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Posters not from the heartlands: how did you first become interested in rugby league?

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Long story but here we go....

I’m from North Wales. My very earliest memories of the game are watching the all conquering Wigan team of the 90s with my dad on the BBC (god knows what my sister was doing at the time). The whole sport switched to Sky and bar stumbling across the odd Challenge Cup game that was it for years....

Until the ill fated RLWC of 2000 came to Wrexham, quickly followed by a Wales v England international there. I loved both games but getting Sky changed everything. I was more a fan of RU but as time went on I sacked off RU games for RL and devour them to this day. Helped by doing Grand Finals here and there.

I still mostly go to football but on my football travels I ran into someone who supported Widnes and started going to their games. While this slowed after marriage and kids got in the way I still call myself a fan of them.

My relationship with the North Wales Crusaders was complicated. I went to a few of their early Superleague games in Wrexham but it was obvious that it was built on sand and I didn’t stick with it, preferring Widnes. Later, after the club reformed, and my daughter was diagnosed with autism I started going to their games again in an easy going space and I’m really enjoying engaging with them again - I should be going to their game against Keighley tomorrow.

TL;DR rugby league is great, but you need Sky.

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I'm from Derbyshire, where there is a bit of rugby union and very little league.  I used to love watching rugby on TV as a kid in the 1980s/1990s whenever I could, and I would stretch to watching the Challenge Cup final even though it was league - but it was like struggling along in a foreign language, I never fully knew what was going on.  Then I was too busy playing rugby union to watch so much of it, then I was busy with work and family life and not watching sport at all, then it was 2013.  And in 2013, I saw an announcement online somewhere saying that the Rugby League World Cup was to be played in England and you could get tickets to some games for £20.  I'm sorry to admit that the affordability was a factor!  I had watched England v Tonga at the 1999 RUWC at Twickenham and paid £85 for the privilege.  (Boringly one-sided thanks to the Tongan player who got himself sent off a few seconds after kick-off.)  So when my brother asked me what I'd like for my birthday I said a ticket to Italy v Canada in RLWC 2013, and decided to re-acquaint myself with league by watching the Super League show in the months before the tournament, and found I really enjoyed it.  Then I started filling in spare moments by watching old games online, and NRL ones.  By the time the tournament came around I knew who most of the players were - and my brother, being a good lad, had ignored by request for Italy v Canada and got us both tickets to the final at Old Trafford!  No England, of course, but still great to see such a powerful performance by the deserved winners.  Since then, rugby league is my number 1 sport and I watch it whenever I can.

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Wolfpack home opener vs Oxford.  I went to the game wishing it had been a Union team that was starting up.

Seemed a crazy concept at the time, and still does. Going to enjoy it while it lasts.

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It was Saturday afternoons as a very young kid watching on Grandstand on a black and white tv, with Eddie Waring commentating. Then they had the results with all these strange places with great names that I had never heard of, but I have now!! 50+ years later, I actually attended a game and rekindled my youth.

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On 28/06/2019 at 08:50, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

I think we'd all love TGG to become Catalonia's game.... They'd be guaranteed to whoop Spain each game so thats an incentive! 

If FC Barcelona ever would see a reason to buy into RL that would be a huge plus, but alas RL today doesn't have a competition worthy of their presence.

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On 28/06/2019 at 16:50, Ivarr the Boneless said:

Growing up in South Staffordshire I gained an interest via Grandstand. George Fairbairn seemed to feature every week if my memory is reliable, probably not. Whilst watching Oxford a few years ago George popped up as match commissioner, recognised him immediately despite the passge of time.

I went to Liverpool Uni and marked every RL ground in my A-Z but never went. Watched Prescot Cables at football, I'm from Wolverhampton......

Went to one London game a season or so after moving south. When Highfield became Prescot I jumped on a train and watched their first two league games and was hooked.(v South Wales and a shock win v Barrow.) Started jumping on trains to watch them at Doncaster, York etc despite living around the corner from London's ground.

I've had season tickets at Broncos, Skolars and Oxford since hen Sadly I seem to be drifting away from the sport.  Hopefully the fire will return soon.

I know the feeling of drifting away as you put it, the events of the past couple of years have strained my interest at times.  Then a week of so ago I found full match videos from the 1994 Kangaroo tour of Britain on Youtube which I downloaded and have been watching over this long Canada Day weekend and man what a great sport this was in that era!  This great game just needs a way to overcome its various challenges and attract new players and fans, then the fire would never go out.

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22 hours ago, TheReaper said:

I'd been playing RU since grade 10 in high school, where it quickly became my favourite sport. Tried football too but hated wearing a helmet. That would have been 2009.

In 2015 I was done high school, was playing club RU but we only have 8-10 game seasons and wanted to play more rugby. A few guys from my club went to play with the new Brantford Broncos team in the ORL so I figured more rugby is more rugby.

It wasn't to be however, I'm pretty much a through and through union forward, my top skills being rucking, scrumming and lineouts, LOL. That and we had to drive to Toronto for all our games, and every time I did I had to play for the other team who was always short. So I quit playing.

Then the Wolfpack came around, and I figured any rugby is better than no rugby. So it was pretty cool from that aspect, as well as being very interested in the business of sport in general they were very interesting to follow.

Nowadays, I've developed a huge love for Canadian Football as well, and now live within view of my Hamilton Tiger-Cats home stadium. Now with the birth of the Toronto Arrows, and still playing RU, RL has slipped to number 3, but it's still better than soccer! 

FYI, rugby league is the true Canadian football and what the CFL serves up is not.  Replacement of the original form of play-the-ball with the snapback in 1921 put the Canadian game on a slippery slope which has ended up with that game so dominated by Usonians that at least half of the Canadians who play in the CFL went to a US college to get better at that foreign game.  Consider further that whereas cross code rugby matches have invariably been won by the team playing under their own rules and the AFL pros have their hands well and truly full playing the GAA non-pros under composite rules, the two times when a team of the best Canadian college players played a team of Usonian college players who weren't involved in any of their bowl games under the "Canadian" rules in Tampa, Florida back in 1978 and 1979 the Canadians were comfortably beaten in both matches after the home team adjusted to the slight differences in the rules.

Check out this footage of Canadian rugby football in the 1920s and you'll easily see how and why RL is indeed the most Canadian game which Canadians didn't know before the Wolfpack came into being:

 

 

 

Edited by Big Picture
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Having grew up less than 10 minutes away from the ground I was taken to both the opening match and final of the 1995 RLWC at Wembley (both England v Australia) and immediately fell in love with the sport, so much so that I stopped playing RU and joined the London Broncos academy team the season after!

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5 hours ago, Big Picture said:

If FC Barcelona ever would see a reason to buy into RL that would be a huge plus, but alas RL today doesn't have a competition worthy of their presence.

Never going to be La liga size of course but Barca getting in would be great

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I lived in New Zealand 1987/88 and got into it at school there. Living back in Birmingham all I had was the Challenge cup on BBC and got used to seeing Wigan on all the time that was my team. Started attending games from 2004 onwards and have always enjoyed being at a game - either Wigan or neutral. Would love to be a season ticket holder but it’s nigh on impossible with shift work, the M6 motorway and Sky’s scheduling!!

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Fantastic stories !  Mine is long story but rewarding.

I’m born and raised South East London, went to a brilliant rugby playing grammar school in New Cross and played county from U18s to U23s back in the day. Fast forward to getting married, moving to a small holding in Kent , having 3 kids. We are sports mad. My kids all had swim lessons, competed in karate (up and down the country), signed up to athletics club , pony club and the local rugby club. We were also Harlequins season ticket holders and had wonderful laughs , beers with my old rugby playing school and club chums, we all stayed in touch. My son and eldest daughter wanted to concentrate on rugby , my daughter captained Kent girls U16s my son played for Cranbrook u10s-u15s. He  then moved to another club , huge rivals who seemed to have the best coaches and a fantastic team. Very brave on his part as there were already 2 county fly halves in that side.  After his first season at U16 one of the lads he was playing union with mentioned that my son should be playing rugby league through the summer, he’d be fitter , stronger and his tackling would improve. I had no idea there was RL in the area. That lad was playing RL for Harlequins and Medway Dragons. I’d just bought my son a new cricket bat that cost over £140 and really enjoyed the afternoons at the local cricket club, but we all agreed that rugby was taking priority and he wanted to go as far as possible. We went up to a training night at Medway Dragons. We met Martin Coyd and he asked my son “can you play football ?”  and was really friendly, made us feel welcome and explained his vision for the club. My son came away from that night , jumped in the car and said “ I really enjoyed that, it’s so friendly, a really good vibe “  I’d noticed the change on demographic, the parents were very much working class compared to the very different set of parents at the union gatherings. He played his first game within a fortnight and fed the ball into the scrum straight on his first feed!!! He was one of the youngest and scrawniest in his age group side. The physicality was immense. He got selected for the Origin series ( North vs South of M25) and was really hopeful of getting into the Quins RL set up. He went on to play union again after the league season. Was incredibly fit, fast, skilful and played his way into being invited to county training. He was flopped on at a ruck , doing a jackal , by the biggest lump of a kid, right at the end of training. Fractured his leg... county dream over at first session. I cried for him. 

He was on crutches , fed up. He couldn’t wait for the Medway Dragons pre season to start. I took him up there to watch the indoor S&C in the January. Martin Coyd pulled me over and said “ I’m glad Liam is here, I’ve got an announcement that involves him” At the end of training , Coydy called the whole club round and put my son in the middle and announced that Liam had been called into the newly renamed London Broncos U16 scholarship.  He was totally made up. I was so happy for him. 

He started travelling from his school   south of Maidstone to Feltham West London by trains and buses to get to training that he couldn’t even take part in two to three times a week.  We used to make him a hot food flask of pasta, drinks , a protein shake etc. Sometimes he would get a lift back and dropped off near the M20 and we’d pick him up circa 10pm. School the next day. He started training, got game time... played at the Aldershot ground, Wilderspool and toured Catalan Dragons with Richard Harris , Alex Walker , Joe Keyes , Kain Dimech and others. He had already decided that he was going to Hartpury College in Gloucestershire to study his A levels and continue to play both codes throughout the seasons, but truly his favourite sport was RL. He played in the 2nd team at Hartpury, no mean feat when there are England players keeping you out the 1st xv. He went for a trial at the All Golds and was selected for SW England and Wales trials ( wife’s side). I recall a Wales trial where he and Regan Grace stood out but were not selected to go through. Other parents on the circuit were bemused. My involvement became that of the biggest dad cab. He eventually was selected for Wales Students, training in South and North Wales. When his uni mates didn’t get through to the squad he didn’t have a lift so I used to drive from Kent to Gloucester or Cheltenham, over night on the floor/setter and drive him to training camps then reverse the journey. 

He played in the Student Home Nations in Edinburgh, my wife and I spent our 25th wedding anniversary there for a week. Fantastic. The following year he made the Wales Student squad for the World Cup in Sydney. My family went over to support and had a fantastic time , what an eye opener seeing the Leagues clubs !   He  also played in the Wales U23 sude in the Pre Commonwealth 9s on the Gold Coast. He hassince gone semi pro , played his first season last year at Coventry Bears. That was brilliant. At the end of that season he  was called up to Wales senior squad for the Home Nations and World Cup qualifiers. He didn’t get game time but trained and traveled with the squad, what a privilege ! He left uni and didn’t have anywhere to live, Coventry couldn’t house him and at that stage he wasn’t driving. West Wales Raiders provided a player house and that’s where he is now, learning some life lessons. I reflect on the point of taking up summer RL to improve his union game. From that point footy has not been off our TV. The sky coverage enabled an apprenticeship to watch and learn, Premier Spirts for the NRL, the Footy Show and Matty Johns  show, Origin matches , City Vs Country .... my wife and girls live RL, the speed, the skills... the pies !  We are experts in the Northern game even if we are shandy drinking southern based Welsh supporters... what a journey and it continues. 

 

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1 hour ago, wizza1 said:

Fantastic stories !  Mine is long story but rewarding.

I’m born and raised South East London, went to a brilliant rugby playing grammar school in New Cross and played county from U18s to U23s back in the day. Fast forward to getting married, moving to a small holding in Kent , having 3 kids. We are sports mad. My kids all had swim lessons, competed in karate (up and down the country), signed up to athletics club , pony club and the local rugby club. We were also Harlequins season ticket holders and had wonderful laughs , beers with my old rugby playing school and club chums, we all stayed in touch. My son and eldest daughter wanted to concentrate on rugby , my daughter captained Kent girls U16s my son played for Cranbrook u10s-u15s. He  then moved to another club , huge rivals who seemed to have the best coaches and a fantastic team. Very brave on his part as there were already 2 county fly halves in that side.  After his first season at U16 one of the lads he was playing union with mentioned that my son should be playing rugby league through the summer, he’d be fitter , stronger and his tackling would improve. I had no idea there was RL in the area. That lad was playing RL for Harlequins and Medway Dragons. I’d just bought my son a new cricket bat that cost over £140 and really enjoyed the afternoons at the local cricket club, but we all agreed that rugby was taking priority and he wanted to go as far as possible. We went up to a training night at Medway Dragons. We met Martin Coyd and he asked my son “can you play football ?”  and was really friendly, made us feel welcome and explained his vision for the club. My son came away from that night , jumped in the car and said “ I really enjoyed that, it’s so friendly, a really good vibe “  I’d noticed the change on demographic, the parents were very much working class compared to the very different set of parents at the union gatherings. He played his first game within a fortnight and fed the ball into the scrum straight on his first feed!!! He was one of the youngest and scrawniest in his age group side. The physicality was immense. He got selected for the Origin series ( North vs South of M25) and was really hopeful of getting into the Quins RL set up. He went on to play union again after the league season. Was incredibly fit, fast, skilful and played his way into being invited to county training. He was flopped on at a ruck , doing a jackal , by the biggest lump of a kid, right at the end of training. Fractured his leg... county dream over at first session. I cried for him. 

He was on crutches , fed up. He couldn’t wait for the Medway Dragons pre season to start. I took him up there to watch the indoor S&C in the January. Martin Coyd pulled me over and said “ I’m glad Liam is here, I’ve got an announcement that involves him” At the end of training , Coydy called the whole club round and put my son in the middle and announced that Liam had been called into the newly renamed London Broncos U16 scholarship.  He was totally made up. I was so happy for him. 

He started travelling from his school   south of Maidstone to Feltham West London by trains and buses to get to training that he couldn’t even take part in two to three times a week.  We used to make him a hot food flask of pasta, drinks , a protein shake etc. Sometimes he would get a lift back and dropped off near the M20 and we’d pick him up circa 10pm. School the next day. He started training, got game time... played at the Aldershot ground, Wilderspool and toured Catalan Dragons with Richard Harris , Alex Walker , Joe Keyes , Kain Dimech and others. He had already decided that he was going to Hartpury College in Gloucestershire to study his A levels and continue to play both codes throughout the seasons, but truly his favourite sport was RL. He played in the 2nd team at Hartpury, no mean feat when there are England players keeping you out the 1st xv. He went for a trial at the All Golds and was selected for SW England and Wales trials ( wife’s side). I recall a Wales trial where he and Regan Grace stood out but were not selected to go through. Other parents on the circuit were bemused. My involvement became that of the biggest dad cab. He eventually was selected for Wales Students, training in South and North Wales. When his uni mates didn’t get through to the squad he didn’t have a lift so I used to drive from Kent to Gloucester or Cheltenham, over night on the floor/setter and drive him to training camps then reverse the journey. 

He played in the Student Home Nations in Edinburgh, my wife and I spent our 25th wedding anniversary there for a week. Fantastic. The following year he made the Wales Student squad for the World Cup in Sydney. My family went over to support and had a fantastic time , what an eye opener seeing the Leagues clubs !   He  also played in the Wales U23 sude in the Pre Commonwealth 9s on the Gold Coast. He hassince gone semi pro , played his first season last year at Coventry Bears. That was brilliant. At the end of that season he  was called up to Wales senior squad for the Home Nations and World Cup qualifiers. He didn’t get game time but trained and traveled with the squad, what a privilege ! He left uni and didn’t have anywhere to live, Coventry couldn’t house him and at that stage he wasn’t driving. West Wales Raiders provided a player house and that’s where he is now, learning some life lessons. I reflect on the point of taking up summer RL to improve his union game. From that point footy has not been off our TV. The sky coverage enabled an apprenticeship to watch and learn, Premier Spirts for the NRL, the Footy Show and Matty Johns  show, Origin matches , City Vs Country .... my wife and girls live RL, the speed, the skills... the pies !  We are experts in the Northern game even if we are shandy drinking southern based Welsh supporters... what a journey and it continues. 

 

Excellent read Mr R-W. ?

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9 hours ago, wizza1 said:

Fantastic stories !  Mine is long story but rewarding.

I’m born and raised South East London, went to a brilliant rugby playing grammar school in New Cross and played county from U18s to U23s back in the day. Fast forward to getting married, moving to a small holding in Kent , having 3 kids. We are sports mad. My kids all had swim lessons, competed in karate (up and down the country), signed up to athletics club , pony club and the local rugby club. We were also Harlequins season ticket holders and had wonderful laughs , beers with my old rugby playing school and club chums, we all stayed in touch. My son and eldest daughter wanted to concentrate on rugby , my daughter captained Kent girls U16s my son played for Cranbrook u10s-u15s. He  then moved to another club , huge rivals who seemed to have the best coaches and a fantastic team. Very brave on his part as there were already 2 county fly halves in that side.  After his first season at U16 one of the lads he was playing union with mentioned that my son should be playing rugby league through the summer, he’d be fitter , stronger and his tackling would improve. I had no idea there was RL in the area. That lad was playing RL for Harlequins and Medway Dragons. I’d just bought my son a new cricket bat that cost over £140 and really enjoyed the afternoons at the local cricket club, but we all agreed that rugby was taking priority and he wanted to go as far as possible. We went up to a training night at Medway Dragons. We met Martin Coyd and he asked my son “can you play football ?”  and was really friendly, made us feel welcome and explained his vision for the club. My son came away from that night , jumped in the car and said “ I really enjoyed that, it’s so friendly, a really good vibe “  I’d noticed the change on demographic, the parents were very much working class compared to the very different set of parents at the union gatherings. He played his first game within a fortnight and fed the ball into the scrum straight on his first feed!!! He was one of the youngest and scrawniest in his age group side. The physicality was immense. He got selected for the Origin series ( North vs South of M25) and was really hopeful of getting into the Quins RL set up. He went on to play union again after the league season. Was incredibly fit, fast, skilful and played his way into being invited to county training. He was flopped on at a ruck , doing a jackal , by the biggest lump of a kid, right at the end of training. Fractured his leg... county dream over at first session. I cried for him. 

He was on crutches , fed up. He couldn’t wait for the Medway Dragons pre season to start. I took him up there to watch the indoor S&C in the January. Martin Coyd pulled me over and said “ I’m glad Liam is here, I’ve got an announcement that involves him” At the end of training , Coydy called the whole club round and put my son in the middle and announced that Liam had been called into the newly renamed London Broncos U16 scholarship.  He was totally made up. I was so happy for him. 

He started travelling from his school   south of Maidstone to Feltham West London by trains and buses to get to training that he couldn’t even take part in two to three times a week.  We used to make him a hot food flask of pasta, drinks , a protein shake etc. Sometimes he would get a lift back and dropped off near the M20 and we’d pick him up circa 10pm. School the next day. He started training, got game time... played at the Aldershot ground, Wilderspool and toured Catalan Dragons with Richard Harris , Alex Walker , Joe Keyes , Kain Dimech and others. He had already decided that he was going to Hartpury College in Gloucestershire to study his A levels and continue to play both codes throughout the seasons, but truly his favourite sport was RL. He played in the 2nd team at Hartpury, no mean feat when there are England players keeping you out the 1st xv. He went for a trial at the All Golds and was selected for SW England and Wales trials ( wife’s side). I recall a Wales trial where he and Regan Grace stood out but were not selected to go through. Other parents on the circuit were bemused. My involvement became that of the biggest dad cab. He eventually was selected for Wales Students, training in South and North Wales. When his uni mates didn’t get through to the squad he didn’t have a lift so I used to drive from Kent to Gloucester or Cheltenham, over night on the floor/setter and drive him to training camps then reverse the journey. 

He played in the Student Home Nations in Edinburgh, my wife and I spent our 25th wedding anniversary there for a week. Fantastic. The following year he made the Wales Student squad for the World Cup in Sydney. My family went over to support and had a fantastic time , what an eye opener seeing the Leagues clubs !   He  also played in the Wales U23 sude in the Pre Commonwealth 9s on the Gold Coast. He hassince gone semi pro , played his first season last year at Coventry Bears. That was brilliant. At the end of that season he  was called up to Wales senior squad for the Home Nations and World Cup qualifiers. He didn’t get game time but trained and traveled with the squad, what a privilege ! He left uni and didn’t have anywhere to live, Coventry couldn’t house him and at that stage he wasn’t driving. West Wales Raiders provided a player house and that’s where he is now, learning some life lessons. I reflect on the point of taking up summer RL to improve his union game. From that point footy has not been off our TV. The sky coverage enabled an apprenticeship to watch and learn, Premier Spirts for the NRL, the Footy Show and Matty Johns  show, Origin matches , City Vs Country .... my wife and girls live RL, the speed, the skills... the pies !  We are experts in the Northern game even if we are shandy drinking southern based Welsh supporters... what a journey and it continues. 

 

That's a wonderful story.

Thanks for telling it on this forum.

I think it should be compulsory reading for every Rugby League supporter who ever moans about the game.

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I've always lived within a stones throw of where watersheddings stadium used to be in Oldham. So rugby league is pretty much what I grew up with along with my friends. I'm old enough to remember the good old days. 

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The Story:

The Rugby Challenge Cup was on BBC1. I had a vague knowledge of R.U. Living in the South we had been made to "have a go at it" at school. But it had never really grabbed my attention, apart from maybe the World Cup (1996? which was on mainstream TV). I knew there was what was referred to as a "Northern version of Rugby" but didn't know what the difference was. All Rugby seemed to be hidden behind a pay wall so I never saw much of it. When I saw advertised R.L. at Wembley, on BBC, a Cup Final, I thought "right, this is it, make a change from football and I will finally get to understand what the other Rugby game is about. Anyway, found myself on the edge of the seat, couldn't tear my attention away. Took out a Sky subscription so I could follow as many matches as possible. Started going to some local matches. The rest is history, as they say. ?

 

The Opinion:

I think that keeping some presence on "free to air" is essential. When Bradford hosted Leeds the BBC said the audience peaked at 1.1M people ! It's a great shop window for all and an opportunity to hook non heartland people. R.U. are partnered with BT Sport but together they put out some matches via Channel 5 and a highlights Show (at a reasonable time of day). It would be good if Sky / Superleague / RL Championship could do something similar with C4 or C5. Yes, the people who are interested will always find the League 1 video stream on Our League, but for those that have yet to be converted having something on the "normal telly" provides a good shop window and could be a booster for sponsors too.

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Belfast born and bred. Saturday afternoons spent watching RL on Grandstand in the 70s and loved the game in a country which is RU mad. Lived in London for many years and was a Broncos season ticket holder for 7 years. Moved to South Africa for 10 years and followed the game from afar but managed to get to Sydney for the 2004 decider in State of Origin. Now back in Belfast and watching at least 2 matches a week on Sky...also NRL. Still follow London but also have a passion for Catalans and all expansion teams. Best sport in the world...glad to say my wife who is a Londoner also watches every match with me!

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18 hours ago, Big Picture said:

FYI, rugby league is the true Canadian football and what the CFL serves up is not.  Replacement of the original form of play-the-ball with the snapback in 1921 put the Canadian game on a slippery slope which has ended up with that game so dominated by Usonians that at least half of the Canadians who play in the CFL went to a US college to get better at that foreign game.  Consider further that whereas cross code rugby matches have invariably been won by the team playing under their own rules and the AFL pros have their hands well and truly full playing the GAA non-pros under composite rules, the two times when a team of the best Canadian college players played a team of Usonian college players who weren't involved in any of their bowl games under the "Canadian" rules in Tampa, Florida back in 1978 and 1979 the Canadians were comfortably beaten in both matches after the home team adjusted to the slight differences in the rules.

Check out this footage of Canadian rugby football in the 1920s and you'll easily see how and why RL is indeed the most Canadian game which Canadians didn't know before the Wolfpack came into being:

You've pushed this narrative about what is or isn't "true" Canadian football before, and I'll push back on it as I always do. Canadian football is played, watched and loved by millions of modern, real life Canadians. All games have changed since the mid-19th century, and of course our game has change most similarly to the Americans'. We have a shared sporting culture that does not stop at or follow land borders.

Both types of gridiron football have evolved away from their rugby roots, with the Canadian game retaining slightly more of that rugby DNA. But that evolution began before RL was even a thing, and has been constantly changing within and across both Canada and the US. I'm not saying there wasn't some cross-pollinating of ideas with either rugby code after the original jump of rugby football to North America. But to suggest RL is somehow more "real" or "true" when our evolution split off before its existence, and when RL was never widely followed or played here, over a game that we've been playing (and changing yes) continuously, is a leap that I can't get on board with. 

I also have no idea why you feel the need to diminish or delegitimize they way other people perceive or enjoy sports. Why is it wrong to  you that we have a similar game as our neighbours? Why can't we just like all the games we have instead of trying to put some of them down?

 

Thanks for the video. I do really like old footage of games in the past. The Tiger-Cats are celebrating 150 years since the formation of the original Hamilton Tigers so we've been getting some really cool clips played at halftime and stuff. The speed of play especially is something that I wonder if we could work back into the modern game. 

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32 minutes ago, TheReaper said:

Both types of gridiron football have evolved away from their rugby roots, with the Canadian game retaining slightly more of that rugby DNA. But that evolution began before RL was even a thing, and has been constantly changing within and across both Canada and the US.

Truth be told, the rules of Rugby League have been constantly evolving. The sport started at a time when there were multiple competing sets of rules for what football might be. The School at Rugby England produced a set of rules to start what we all see as "Rugby" today. There was a big divergence in 1895 when the South Rugby Union stayed Amateur and the Northern Rugby League went professional. Since then the RU game has gone professional and both sets of rules have evolved many times over. If you were able to consult a player from 1900, 1950, or 1975 they would hardly recognise what is played today. Things have to evolve and stay relevant. Professional Sport is a form of entertainment for the fee paying fans, not a purist pursuit done for its own "authentic experience".

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7 hours ago, Hemel Stag said:

Truth be told, the rules of Rugby League have been constantly evolving. The sport started at a time when there were multiple competing sets of rules for what football might be. The School at Rugby England produced a set of rules to start what we all see as "Rugby" today. There was a big divergence in 1895 when the South Rugby Union stayed Amateur and the Northern Rugby League went professional. Since then the RU game has gone professional and both sets of rules have evolved many times over. If you were able to consult a player from 1900, 1950, or 1975 they would hardly recognise what is played today. Things have to evolve and stay relevant. Professional Sport is a form of entertainment for the fee paying fans, not a purist pursuit done for its own "authentic experience".

Would be fascinating to see what the game looks like in 20 years.... Will union continue its steady march to being Rugby league

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22 hours ago, Martyn Sadler said:

That's a wonderful story.

Thanks for telling it on this forum.

I think it should be compulsory reading for every Rugby League supporter who ever moans about the game.

How about featuring some of these stories in a regular fixture in League Express, Martyn? This thread has been great reading and I'm sure an extended feature in the paper would go down well.

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17 minutes ago, Chris22 said:

How about featuring some of these stories in a regular fixture in League Express, Martyn? This thread has been great reading and I'm sure an extended feature in the paper would go down well.

I noticed Martyn put something on Twitter alerting people to the thread and encouraging non heartland fans to share. I agree with you it would make a good feature(s). I'm sure fans (me!) would be happy to write their stories up if asked.

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15 hours ago, EssexRL said:

I noticed Martyn put something on Twitter alerting people to the thread and encouraging non heartland fans to share. I agree with you it would make a good feature(s). I'm sure fans (me!) would be happy to write their stories up if asked.

its not just how they found the game but what they then go on to do with that knowledge too... 

Some of us helped out in areas we lived with the games, junior work, playing... some travel the length and breadth of the country supporting their side... some are season ticket holders at smaller clubs.. some are regulars at amateur clubs.. etc etc

All of that will show just what can happen with coverage on FTA, with amateur expansion sides, with League one expansion sides, University RL and so on. It would hopefully show a few people what expansion is about, how it can take time, how it is worth it but also how it is built on the back of things like the Uni game and when i say people I also include members of the RFL board who pay only lip service to this type of thing.

Look at Fighting Irish's story... what could happen if someone up high really helped... 

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Although I live in the north west I'm just outside the heartlands hear on the coast just north of football mad Liverpool. For me it started when a couple of mates dragged me along to watch them play for an amateur RL team that had been set up the year before in my home town of Formby back in around 1981. Because I was a "chunky" lad in my late teens they badgered me into going along to training. The first pre-season training session near killed me; I was very far from what you could call fit! The first season I only played a few games, mainly coming on as sub - I really wasn't very good. But I stuck at it, and by the following season I was a regular and never out of the side. I continued to play into my early 40s.

I'd played for probably a season before I attended my first professional game, which was the '82 Kangaroos club game against either Saints or Widnes. I bounced around watching the north west teams going to watch Saints, Widnes, Wire and even Huyton for a few months before I ended up at Central Park where I caught the Wigan bug. They weren't that great back then having just come back up to the first division but something just clicked about the place and the team and I've supported them ever since.

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"it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it."

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7 minutes ago, Griff9of13 said:

Although I live in the north west I'm just outside the heartlands hear on the coast just north of football mad Liverpool. For me it started when a couple of mates dragged me along to watch them play for an amateur RL team that had been set up the year before in my home town of Formby back in around 1981. Because I was a "chunky" lad in my late teens they badgered me into going along to training. The first pre-season training session near killed me; I was very far from what you could call fit! 

Had first preseason session last week.... A bit of me actually died

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38 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Had first preseason session last week.... A bit of me actually died

Stick at it, it gets easier. Do as much as you can in your own time as well.

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"it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it."

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