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9s - the missing link?


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IF DONE PROPERLY!

Why can't 9s be the RL equivalent of cricket's 20-20?

Attractive to new and younger fans. an easy starting point for new teams, but still having all the main features of a full RL game. 

I went to the Carnegie Floodlit Nines back in 2009, which was a really entertaining night, but, of course, done the RFL way... Wednesday night at Headingley, poorly promoted, only 6 SL clubs represented, a recycled trophy, no prize money and a couple of thousand hardy fans...then nothing since. 

The obvious choice for a big annual event would be at Magic. We've already got fans used to travelling for a big weekend, they just need convincing 9s would be better suited to the weekend festival format. Fans would see their team play a few times over the weekend with plenty of time to eat, drink and mingle in between.

For the rest of the season, why not use a nines competition instead of the A team league?  Fewer players needed, less expense, but still competitive games for testing players. Perhaps people would be more likely to pay to watch a different competition rather than the reserves. Floodlit midweek games could produce a good atmosphere. For the regular fixtures, you could have 3 teams involved, with the home side having the advantage of playing the first and last games and the visitors playing each other in the middle game.

The magic weekend could include 16 teams with each playing 5 times over the weekend. 12(14) SL clubs and 4 (2) guests. This could include international selects or even an RU team?

Use the rules now established down under. 4 pools of 4 play a round robin on day one (2 pools in alternate fixtures in the morning & 2 in the afternoon) Day 2, morning: four pairs of semi-finals (according to placings from day 1), afternoon: 7 ranking finals and a grand final. The fastest man in RL race could be held after the semis.

There are clearly logistic issues with such a competition, but nothing unsolvable. Changing facilities for 16 teams would obviously need some thought, but a temporary structure (like the pit etc in F!) should be possible. Then you could also have a player zone as well as a fan zone where they would be available to supporters and press at specific times. Squads of 20 with special shirts and squad numbers for the event.

For publicity, you could hold a competition at an indoor arena in the host city, on the Friday night, with a representative from each club taking part along the format of the old "superstars" TV show with gym tests and exercises normally done in training. 

Clearly, this would need organising and promoting/sponsorship and some actual prize money and a proper trophy. It would be a nice easy win for the TV broadcaster, 2 full days of sport from one venue, with bucketloads of highlights. What's not to like?

 

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I quite like how the union lot do club 7s as a pre-season series to get the crowds interested. If we're going to do it then I think that's the best way.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Just now, gingerjon said:

I quite like how the union lot do club 7s as a pre-season series to get the crowds interested. If we're going to do it then I think that's the best way.

Problem is their pre-season is over the summer months whereas ours is over December and Jan.

I can only see 9s working in warmer climates, so maybe even more games for Sydney?

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Magic changing to 9’s would be great and would defo make me make my first trip!

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Just now, Dave T said:

Problem is their pre-season is over the summer months whereas ours is over December and Jan.

I can only see 9s working in warmer climates, so maybe even more games for Sydney?

There is that issue - and it's a genuine one. I don't really have a solution to our climate.

That said, I don't like the idea of using Magic because, for all its faults, it mostly works well as part of the regular league programme and I'm against expecting professional players to put themselves on the line in 9s once the season is underway. If we're to have season breaks (and I think we should) they should be for proper rep football.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Just now, gingerjon said:

There is that issue - and it's a genuine one. I don't really have a solution to our climate.

That said, I don't like the idea of using Magic because, for all its faults, it mostly works well as part of the regular league programme and I'm against expecting professional players to put themselves on the line in 9s once the season is underway. If we're to have season breaks (and I think we should) they should be for proper rep football.

Im with you on Magic. That shouldnt be replaced.

Unfortunately I agree im not sure how we can fit any kind of meaningful 9s into our schedule in this country.

Cardiff feels too big and unlikely to succeed. 

Maybe pre-season in South of France or Barcelona? That could become a rather nice tradition?

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Just now, Dave T said:

 

Maybe pre-season in South of France or Barcelona? That could become a rather nice tradition?

I think that would have to be it. Enough notice for people to plan for in advance ... and set in stone for a proper number of years to test whether it works.

I'm really not sure there's any other obvious way to make it work.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Shorten SL slightly and have 2 or 3 festival weekends of nines. Include Championship sides and get a sponsor and prize money. If 3 were held, have accumulated points too for an overall winner. I'm all for it. Variety is what the public want.

It could also attract those who don’t enjoy the 80 minute game. Just do it!

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I think the obvious problem is how you market it - especially to new audiences. As someone who watches both codes I get the differences between the two. However, 7s is marketed as a faster version of union without the stoppages and the set pieces, leading to higher scores (ie, basically all the RL arguments against RU, but used by the RFU). Outside the heartlands, how do you market 9s - "it's 7s with 2 more people"?

Genuine question - I can't see, as a southerner who will happily travel a couple of hundred miles to watch a league game on the M62 once or twice a season, where the gap in the market is for 9s. It doesn't fit in with the northern hemisphere season as stated above, it's not offering anything to the wider public (in the wider public's mind, obviously I know the differences), that they can't already get from 7s, and really I struggle to see it doing anything other than cannibalising the audience that RL has already got, rather than adding to it.

If there's sufficient demand from the RL public for a 9s tournament in England then of course there should be a 9s tournament, I just struggle with how it's going to do a T20 and open up new audiences.

I'm not trying to be negative, I just don't (as someone who's worked in marketing for years) see where the gap is or what needs it's addressing (other than attempting to deal with diminishing attention spans amongst the fans the code has already got in the bag). 9s comes across as a solution in search of a problem. 7s is a way of taking the ways RU can be criticised, and addressing them. Sort of akin to introducing 9s with a PTB but also proper scrums..... Other than the extra space, 9s is XIII with fewer people. 7s is increasingly a different sport (as, actually, is T20).

I'm aware I'm nearly going round in circles with this, I just don't see what 9s is doing other than helping RL join the limited overs bandwagon for the sake of it.

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4 hours ago, Wholly Trinity said:

IF DONE PROPERLY!

Why can't 9s be the RL equivalent of cricket's 20-20?

Attractive to new and younger fans. an easy starting point for new teams, but still having all the main features of a full RL game. 

I went to the Carnegie Floodlit Nines back in 2009, which was a really entertaining night, but, of course, done the RFL way... Wednesday night at Headingley, poorly promoted, only 6 SL clubs represented, a recycled trophy, no prize money and a couple of thousand hardy fans...then nothing since. 

The obvious choice for a big annual event would be at Magic. We've already got fans used to travelling for a big weekend, they just need convincing 9s would be better suited to the weekend festival format. Fans would see their team play a few times over the weekend with plenty of time to eat, drink and mingle in between.

For the rest of the season, why not use a nines competition instead of the A team league?  Fewer players needed, less expense, but still competitive games for testing players. Perhaps people would be more likely to pay to watch a different competition rather than the reserves. Floodlit midweek games could produce a good atmosphere. For the regular fixtures, you could have 3 teams involved, with the home side having the advantage of playing the first and last games and the visitors playing each other in the middle game.

The magic weekend could include 16 teams with each playing 5 times over the weekend. 12(14) SL clubs and 4 (2) guests. This could include international selects or even an RU team?

Use the rules now established down under. 4 pools of 4 play a round robin on day one (2 pools in alternate fixtures in the morning & 2 in the afternoon) Day 2, morning: 

For publicity, you could hold a competition at an indoor arena in the host city, on the Friday night, with a representative from each club taking part along the format of the old "superstars" TV show with gym tests and exercises normally done in training. 

Clearly, this would need organising and promoting/sponsorship and some actual prize money and a proper trophy. It would be a nice easy win for the TV broadcaster, 2 full days of sport from one venue, with bucketloads of highlights. What's not to like?

 

I enjoy 9s but if we’re trully looking at a game changer then there needs to be a completely new concept along the lines of UFC (the game’s more than hard enough) and although it’ll look like rugby league (think touch rugby) I think a Super Six Rugby Indoor Grand Prix is the way to go and you don’t need to restrict it to RL fans. 

Imagine a circuit played in indoor arenas throughout the UK. Unfortunately, such is the size of the floor space in the arenas 9s and even 7s are probably too big. 

Player to floor space you’d still get the same openness and intensity of being on a full size pitch. 

You could get teams from both sides of the Rugby divide. 

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Can we not just have proper Internationals?

Please.

9s is alrate, but as pre-season only and it doesn't work in this country as the points above allude to.

We're always trying to find small fixes and innovative solutions. Let's just sort the basics 1st and the game sells itself.

 

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4 hours ago, Wholly Trinity said:

IF DONE PROPERLY!

Why can't 9s be the RL equivalent of cricket's 20-20?

Attractive to new and younger fans. an easy starting point for new teams, but still having all the main features of a full RL game. 

I went to the Carnegie Floodlit Nines back in 2009, which was a really entertaining night, but, of course, done the RFL way... Wednesday night at Headingley, poorly promoted, only 6 SL clubs represented, a recycled trophy, no prize money and a couple of thousand hardy fans...then nothing since. 

The obvious choice for a big annual event would be at Magic. We've already got fans used to travelling for a big weekend, they just need convincing 9s would be better suited to the weekend festival format. Fans would see their team play a few times over the weekend with plenty of time to eat, drink and mingle in between.

For the rest of the season, why not use a nines competition instead of the A team league?  Fewer players needed, less expense, but still competitive games for testing players. Perhaps people would be more likely to pay to watch a different competition rather than the reserves. Floodlit midweek games could produce a good atmosphere. For the regular fixtures, you could have 3 teams involved, with the home side having the advantage of playing the first and last games and the visitors playing each other in the middle game.

The magic weekend could include 16 teams with each playing 5 times over the weekend. 12(14) SL clubs and 4 (2) guests. This could include international selects or even an RU team?

Use the rules now established down under. 4 pools of 4 play a round robin on day one (2 pools in alternate fixtures in the morning & 2 in the afternoon) Day 2, morning: four pairs of semi-finals (according to placings from day 1), afternoon: 7 ranking finals and a grand final. The fastest man in RL race could be held after the semis.

There are clearly logistic issues with such a competition, but nothing unsolvable. Changing facilities for 16 teams would obviously need some thought, but a temporary structure (like the pit etc in F!) should be possible. Then you could also have a player zone as well as a fan zone where they would be available to supporters and press at specific times. Squads of 20 with special shirts and squad numbers for the event.

For publicity, you could hold a competition at an indoor arena in the host city, on the Friday night, with a representative from each club taking part along the format of the old "superstars" TV show with gym tests and exercises normally done in training. 

Clearly, this would need organising and promoting/sponsorship and some actual prize money and a proper trophy. It would be a nice easy win for the TV broadcaster, 2 full days of sport from one venue, with bucketloads of highlights. What's not to like?

 

The beauty of 9s you can have teams mis-matched without completely one-sided games.

So you could have a Spain v Wigan fixture and it would be more competitive than a 13s game.

 

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I'm not a big fan of nines. It's a completely different game really.

The thing with 20-20 is people don't play safe, there isn't enough time, they have to just go for it. Why can't we do the same? Just normal 13-a-side for 15 mins, but keep rotating the teams. You'd see a lot more "free play" risk taking and it would be a lot of fun to see!

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3 hours ago, iffleyox said:

I think the obvious problem is how you market it - especially to new audiences. As someone who watches both codes I get the differences between the two. However, 7s is marketed as a faster version of union without the stoppages and the set pieces, leading to higher scores (ie, basically all the RL arguments against RU, but used by the RFU). Outside the heartlands, how do you market 9s - "it's 7s with 2 more people"?

Genuine question - I can't see, as a southerner who will happily travel a couple of hundred miles to watch a league game on the M62 once or twice a season, where the gap in the market is for 9s. It doesn't fit in with the northern hemisphere season as stated above, it's not offering anything to the wider public (in the wider public's mind, obviously I know the differences), that they can't already get from 7s, and really I struggle to see it doing anything other than cannibalising the audience that RL has already got, rather than adding to it.

If there's sufficient demand from the RL public for a 9s tournament in England then of course there should be a 9s tournament, I just struggle with how it's going to do a T20 and open up new audiences.

I'm not trying to be negative, I just don't (as someone who's worked in marketing for years) see where the gap is or what needs it's addressing (other than attempting to deal with diminishing attention spans amongst the fans the code has already got in the bag). 9s comes across as a solution in search of a problem. 7s is a way of taking the ways RU can be criticised, and addressing them. Sort of akin to introducing 9s with a PTB but also proper scrums..... Other than the extra space, 9s is XIII with fewer people. 7s is increasingly a different sport (as, actually, is T20).

I'm aware I'm nearly going round in circles with this, I just don't see what 9s is doing other than helping RL join the limited overs bandwagon for the sake of it.

Exactly! RL is already a fast and exciting game.

The only space I see for 9's is in developing expansion amateur leagues in new RL areas.

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On 1/4/2018 at 7:55 PM, iffleyox said:

I think the obvious problem is how you market it - especially to new audiences. As someone who watches both codes I get the differences between the two. However, 7s is marketed as a faster version of union without the stoppages and the set pieces, leading to higher scores (ie, basically all the RL arguments against RU, but used by the RFU). Outside the heartlands, how do you market 9s - "it's 7s with 2 more people"?

Genuine question - I can't see, as a southerner who will happily travel a couple of hundred miles to watch a league game on the M62 once or twice a season, where the gap in the market is for 9s. It doesn't fit in with the northern hemisphere season as stated above, it's not offering anything to the wider public (in the wider public's mind, obviously I know the differences), that they can't already get from 7s, and really I struggle to see it doing anything other than cannibalising the audience that RL has already got, rather than adding to it.

If there's sufficient demand from the RL public for a 9s tournament in England then of course there should be a 9s tournament, I just struggle with how it's going to do a T20 and open up new audiences.

I'm not trying to be negative, I just don't (as someone who's worked in marketing for years) see where the gap is or what needs it's addressing (other than attempting to deal with diminishing attention spans amongst the fans the code has already got in the bag). 9s comes across as a solution in search of a problem. 7s is a way of taking the ways RU can be criticised, and addressing them. Sort of akin to introducing 9s with a PTB but also proper scrums..... Other than the extra space, 9s is XIII with fewer people. 7s is increasingly a different sport (as, actually, is T20).

I'm aware I'm nearly going round in circles with this, I just don't see what 9s is doing other than helping RL join the limited overs bandwagon for the sake of it.

And 9s is an even faster version of RL, with even fewer stoppages, no withdrawing to 5 drives and a kick, very attack oriented with speed being the crucial factor. At 9 minutes each way, mismatches and blow-out scores are less likely, but spectacular tries are more likely.

The reason for suggesting using the magic weekend is to make sure it's done properly and turn 9s into an accepted alternate format. With proper prize money and a fourth trophy on offer, why wouldn't players put their bodies on the line? 

My second choice would be a pre-season event in somewhere conducive, Malaga 9s, Florida 9s or Dubai 9s. However, this would reduce opportunities for domestic support and run the risk of not being taken seriously

I'm not a marketing professional, but surely after all these years the RFL/SL have all the data and know who attends and why. More importantly, who doesn't attend and why. 

I've never been to a magic weekend, mainly because I'm never in the UK at that time of the year, but I'm not sure I'd find it that attractive.  I'm not up to weekend benders anymore. I'm not sure I want to sit through 3 or 4 full games per day, particularly ones that don't involve my team. In the past, I went to a few on the road games, Warrington v Cas in Cardiff, Bradford v London in Edinburgh, and enjoyed them, but one game was enough. 

I would imagine that most people who attend magic are core RL fans who go to watch their team at a big stadium event. The RFL are happy with the headline attendances, but how many watch each game and what is the atmosphere like for the lower profile games? 

The idea of 9s would be that each person's team would be involved more often throughout the weekend and more teams would be involved, so more people would watch more of the time, whilst still having breaks in between. 

The other aspect was as a solution to the problem of squad players who need game time but have no reserve team to play for. Dual registration, on the whole, doesn't work that well. If 9s was established, I think more people would pay to watch midweek 3-way ties involving fringe squad and academy players, or those coming back from injury, than to watch reserve grade 13-a-side.

The more 9s is played, the more tactics and skills would diverge from 13-a-side.

 

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On 04/01/2018 at 2:54 PM, Wellsy4HullFC said:

I'm not a big fan of nines. It's a completely different game really.

The thing with 20-20 is people don't play safe, there isn't enough time, they have to just go for it. Why can't we do the same? Just normal 13-a-side for 15 mins, but keep rotating the teams. You'd see a lot more "free play" risk taking and it would be a lot of fun to see!

Or how about recieving a bigger reward for scoring tries through handling?

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On 04/01/2018 at 6:48 PM, scotchy1 said:

You can fly to las palmas at the end of January for £40. Im sure the clubs would love a week or two pre-season in the sun. 

End of January, is that a tongue in cheek throw away remark Scotchy, really, a week proir to the big kick off, I should think that a coach will be concentrating in putting the final touches to everything the team as a whole have been working and preparing for throughout the off season, not just concentrating on a select few in a form of the game that has very little connection with the full blown version.

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6 hours ago, Wholly Trinity said:

And 9s is an even faster version of RL, with even fewer stoppages, no withdrawing to 5 drives and a kick, very attack oriented with speed being the crucial factor. At 9 minutes each way, mismatches and blow-out scores are less likely, but spectacular tries are more likely.

The reason for suggesting using the magic weekend is to make sure it's done properly and turn 9s into an accepted alternate format. With proper prize money and a fourth trophy on offer, why wouldn't players put their bodies on the line? 

My second choice would be a pre-season event in somewhere conducive, Malaga 9s, Florida 9s or Dubai 9s. However, this would reduce opportunities for domestic support and run the risk of not being taken seriously

I'm not a marketing professional, but surely after all these years the RFL/SL have all the data and know who attends and why. More importantly, who doesn't attend and why. 

I've never been to a magic weekend, mainly because I'm never in the UK at that time of the year, but I'm not sure I'd find it that attractive.  I'm not up to weekend benders anymore. I'm not sure I want to sit through 3 or 4 full games per day, particularly ones that don't involve my team. In the past, I went to a few on the road games, Warrington v Cas in Cardiff, Bradford v London in Edinburgh, and enjoyed them, but one game was enough. 

I would imagine that most people who attend magic are core RL fans who go to watch their team at a big stadium event. The RFL are happy with the headline attendances, but how many watch each game and what is the atmosphere like for the lower profile games? 

The idea of 9s would be that each person's team would be involved more often throughout the weekend and more teams would be involved, so more people would watch more of the time, whilst still having breaks in between. 

The other aspect was as a solution to the problem of squad players who need game time but have no reserve team to play for. Dual registration, on the whole, doesn't work that well. If 9s was established, I think more people would pay to watch midweek 3-way ties involving fringe squad and academy players, or those coming back from injury, than to watch reserve grade 13-a-side.

The more 9s is played, the more tactics and skills would diverge from 13-a-side.

 

Very eloquently drafted, will it work in practise, doubt it very much, you say:-

"I'm not a marketing professional, but surely after all these years the RFL/SL have all the data and know who attends and why. More importantly, who doesn't attend and why"

Maybe it has already been considered and that data you elude to has been evaluated by Marketing Professional's, that could be the reason we don't have it. 

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