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The Rocket

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Everything posted by The Rocket

  1. I`ve been following this venture pretty closely and I`ve heard Abdo say straight up several times this venture is about gaming revenue and a possible broadcast deal, growing League in America hardly at all. And to say "the whole scheme was a joke from the start" says more about you and your lack of nous than the venture so far, whom 99% of people would say has been extraordinarily well run.
  2. There`s a lot of people out there in this country either death riding this venture or itching for something to go wrong, I expect this minor blunder on what has otherwise been a faultless roll-out, will provide those people (usually those with ties to fumbleball or just plain League haters) with something to ##### and moan about as if the sky was falling in.
  3. NRL 2024: Why UFC boss is all in on league’s Las Vegas adventure (smh.com.au) One of the heavy hitters in US sport has praised the NRL for its Las Vegas strategy, saying the use of Sin City as a launching pad will “turbocharge” its entry into the American market. Lawrence Epstein is Dana White’s right-hand man at the UFC and fronted the NRL’s official Las Vegas launch. It’s a sign the UFC, where Epstein is the chief operating officer, is very serious about its partnership with the NRL, which was announced on Thursday (AEDT). “Las Vegas was crucial for our sport, and the NRL are very smart in using that as their launching pad,” Epstein said. “There is no question Las Vegas can turbocharge your entry into the sports market. They are doing this the right way.” The biggest thing I have learnt from my week in Las Vegas is how strategic the NRL has been in its approach to marketing and promoting its season-opening double-header in March. The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders rolled out the red carpet for the NRL. They didn’t have to do it, but it is testament to the respect the Raiders have for the sport and what it is trying to achieve. Their president even took time to mingle with NRL players Aaron Woods, Campbell Graham, Spencer Leniu and Billy Walters in a corporate box. It’s the grit of rugby league and its continuing flow that will appeal to our fans,” Raiders boss Sandra Douglass Morgan said. The UFC took it a step further by including a dedicated NRL media event in its fight week program. The UFC and NFL were genuinely excited about having the NRL in their city and the opportunity to engage with their audience. There is no question the NRL has a lot of work to do to compete with other sports in Las Vegas. It most likely never will, but it doesn’t want to compete, it wants to grow, and the NRL believes NFL and UFC fans are the most likely to adopt rugby league. That is smart. It’s not blowing cash and, if it works, there is a real chance the NRL will find a permanent home in Las Vegas.
  4. I know this belongs on the cross-code, but I`m banned from there (and couldn`t care less) but this does have some effect on League if union in Oz is really in this much trouble. Just a heads-up, this is from the same bloke who twenty years ago was braying about the imminent demise of Rugby League and the author of the famous Oz rugby union "war-chest " quote. Former rugby boss calls for NRL teams and Super Rugby clubs to form an alliance to revive the game | The Australian Former rugby boss John O’Neill said. O’Neill has urged Rugby Australia to revisit the ownership model for its Super Rugby franchises and has boldly tossed up the concept that battling rugby clubs should form an alliance with booming NRL teams. O’Neill said. “Today, the financial precipice that confronts the whole of the game demands that all options be on the table for consideration.” “Let’s conceptualise for a moment: what about the Roosters and the Tahs entering into some form of ‘partnership’?” O’Neill said. “Initially, it could be based on the economic benefit to both franchises in that both teams’ home ground is the SFS, so the potential consolidation of home games could enhance the overarching hiring agreement, plus season packages, joint memberships, merchandise, etc. It could be attractive and maybe lead to something bigger? It gets funnier. “Again, on a conceptual basis and thinking of radical ways and means to make Super Rugby viable, perhaps Western Force could relocate from Perth to Western Sydney based at Parramatta, maybe in partnership with the Eels?” “Melbourne Rebels stay in Melbourne and form a partnership with the Storm. The Reds similarly with the Broncos. The Brumbies probably with the Raiders. These conceptual suggestions are designed to get people thinking about solutions.” I got to say, I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. Bizarro world gone mad. Uning believable, makes you wonder what planet these big heads are on. And a comment from the comments section: "Last time a Union Club hooked up with a League club was Parramatta 2 blues and Parramatta Leagues club. Leagues club was going to help make the Union Club profitable. Leagues club ended up owning the club and land and shut it down. Didn't work out very well." I`d say worked out perfectly.
  5. Hey, I`ll just tell him to turn off his mind, relax and float downstream.
  6. I did it for the Pedant, he`s a Pom and I thought he might like the Beatles reference.
  7. The season keeps on getting better (and better). There`s so much good news in there I don`t know where to start. Super Rugby clubs in financial strife ask Rugby Australia for $9m | The Australian Rugby Australia is facing deeper financial pain with a group of Super Rugby clubs set to double down on a $9 million demand in funding, adding to fears the head office is on ‘the financial brink’ But there are concerns about RA’s financial situation worsening as demands for more funding for many of the five Super Rugby franchises and cost blowouts put pressure on an already struggling balance sheet. RA recently secured a $80m credit facility with private equity group Pacific Equity Partners. One source said RA could easily burn through $30m or more of its loan in 2024, and potentially more, meaning it could have more well north of $50m debt on its balance sheet in 12 months time – as well as the additional burden of paying interest on the loan. .It follows a video conference on Monday last week where the state CEOs were told by Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh they would not be receiving $1.7m in funding. That response from Waugh has angered some of the state chiefs, who are now preparing a letter and invoices. All Super Rugby franchises are understood to be making a loss and are forecasting a loss for next year. There are also concerns debt owned by the NSW Waratahs and an emerging difficult financial situation at the Melbourne Rebels – who has well-documented financial strains – could put a further strain on RA’s financial situation should it have to step in to financially support rugby in both states. The Waratahs are understood to have made further financial losses of several million dollars, and forecast a similar result in 2024, and the Western Force relies on funding from billionaire benefactor Andrew Forrest to keep it in a stable position. One source said RA could easily burn through $30m or more of its loan in 2024, and potentially more, meaning it could have more well north of $50m debt on its balance sheet in 12 months time – as well as the additional burden of paying interest on the loan. “I can’t see it not turning into a massive shitfight,” said one club boss when contacted by The Weekend Australian. Don`t you love a double negative, yes, we have no bananas.
  8. Sydney Morning Herald reporter Andrew Webster posting from Las Vegas this morning. Las Vegas: And here comes Aaron Woods, charging onto the ball, steaming up the middle of the Glitter Strip, brushing off the spruikers and urgers, ignoring the blackjack tables and watered-down margaritas and tearing into the critics of the NRL’s double-header at Allegiant Stadium on March 2. The veteran prop has been popping up everywhere here to promote the concept alongside Roosters recruit Spencer Leniu, Souths centre Campbell Graham and Broncos hooker Billy Walters. All four have been fine ambassadors for the code. Every request has been met with a smile and a laugh. They’ve been a lot of fun. Woods was prepared to slip into an Elvis jumpsuit if required. Having spent the week here, though, I’ve been surprised by the enthusiasm of Las Vegans, either on the street or local media. Hitching its wagon to the star of the UFC is a windfall most won’t understand, but the crossover between the fan bases is considerable. Good things happen when rugby league officials do bold things. Many people wanted John Quayle and Ken Arthurson sacked when they launched the Tina Turner campaign. ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys and chief executive Andrew Abdo are about to have their Tina moment. Let’s see if they’re just as successful.
  9. Interesting for you, because you`re just dying for it to fail.
  10. I`m just wondering how many teams this Rugby League nines tournament could cater for and how big it might get, whether we might start to see teams sent from all over the Rugby League (and haha) rugby union world, culminating in the mother of all tail-gate parties the afternoon before the double-header. The winners presented to the crowd at the double-header. Two-event-for-one tickets for all attendees of the proceeding days UFC and Nascar events of course. As you say, makes for a compelling lead up to the game, and could ensure a bumper crowd year-in year-out if this becomes a regular fixture line-up with who-knows what else they are thinking of.
  11. A little more information on the combine and Nines Tournament to be run by the NRL in America. The combine seems a little gimmicky, but heck, if it garners more publicity why not. The nines tournament I think has more potential, interesting that Abdo says union clubs have been invited to form a League nines team and have a go. “We are going to be working with local partners and we will be going out to the male and female college athletes and they get to apply,” NRL boss Andrew Abdo said. “The top 50 male and female applicants will come down for an intensive session. We will have our high-performance team, who will be filtering and monitoring the statistics and the testing on the day. “The output gets captured in a report. That information gets sent off. A short-list develops on that day.” Jillaroos coach Brad Donald will oversee the combine along with the game’s high-performance unit. The college athletes will take part in a range of fitness and skills drills at Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas. From there, the NRL will choose two female and two male athletes and give them an opportunity to travel to Australia to train with teams. Clubs will then be given an option to offer a player a full-time development deal. With regards the Nines Tournament: The NRL will also stage a two-day nines tournament in Las Vegas on the Thursday and Friday before the double header on Saturday, local time, between Manly and South Sydney, and the Sydney Roosters against Brisbane. There will be an under-18s and open competitions for men and women. “It’s exciting for us to open this up to the rugby league community which exists already,” Abdo said. “We are working with USA Rugby League. We are putting together nine’s tournament. We’ve had a huge response and 27 teams have already entered. “It’s not just for rugby league teams. We think we can attract some rugby union teams. “It will be played across two days and there will be prize money for the winners. It’s about connecting them to the rugby league community. They will attend the game.”
  12. They`re really giving this the best possible chance you would think. NRL Las Vegas: Andrew Abdo announces UFC partnership before 2024 season-opener double-header (smh.com.au) Las Vegas: The NRL’s bold foray into the US market has taken a gigantic step forward with the announcement of a critical partnership with the UFC – the biggest sport in Las Vegas and among the biggest in the world. While the first year of the deal will see the UFC share content and publicity opportunities with the NRL, it is envisaged a fight night will be held on the same weekend as rugby league in 2025. It is a significant win for the NRL because the UFC has never partnered with another sport. UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein – who is considered one of Las Vegas’ most influential figures – said the UFC wanted to grow its audience in the Asia-Pacific region. “We know we have a tremendous crossover for the two fan bases,” he said. “The sports have the same ethos: hard work, dedication, sportsmanship and unexpected things happen all the time. We couldn’t be more excited welcoming rugby league to Las Vegas.” But the person who stole the show was retired UFC legend Forrest Griffin, whose gruesome fight in 2005 with Stephan Bonnar is considered “the most important fight in UFC history”, according to founder Dana White. “It’s an easy game to understand – and this is a beautiful place to do it,” Griffin, 44, said. “I love the pace of the game. You think about it: they get 80 minutes done faster than you can in 60 minutes of American football. I was also interested to learn there are only four replacements? For the whole game? That’s crazy.” Earlier, NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo made several key announcements about the event, which has attracted 20,000 ticket sales. A partnership with NASCAR, which is being held in Vegas on the same weekend, has been struck. A talent combine will be held at the Ed W. Clark High School earlier that day involving 15 male and 15 female college athletes. The top two will then trial with NRL clubs later in the year. Abdo also revealed the Vegas Nines, a grassroots tournament being run in conjunction with USA Rugby League, will be held on the Thursday and Friday. In another article UFC legend Forrest Griffin told how he had been watching a video of the NRL`s 100 greatest tackles and how he was loving it and that he thought how Americans would love the fact that they could see the faces of the players during the action, something of course they were unable to do because of the helmets worn in NFL. Interesting observation I thought.
  13. That was my thoughts as well, but on a little reflection I think it probably doesn`t matter, if we can get Americans to tune into the game they will discover very quickly that a) this game is very different to the `rugby` that they have already seen, or b) for those who are ignorant of any `rugby` they just enjoy it (hopefully) for what it is. This can all be aided and abetted by of course the commentators during the coverage making sure that everyone knows they are watching Rugby LEAGUE. Not dissimilar to Andrew Voss`s cry during the NRL Vegas promo "what a Rugby League try".
  14. Perhaps Woodsy and the boys have been given the heads up. On Monday, the Big Sell continued. Having attended the Raiders-Vikings NFL match at Allegiant on Sunday afternoon, Roosters recruit Spencer Leniu, the Broncos’ Billy Walters, Manly’s Aaron Woods and Souths centre Campbell Graham walked the famous Vegas strip to pose for photos. As was the case at Allegiant, local fans for whatever reason identified them as “rugby players”. For his part, Woods wasn’t having a bar of it. “No, we’re rugby league guys,” Woods informed them. “We tackle harder.”
  15. Kiwi bloke on the Aussie League forum tells that he was a bit of a gun youngster many tipped to be an All-Black, mental health issues saw him take a couple of years away from the game, perhaps he`s looking for a fresh start and a bit of a change of scenery.
  16. Couple of pages back you were doubting the ticket sales and saying Americans will have no interest in an "obscure" sport they`ve never heard of, now union is going to get any kudo`s if this Vegas thing comes off, I don`t know why you bother coming on here, man you`re a miserable negative piece of work.
  17. Interesting article from one of League`s harshest critic sometimes. NRL 2024: NRL stars and officials travel to Las Vegas to promote season-opening double header (smh.com.au) 5 min Las Vegas: “The Black Hole” is the Las Vegas Raiders’ infamous group of hardcore fans who occupy the pocket near the tunnel and the end zone. Since 1995, they have been the most notorious sub-section of the league’s most notorious fanbase, dressing up in menacing clobber and destroying visiting players and fans with venomous vitriol. Spencer Leniu at Allegiant Stadium.CREDIT:NRL PHOTOS But, on Sunday afternoon, rugby league melted their hearts. They had nothing but love for this strange game from a strange land and, in particular, Roosters weapon Spencer Leniu. “Hey uce!” yelled one fan as Leniu walked by before the Raiders’ match against Minnesota Vikings. “I used to play rugby!” yelled another as Leniu posed for selfies and shook hands. The NRL has rolled into Las Vegas this week to promote the season-opening double-header at Allegiant Stadium here in March. Before, during and after the Raiders match, the NRL was given the type of publicity it cannot buy and will most certainly need if it’s to live the American Dream. The double-header was publicised regularly on the big screen throughout the match while Leniu, Manly’s Aaron Woods, Souths’ Campbell Graham and the Broncos’ Billy Walters did interviews with US sports network Fox Sports before the match and at half-time. Earlier, they had posed for a photo outside the stadium before kick-off, prompting one Raiders fan to poke his nose in and innocently ask, “Um, who are you people?” When Leniu walked in front of the faithful, though, the Raiders faithful loved him - even if they weren’t entirely sure who he was. “I think because I’m Polynesian and they were Polynesian they recognised me,” Leniu, who is of Samoan heritage and born in Auckland, explained. Rugby league’s incursion into the US market is, to some, a pipedream. Yet ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys and NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo deserve credit for thinking so big. Rugby league has toyed with playing games in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, but it amounted to nothing and was consigned to the too-hard basket. The current NRL administration wants to dip its toe in the US wagering and broadcast markets and is taking a long-term view. There has been speculation the whole exercise could cost the game $10 million – something V’landys and Abdo scoff at. “We’ll probably break even in the first year,” V’landys says. Wisely, Abdo’s team has partnered with the Raiders, NFL, and NBA in putting the event together. Before the match, he gave Raiders president Sandra Douglass Morgan a Kangaroos jumper and she gave him a Raiders jersey with his name on the back. He’ll need a few more squats if he’s to realise his lifelong dream of becoming a linebacker. Spencer Leniu was a hit with the Las Vegas Raiders’ faithful.CREDIT:NRL PHOTOS “The Raiders have been fantastic to work with,” Abdo said. “They haven’t seen us as the opposition at all – they’ve wanted to build a relationship. We have a long-term strategy around this fixture.” Ticket sales are tracking well. Nearly 20,000 have been sold but Douglass Morgan has assured Abdo that Vegas is a city of walk-up starters to events. The NRL has privately set itself a target of 40,000 in a stadium that has a capacity of 65,000. Standing on the field before the match, a couple of things struck me. Concerns about fitting a rugby league configuration on an NFL ground aren’t as serious as some have suggested. The playing surface will be four metres narrower than it normally is, but the sidelines won’t be hard up against the fence line. Wingers won’t be sliding into walls chasing kicks into the corners. There are fears about serious injuries because the match is being played on a foreign surface but there shouldn’t be: Allegiant Stadium’s field is all grass, not synthetic nor even partly synthetic. “That’s a win,” Walters said, before adding cheekily: “I wouldn’t say it’s as good as Suncorp.” Allegiant Stadium will host Super Bowl on February 11, giving the NRL three weeks for the surface to recover and painted logos to grow out. “And if they haven’t, we’ll paint it green,” Abdo said. NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo.CREDIT:NRL PHOTOS The roof — and, more specifically, the speakers hanging from the roof — feel much lower than when you are watching on TV or in the stands. Minnesota punter Ryan Wright launched several towering spiral kicks during the warm-up, coming within metres of the speakers. It made you wonder what would happen if Matt Burton or Nathan Cleary played at this venue with their hellacious bombs that nudge the stratosphere. “Adam Reynolds’ little legs couldn’t get the ball that high,” Walters said. “But Cleary and Burton could. That’s probably why the NRL hasn’t brought them over – they’ll get scouted [by NRL teams] straight away.” Whether this wishful foray into the US market will be a success is the great unknown. The US is sport’s mecca. Walk into a sports bar here and people are glued to NBA, NFL, UFC, college sport, Major League Soccer — there doesn’t appear to be much room for anything else, even if the NRL seeks a toenail in the market. But there wasn’t much love for the Raiders after they lost 3-0 in what keen NFL judges were calling “the worst game ever played”. Wait until they see the greatest game of all, baby. The author travelled to Las Vegas courtesy of the NRL.
  18. Yeah I was disappointed that Woods or Graham didn`t pick the interviewer up on that, would have been so easy to politely correct her.
  19. I think you`ll find that most or at least many of the posters on here are of a vintage that makes them Rugby League fans first, perhaps specific competitions fans second. What discussing the NRL offers die-hard League fans is the one true shining light where the game does appear to be prospering, and fans want to share that good news, hence the continual references on the General Rugby League Forum.
  20. He`ll be on $450k per season at the Roosters, was on $600k per season with Australian union, and reportedly had a 3yr $1m per season offer from Japanese rugby union on the table.
  21. Nawaqanitawase claque la porte des Wallabies (rugbypass.com) In this French article Nawaganitawase`s defection is described as being to the NRL and the Sydney Roosters, no initial mention of Rugby League at all.
  22. Union writer in today`s The Australian : Mark Nawaqanitawase just start of NRL raid on rugby stars | The Australian We can also reveal that it’s not only Australian players who are in the sights of league clubs. New Zealand Super Rugby backrower Hugh Renton is in talks with St George Illawarra Dragons about a potential mid-season switch. The 27-year-old, who plays for the Highlanders, is known for his aggressive style and if a deal is sorted, he’d be available for the Dragons after the Super season finishes in June.
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