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Reports suggest Toronto Wolfpack not guaranteed SL place

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17 hours ago, Mushy said:

I’m proud to tell family and friends I am watching Toronto. It changes their perception of our sport positively, and that should translate into more money for the sport as a whole. 

Indeed it does translate to more money for the sport. Obviously TWP's massive losses (c.£10M to date) would need to be reversed as would the similar losses made as Ottawa, New York, Montreal and Vancouver (the latter two Perez recently mentioned had phoned him) will have to spend at similar levels to build their clubs up. I'd guess once these five clubs are all in Superleague to enable a Transatlantic League with adequate North American content to capture the big NATV contract in 10 years time  then the return on the couple of hundred £Million spent to get those five NA clubs up and running to provide adequate content for a  NATV deal will be gradually re-imbursed by the mega Fox Sports TV deal or whoever picks up Rugby League to broadcast it in North America.  

17 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

To be fair, Toronto have had decent crowds from scratch. The declared figures are rather optimistic but there’s no doubt a good number of people show up. That’s a level of success. Other than that it’s pushing it to say they have been successful all things considered.

Your entitled to your opinion but crowds were never the measure of success. Perez himself said the measure of success was getting that Transatlantic deal and developing North American players. So not even Perez would agree with you because those crowds of about 8,000 are inadequate to make TWP solvent. What will make Perez's business model work is the NATV deal. No need to argue with me call Perez if you disagree.

16 hours ago, Dave T said:

Sometimes people forget that they are a Rugby League club. Let's judge them as that

This changing Mr. Perez's goalposts is most tiresome. Perez himself set out success as North American Players in a Transatlantic League with a big North American content and big North American TV deal. I know you never read anything up, and I know you won't let me send you the articles that confirm all the facts, so what can I do but tell you have invented that rubbish. Judge them as an expansion club which you forget they are.

14 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

Spending full cap (with marquees) to achieve promotion from the third tier to the first tier of British rugby league is not so much success as inevitability.

It's no real success. Huddersfield once spent far less and won the Championship going unbeaten because what they did spend was enough to have all the best players outside Superleague in their team, thrashing the part timers. Success is getting a Transatlantic league set up and copping an NATV deal as a result. That I think you will agree, is entirely the plan and the measure as per Mr. Perez. 

1 hour ago, Big Picture said:

Your really rather tedious, once again the plan is a transatlantic League, and if successful marketing WAS the measure of success then the massive losses TWP make clearly show their marketing was in no way successful - it was  inadequate, why do you keep peddling this rubbish???

5 hours ago, ChoboMog said:

The only update I have seen, from the past week or so, was from Mr Elstone's interview on Rugby AM:

You can clearly hear him hedging his bets, somewhat, and he does raise some genuine question marks and caveats about the challenges of a trans-Atlantic Super League, from long distance travel to balance of competition.  That said, the impression I am left with is that if TWP win next Saturday, and a few details can be ironed out, then entry into Super League is not only something which will happen, but something which will be promoted to ensure its long-term success....

It doesn't feel like this discussion here has gone anywhere but in circles, perhaps we should start to focus on:

1. What the Rugby Football League and Super League can do to ensure the success of a trans-Atlantic Super League; and

2. What the Toronto Wolfpack can do or need to do better, is not only smooth, but a win for all involved.

Admittedly, this is all still hypothetical,   It simply seems, to me anyway, to be a heck of a lot more useful and practical than out-of-context quotes and aspirations from years past and from those no longer running the show.

I'm sorry but Mr. Perez is still running the show as is Mr. Argyle and the aspirations quoted in 2016 are exactly the same as they are now. Mr. Perez said he went to Ottawa to get the second NA club set up, his colleague Mr, Wilby has the third NA club accepted on principle, and clubs four and five were recently named by Mr. Perez as Montreal (whose interest was noted by Perez three years ago), and Vancouver  who many on here favour despite the extra travel difference.

What TWP need to do better is find SL quality players. Toronto simply can't find a way to do this at all, which sadly means that we only have the players for about 12 professional clubs. That would mean five Superleague clubs from here will have to  drop to the Championship and give up their players so they can go play in North America for at least 10-15 years which is the estimate on here and by Perez for when NA will be developing their own pro players. I think it will be far longer than that. 

I think we should start to focus on how we persuade the poorer SL clubs to step down for the North American clubs. For me Salford should go now, but they are doing far far too well on the pitch to go down other than like a lead baloon. No need for two clubs in Hull so HKR should step down, but I think Hull FC would be vehemently against this as would other clubs who were furious when they were relegated last. Castleford and Wakefield have rubbish grounds so people on here have often called for them to be relegated accordingly maybe that's a start (maybe we can't get away with that as TWP have a rubbish ground). Maybe we can boot out Huddersfield?

I think there is a way we can choose the right clubs to stand down so we can get a competitive transatlantic league in 10 years time. I do however fear resistance and a massive backlash from fans and many owners here getting them TO stand down. In 1996 the plan was to reduce the number of clubs through merger (Hull/HKR, Cas/Wakey/Fev) but fans threatened a riot and threatened to walk away from the game if it went through. I think club owners would also be seriously split, I think Sponsors would all see this as toxic and pull out   

I think the idea of a Transatlantic league is good business in principle, but in practice:-

1. Several Clubs, their owners, sponsors and fans will riot if they threatened with being pushed out of Superleague and their playing rosters sent to America. I suspect if it happens they will walk away in large numbers and this will hit the junior game and player development.

2. By the time such a league can have enough NA content for a TV deal, I worry that the big NA Rugby TV deal will already have gone to MLR as have all the Rugby Players in North America, and has all the investment and interest with USA in the RU world cup, and 150,000 people playing RU there and tens of thousands more organising it and watching it.

3. I fear that there are actually no big investors for RL in North America either? Argyle is an Aussie and Wilby is English and not rich. I've never heard from any NA investors in three years? I fear there are no volunteers to do the hard yards developing the grass roots apart from Bob Jowett and his co-helper.

So I suppose we all need to have a real good think about the practicalities and wake up from the dream??

No point in a Transatlantic League unless we can persuade everyone it's a good thing, and then get over some very tough hurdles indeed Chobomog?? 

Over to you......How are we going to do this??

Edited by The Parksider

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Here is my summation of this thread if it were to be played out in real life

 Parky has set out in his vintage British green Mini with his two mates Harry Stottle and Man of Kent for a roadtrip across the M62 corridor visiting small towns trying to spread the gospel of how twp will bring doom to English rl. As they travel Mok studiously counts the number of people they pass, logging his data into an Excel spreadsheet. He presents his findings to Parky and Harry, who then discuss the merits of these ''real'' rl fans and compare them to the ''phoney'' fans of ''phoney'' clubs. Along their travels they find Gubrats, who is sitting on the fence and refuses to join the roadtrip. The 3 gentleman proceed to the next town where they find Kman with a megaphone in the town square, enthusiastically telling passerbys the benefits of twp reaching super league whilst selling lots of twp branded merchandise. It's been a long day so the 3 gentleman decide to call it a day and head to the closest accommodation. They also stop at the local pub where they find 4 Canadians and a couple Englishman  talking about all the benefits that twp bring to rugby league. They consider joining them but quickly remember that they have already tried to warn people thousands of times before with no success and only to be insulted. Parky reminds his 2 friends that they clearly aren't in reality because they're not talking about things that really matter, like Rugby union.As they head to their hotel rooms, they pass an auditorium where Oxford is providing some comic relief to a large crowd, which Mok subconsciously starts to count.

To be continued when the next inevitable 50 page thread on twp arises.         

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I love a thread where I can come back to the forum after 20 pages of posts, and have missed absolutely nothing.

Edited by ojx
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10 hours ago, Krzzystuff said:

yours right, how come we get such high crowds and most of ya don't?

Also fun tidbit, kids 5 and under are free and don't need a ticket so we have been lying about our attendances all this time, they've bene higher if you add the kids.

You attend in summer!.. Any questions on sport?

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14 minutes ago, ojx said:

I love a thread where I can come back to the forum after 20 pages of post, and have missed absolutely nothing.

What goess around comes around. And around. And around. And around. Kinda like Parky's posts.

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@ojx, I skipped the first 53 pages, or so, as well, but I've at least tried to keep things on topic, here.  Your frustration is definitely shared.

@Big Picture, I think Elstone's point about Toronto being seemingly pretty "random", and likely not even in the top hundred cities you would have expected a rugby league team makes some sense, at least if someone were positing the idea a half decade ago.  These days, the only thing "random" is the fact that the team has taken off so well, and that public interest has seemingly blossomed out of nothing, to the point where 7000+ fans are to be expected each week and where 9000+ for any important game is standard.  I agree that he is, still, trying to get his head around what Toronto represents, going forward, but I feel like the potential for growth, international exposure, and increased TV/advertising revenue it presents will be impossible for him and the other owners to pass up.

Thankfully, there is nothing "random" about the fans in attendance.  Those of us who are into rugby league are a given; but the vast majority, in my experience, are completely new to the sport, came to a single game and then decided to return again, and again, and again...

@The Parksider, I will do my best to keep my response concise, and I do appreciate the fact you specifically addressed my points:

  • While Eric Perez is still listed as "Founder" of the Toronto Wolfpack, in many places, he hasn't had a meaningful role with the team for at least the duration of the 2019 season.  Were he still actively involved with the Toronto Wolfpack, his views might be relevant; however, given that he is not, and the fact he has clearly moved on to Ottawa, there is really little value in referencing his past statements in relation to Toronto.
  • I fundamentally disagree, as I am sure many others here would, that viewing expansion as a zero sum game makes sense.  It is a truly flawed calculus.  Not only are there easily players for more that 12 professional clubs, the increased opportunity to turn professional provides significant incentive for youngsters to follow their dream, for those down under to maybe give the Northern Hemisphere a try etc.  Similarly, the single best way to foster new player development, RU-to-RL player conversion, and even the to date mythical NFL/CFL gridiorn-to-RL conversion of players is to have the combination of exposure and opportunity, both of which North American expansion provides.  I won't pretend those benefits will be seen overnight, or even within a year or two; but for anyone thinking long term, here, playing the long game, those benefits are undeniable.
  • I don't believe that there will be a need to persuade/select any teams for relegation, amalgamation, and/or relocation for this expansion to work.  This will happen relatively naturally as the circumstances, and the landscape of the RFL's three tiers, change.  Further to the zero sum point, above, as interest grows the RFL ranks and even the number of teams in the SL top tier can also grow.
  • Rugby Union definitely has a much stronger foothold in North America, at the amateur level; however, realistically, I've seen a grand total of one advertisement, combined, for the Toronto Arrows and Major League Rugby, in my life.  They are hardly the threat some will make them out to be.  MRL looks bigger in North America, perhaps on paper and after a quick glance at the Wikipedia map; but if a NYC, Boston, or Montreal rugby league team were to emulate the Toronto Wolfpack's business model, I genuinely believe RU/MRL would be pushed aside and the better code would prevail quite easily.
  • I don't have any inside information regarding investors.  However, the addition of Bob Hunter to the Toronto Wolfpack management team is potentially a huge deal given his decades of experience dealing with stadium construction [SkyDome, Air Canada Centre (aka Scotiabank Arena), BMO Field, B.C. Place & Vancouver Expo etc) and local government support, as well has having massive connections within the local/national sports media scene, should give you hope that a TV deal and/or further sponsorship is not only planned but likely to become a reality.  The fact that Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which owns the CFL Redblacks, OHL 67’s, Ottawa Fury FC (USL), and manages the 24000 seat Ottawa rectangular stadium TD Place should give you confidence there is local money to back such expansion.
  • Lamport Stadium is actually a pretty fun venue.  Old school and utilitarian, for sure; but it gets the job done and just feels right for rugby league.  You should really come to a game, sometime! ?

In a nutshell, while I'm not going to pretend that there are no kinks to iron out, I genuinely believe that Toronto Wolfpack promotion to Super League will cause a lot of these pieces to fall into place in much the way so many have done so already.  Even if there are disagreements in terms of the present value of such expansion, it will be fun to watch and a great ride as it happens!

Edited by ChoboMog
Lamport Stadium is actually pretty sweet!
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7 minutes ago, ChoboMog said:

@ojx, I skipped the first 53 pages, or so, as well, but I've at least tried to keep things on topic, here.  Your frustration is definitely shared.

@Big Picture, I think Elstone's point about Toronto being seemingly pretty "random", and likely not even in the top hundred cities you would have expected a rugby league team makes some sense, at least if someone were positing the idea a half decade ago.  These days, the only thing "random" is the fact that the team has taken off so well, and that public interest has seemingly blossomed out of nothing, to the point where 7000+ fans are to be expected each week and where 9000+ for any important game is standard.  I agree that he is, still, trying to get his head around what Toronto represents, going forward, but I feel like the potential for growth, international exposure, and increased TV/advertising revenue it presents will be impossible for him and the other owners to pass up.

Thankfully, there is nothing "random" about the fans in attendance.  Those of us who are into rugby league are a given; but the vast majority, in my experience, are completely new to the sport, came to a single game and then decided to return again, and again, and again...

@The Parksider, I will do my best to keep my response concise, and I do appreciate the fact you specifically addressed my points:

  • While Eric Perez is still listed as "Founder" of the Toronto Wolfpack, in many places, he hasn't had a meaningful role with the team for at least the duration of the 2019 season.  Were he still actively involved with the Toronto Wolfpack, his views might be relevant; however, given that he is not, and the fact he has clearly moved on to Ottawa, there is really little value in referencing his past statements in relation to Toronto.
  • I fundamentally disagree, as I am sure many others here would, that viewing expansion as a zero sum game makes sense.  It is a truly flawed calculus.  Not only are there easily players for more that 12 professional clubs, the increased opportunity to turn professional provides significant incentive for youngsters to follow their dream, for those down under to maybe give the Northern Hemisphere a try etc.  Similarly, the single best way to foster new player development, RU-to-RL player conversion, and even the to date mythical NFL/CFL gridiorn-to-RL conversion of players is to have the combination of exposure and opportunity, both of which North American expansion provides.  I won't pretend those benefits will be seen overnight, or even within a year or two; but for anyone thinking long term, here, playing the long game, those benefits are undeniable.
  • I don't believe that there will be a need to persuade/select any teams for relegation, amalgamation, and/or relocation for this expansion to work.  This will happen relatively naturally as the circumstances, and the landscape of the RFL's three tiers, change.  Further to the zero sum point, above, as interest grows the RFL ranks and even the number of teams in the SL top tier can also grow.
  • Rugby Union definitely has a much stronger foothold in North America, at the amateur level; however, realistically, I've seen a grand total of one advertisement, combined, for the Toronto Arrows and Major League Rugby, in my life.  They are hardly the threat some will make them out to be.  MRL looks bigger in North America, perhaps on paper and after a quick glance at the Wikipedia map; but if a NYC, Boston, or Montreal rugby league team were to emulate the Toronto Wolfpack's business model, I genuinely believe RU/MRL would be pushed aside and the better code would prevail quite easily.
  • I don't have any inside information regarding investors.  However, the addition of Bob Hunter to the Toronto Wolfpack management team is potentially a huge deal given his decades of experience dealing with stadium construction [SkyDome, Air Canada Centre (aka Scotiabank Arena), BMO Field, B.C. Place & Vancouver Expo etc) and local government support, as well has having massive connections within the local/national sports media scene, should give you hope that a TV deal and/or further sponsorship is not only planned but likely to become a reality.  The fact that Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which owns the CFL Redblacks, OHL 67’s, Ottawa Fury FC (USL), and manages the 24000 seat Ottawa rectangular stadium TD Place should give you confidence there is local money to back such expansion.
  • Lamport Stadium is actually a pretty fun venue.  Old school and utilitarian, for sure; but it gets the job done and just feels right for rugby league.  You should really come to a game, sometime! ?

In a nutshell, while I'm not going to pretend that there are no kinks to iron out, I genuinely believe that Toronto Wolfpack promotion to Super League will cause a lot of these pieces to fall into place in much the way so many have done so already.  Even if there are disagreements in terms of the present value of such expansion, it will be fun to watch and a great ride as it happens!

  ?????

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15 minutes ago, ChoboMog said:

 Similarly, the single best way to foster new player development, RU-to-RL player conversion, and even the to date mythical NFL/CFL gridiorn-to-RL conversion of players is to have the combination of exposure and opportunity, both of which North American expansion provides.  I won't pretend those benefits will be seen overnight, or even within a year or two; but for anyone thinking long term, here, playing the long game, those benefits are undeniable.

It’s five years since Toronto applied to join the RFL and in that time the sum of player development efforts seem to be the Last Tackle show, frankly a gimmick, and some tokenistic kids’ touch/tag sessions.

Where is the blueprint for a player development pathway you describe above, even in outline form? Why should we believe Toronto will bother?

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1 minute ago, Man of Kent said:

It’s five years since Toronto applied to join the RFL and in that time the sum of player development efforts seem to be the Last Tackle show, frankly a gimmick, and some tokenistic kids’ touch/tag sessions.

Where is the blueprint for a player development pathway you describe above, even in outline form? Why should we believe Toronto will bother?

What part of they have to be at the top of the pyramid before they'll appeal to the sort of potential converts with the best prospects of making the transition do you fail to understand?

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30 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

What part of they have to be at the top of the pyramid before they'll appeal to the sort of potential converts with the best prospects of making the transition do you fail to understand?

You lost him at "Toronto"...if it ain't a shire it's bad

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3 hours ago, Krzzystuff said:

You lost him at "Toronto"...if it ain't a shire it's bad

Ah, so he's a hobbit then.

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4 hours ago, Big Picture said:

What part of they have to be at the top of the pyramid before they'll appeal to the sort of potential converts with the best prospects of making the transition do you fail to understand?

Not sure they have to be at the top of the pyramid to appeal to converts. If they can attract Ricky Leutele et al, I’m sure they could appeal now if they really wanted. 

The question for me is how Toronto develops domestic RL players via an Academy-style system when the nearest opposition requires a 7000-mile round trip.  Any ideas?

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2 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Not sure they have to be at the top of the pyramid to appeal to converts. If they can attract Ricky Leutele et al, I’m sure they could appeal now if they really wanted. 

The question for me is how Toronto develops domestic RL players via an Academy-style system when the nearest opposition requires a 7000-mile round trip.  Any ideas?

Open an Academy in the UK in the short-to-mid term and invest heavily in school sport in Toronto and the wider region. 

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4 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Not sure they have to be at the top of the pyramid to appeal to converts. If they can attract Ricky Leutele et al, I’m sure they could appeal now if they really wanted. 

The question for me is how Toronto develops domestic RL players via an Academy-style system when the nearest opposition requires a 7000-mile round trip.  Any ideas?

 

Just now, Oliver Clothesoff said:

Open an Academy in the UK in the short-to-mid term and invest heavily in school sport in Toronto and the wider region. 

You beat me to it. MoK what's your thoughts on them setting up a centre of excellence in London to develop players?

Even better to have more british players being developed, plus that gives a base for talented Canadians to be tested.

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9 minutes ago, Dave T said:

 

You beat me to it. MoK what's your thoughts on them setting up a centre of excellence in London to develop players?

Even better to have more british players being developed, plus that gives a base for talented Canadians to be tested.

Is it needed? The Broncos’ academy came fifth this year, only behind Wigan/Leeds/Saints/Warrington. It’s become the jewel in their crown. 

Perhaps Manchester is an area where we need more player development? TWP are based around there so seems more natural.

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4 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Is it needed? The Broncos’ academy came fifth this year, only behind Wigan/Leeds/Saints/Warrington. It’s become the jewel in their crown. 

Perhaps Manchester is an area where we need more player development? TWP are based around there so seems more natural.

If I was going to invest money into youth development I'd rather it was London than Manchester which really should be served better by existing clubs. 

They have talked about their support for Skolars too so maybe a natural link there. 

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5 minutes ago, Dave T said:

If I was going to invest money into youth development I'd rather it was London than Manchester which really should be served better by existing clubs. 

They have talked about their support for Skolars too so maybe a natural link there. 

Throwing some money at Skolars would be nice and all but it isn’t really development of Canadian players.

I’d like to see some domestic commitment beyond the ‘putting rugby balls in kids’ hands’ slogan.

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13 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Throwing some money at Skolars would be nice and all but it isn’t really development of Canadian players.

I’d like to see some domestic commitment beyond the ‘putting rugby balls in kids’ hands’ slogan.

If the player pool for SL is an issue, I'm not bothered whether player development brings through Canadian players. That is one for the CRL so they can do ok internationally, butbthat ain't SL's remit in the slightest.

There is a lot of virgin territory in the UK and other places. 

Of course I think you should have local pathways too, but if they can develop new players into the pot from elsewhere I dont have a single issue with that. A little bit like I think UK clubs should be looking wider than they do.

Edited by Dave T
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6 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

It’s five years since Toronto applied to join the RFL and in that time the sum of player development efforts seem to be the Last Tackle show, frankly a gimmick, and some tokenistic kids’ touch/tag sessions.

Where is the blueprint for a player development pathway you describe above, even in outline form? Why should we believe Toronto will bother?

What make them tokenistic exactly? 

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13 minutes ago, Dave T said:

If the player pool for SL is an issue, I'm not bothered whether player development brings through Canadian players. That is one for the CRL so they can do ok internationally, butbthat ain't SL's remit in the slightest.

There is a lot of virgin territory in the UK and other places. 

Of course I think you should have local pathways too, but if they can develop new players into the pot from elsewhere I dont have a single issue with that. A little bit like I think UK clubs should be looking wider than they do.

As you say that's CRL's remit , but surely given Toronto"s supposed profile , surely they should be working together on it ? , Which as I've put , would be one of my requirements for SL entry , I find it very strange that there doesn't seem to be any collaboration between the official Canadian international organisation , and it's only pro club ?

Edited by GUBRATS
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16 minutes ago, Dave T said:

If the player pool for SL is an issue, I'm not bothered whether player development brings through Canadian players. That is one for the CRL so they can do ok internationally, butbthat ain't SL's remit in the slightest.

Why not?

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3 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

Why not?

SLE should be focused on the strength of their comp. 

TWP could invest millions in Canadian players and it does nothing for the comp. Or they could spend millions signing the best players in the world and the returns for the comp would be far better.

The international governing bodies need to work with them to create a strong international team, but TWP dont have to do it.

In an ideal world they should have strong links, like the UK clubs do with the RFL, but ultimately I dont see why SLE should demand that. Sponsors, money, tv, crowds are more important to them.

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5 minutes ago, Dave T said:

SLE should be focused on the strength of their comp. 

TWP could invest millions in Canadian players and it does nothing for the comp. Or they could spend millions signing the best players in the world and the returns for the comp would be far better.

The international governing bodies need to work with them to create a strong international team, but TWP dont have to do it.

In an ideal world they should have strong links, like the UK clubs do with the RFL, but ultimately I dont see why SLE should demand that. Sponsors, money, tv, crowds are more important to them.

I do agree with this from a pragmatic view and it's entirely correct. It is not in SLE's remit at all.

From an Internationalist and RL fan viewpoint though I would like to see TWP take a lead and develop a domestic competition to be their feeder system/reserve system. This could be done in conjunction with Ottawa with each developing 6 feeder clubs in major, strategic centres. 

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27 minutes ago, Damien said:

I do agree with this from a pragmatic view and it's entirely correct. It is not in SLE's remit at all.

From an Internationalist and RL fan viewpoint though I would like to see TWP take a lead and develop a domestic competition to be their feeder system/reserve system. This could be done in conjunction with Ottawa with each developing 6 feeder clubs in major, strategic centres. 

Me too. But from a pure TWP attractiveness to SLE point of view we need to be careful that we dont demand too much. Developing the game in a country shouldn't be left to one country. We have seen with Catalans that does little.

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