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GB Lions should not have been brought back

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All is not well in the GB camp, it was inevitable bringing in Aussies who been in England for 6 months or so. A certain 2 players haven’t gelled and super coach either has to drop one or both. To the journos who relentlessly pushed this heritage nonsense and dinosaur of a coach, well it’s a massive set back British RL, hopefully not years.


Everything under the sun is in tune

But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

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3 hours ago, tiffers said:

You raise a very good point... this is how it compares to the England RU data. Shockingly, where they play games (autumn internationals/6 nations/world cup) they see spikes.

Then added for extra interest is how this compares to the national soccer team and cricket teams... RL (in blue) is far behind all 3. Very far behind.

Its interesting to look at the respective world cups. Especially as we have had both RU and cricket in 2019. They are both fairly even in terms of traffic... compare that to RL world cup...

Think of the marketing/corporate revenue opportunities and conversations you can hold with these audience sizes. It is a wholly different level. I wonder what the RFL are targeting in terms of audiences...

Interestingly, digging into the recent world cup board minutes:

Deep Dive 2 Digital Roadmap

The Board noted the digital roadmap report provided by Sara Piper and the work that had recently commenced with Deloitte. The Board was supportive of the recommendations to appoint a Digital Manager, Head of Customer and some agency support.

Perhaps we are going to take this element a little more seriously in 2021... the fact we needed Deloitte to recommend we need a Digital Manager and Head of Customer however, is beyond me... Surely this is a core part of any international tournament set-up this day and age!?

RL vs. RU.jpg

eng vs. others.jpg

Depressing as those stats will be for some including @RugbyLeagueGeek, they should not surprise anyone.  Three of those sports are national sports in England played (to varying degrees) throughout the UK, wheras the one which is far behind those three is in essence still a regional sport which doesn't resonate with the public at large anywhere close to as much as the other three.  That has to change for those stats to change.

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23 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

Depressing as those stats will be for some including @RugbyLeagueGeek, they should not surprise anyone.  Three of those sports are national sports in England played (to varying degrees) throughout the UK, wheras the one which is far behind those three is in essence still a regional sport which doesn't resonate with the public at large anywhere close to as much as the other three.  That has to change for those stats to change.

And more internationals is the only way to change it.

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8 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

And more internationals is the only way to change it.

When the game is perceived by outsiders (if they ever think of it) as a small time regional sport with limited appeal (as appears to be the case) how will more internationals change it?

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4 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

When the game is perceived by outsiders (if they ever think of it) as a small time regional sport with limited appeal (as appears to be the case) how will more internationals change it?

I disagree with your theory. From my experience, the trouble is that 'outsiders' don't perceive the game as a small time regional sport - they just don't perceive it at all for the vast majority of the time. However, if the national team are playing then the wider public takes interest because often they will be engaged by a team that represents them. England/GB tick this box, whereas small towns in the north of England don't tend to resonate with the wider public in other areas of the country unless they're already a fan of the sport. I know for a fact that this is how people can get hooked on the sport, because it was how I got hooked! Bottom line is it's a brilliant sport - we've just got to find a way of engaging with more people, and small northern towns ain't the way to do it.

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10 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I disagree with your theory. From my experience, the trouble is that 'outsiders' don't perceive the game as a small time regional sport - they just don't perceive it at all for the vast majority of the time. However, if the national team are playing then the wider public takes interest because often they will be engaged by a team that represents them. England/GB tick this box, whereas small towns in the north of England don't tend to resonate with the wider public in other areas of the country unless they're already a fan of the sport. I know for a fact that this is how people can get hooked on the sport, because it was how I got hooked! Bottom line is it's a brilliant sport - we've just got to find a way of engaging with more people, and small northern towns ain't the way to do it.

In fact we agree about a lot.  Small northern towns sure ain't the way to win over outsiders, as brilliant as this sport is (though the game today is definitely less interesting to watch than in the mid-1990s when I started to follow it) it does need a way to induce them to engage with it.  The question is whether internationals with a team based on that small regional footprint can do the trick, especially when so many of the teams in RL World Cups are completely dependent on heritage players.

Edited by Big Picture

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10 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

That's very interesting (and also a little depressing...) - thanks for digging out those stats.

As you say, RL is way, way behind these other sports in terms of public interest and brand awareness. It really depresses me that our international game is so lacking. it's the one thing that can cut through to a wider audience, and those stats bear that out.

Hearing Robert Elstone, Ralph Rimmer and the club chairmen talking about whatever changes are being made to Super League that season is akin to moving deckchairs on the Titanic. For me, the international game is the only thing that is going to take the sport to another level in this country.

Couldnt agree more!

Minor changes in the set-up of super league smack of an insular looking sport.

For me, the fact we will have just 2 full time staff working on a world-cup marketing plan (with agency support), tells me we just arent taking this seriously in any remote way... this is fundamental to why we are behind. The fact they needed to pay Deloitte to tell them this, is incredible.

2 people are not enough to develop a strategy, implement said strategy and then manage a bunch of suppliers/agencies. Not to mention, they need to be all over the PR bandwagon. That isnt enough in my workplace and we are substantially smaller than what a RL World-cup should be!

Bearing in mind we are now only 2yrs out. That is just too little, too late. Yes, we may well be able to drive a good attendance in the grounds. But this is just one aspect of the marketing mix. Have we maximised our ability to create PR opportunities (as per the above graphs), with that low level of staff!? This is what gets you into the wider consciousness of the public. This is where growth comes from and this is where our heads should be focused. A lot of this doesnt necessarily cost masses of money. You just need the capacity to drive content...

What about corporate opportunities off the back of that?

Feels like we are focused on Joe Bloggs, he attends the Halliwell every other week and trying to get him to part with £20 quid, hoping he doesn't pick up a discount code on Group-on.

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9 hours ago, Big Picture said:

Depressing as those stats will be for some including @RugbyLeagueGeek, they should not surprise anyone.  Three of those sports are national sports in England played (to varying degrees) throughout the UK, wheras the one which is far behind those three is in essence still a regional sport which doesn't resonate with the public at large anywhere close to as much as the other three.  That has to change for those stats to change.

And the way to change that is to build a PR team to pump out as much compelling content as possible during the most high profile moments. The board minutes do not exactly suggest they will do that...

If 2 FTE is all of the capacity they wish to instil in a marketing team then god help us.

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Swap England RL for GB in that same tour and same game and you get the same rubbish crowd.

We'll tour as GB every so often as a nostalgic thing to sell a few shirts.........no problem with that.

Problem is it's the same muppets organising everything whether it's GB or England. 

The game is run by clubs........and while that is the case International RL will always be an after thought.

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england_identity2.jpg1921_button.jpg

 

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10 hours ago, Damien said:

I know, not got a clue what the relevance is to what I posted.

We have not given away any heritage.  We created the Great Britain name in 1940s. And by then we were already using the name "Lions".  We should never have started the "England. This is confusing the issue.

We should never have gone down the road of "British Isles".

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2 minutes ago, tiffers said:

And the way to change that is to build a PR team to pump out as much compelling content as possible during the most high profile moments. The board minutes do not exactly suggest they will do that...

If 2 FTE is all of the capacity they wish to instil in a marketing team then god help us.

Considering the game's small footprint and poor finances, that might well be all the capacity they can afford for it.  If this tour loses money like the 1996 tour did, even that might be difficult for them to afford.

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9 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I disagree with your theory. From my experience, the trouble is that 'outsiders' don't perceive the game as a small time regional sport - they just don't perceive it at all for the vast majority of the time. However, if the national team are playing then the wider public takes interest because often they will be engaged by a team that represents them. England/GB tick this box, whereas small towns in the north of England don't tend to resonate with the wider public in other areas of the country unless they're already a fan of the sport. I know for a fact that this is how people can get hooked on the sport, because it was how I got hooked! Bottom line is it's a brilliant sport - we've just got to find a way of engaging with more people, and small northern towns ain't the way to do it.

growing up in sheffield in the 80s the only real opportunity to be exposed to RL was on the tv with the internationals and I loved the sport. always wanted to give it a go but it was union only really. Once at Uni i had the chance and never looked back.. even with grandparents from Warrington my exposure was limited the more internationals on FTA TV the more chance we have of getting people to watch. 

I will pretty much watch any sport but there is more chance of me staying tuned if it was international. I am not overly interested in Hockey but had my eye out for the olympic qualifying matches this weekend and would have watched.. except i had used my "sport viewing on the weekend" time up on the Rugby of both codes on saturday!

For exposure regular internationals are huge! Its actually something I am surprised SKY havent twigged yet... they should push clubs to get the international scene sorted, they should encourage it to be on FTA.. that way people get exposed to it and look into how to watch other games and they are behind a paywall for which people may start to pay... its free advertising for SKY (especially if they also have some of the advertising boardings on the side of the pitch with the next game on) as well as the game. Mid season internationals are huge as once you get someone interested there is a game next week to watch, autumn has a big break for people to "forget" about the fun they had watching in october/november

Edited by RP London
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6 minutes ago, RP London said:

Mid season internationals are huge as once you get someone interested there is a game next week to watch, autumn has a big break for people to "forget" about the fun they had watching in october/november

This is a great point that has got lost since the switch to Summer. The first time I got hooked was the 1990 Ashes between GB and Australia, and when that tour finished, the Regal Trophy was on BBC almost straight after, so I was able to get in to that and the Challenge Cup after Christmas.

The next international that I got to watch was GB v Papua New Guinea on Grandstand in the Autumn of 1991, and I was really excited to watch it. At no point did I think it was a waste of time because GB stuffed PNG - I was just enjoying watching the national side on telly.

I think the fact that GB looked distinctly different from England RU was another thing that helped to differentiate between the codes for a novice like myself. In recent years, many of the England RL shirts haven't looked significantly different from England RU shirts. I really think England RL should go for a very different look to RU, to help provide a much clearer distinction for the armchair viewer. For example, you don't have Pepsi using completely red cans and confusing their product with Coca Cola.

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47 minutes ago, tiffers said:

Feels like we are focused on Joe Bloggs, he attends the Halliwell every other week and trying to get him to part with £20 quid, hoping he doesn't pick up a discount code on Group-on.

Bang on. It's the countless other people who aren't engaged with the sport that we need to attract, as opposed to bleeding the same existing supporters dry. It smacks of a lack of confidence in the sport.

I am a prime example of the type of supporter they should be looking to attract - somebody who likes sport, but lives outside the heartlands and has no affinity to rugby league or any particular club. As a kid I just loved watching all sports, but when I discovered rugby league I was hooked. Without internationals I seriously doubt I would ever have got hooked.

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49 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

This is a great point that has got lost since the switch to Summer. The first time I got hooked was the 1990 Ashes between GB and Australia, and when that tour finished, the Regal Trophy was on BBC almost straight after, so I was able to get in to that and the Challenge Cup after Christmas.

The next international that I got to watch was GB v Papua New Guinea on Grandstand in the Autumn of 1991, and I was really excited to watch it. At no point did I think it was a waste of time because GB stuffed PNG - I was just enjoying watching the national side on telly.

I think the fact that GB looked distinctly different from England RU was another thing that helped to differentiate between the codes for a novice like myself. In recent years, many of the England RL shirts haven't looked significantly different from England RU shirts. I really think England RL should go for a very different look to RU, to help provide a much clearer distinction for the armchair viewer. For example, you don't have Pepsi using completely red cans and confusing their product with Coca Cola.

When they first got rid of GB it should have simply been a name change to England, keep the shirt and the lions head and just make it England IMHO.. that ship has now sailed so they need to make the new shirt stand out, I agree. I liked the red cross on the front, a chevron would be good (understand it is like Saints but so be it) or even Red and white hoops as per the original northern union one (thinner hoops to be more distinct).

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1 hour ago, Rupert Prince said:

We have not given away any heritage.  We created the Great Britain name in 1940s. And by then we were already using the name "Lions".  We should never have started the "England. This is confusing the issue.

We should never have gone down the road of "British Isles".

You completely missed my point. My point was that using GB Rugby League Lions is baffling as it has never been used and shows insecurity regarding the brand. The term was always Great Britain Lions and the RFL now seem too scared to use this, instead giving away our heritage to Union.

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35 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Bang on. It's the countless other people who aren't engaged with the sport that we need to attract, as opposed to bleeding the same existing supporters dry. It smacks of a lack of confidence in the sport.

I am a prime example of the type of supporter they should be looking to attract - somebody who likes sport, but lives outside the heartlands and has no affinity to rugby league or any particular club. As a kid I just loved watching all sports, but when I discovered rugby league I was hooked. Without internationals I seriously doubt I would ever have got hooked.

That's exactly the type of person that should be engaging with during the world cup! It's a similar story down in the deep SW where I live now. There is zero interest in RL outside of internationals. I've lived in all 4 corners of the country and its the same old story. Zero interest in teams located in locations people have never heard of. Your average person hasn't heard of Cas, nor do they care as it isn't relatable. They are however, naturally, intrigued about England/GB.

If we cannot talk to that general sports audience (with a plan in our back pocket for 2022/23!). Attempting to engage those people to come along and buy-in to RL.

Stage 1) get them interested in the world cup. Interested enough to deliver you their email addresses/contact details/rights to market to them.

Stage 1a) actually market to them. get them excited and engaged in the world cup.

Stage 2) get them along to another game in 2022. Challenge cup. GF. Internationals.

Makes me wonder how many touch-points/engagements RL needs for you to become a lifetime supporter. Naturally in the heartlands, touch points are frequent (from birth). Yet, obviously, non-heartlands needs many more touch points to develop understanding and engagement. i.e. we have to work harder. This doesnt mean spending masses of cash. It means being smart in our marketing strategies. Following up with a series of home internationals is a necessity. Following up to those same audiences.

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10 minutes ago, Damien said:

You completely missed my point. My point was that using GB Rugby League Lions is baffling as it has never been used and shows insecurity regarding the brand. The term was always Great Britain Lions and the RFL now seem too scared to use this, instead giving away our heritage to Union.

As much as there is a point to be had that we shy away from our heritage there is also a point that we need to make sure people know this is the Rugby League team rather than anything else, so to try to get Rugby League put into articles is arguably a good idea.. 

Heritage is great but if you are the only people to know about it is means nothing, we can trade on it as much as we want but should not do that to our own detriment and this may have been a good move, however, as with the discussion on Swinton v Manchester naming wise, it only works if you put other parts of the very large "marketing" jigsaw into place to leverage it and that is what they havent done.. AGAIN!

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I don’t think there’s major need for condemnation here. I’m not really bothered whether it’s GB or England, I just like International RL and hope we can do well whatever blanket we’re under. 

I think the big problems with this tour was squad selection and the tactics. 

The squad was hit by injuries and subsequently we’ve ended up short in some positions due to the game not being particularly strong in some areas. We’ve then suffered more injuries out there and the squad now looks paper thin and hindsight suggests we went into this tour with too few backs. 

The tactics have been negative and we’ve gone backwards from 2017’s WC Final. 

I think we’re probably due a change in coach now but I do wonder where the next crop of players is going to come from. 

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6 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

I don’t think there’s major need for condemnation here. I’m not really bothered whether it’s GB or England, I just like International RL and hope we can do well whatever blanket we’re under. 

I think the big problems with this tour was squad selection and the tactics. 

The squad was hit by injuries and subsequently we’ve ended up short in some positions due to the game not being particularly strong in some areas. We’ve then suffered more injuries out there and the squad now looks paper thin and hindsight suggests we went into this tour with too few backs. 

The tactics have been negative and we’ve gone backwards from 2017’s WC Final. 

I think we’re probably due a change in coach now but I do wonder where the next crop of players is going to come from. 

hindsight doesnt suggest that.. look at the threads.. most people said it at the time.. injury prone (one just back) wingers and we only take 2, centres we only have 1 "Specialist" (though i think that is harsh on Connor)... loads of people said we should have more before they left the country...

Its that sort of easy to spot stuff that makes me scratch my head at Bennet and is why I would tell him to go.. hindsight is a wonderful thing and i wouldnt say any of this if that had been what this is but this was seen before hand by many as massive gamble on a 4 game full international tour! injuries were always going to happen.. i am not going to go out of my way to watch the next 2 games (as i have the first 2) as i think we are going to get tonked and not only that but the quality of the games could be very very poor.

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1 hour ago, RP London said:

When they first got rid of GB it should have simply been a name change to England, keep the shirt and the lions head and just make it England IMHO.. that ship has now sailed so they need to make the new shirt stand out, I agree. I liked the red cross on the front, a chevron would be good (understand it is like Saints but so be it) or even Red and white hoops as per the original northern union one (thinner hoops to be more distinct).

Personally I wasn't a huge fan of the red cross on the shirt, but at least it provided a bit of consistency and a clear visual distinction between us and RU, so I could've got on board with it. I'd be tempted to go with a primarily blue or red shirt to provide an even bigger distinction. And have a chevron on it…

The only people who really know anything about the England 'brand' are people who are already rugby league fans, so we're starting from such a low base that we can afford to take the opportunity to revamp the whole brand and image. However, as long as we're playing so few internationals it won't make a blind bit of difference anyway.

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25 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Personally I wasn't a huge fan of the red cross on the shirt, but at least it provided a bit of consistency and a clear visual distinction between us and RU, so I could've got on board with it. I'd be tempted to go with a primarily blue or red shirt to provide an even bigger distinction. And have a chevron on it…

The only people who really know anything about the England 'brand' are people who are already rugby league fans, so we're starting from such a low base that we can afford to take the opportunity to revamp the whole brand and image. However, as long as we're playing so few internationals it won't make a blind bit of difference anyway.

Yes definitely at the point where whatever we do isn't going to get cut through unless we do a whole lot else. 

The problem of going predominantly blue or red is the links to Scotland and Wales. I think we could have got away with keeping the GB kit as the England kits as a quirk of history (a bit like the navy blue shorts in football is that it is the FA colours IIRC). But i would look at trying to have something unique in terms of look/design if we could.. 

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Just now, RP London said:

Yes definitely at the point where whatever we do isn't going to get cut through unless we do a whole lot else. 

The problem of going predominantly blue or red is the links to Scotland and Wales. I think we could have got away with keeping the GB kit as the England kits as a quirk of history (a bit like the navy blue shorts in football is that it is the FA colours IIRC). But i would look at trying to have something unique in terms of look/design if we could.. 

England cricket wear various shades of blue and red. England hockey wear red.

England rugby league's only problem is that the obvious kit is already in use by St Helens.


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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2 minutes ago, RP London said:

Yes definitely at the point where whatever we do isn't going to get cut through unless we do a whole lot else. 

The problem of going predominantly blue or red is the links to Scotland and Wales. I think we could have got away with keeping the GB kit as the England kits as a quirk of history (a bit like the navy blue shorts in football is that it is the FA colours IIRC). But i would look at trying to have something unique in terms of look/design if we could.. 

Yes fair point about Scotland and Wales. On the flip side, if I was them then I would also do something different on the kit front for the same reasons. I really liked the yellow shirt that Scotland have brought out this year, and it's a clear distinction from RU. I also think Wales could use a lot more green and white on their shirts to help distinguish them from RU a bit more. 

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