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Mal Meninga: "We're playing the right amount of games"

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3 hours ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

How many do they have? Scotland and Ireland, very few, and a few more in Wales. There’s also zero professional clubs in Wales, they’re both semi-professional and neither look close to being professional any time soon.

Absolutely. It’s bins off three utterly pointless nations with little Rugby League in them, two part-time clubs between three countries and very few, if any, development coaches in them, too.

Trouble with that argument is if you apply the same logic to the Pacific nations we'd have no Tonga, Fiji or Samoa.

Are you saying you'd bin them off too?

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4 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Trouble with that argument is if you apply the same logic to the Pacific nations we'd have no Tonga, Fiji or Samoa.

Are you saying you'd bin them off too?

I have no idea what the situation is in those countries in terms of funding and the amount of coaches and teams they have there, so it would be unfair and unwise to compare. 

However, Fiji are joining the Australian competition in future. 

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2 hours ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

I’d have no problems re-introducing Ireland, Scotland and Wales should there be signs of growth there through amateur clubs, player development etc and we got to a point where Super League standard players were being churned out from any/all of the three named. I just don’t really get their purpose at present with the lack of funding in the grassroots in all three countries. 

Having more than 4 teams playing international rl worth watching?

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13 minutes ago, MatthewWoody said:

Having more than 4 teams playing international rl worth watching?

And that’s exactly what we don’t have and can’t have while there is no funding, no development coaches and few amateur clubs in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Thanks for backing my point up.  

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3 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

And that’s exactly what we don’t have and can’t have while there is no funding, no development coaches and few amateur clubs in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Thanks for backing my point up.  

Scotland drew with NZ, etc.

World Cup proves that heritage players are helping the game having a proper Int scene.

Plus, having heritage players doesn't forbid local development.

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Just now, MatthewWoody said:

Scotland drew with NZ, etc.

World Cup proves that heritage players are helping the game having a proper Int scene.

Plus, having heritage players doesn't forbid local development.

These teams are hollow shells. 

But there is a point to be made, even if it is a shallow one.  The majority of Japan's RU team are not born in Japan.

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2 hours ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

I have no idea what the situation is in those countries in terms of funding and the amount of coaches and teams they have there, so it would be unfair and unwise to compare. 

However, Fiji are joining the Australian competition in future. 

Well lets assume from the fact he's raising the issue that they are virtually the same scenario. There are more Tongans/Samoans/Fijians living in NZ/Aus than there are on the islands.

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2 minutes ago, MatthewWoody said:

Scotland drew with NZ, etc.

World Cup proves that heritage players are helping the game having a proper Int scene.

Plus, having heritage players doesn't forbid local development.

So, you’re trying to back it up with a result years ago played in England, in which zero players were Scottish born. Thank you again.

Having no funding, no development coaches, very few amateur clubs and having to spend thousands on stadium rent, player costs etc for a group of English lads is forbidding local development. 

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3 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

So, you’re trying to back it up with a result years ago played in England, in which zero players were Scottish born. Thank you again.

Having no funding, no development coaches, very few amateur clubs and having to spend thousands on stadium rent, player costs etc for a group of English lads is forbidding local development. 

Matty Russell born in Irvine.

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It's a parkyesque false economy to argue that the money spent on hosting and playing international should be spent on vague concepts of 'grass roots'.

Even ignoring the massive benefits on the grass roots of playing international RL in creating pathways, visibility, and introducing fans, kids, players to RL, the simple fact of the matter is that the  IRL isnt some god above raining down money on internationals. The home teams hosting international RL are generally using funds either specifically aimed at elite performance by equivalents of departments to sport england, sponsorship of internationals and often, at the lower levels donations, money raised and efforts of the players in those games themselves.

It's the same naive idea that says kicking out Toronto means that money is magically redirected to Bradford when in reality it just means it doesnt come in at all.

If ireland dont play Spain in a world.cup qualifier the money spent hosting and putting on that game doesnt find it's way to kids in galway or valencia, it goes to RU or tennis or some other sport. 

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51 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

So, you’re trying to back it up with a result years ago played in England, in which zero players were Scottish born. Thank you again.

Having no funding, no development coaches, very few amateur clubs and having to spend thousands on stadium rent, player costs etc for a group of English lads is forbidding local development. 

You're simply lying


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I think we should bin every nation who hasn't made a complete success of themselves by now, if they haven't already when are they ever going to? There goes every country but Australia.

Who's "we" you ask? Well us who have nothing to do with it and contribute 0 to helping the people that are working hard (probably for free or close to it) to run RL in these countries.

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I think there is a point about applying some minimum standards to allow teams to compete in the World Cup. But then we were meant to do that anyway. Allowing nations to ignore minimum standards because we are impatient is an issue. 

I have no issue with heritage players, but 25 years after that emerging World Cup the likes of Scotland are smaller than ever.

There has to be a plan on growing interest in those nations. Otherwise it is all shallow.

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10 hours ago, Dave T said:

I think there is a point about applying some minimum standards to allow teams to compete in the World Cup. But then we were meant to do that anyway. Allowing nations to ignore minimum standards because we are impatient is an issue. 

I have no issue with heritage players, but 25 years after that emerging World Cup the likes of Scotland are smaller than ever.

There has to be a plan on growing interest in those nations. Otherwise it is all shallow.

I don't think their should be any minimum standards really bar putting a squad of 17 qualified players on an RL pitch. 

Internationals and world cups especially are often the catalyst for getting people involved. It's the spark that things grow from.

What there needs to be is a better ladder and a better mix. We need the highest level elites, heritage, we need domestics, amateur pathways and everything in between

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18 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

I don't think their should be any minimum standards really bar putting a squad of 17 qualified players on an RL pitch. 

Internationals and world cups especially are often the catalyst for getting people involved. It's the spark that things grow from.

What there needs to be is a better ladder and a better mix. We need the highest level elites, heritage, we need domestics, amateur pathways and everything in between

The minimum standards I refer to are around the domestic game. I agree that these tournaments and Test teams can be used as a driver for growth, but without any kind of demands on these governing bodies, these things are not materialising. 

I believe there should be a genuine attempt to set up a home base for all WC competing nations. I am very happy to use the Test teams as a promotional tool for the development, but I am not a fan of teams being created, managed and playing in Sydney with no links whatsoever to the nation they represent.

I am also very frustrated with the lack of progress in the likes of Scotland, although there appears to be some very welcome developments over the last year or so. Just recently it has been announced that a small handful of schools in Scotland will have RL taught as part of the curriculum. 

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4 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The minimum standards I refer to are around the domestic game. I agree that these tournaments and Test teams can be used as a driver for growth, but without any kind of demands on these governing bodies, these things are not materialising. 

I believe there should be a genuine attempt to set up a home base for all WC competing nations. I am very happy to use the Test teams as a promotional tool for the development, but I am not a fan of teams being created, managed and playing in Sydney with no links whatsoever to the nation they represent.

I am also very frustrated with the lack of progress in the likes of Scotland, although there appears to be some very welcome developments over the last year or so. Just recently it has been announced that a small handful of schools in Scotland will have RL taught as part of the curriculum. 

Lebanon basically started in sydney before growing in lebanon, the seedlings of Jamaica were in the north of England. 

I'm fine with them starting and international level and moving towards domestic competitions, hell it's what New Zealand did before spreading it to the southern hemisphere a hundred years ago.

Any RL played under any flag is a good thing in my opinion. Certainly better than not playing at all which is often the alternative. 

The only issue I see is the lack of pathway for showing improvements in domestic development as countries like france get a bit swamped by heritage teams. But I think not having these nations play means not having any activity there and that cure would be worse than the disease

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Just now, scotchy1 said:

Lebanon basically started in sydney before growing in lebanon, the seedlings of Jamaica were in the north of England. 

I'm fine with them starting and international level and moving towards domestic competitions, hell it's what New Zealand did before spreading it to the southern hemisphere a hundred years ago.

Any RL played under any flag is a good thing in my opinion. Certainly better than not playing at all which is often the alternative. 

The only issue I see is the lack of pathway for showing improvements in domestic development as countries like france get a bit swamped by heritage teams. But I think not having these nations play means not having any activity there and that cure would be worse than the disease

As I say, in principle, I agree with using Test teams in this way. What I then don't agree with is any real lack of plan to capitalise on this and really accelerate that growth in those nations.

Living in Scotland I have a bigger interest in the Scotland team, and I've really enjoyed following them over the last decade. And tbh, the Test team has done quite well. 2 World Cups in Oz where they didn't show themselves up, and they did very well in the 2013 WC in the UK. They also did brilliantly in the Four Nations.  Yet we see missed opportunities and despite these real highs the game has not grown on the back of any of these successes. I know that is typical of RL, but we should be demanding better than that.

But as we know, investment is key. It is no coincidence that the game in Scotland was stronger when they hosted Challenge Cup Finals, Magic Weekends and SL on the Road games. At work I still know locals whose only knowledge of RL is from Magic Weekend at Murrayfield.

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1 minute ago, Dave T said:

As I say, in principle, I agree with using Test teams in this way. What I then don't agree with is any real lack of plan to capitalise on this and really accelerate that growth in those nations.

Living in Scotland I have a bigger interest in the Scotland team, and I've really enjoyed following them over the last decade. And tbh, the Test team has done quite well. 2 World Cups in Oz where they didn't show themselves up, and they did very well in the 2013 WC in the UK. They also did brilliantly in the Four Nations.  Yet we see missed opportunities and despite these real highs the game has not grown on the back of any of these successes. I know that is typical of RL, but we should be demanding better than that.

But as we know, investment is key. It is no coincidence that the game in Scotland was stronger when they hosted Challenge Cup Finals, Magic Weekends and SL on the Road games. At work I still know locals whose only knowledge of RL is from Magic Weekend at Murrayfield.

From your perspective living up there, if there was a really well promoted and marketed Euro tournament with Scotland playing their fixtures out of a half decent stadium in Glasgow or Edinburgh (e.g. Tynecastle), what sort of attendance do you think they could get for a game against England?

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10 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

From your perspective living up there, if there was a really well promoted and marketed Euro tournament with Scotland playing their fixtures out of a half decent stadium in Glasgow or Edinburgh (e.g. Tynecastle), what sort of attendance do you think they could get for a game against England?

Well I went to the gams they staged in Galashiels, and there was a peak of 1,600 on a random Friday night with no promotion and noise around it.

I could see a well organised, invested-in tournament delivering solid crowds. It's hard to put a number on it, but I think we should be getting to a point where 5k should be the kind of standard Test crowd, but that will only happen with any kind of consistency.

A lot of Scottish sports fans are surprising open-minded to RL I have found.

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3 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Well I went to the gams they staged in Galashiels, and there was a peak of 1,600 on a random Friday night with no promotion and noise around it.

I could see a well organised, invested-in tournament delivering solid crowds. It's hard to put a number on it, but I think we should be getting to a point where 5k should be the kind of standard Test crowd, but that will only happen with any kind of consistency.

A lot of Scottish sports fans are surprising open-minded to RL I have found.

That's good to know. I just wish the powers-that-be would look at the bigger picture and explore the potential of a Euro tournament, as I'm a firm believer that it could have a hugely positive impact on the profile and domestic scenes in the other home nations.

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5 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

That's good to know. I just wish the powers-that-be would look at the bigger picture and explore the potential of a Euro tournament, as I'm a firm believer that it could have a hugely positive impact on the profile and domestic scenes in the other home nations.

The thing on a Euro comp is that with a proper well organised tournament we should be starting off with 10k crowds (plus) in England and France from day one. We should then be looking at 2-5k in the other nations and growing from there. 

That really shouldn't be beyond us.

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33 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The thing on a Euro comp is that with a proper well organised tournament we should be starting off with 10k crowds (plus) in England and France from day one. We should then be looking at 2-5k in the other nations and growing from there. 

That really shouldn't be beyond us.

Agreed. Plus if it was properly promoted and organised well in advance, I would expect the prospect of England away games in places like Dublin and Edinburgh would be fairly appealing for travelling supporters to make a weekend of it. Games at Galashiels in the middle of nowhere aren't likely to have the same pull (although I'm sure it's a lovely place).

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

Well I went to the gams they staged in Galashiels, and there was a peak of 1,600 on a random Friday night with no promotion and noise around it.

I could see a well organised, invested-in tournament delivering solid crowds. It's hard to put a number on it, but I think we should be getting to a point where 5k should be the kind of standard Test crowd, but that will only happen with any kind of consistency.

A lot of Scottish sports fans are surprising open-minded to RL I have found.

The thing is, we got 30k or so in edinburgh for magic.

Personally I dont think an 'international magic' would be massively less attractive to RL fans than SL magic would. I would be massively surprised if you couldnt get 10k at the very very least to an England v Scotland match, more as an international magic type event.

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2 hours ago, Dave T said:

The thing on a Euro comp is that with a proper well organised tournament we should be starting off with 10k crowds (plus) in England and France from day one. We should then be looking at 2-5k in the other nations and growing from there. 

That really shouldn't be beyond us.

I think that's much less than we would get. We get 1-2k when we half ###### it with 2nd tier teams in 2nd tier events.

England have gotten 25k v ireland, france nearly 20k v england. 

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10 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

I think that's much less than we would get. We get 1-2k when we half ###### it with 2nd tier teams in 2nd tier events.

England have gotten 25k v ireland, france nearly 20k v england. 

Yup, I expect my numbers are very modest, but even with those kind of numbers as a starting point that should be seen as relative success. And it does depend on whether it is a Magic style event - because sitting in a ground for double/triple headers in winter is not the best solution, but I'd love it in June.

We don't always get 1-2k when we half-ass it, that's sort of my point, we got 300 in Scotland this year, and I've been to a few 5-800 games, so getting to 5k regularly (for standalone games) is a step forward. 

If we had:

Scotland v Ireland (5k in Glasgow/Edinburgh)

Wales v Italy (5k in Cardiff/Swansea) 

France v England (15k in Toulouse)

that is great progress. 

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