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Posts posted by zylya

  1. Not only do I prefer RLWC (and even better a full house of men's, women's & wheelchair...), but if I knew England were going to win the RLWC, I'd actually hope for a disappointing Euros for the football team, so that the RLWC win didn't get overshadowed.

    • Like 3
  2. 18 hours ago, Dave T said:

    This is the problem, we have seen Scotland play in some very good games in World Cups and 4Ns, but without a full complement of available players each year the standard varies wildly. 

    That is what I would focus on, getting the funding and scheduling to allow teams to field their very best teams, rather than having different tiers of the same team. 

    I'm still really keen on the idea of a proper European tournament - not only would this enable some historical country rivalries (essentially England vs anyone else 😂) but would hopefully enable teams to have their best players available because it would be less travel etc. I know that the European Rugby League has various competitions, but until it has England involved, and is promoted well, it's always going to be a struggle. A competition that England take seriously and the other countries use to try and make a name for themselves would attract interest and would only grow in time.

  3. Problem with expecting Catalans/Toulouse to produce all the French players is that they're only 2 clubs vs 10+ full time clubs in England.

    Forcing a quota ignores the huge structural difference in English RL vs French RL. If you're saying that Catalans can only use French players/must use a minimum number of French players, then the English clubs should only be able to use players that were developed by that club (the "home grown" rule essentially). If you allow e.g. Saints to pick up players from all of the other Super League academies because those players are English, but don't allow Catalans to pick up those same players, that's a structural disadvantage for the French clubs. You can't say "oh but the English teams can't just pick up the French players either" because there's such a disparity in number of players being produced. You're essentially saying, in a professional league, that certain clubs have a much smaller player pool than others, but are still expected to remain competitive on-field.

    Now, would I like to see some sort of salary cap dispensation for home grown players (i.e. who came through that club's academy)? Absolutely, I think it could be a great way to encourage clubs to develop their own players. But what you're suggesting would put the French clubs at a significant disadvantage in terms of playing performance and would therefore eventually lead to their relegation, which would set the development of French RL back even further.

    • Like 3
  4. 52 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

    I’d go for a combined League One North and League One South play off. As things stand at the moment the promotion places would go to the League One North sides as they’re stronger, in time that country change.

    How are you expecting the weaker L1S teams to get stronger in comparison to their L1N counterparts, when they don't get to play those stronger teams?

    In addition, your League One South team list has just three teams who are currently in L1 and a load of amateur teams. How are you expecting these amateur teams to make the jump to semi professionalism?

    Currently, many of the southern teams get their highest attendances against some of the traditional clubs. How are you expecting clubs like London Skolars and Coventry, who are already operating on tight budgets, to manage with the loss of revenue? London vs West Wales is hardly a local rivalry. Or Bristol vs Nottingham.

    • Like 2
  5. 1 minute ago, fighting irish said:

    Why is that boring? 

    In inverted commas because it's not boring, that's just the term that someone else used.

    The point is that it doesn't take crazy out-there solutions that make for good news stories, it just takes consistent effort applied regularly.

    • Like 1
  6. I replied with a longer post detailing some of the issues on the topic on the community forum, but the main crux of the issue, for me at least, is this:

    I don't have a problem with the RFL trying to generate funds for growing the community game - I assume that it'll go on things like development officers for regions etc. The problem is the implementation of this system. Asking people to pay two different people for the same product is going to create resistance - the evidence is clear for this in consumer behaviour analysis (as an easier-to-understand example, people would rather pay £25 with free shipping than pay £20 + £5 shipping - the same principle holds here). If a club charges £50 and the RFL charges £30, it's actually harder to get them to pay those two sums than it is to pay one payment of £80.

    Additionally, they mention other sports, and they're right - other sports do pay a fee, but only individual sports (athletics, gymnastics, swimming etc) tend to charge a per-person fee. For example, at my rugby union club, I pay one monthly fee that covers my membership and my subs, and the club pays an affiliation fee to the RFU. The same is true for the FA - players pay their match subs and the club pays an affiliation fee to their county FA.

    Here's why that would be a far superior system:

    • People only pay one person, reducing the amount of friction
    • You don't directly increase the cost for new participants, allowing players to try the sport
    • Clubs could decide their membership prices based on their own unique circumstances. So a club could decide to pay the affiliation out of sponsorship or bar revenue rather than passing that cost on to the players
    • Clubs are also better placed to deal with hardship cases than a central body - although the RFL has promised a way to deal with this, it would be better administered on a local level, where you might actually be able to speak to someone in person about what is a very sensitive subject
    • The fee structure could be based on number of teams so that smaller clubs weren't unfairly impacted

    The affiliation fee could still cover insurance, as the proposed structure does. I also don't think it's a problem charging a small fee for DBS checks - all of the places that I've coached any sport (clubs, schools etc) have paid for the DBS check. I imagine most clubs would happily pay a small fee for their coaches to be in line with safeguarding.

    I think that most reasonable people accept that it takes money to run and grow the sport - I just think the way they're going about it is all wrong.

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 1
  7. 4 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

    My understanding is that there are more OzTag players in London than any other area. There might not be an abundance of RL clubs in the capital, but enough to make a League Tag competition viable, if they can forge the links.

    What you`re describing above is similar to the multiple-team KiwiTag modules that a number of Auckland RL clubs run during their off-season. They have taken it a step further though, with players selected from their module representing the club at a gala event.

    I was thinking of areas like Coventry and Bristol (plus other new areas that might use tag to grow the sport) where there are fewer community clubs than London.

  8. 4 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

    I suspect part of the appeal of Tag to those principally interested in health and fitness is that burning calories in a collective setting is easier than sticking to an individual regime. Nonetheless, they are playing a non-contact form of RL. It would be remiss not to try to foster a connection to the Tackle game. But it needs to grow organically. I haven`t seen any suggestions the RFL should be trying to sell stuff to Tag players.

    I think it will only happen significantly if the community clubs establish League Tag and players choose to migrate back and forth between that and their OzTag franchise. In NSW, Tag players want to be part of and represent a junior RL club.

    If UK Tag players prefer to be separate, it might be an idea to find out why. If they feel the "big social side to Tag" doesn`t naturally fit with a community RL club, it could indicate ways the clubs could usefully change.

    From a non-heartlands perspective, it's likely to be a travel issue. If you can run a tag league in one location and get 4 or 5 teams there, you have a competition with zero travel. If you just added a tag team to each community club, you would have some clubs with loads of travel.

    I've been a big believer in social formats of the game - not necessarily to recruit players, but as a way of engaging club members and finding volunteers etc. I think the model of a community club hosting a tag league is a really good one - not that the players represent your club, but that the club is the home base for them. 

    • Like 3
  9. Just now, The Frying Scotsman said:

    Thanks - that clarifies a bit. I was pretty lost TBH!

    For 303 tries to have happened before tackle 1, it surely must include caught kicks... No?

    I think you need to understand the data, as otherwise it's guesswork.

    Yeah, definitely, although there's some understanding to be gleamed from the later parts of the set.

    It was just a random thought, but my main hope was to understand:

    1. How many tries are scored from turnover (loose ball/intercept/ball steal etc)

    2. Whether the majority of tries are scored earlier or later in a set

    Common "wisdom" would generally dictate that more tries are scored towards the end of the set, but that's because we see a lot of sets completed in the game (5+kick). However, not every try is scored off a kick, and it's also rare to see power plays that are successful, so the end of set may be confirmation bias.

    I also want to understand how much player behaviour factors into that - when I played amateur, tackle 1 and 2 were generally a hit up - low chance of scoring and we'd open up more around tackle 3/4. My thinking was then to understand whether it was a lack of risk by attackers early in the set, or if defenders defended better earlier in a set (e.g. maybe better set up). One of them would give the opportunity for teams to attack earlier, the other would promote teams attacking later in the set.

    Really just for my own interest - not sure I've got the understanding I want, but at least can see a little bit more of it.

  10. 2 hours ago, The Frying Scotsman said:

    So - if 6 is "after a 5 and last call", what is 1?

    We have a separate stat for zero tackle scores, so 1 must be.....?

    I'm struggling to get my head round this.

    It's play, not tackle, which I believe is basically a tap or a play-the-ball.

    So play 0 happens if there's no play - e.g. intercept, loose ball.

    Play 1 happens before tackle 1 - think this would include 0-tackle calls and taps (e.g. penalties, tap 20 etc)

    Play 2 happens before tackle 2.

    Play 6 happens after a 5 and last call, but before tackle 6.


    Not sure whether a caught kick would count as Play 0 or Play 1.

    This is just the data I have - I haven't seen any additional info so couldn't tell you exactly what it means.

    • Thanks 1
  11. Pythago NRL got back to me with some data - not something that he's looked at before himself, but had these stats from 2016 & 2017 NRL:

    Play # Tries
    0 97
    1 303
    2 188
    3 474
    4 557
    5 611
    6 615

    That's play number, rather than tackle number - so 0 refers to things like intercepts, loose balls scooped up as well (I believe) as 0 tackles. 6 would be after a 5-and-last call. Obviously this all pre-dates 6 again which may skew the results. Interesting that Tackle 2 is significantly lower than both 1 and 3 - I wonder if there's an element of people treating tackle 2 as a "safety" play and having a lot more hit-up style plays.

    No data within this of how many are kick vs pass.

  12. 11 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

    The article on Tag published today on the RFL site carries the most explicit recognition of Tag as a form of RL hitherto given.

    I would still cavil at some of the terminology, and maintain they should be developing League Tag through community clubs for those players, particularly female, who want to make the step up from OzTag.

    Nonetheless, a penny must be dropping. And you only have to look at the geographic spread of the listed Leagues to realise the value. Within that, there`s also a wider social background reach than in the heartlands Tackle game.

    As always with the RFL and development, perseverance is the crux. The fact that they are currently showing more interest in the potential benefits of Tag, doesn`t mean it won`t all fade away.

    With all the stuff coming out around a community membership scheme, I imagine the reason that TTRL will stay as-is will be the franchising model. Obviously if tag remains entirely self funding (and profitable for franchisees of course) then it will continue to grow.

  13. 7 hours ago, Farmduck said:

    You would probably only need to watch one round. The NRL averages around 55 tries a week this year so it's possible you'll see a clear trend. The main question will be how you count restarted sets - is the second tackle on a set restarted at the 4th tackle the second or is it the sixth?

    Maybe have 2 categories: "normal" sets and restarted or "extended" sets.



    Great question, would probably do it in categories - obviously player behaviour changes over the course of a set, likely based on tackles remaining rather than specifically what number (e.g. when I played our wingers would drop on 4th). 

    • Like 1
  14. I don't like it, for a number of reasons:

    • I think, politically, it's a great way to turn people against you
    • Making the community game more expensive could have an adverse effect if it starts to impact on player/volunteer numbers
    • Some of the benefits are questionable - although insurance is fine, my question would be how that works. Since it's public liability insurance, I don't see how it can be applied to an individual. Would there be a minimum number of people paying before your insurance kicks in? I don't see how individual participants can confer a club benefit. It doesn't seem to suggest that a person gets their own health/loss of earnings cover for injuries sustained through Rugby League, making it zero benefit to a participant (and therefore a harder sell).
    • At £30 per person, which I assume would include volunteers (although it doesn't specify either way, possibly because it'd be too unpalatable as part of their announcement), you're not really getting a lot for your money. Insurance for your club (not for yourself), discount on match tickets/merchandise - what match tickets? What merchandise? As someone outside the heartlands, realistically, is this discount going to give me any benefit at all? Also, discounts aren't a benefit unless I'm already going to purchase those products. Free DBS checks for coaches, fine, but that's the sort of thing most clubs would pay for already, I imagine. Also also, discounts are snide because you know they're going to offer a discount for Challenge Cup final etc and other things that they can't even sell out right now.
    • Not specifically linked to this programme, but the RFL coaching courses are already higher priced than several other sports at the entry level - now you're asking coaches to pay an extra £30 per year to volunteer. Madness.
    • Lots of vagueness around the method to ensure that participants who can't afford it don't have to pay. How are you going to deal with that on a national level? Far easier to let it be dealt with more locally.
    • Also lots of vagueness around which other sports have membership systems - I'm heavily involved in a Rugby Union club and there's no participant fee, although clubs do pay an affiliation fee to the RFU and to their CB (constituent body, essentially the counties who have responsibility of running the sport at the amateur level within their counties).


    Based on their survey, where there's no option to say "this isn't a good idea" but instead can only choose from their pre-approved options, it seems like they're pressing ahead with this, come what may. I now get why they're so keen for every volunteer to be registered on their system!

    I also think it's a horrendously lazy way out - 'the community game is already a lifeblood so why not pump it for more money?!' What the RFL SHOULD be doing is:

    • Hosting regular England internationals and trying to generate revenue streams. No need for a discount on these tickets - PEOPLE WANT TO WATCH THEIR NATIONAL TEAM and they're happy to pay for the privilege. 
    • If there has to be a fee per participant, it should be a lot cheaper and paid VIA THE CLUBS. People don't like having to pay a second time for things (look at how people would rather pay £25 for a product with free shipping than pay £20 + £5 shipping) - so you're making it harder for both club AND RFL to collect money. A participant fee of around £5-10 (even £10 is pushing it) per player for a season, paid via the clubs out of their subs money would work better. Clubs could then choose, if they wanted, to pass on the cost to their members, or could choose to pay it some other way.
    • Actually coming up with a long-term vision for the community game. At the moment it's "pay us and we'll come up with a vision." There should be a vision already in place! Also, a vision doesn't have to include the need for lots of money - just an idea of the direction of travel. For example, if I wanted to start a new club - what resources are there for me? What information is out there? If the vision is or includes, for example, to grow the women's and girls' game - are there coaching cards for people who haven't coached much before so they're doing games that new players will enjoy? Is there a page on their website about creating a good environment? I can tell you, as someone who has been setting up a new club, that most of this stuff just doesn't exist. Come up with a "How to Start a New Club" pack - taking lots of good examples from clubs who have done just that and every person who wants to start a club has an easier time of it. FWIW, the guy at the RFL I worked with was great and had lots of good information for me - but I shouldn't have to send 3/4 emails to find the right guy and then go through that process one-to-one. It's so time inefficient. There should be a ton of resources on the website about how to get yourself set up, how to recruit players at different levels, how to market yourself as a club etc etc.


    I've actually had to stop here so I can go to work, but I'm sure I'll have more thoughts. The RFL talk about a consultation with the game that led them to this decision, but I can't see how they could have consulted with anyone outside their own organisation. It's actually baffling - their overarching goal must be to grow the game right? This decision looks like it's got a better chance of shrinking it.


    • Like 2
  15. 3 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

    I find nothing to argue with here. Yes the RFL should be doing more. All i'm saying is that if they are not able or willing to get involved then the amateur administrations should grasp the nettle, rather than just shrugging their shoulders and complaining that nothing can be done. 

    Having initiated the process I'm calling for, 40 years ago, in Wales and finding that there was no ''help'' to be had, we just got on with it. I know how hard it is, but I also know it can be done, even in the harshest, most hostile environments. I don't know if you've read any of my previous posts on this subject but I'm a long term advocate of modelling the success of Newcastle's administration (by asking Newcastle to write a ''how to'' guide) so that any volunteer effort is used in the most efficient way, maximising its results. A well written guide, should enable, empower and encourage volunteers to have a go. 

    If you care to look at the history of the amateur clubs in this country you'll find that almost every one was formed by willing volunteers, hardly any were formed (or supported for that matter) by the governing body.

    So to wind up, this process does work, it is responsible for the spread we've already got (especially and most successfully, in Newcastle) but the amateur game, isn't heavily involved in trying to unearth new volunteers and I think they should be.

    I'm urging them to accept the job and get stuck in.

    Yes - agree with all of that, and I've been following your posts (I think it was you who wrote about a schools programme that focused on the teacher CPD opportunities rather than just delivering sessions) to help with some of the stuff I'm trying to do myself, as well as trying to read & follow what clubs are doing well.

    You're right - almost every new club was founded by volunteers and I know, more than most, just how important they are to the growth of the sport. My point was more that if we wait for volunteers to take up the mantle, then the game may grow in a haphazard fashion. As I'm sure you've come across in your own experience - it's much easier to get things going when there are several clubs starting at the same time, as Coventry are doing so well with these satellite clubs, because you can play against each other.

    If we rely on volunteers, then clubs may pop up in all sorts of areas, with no real focus - not that these clubs can't survive and thrive, just that it'd be easier if 6 new Midlands clubs were all getting started at the start time, as an example.

    I also think that sharing of best practice is a key driver - so that club leaders can learn off of each other.

    None of these are absolutely essential, but I think they'd go a long way towards improving the chances of any/all of these new clubs surviving.

    • Like 2
  16. 1 hour ago, fighting irish said:


    I don't know lads, whether the RFL can afford to employ them, or whether there might be grant aid available, but if not I think the administration of every amateur league should have the item ''Development'' on the agenda at every league meeting.

    Its just not enough for administrators to maintain the status quo. They must make time and expend some effort on growth.

    Ask for volunteers to act in a development role, meet and make a plan and however meagre, start to move forward.

    Then each season, we have an objective measure of growth.

    This kind of recognition of their achievements, will encourage the development people to continue the work.

    So first thing is to acknowledge the ''rightness'' of my second paragragh and get the subject on the agenda, at each meeting. Then get on with it.

    If money becomes available later on, that's great but stop waiting for ''help''. 


    Not saying you're wrong, but unless there's some "development framework" applied then leaving it up to volunteers is basically gambling as to whether it happens or not. I don't believe any league administrators (in any sport for the record... not just a rugby league thing) aren't interested in growing the game. But organising the fixtures and helping teams to grow are two different skillsets and not necessarily transferable.If there was a proper set of guidelines created by an NGB or regional GB then it might be more achievable. But for that to happen, the RFL would have to have a plan for what they want for the game - and that's the bit that's missing.

    I look at the RFU's Inner Warrior campaign for getting more female players into the game vs the RFL's 21 by 21 programme and the difference is stark. The former has a lot of shared assets for clubs to use, encourages clubs to sign up to host events (so the volunteers do the bulk of the work) and the RFU helps them promote through their channels (map of events etc). The 21 by 21 (21,000 women and girls in England RL by 2021 if you're unfamiliar with it) is just an aim. Until you create some guidelines and branding around your plans, you're relying on people taking the initiative, which is very hard to do.

    What Coventry have done is incredible and shows amazing vision - but that vision should really be coming from the top. If the RFL had a "whole game plan" along with various campaigns that made it easier for volunteers to spin up their own growth initiatives, you'd see faster growth in those targeted areas (targeted could be geographical or format of the game).

  17. 3 hours ago, JM2010 said:

    I'd be boring and invest in the community game

    Me too.

    I don't play the lottery, so it's an academic discussion, but if I won, say, £10 million then I'd try and create 8 community clubs in my home county and have a genuine RL structure - men's/women's/junior/X-League/touch/tag etc. I'd put some of the money aside as a funding source for clubs who want to do new projects and award cash for initiatives to grow the game (e.g. club needs £1000 to start a girls team or wants £2000 to take their juniors on tour).

    I'd also invest in a personal development programme for coaches, referees and volunteers so that all the people involved in RL had the best chance of making themselves and their clubs a success.

    If I won enough, I'd also try and invest in a 3g pitch somewhere with decent facilities to have a "home base" for things like club & school finals days etc and to make sure there was somewhere for players to train in a good environment.

    Probably also make some of that funding available to new countries that wanted to start up as well, because I think developing the international game is really important.

    If a team managed to get themselves semi-pro or pro, that would be cool, but not the aim of the project. I would just try and get a load of people playing and enjoying Rugby League. Maybe name the trophy after myself 😂 but that would be it.

    • Like 1
  18. 1 hour ago, fighting irish said:

    Hey Langpark I'm in total agreement with everything you said here but I want to challenge those ''others'' who refer to organic (slow) growth as ''boring''.

    If anyone says that, they are completely discounting the enormous levels of pleasure and satisfaction gained from simply playing the game.

    When I was young enough to play, looking forward to the weekend's game, occupied 90% of my waking hours.

    It didn't matter (to me) one iota, at what level I was playing at.

    I loved it at open age amateur level, semi professional level and at WRL representative level.

    The standard I played at, at any particular time, had no bearing on the level of my enjoyment.

    I loved coaching from Little League right up to Senior level.

    Bug ger me, I even enjoyed refereeing

    So who says its boring?

    The armchair critics, who are not really involved in the real game and who have no concept of the sheer uplifting power of Rugby League football, to enhance the lives of our participants are not even qualified to comment on Rugby League.

    They hold our amateur clubs and players in contempt. How dare they call them boring? 

    They are certainly not true fans of the game, if they don't feel the joy of association that I'm talking about.  

    Boring as in it doesn't give you flashy headlines, or interesting soundbites. Obviously there's a deep personal reward for people involved on the ground, but a slow increase in number of players doesn't make for an interesting story. Of course, once you start to aggregate your gains, you end up with a situation like Newcastle, where they're now sitting on an excellent community programme and suddenly it is an interesting story.

    Boring as in it doesn't generate forum discussion. People are generally conditioned to look for magic bullet solutions - the kind of "if we just did this, then we'd have everything we need" when the reality is it's a long term application of small efforts.

    You're right though - it's not boring for the people involved!

    • Like 2
  19. 4 hours ago, langpark said:

    Well done, great to hear! 

    This is real development, organic growth, as "boring" as it might sound to some people. Everyone needs to remember, when it comes to development, we are running a marathon, not a sprint.

    North-East England is a perfect example. Look at the state of RL there two decades ago (or even one decade ago) and look at them now! 

    Real development is absolutely "boring", small marginal gains type work. Sometimes you'll get lucky and hit a perfect storm of factors - e.g. if Scotland do well in the 2021 RLWC then there'll be a corresponding jump in interest in community RL in the country. But for the most part, it's a case of showing up every week, providing quality experiences for players and trying to create something meaningful.

    • Like 1
  20. On 14/04/2021 at 17:43, Man of Kent said:

    I'm enjoying playing touch again down here in Kent. Off to play in a minute, actually.

    It's a weird one because our games are notionally under the 02 Touch umbrella but the sessions seems to be run by England Touch, which works with the RFL (as well as the RFU) and is affiliated to the Federation of International Touch, which in turn is affiliated to the NRL via Touch Football Australia.

    Also, I notice Wigan Touch Warriors are one of the leading touch sides in England. So touch is not a totally union thing here.

    Yeah, it's interesting, I've got a mate who is trialling for one of the England touch teams (over 35s I think?). For a lot of players where I am, touch is a Union thing for Union players but if you're in a League session and you say "let's play touch" people will naturally do League things (PTB, retreat on touch etc). For Union, although they roll the ball (although everyone calls it a chicken scratch) there's no retreat on a tackle mirroring the back foot rules of Union.

    So I think that this idea that people naturally associate Touch with either code just depends on your existing bias - if you're a League person, you'll see it as a non-contact version of League and same if you're a Union person, the same thing.

    And the players who play Touch under England Touch rules see themselves as very separate to either - they're trying to get people to recognise their sport as its own thing.

    There's a lot of benefits to having a social touch thing - both the local Rugby Union and Rugby League club are now running "social touch" which are a weird conglomeration of various rules (and another Union club locally has just started advertising to do the same), mostly played for a social outlet and a bit of fitness between older lads. As someone who coaches at both clubs, what's interesting for me is that there are generally more people at Touch sessions than at 1st team sessions. So it seems to me like the best thing for clubs to do, especially community clubs, is to run their own touch sessions - especially if it's attracting players who are too old for full contact RL any more. Not only are they engaging with the club, but they're of an age where they might become volunteers or own their own business/know someone who does, and therefore could become a sponsor.

    I think it's difficult/impossible to gain any real traction just by saying "ok it's Touch RL now." Even if you slap RFL branding on everything and use the word League over and over again. I think clubs have to build their own Touch/TTRL offers into their regular activities and get people engaged. A good example would be how active Cov Bears are in the Warwickshire TTRL. 

    Especially for clubs outside the traditional Heartland areas, having non-contact versions is a good way to get people involved from a broader sphere than your contact players. Perhaps we have to broaden our definition of what counts as a "player" but also be aware of the opportunities to transition someone from touch player to contact player or to a different role within the club: volunteer, sponsor, supporter etc. Perhaps something that professional clubs could run in association with their local grassroots clubs - players could then transition into volunteer and playing roles with the grassroots clubs, and supporters for the pro club.

    • Like 2
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