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The Future is League

USA sports fans in awe of Rugby League hits

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10 hours ago, DeadShotKeen said:

Great stuff but part of the problem with these things - as even evidenced by 1 of the comments by a US observer - is that the sport is inevitably referred to as "rugby" by those watching. I think that's problematic as any of these enthusiastic bystanders could be forgiven for following up their initial excitement/amazement with taking in a rugby union game, being naturally disappointed and then dismissing these amazing RL clips as a fluke or whatever. It isn't reasonable for us to expect them to know that they are different sports. Why would they? They just see "rugby" and fair play to them.

I've long said that I think RL could really do with a new name to wholeheartedly distinguish it from union. The other lot don't have need to change theirs and in fact probably benefit from the overlap but as the smaller sport worldwide RL undoubtedly suffers from the duplication. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to explain to work colleagues even here in the North of England (Manchester) that "no, you're talking about rugby union, that's a different sport". I know a renaming would upset many traditionalists but in terms of kicking on worldwide it could be hugely beneficial. At the very least the sport's administrators should consider a dual name that could run concurrently and be used in areas such as North America.

The one flaw to my suggestion is that despite racking my brains for several years I can't think what this new name should be. But that isn't a conclusive rejection of my theory. Get some sharper and more creative brains than me onto it.

Absolutely right.


Ron Banks

Bears and Barrow

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22 minutes ago, Bearman said:

I've long said that I think RL could really do with a new name to wholeheartedly distinguish it from union.

That is why I often refer to it as "  league " no need to mention the word rugby at all. Actually you can see it on my profile opposite.

Edited by The Rocket
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9 hours ago, Mister Ting said:

In casual talk, what do Aussies call rugby league? I know the answer isn't the answer, but they gave up on the idea of calling it rugby years ago.

As an Australian I would say that most people would refer to in casual conversation as " did you see the footy on the weekend " or " did you see the League on the weekend?"      

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Changing to "footy" obviously doesn't help because they already have "football" in the States and in a wider worldwide sense it just gets caught up in that other sport that is fairly big. 😉

Changing to "league" isn't hugely helpful because it's still an abbreviation of rugby league leading to the same rugby confusion.

It needs to be something totally new without "rugby" in it. And it absolutely doesn't need to replace rugby league as a name but just compliment it. In other words the conversation would go "It's called rugby league but in the States I believe you call it (x)"

I would have no problem with that. In fact I would welcome it for the greater good. Some traditionalists might get a bit sniffy but so what?

 

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48 minutes ago, DeadShotKeen said:

Changing to "footy" obviously doesn't help because they already have "football" in the States and in a wider worldwide sense it just gets caught up in that other sport that is fairly big. 😉

Changing to "league" isn't hugely helpful because it's still an abbreviation of rugby league leading to the same rugby confusion.

It needs to be something totally new without "rugby" in it. And it absolutely doesn't need to replace rugby league as a name but just compliment it. In other words the conversation would go "It's called rugby league but in the States I believe you call it (x)"

I would have no problem with that. In fact I would welcome it for the greater good. Some traditionalists might get a bit sniffy but so what?

 

If the game took off in the US with the (x) name, before long our "Rugby League" would go the way of our "Marathon" and "Opal Fruits".

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Now is probably too late but our forefather's missed a trick when they changed the name from Northern Union, Code13 would have been the best choice emphasizing it's uniqueness and casting aside the rugby connection.

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Even if you were careful to always say "rugby league", to someone who doesn't know that it's the name of the sport, they would just hear you describing how it's organized, albeit as a slightly odd phrasing. Or possibly thinking it's somewhat equivalent to the Premier League: "Check out this Premier League goal" "Check out this rugby league try".

It is really hard to rename a sport though. Basically every other type of football is called after the city/region/country it's from, but when one of rugby league's biggest problem is being perceived as a regional sport, it kind of takes that off the table. English football and British football just sound like you mean soccer, Northern Football just emphasizes its stereotype in England, and it's still smaller than soccer so even Lancashire football or Yorkshire football probably wouldn't have caught on. The next opportunity would have been in Oz, but NSW football is a mouthful. Was Australian Rules Football called that back in the day? I know the league was called the VFL, was it referred to as Victorian football? Maybe that was a missed opportunity there. 

It really would have been best if they switched to calling "Huddersfield football" from the get go, similar to Rugby. I understand why they didn't, they weren't even trying to play a different sport at first just forming a new organization, but the longer it went on the harder a change got. 

I'd stay from any reference to the number of players. Almost every sport has a different number, so having a certain number isn't that unique even if that specific number is. And it limits any possibility, or least makes it messy, of a player number change down the road.

 Perhaps "handling football", emphasizing that you use your hands as much as your feet? Get weird with handball existing though...

No good answer from me.

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2 hours ago, Clogiron said:

Now is probably too late but our forefather's missed a trick when they changed the name from Northern Union, Code13 would have been the best choice emphasizing it's uniqueness and casting aside the rugby connection.

I have often thought this too about being stuck with the Rugby tag. I certainly think in new places with no history the game should consider using a different name.

Edited by Damien
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8 hours ago, HawkMan said:

Surely the point is post name change no one will mention RU in the same sentence. Just as no one says now, " no it's not Basketball it's Netball " Similar sports different names. Perhaps call it on a similar vein to t20 cricket,  T13 Footy, ( thirteen/thirteen).

But to the unfamiliar eye, they look like the same sport, so people will continue thinking they are both rugby regardless of the name change. Most of the world doesn't even realize there's two different codes, I had a friend who played on a local rugby team here in the US, when I asked him union or league, he gave me a confused look and thought I was asking what league his team is in (fyi, it was union).

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1 hour ago, TheReaper said:

Even if you were careful to always say "rugby league", to someone who doesn't know that it's the name of the sport, they would just hear you describing how it's organized, albeit as a slightly odd phrasing. Or possibly thinking it's somewhat equivalent to the Premier League: "Check out this Premier League goal" "Check out this rugby league try".

It is really hard to rename a sport though. Basically every other type of football is called after the city/region/country it's from, but when one of rugby league's biggest problem is being perceived as a regional sport, it kind of takes that off the table. English football and British football just sound like you mean soccer, Northern Football just emphasizes its stereotype in England, and it's still smaller than soccer so even Lancashire football or Yorkshire football probably wouldn't have caught on. The next opportunity would have been in Oz, but NSW football is a mouthful. Was Australian Rules Football called that back in the day? I know the league was called the VFL, was it referred to as Victorian football? Maybe that was a missed opportunity there. 

It really would have been best if they switched to calling "Huddersfield football" from the get go, similar to Rugby. I understand why they didn't, they weren't even trying to play a different sport at first just forming a new organization, but the longer it went on the harder a change got. 

I'd stay from any reference to the number of players. Almost every sport has a different number, so having a certain number isn't that unique even if that specific number is. And it limits any possibility, or least makes it messy, of a player number change down the road.

 Perhaps "handling football", emphasizing that you use your hands as much as your feet? Get weird with handball existing though...

No good answer from me.

The Australian RL attitude to the word "Rugby" is particularly baffling and infuriating.

Their flagship competition, and the most well-known globally, is the National Rugby League. They ought to know that to any logically-minded person who does not already know different, this is interpreted as the game of "Rugby" played in a national league. Just as, in an American context, the NFL is the game of Football played in a national league. Yet they persist in calling RU "Rugby" without adding "Union".

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7 hours ago, MEXICO WILL PAY said:

Treize is the answer. Most people wouldn't know it's a real word meaning thirteen on French. 

This is my favourite suggestion. 

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Another perfectly good thread derailed.

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"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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9 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

If the game took off in the US with the (x) name, before long our "Rugby League" would go the way of our "Marathon" and "Opal Fruits".

Perhaps but then as others are saying, is that such a bad thing?

I think most people once they had gotten into the sport would recognise the history of the term rugby league and perhaps use it to show their authority on the sport but the "other" (newer) name would act as their entry point. 

Personally I think the 2 would be interchangeable in that sense. I'm not sure you could ever get completely rid of the term rugby league (or would want to) but the rebrand would be seen as the younger, zippier tag or whatever. Again I see only benefits from this.

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6 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

The Australian RL attitude to the word "Rugby" is particularly baffling and infuriating.

Their flagship competition, and the most well-known globally, is the National Rugby League. They ought to know that to any logically-minded person who does not already know different, this is interpreted as the game of "Rugby" played in a national league. Just as, in an American context, the NFL is the game of Football played in a national league. Yet they persist in calling RU "Rugby" without adding "Union".

I get what you're saying and when I first started watching NRL in 2013 I was totally baffled by this as well. As an English RL fan I naturally recoil in anger when I hear anyone here refer to RU as "rugby" so that was my first reaction hearing it there as well but then of course I started to get it and how in some ways rugby was used as a disparaging term for union - that and the fact that they had rebranded their own sport as "footy", which I thought was healthy and also showed a lot of confidence (ie "Never mind those other versions - this is proper footy"). In an indigenous sense the Aussie rebranding completely works. The sports basically have separate names with one of them relinquishing the rugby tag. The only problem as I say is that this doesn't work in a wider global sense, hence the need for something specifically tailored to the US and other new markets.

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I think both Treize and Code13 are very good, btw. Treize is technically better but my main issue with it is that it suggests the game originated in France. They get a bit too much credit, which I'm just a little uncomfortable with. For that reason I think I'm leaning to Code13 for now, although perhaps there is something better out there.

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8 hours ago, MEXICO WILL PAY said:

Treize is the answer. Most people wouldn't know it's a real word meaning thirteen on French. 

League Treize  ?

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1 hour ago, DeadShotKeen said:

I think both Treize and Code13 are very good, btw. Treize is technically better but my main issue with it is that it suggests the game originated in France. They get a bit too much credit, which I'm just a little uncomfortable with. For that reason I think I'm leaning to Code13 for now, although perhaps there is something better out there.

Code Treize? Wouldn't work of course but any reasonable person might ask why 'French 13' and ......[ENGAGE RANT MODE]..............

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3 hours ago, DeadShotKeen said:

"Never mind those other versions - this is proper footy")

Soccer fans in Australis get so frustrated that we refer to soccer,  not football, there is sometimes a concerted push for change in the media but it never goes anywhere and everyone just keeps on calling it soccer. There was even a song , I don`t know if you had it over there:                     ""  soccer, soccer,    soccer is the real football..."  

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3 hours ago, Futtocks said:

Another perfectly good thread derailed.

 I am new to this caper Futtocks and sometimes I look up to the thread title and see that I just have or are about to post something that has no bearing on it at all (unless we are playing seven degrees of separation). What do you do in a situation like that? It is rather funny though how a thread can veer slightly off track and then can pretty quickly become totally unrelated to the original thread. Like a game  of Chinese whispers.

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13 hours ago, Clogiron said:

Now is probably too late but our forefather's missed a trick when they changed the name from Northern Union, Code13 would have been the best choice emphasizing it's uniqueness and casting aside the rugby connection.

When you look at the big picture you could say that the two codes are at war and have been for 125 years with , I think with the battle intensifying over the last few years. It makes sense that one day the two codes will merge, but on whose terms, the signs coming out of rugby with their adapting some of our rules would suggest we are winning, people want entertainment we are more entertaining. I don`t expect rugby to capitulate but to change to the point where we won`t mind watching it .It may well be a moral victory but retain the name rugby union.

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10 hours ago, Futtocks said:

Another perfectly good thread derailed.

On the one hand, yes.

On the other, a bit of a wake up call that all these American fans suddenly in awe of the big hits don't really exist. No more than the UK became a hotbed of australian rules because a fair number of people used to watch the AFL before Gazzetta Football Italia on Channel 4 in the 90s.

Because if the impact was real, this thread wouldn't be going backwards and forwards about calling the game "jeu a treize" (in absolute and profound ignorance of why that's a somewhat loaded name for the sport), we'd be seeing wave after wave of comments about US interest in rugby league.


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, gingerjon said:

On the one hand, yes.

On the other, a bit of a wake up call that all these American fans suddenly in awe of the big hits don't really exist. No more than the UK became a hotbed of australian rules because a fair number of people used to watch the AFL before Gazzetta Football Italia on Channel 4 in the 90s.

Because if the impact was real, this thread wouldn't be going backwards and forwards about calling the game "jeu a treize" (in absolute and profound ignorance of why that's a somewhat loaded name for the sport), we'd be seeing wave after wave of comments about US interest in rugby league.

Of course, a Youtube reactor being impressed by a short "best of" clip is a long way from any of them becoming fans, or even watching one full match. But every little helps in brand awareness, especially when you see the number of subscribers some of these accounts have. And there's always a few comments below the videos pointing out that there are two separate codes.


"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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15 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

Of course, a Youtube reactor being impressed by a short "best of" clip is a long way from any of them becoming fans, or even watching one full match. But every little helps in brand awareness, especially when you see the number of subscribers some of these accounts have. And there's always a few comments below the videos pointing out that there are two separate codes.

That's a good point.


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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14 hours ago, DeadShotKeen said:

I get what you're saying and when I first started watching NRL in 2013 I was totally baffled by this as well. As an English RL fan I naturally recoil in anger when I hear anyone here refer to RU as "rugby" so that was my first reaction hearing it there as well but then of course I started to get it and how in some ways rugby was used as a disparaging term for union - that and the fact that they had rebranded their own sport as "footy", which I thought was healthy and also showed a lot of confidence (ie "Never mind those other versions - this is proper footy"). In an indigenous sense the Aussie rebranding completely works. The sports basically have separate names with one of them relinquishing the rugby tag. The only problem as I say is that this doesn't work in a wider global sense, hence the need for something specifically tailored to the US and other new markets.

Agree with all of this bar two points.

First, the use of footy or football for RL in the eastern states is purely colloquial. They can hardly be seen as "relinquishing the rugby tag" when their primary organisation is the National Rugby League, and the sport is branded and marketed as NRL.

Second, the failure on this thread (and multiple others) to come up with an apposite substitute name is not the consequence of a lack of verbal dexterity. Every option would be as likely to sow confusion as resolve it. We can only relentlessly, painstakingly, assert the terms "Rugby league" and "Rugby Union", never using only "Rugby" to describe either. If we want to abbreviate do so to "League" or "Union", never to "Rugby". RL fans should have a swear box for every time they say "Rugby" unaccompanied.

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