
  19. That ultimately is the crux of the problem, and until the imbalance is addressed then Aussie apathy will continue. This article during the 2017 RLWC highlights just that: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/13/rugby-league-world-cup-has-been-snubbed-in-nrl-obsessed-australia “The NRL might be a multi-billion dollar business that attracts attention, huge sponsors and column inches across most of the country, but international rugby league is a different kettle of fish.” The author of the piece John Davidson (great on Forty20 podcasts) then goes on to call his fellow Aussies “insular”, which I think is head in the sand nonsense. It doesn’t address the issue. Just completely ignores why Aussies may think like they do. He goes on to write about the 2013 RLWC success where it made a whopping £4 million, and in doing so he unintentionally answered Aussie apathy. From a multi billion dollar league, to a tournament that that makes peanuts, and one that has offered next to no competition for a nation that has won every tournament bar one for the past 50 years. If you offer no incentive, whether it be sporting, or financial, you get apathy. Apathy is 100% understandable. You wouldn’t be human to think otherwise. I wonder in addition to apathy are Aussies in some way embarrassed about the game outside Aus, because it doesn’t reflect well on the sport. The NRL is (as Davidson says) a multi billion dollar industry, big time in Aus, and having the same product that makes peanuts elsewhere could damage the brand there. Could explain why Channel Nine have refused to show the RLWC on free to air. Aussies playing Ireland at the 2013 RLWC with just 5k spectators rattling round a 30k seater stadium in Limerick. Think they played at Wrexham with a similar crowd. It’s a damaging look for the game in Australia, so hiding it avoids this. One Aussie newspaper article did mention the Limerick game and said it was degrading for Aussie players to play in such surroundings. Showing (or promoting) these games in Australia would counteract the promotional work the Aussie media does to build up the sport there. From an England perspective it has everything to gain from a RLWC, but from an Aussie perspective they have a lot to lose.
  20. The quality of Irish players has declined, not that they “are confined to the lower leagues”. This decline is the reason they cannot compete with international players. This decline is largely due to a decline in street football (take a look outside, there ain’t kids kicking a ball about honing their skills ala Robbie Keane in Tallaght, they are indoors on their gadgets). Talent rises to the top. If they were good enough they would make it. In the face of changing social norms not enough is invested in youth football (as Brian Kerr testifies), so there ain’t the conveyer belt of talent coming through. The decline in playing talent is precisely the same in Scotland (and it has a pro league that is easily accessible to any aspiring young Scottish player). You following the Longhorns is pretty abnormal though. Folk generally are more interested in talent, in eye catching play, in big games, in big events. It’s what people are drawn to. Again though, football is not parochial so there isn’t a comparison with RL (or say Gaelic football), the latter of which interest is confined to their own geographic location.
  21. The prime issue (which you’ve highlighted with the Mickey Mouse label) is there isn’t much of an international game to speak of. Although the frustration with Aussies (and Kiwis under Aussie control) not playing is understandable here they are an easy target. The NRL is worth billions of Aussie dollars? The RLWC in contrast will make how much? If there isn’t a financial incentive then there has to be sporting one... ...Aussies have won every RLWC for the past 50 years bar one, and in that time GB haven’t beat Aussies in a series. Lack of competition, lack of money outside Australia, no wonder they are “inward looking” (they ain’t though, there just isn’t much reason to look outside). Throw in a pandemic that has seen Aussies take greater measures than most their decision not to attend is hardly a surprise. If the RLWC generated let’s say a tenth of the $6 billion (US) the 2018 FIFA World Cup did, or if they weren’t pretty much guaranteed a place in the final with a high probability of winning it, you can be sure the Aussies would be making plans for the tournament. Their decision highlights the lopsided power/resources/profile/playing numbers the game has in Australia to the game outside it. If you remove Australia entirely from RL the sport would be left with what? 30% of what it currently is? Even less maybe. There just isn’t enough outside Australia to make them interested at the minute, and you cannot blame them.
  22. But in the main the sport was rooted in coal mining towns. I know I’m referring back to Tony Collins on this but he says this connection is unique. Having such a strong connection with these coal mining communities have both helped and hindered the sport in that RL will always part of the fabric/culture of these towns which in turn makes it more inaccessible for outsiders. I think this “unknown” claim is a myth. Ask scousers (especially anyone who follows sport) if they know about rugby league I’d expect 99% will say yes. Radio Merseyside has a RL show so it’s not as if they are blind to it. There’s no connection to RL in the city, a sport culturally tied to another location. Wouldn’t go about calling Everton fans “Liverpudlians” (even though being from the city they are) as the term in a sporting context infers being a supporter of the major club in the city. I think everything you write about in regards to supporting city teams is only relevant outside the UK. I’ve yet to see any evidence that a team with Liverpool in its name, or Manchester, or London will do anything to shift the dial here, outside it may well be a different story. The sport has been in existence for 125 years and it’s parochial identity has almost been set in stone here. Good luck trying to shift that. The waves that were made in Toronto for the club game exceeded anything seen here so the answer may well be outside the UK...that and internationals as a few previous posters mentioned (which again explains the annoyance over the Aussies/Kiwis pulling out) He’s definitely from Canada as opposed to an ex pat in Canada. Alot of wishy washy stuff that simply doesn’t relate to the sporting landscape here, though It’s always good to have an outside take on things. When Blackburn were good, yeah. The location really doesn’t matter if the team is good. Blackburn vs Manchester United were “top of the table” clashes for a few seasons. A couple of years ago Castleford were heavyweights in RL, yet there are maybe half a dozen bigger locations in RL.
  23. Your account correlates to what I experienced in England. I don’t think RL is insular or deliberately shuts itself away (as mo chara Frisky would like). In fact I think the sport is very open to outsiders (playing games on location around the country, which no other sport does to my knowledge). I think the parochial label comes from the perception outsiders have of the sport, a sport rooted in a certain geographic location with such a strong bond to their communities. Tony Collins in his podcast said RL is unlike any other with it’s coal mining roots (although there’s a few famous managers/players in football who worked down the pit, namely Shankly, Busby and Stein, the three most important individuals at Liverpool, Man United and Celtic)...but I’ll bow to his greater knowledge. It’s a sport entrenched in its own area, and it’s never broken out from it. The positive with this parochialism is so long as those communities remain RL will always be strong there, but the negative is the inaccessibility for outsiders to mentally connect with them. There’s probably a similarlity with RL clubs and smaller football clubs in that unless you have a connection with the area you’d almost feel as those you are intruding with supporting either. The big football clubs (or NFL teams) there isn’t this parochialism hence someone from Cairo (akin to the lads you knew from Hull) being as passionate a Liverpool fan as someone born within 3 miles of Liverpool city centre. There will be tens of thousands of scousers as passionate about Liverpool FC as me but there will be none more passionate, and this feeling is replicated around the world.
  24. When I say names I'm including the location in that. It obviously has an effect, but a much bigger effect outside the UK (which you are alluding to). Renaming Salford to Manchester Red Devils ain’t gonna see an upward surge in their fanbase here. Outside the UK that name may have more resonance, so we are coming at this from two different perspectives. The crux of the issue in the UK is RL as a sport is seen as parochial, and yes the names contribute to that, but ultimately a London Broncos carries no more weight than a Batley Broncos would. Toronto came into Super League, that’s a major city. Didn’t do a thing for RL outside RL circles. Ditto Paris. RL has almost been banjaxed from the start when it was formed in those coal-mining towns along the M62. It’s never lost that parochial tag. How it could is the hardest question to answer.
  25. Is that what you say to the Welsh fella who drives up the motorway to watch his beloved RL side? You’ve endorsed my point though, mo chara, in that the parochial aspect of RL has shackled it for over a century. Wigan for Wigan, St Helens for St Helens. As Tony Collins said on his podcast you can go just a few miles outside these locations and RL doesn’t exist.
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