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Eddie

RL in New Zealand

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3 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

New Zealand needs a 2nd NRL team 

NZ needs a Semi pro before a 2nd NRL Side. Basically if you put the Canterbury Bulls, Waikato or the Wellington Orca's if/when they are back up to standard into Auckland's Fox Memorial Club Competition it would be the NZ National competition and have a semi pro element. All they need is a bit of a TV deal and some sponsorship to cover prize money, travel and refs.

Edited by kiwis 13 6

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9 minutes ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

NZ needs a Semi pro before a 2nd NRL Side. Basically if you put the Canterbury Bulls, Waikato or the Wellington Orca's if/when they are back up to standard into Auckland's Fox Memorial Club Competition it would be the NZ National competition and have a semi pro element. All they need is a bit of a TV deal and some sponsorship to cover prize money, travel and refs.

Or get one of them in the Queensland or NSW Cup?

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16 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Or get one of them in the Queensland or NSW Cup?

Nah in my opinion NZ should have a competition the standard of the NSW or Queensland cups. This Australian focus at lower levels is part of what has damaged the local game in NZ.

Edited by kiwis 13 6
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19 hours ago, Bondi Cannon said:

I live in Auckland and have been involved in league here for 15 years, principally as a referee, but also a journalist and coach. Happy to give you any details you like. My observation is the game is on the decline here in terms of participation, particularly at senior levels - but then all team sports seem to be everywhere in the western world. 

Yep, every sport in terms of participation is declining I think

My very successful cricket club had 3 strong teams a decade ago with competition to play and plenty of people not getting a Saturday game

We have 1 team now... We fielded 10 players several times last year and a bloke nearly 60 who was in the 3s a decade ago is now our regular number 4

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29 minutes ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

Nah in my opinion NZ should have a competition the standard of the NSW or Queensland cups. This Australian focus at lower levels is part of what has damaged the local game in NZ.

If you got all the best clubs from around NZ and put them in a comp would it be anywhere near the standard of the Q Cup?

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9 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

New Zealand needs a 2nd NRL team 

You build it , they will come, it has been shown for a while now that having two teams in an area (that`s big enough to accommodate two for eg. the whole of N.Z) is beneficial to both teams through local rivalry, synergies in marketing , a game every week in your region etc . Many in the NRL feel that it has been a real missed opportunity not having two teams out of Brisbane for years. N.Z. love their contact sports and there isn`t the animosity between the codes or their supporters (N.Z. rugby doesn`t feel threatened by League - yet).I`ll bet my bottom dollar that a successful team out of Wellington would prosper. Let me tell you something else there are many Union players who would like to test themselves in the NRL there is a real respect for the toughness in  League. Forget about all that local league stuff, there are great hordes of young rugby players who could make the switch. Take that young Katoa at the Warriors now never played League in his life now having a boom year.

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The situation is complicated. It is impossible to judge the position of RL without understanding what’s happening to sports participation generally.

It is fair to say that no team sport is ever going to achieve the participation rates that they have enjoyed in the past.

All team sports are haemorrhaging players. In part it is an issue of injury in collision sports, but it is also an issue of available time. The feedback from many people (adults and kids) is that they begrudge “losing their weekends” to team sport. Clubs in all codes are closing down around the country, the situation is worse in the small provinces than in the big cities.

The single biggest drop from team sport is during the shift to high school at Yr. 9. This often coincides with a (perceived?) shift in emphasis to high performance models in kids’ sports. Most of the major sports in NZ shift from clubs to schools for teenage participants. Schools are similarly moving closer to the US model of nurturing a small group of top athletes and social teams are becoming increasingly rare. (an appalling situation imo as the education system is slowly being highjacked by professional sports organisations to do their development for them).

Some sports have carved out a niche by only running fixtures after school (volleyball and basketball are the two that spring to mind).

RL is, of course, hit by a double whammy in this model. Kids are encouraged to represent their schools….yet few schools offer RL as an option.

The collapse of volunteerism is also a real issue. People increasingly treat clubs as services and the coaches and administrators as employees. The burnout of volunteers is a real thing. Small clubs suffer initially. This creates a move to a smaller number of large clubs…..but an unfortunate consequence is that often the focus on a group of “top” players if exacerbated and wider participation falls.

I would also argue that NZers have a much wider pool of recreational sports that are routinely done. Part of the shift in sporting habits is that people move from team sports to individual sports. Biking (road, BMX and mountain), surfing, kite surfing, climbing, kayaking, hunting, tramping, skateboarding and running were all listed in ONE class survey of 28 kids that I recently ran in a Year 10 class. Most of these had played a team sport before arriving at high school.

There is also the double-edged sword of entering a team into the Australian competition. While it raises the profile of the sport and the individual players, as well as providing a pathway for aspiring players it also devalues the domestic competition.

This happened in RL, Basketball and Football. It even had an impact on RU with the NZ provincial competition struggling for finance and attention when it was once the pinnacle of team sport in the country.

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www.fatalerror.co.nz - A Musical by Lattimer & McRae

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All NZ club premierships have always been local so it`s more comparable to our regional amateur leagues than SL. The game, and the country`s population, have never been big enough to sustain a national week-to-week competition. The only way would have been for the Auckland premiership to have evolved in the way the Sydney premiership did into what`s now the NRL, but that ship sailed with the formation of the Warriors. 

The NZ local premierships are in the same position as those in Brisbane, Newcastle, Illawarra. It`s not as bad as some people are saying though, apart from maybe Wellington (and even there they are starting to revive by going back to basics with juniors). Kiwi League fans seem to have the same fondness for talking themselves down that we have.

The enduring problem for NZRL is schools. However resilient or successful their clubs` junior sections are, if virtually all those children are only offered RU at secondary school League will always be working against the grain. Ironically the breakdown of barriers between the codes has benefited Union. Before, some children from League families would refuse to play. Now, with less mutual antagonism, they just acquiesce, and once they are part of the Union school system they can never come back to League.

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Rugby League as a game have only ever really paid lip service to the game in New Zealand. Despite that it has always been a great source of players to both the English and Australian game and the NRL now in particular shows that it continues to be so. Considering the battles faced by the game there it is amazing how big and popular it actually is. If the game, and obviously the NRL, actually tried to build the game in New Zealand and invest more of the money it takes in TV rights back I would be really interested in what the game can achieve there. A 2nd NRL team, more development officers and a semi-professional domestic league and the sporting scene there takes on a whole new complexion.

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13 hours ago, The Rocket said:

You build it , they will come, it has been shown for a while now that having two teams in an area (that`s big enough to accommodate two for eg. the whole of N.Z) is beneficial to both teams through local rivalry, synergies in marketing , a game every week in your region etc . Many in the NRL feel that it has been a real missed opportunity not having two teams out of Brisbane for years. N.Z. love their contact sports and there isn`t the animosity between the codes or their supporters (N.Z. rugby doesn`t feel threatened by League - yet).I`ll bet my bottom dollar that a successful team out of Wellington would prosper. Let me tell you something else there are many Union players who would like to test themselves in the NRL there is a real respect for the toughness in  League. Forget about all that local league stuff, there are great hordes of young rugby players who could make the switch. Take that young Katoa at the Warriors now never played League in his life now having a boom year.

I don’t know much about where has previously bid for a 2nd NZ NRL franchise, but has anyone shown interest in Hamilton? 125km from Auckland and a 25,000 council owned stadium in the heart of the city.

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8 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

I don’t know much about where has previously bid for a 2nd NZ NRL franchise, but has anyone shown interest in Hamilton? 125km from Auckland and a 25,000 council owned stadium in the heart of the city.

Look I think that ideally a population of around 300 000  in the immediate vicinity of  a sustainable League team is ideal. Hamilton I think has only  a pop. of  160k. Might get away with 200k but 300 is safer.  You got to have enough people nearby to draw crowds from. I heard a very interesting interview with the Storm CEO about 20yrs ago, he said that if the Storm could average crowds of 15000(they were averaging about 12000 at the time) plus the money from the NRL,  plus the sponsorship they could get from being a one town club they could break even. 20yrs later : crowds 15k+ , 33000 members . until the virus were on track to post a 4-5million profit . Unheard of in League p.s I read that they have invested 20million dollars in developing RL in Victoria since they have been down there.P.S do like the size of that stadium though.

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36 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Look I think that ideally a population of around 300 000  in the immediate vicinity of  a sustainable League team is ideal. Hamilton I think has only  a pop. of  160k. Might get away with 200k but 300 is safer.  You got to have enough people nearby to draw crowds from. I heard a very interesting interview with the Storm CEO about 20yrs ago, he said that if the Storm could average crowds of 15000(they were averaging about 12000 at the time) plus the money from the NRL,  plus the sponsorship they could get from being a one town club they could break even. 20yrs later : crowds 15k+ , 33000 members . until the virus were on track to post a 4-5million profit . Unheard of in League p.s I read that they have invested 20million dollars in developing RL in Victoria since they have been down there.P.S do like the size of that stadium though.

I wouldn’t rule out Hamilton on population alone. Townsville is similar at 180k. 

Most places over here are smaller Warrington 160k, Wigan 100k, St Helens 100k, Wakefield 100k, Castleford 40k. Hull have 260k but split between 2 teams.

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30 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

I wouldn’t rule out Hamilton on population alone. Townsville is similar at 180k. 

Most places over here are smaller Warrington 160k, Wigan 100k, St Helens 100k, Wakefield 100k, Castleford 40k. Hull have 260k but split between 2 teams.

They have established teams though, even if you put a new league football team in St. Helens, Wakefield  or Warrington you wouldn’t get NRL sized attendances. 

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This is a bit of nonsense. The reality is that its not Union being the problem in NZ, its the atrocious administration within NZRL. Auckland thinks it is bigger than the club, whilst simultaneously trying to kill a number of its own clubs off to form a NSW cup type competition, without any sustainable business case. The money they had accrued up to the 1970s was squandered by following mis management, whilst NZRL are traditionally both financially and idea poor.

 

The perception of our game here is that everyone knows 'league' but its seen as a game for the dregs of society. The union guys here are actually good people on the whole compared to the UK, but its partly because league has failed to make any real progress since an early flourish from 1908 to the 1930s.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Damien said:

Rugby League as a game have only ever really paid lip service to the game in New Zealand. Despite that it has always been a great source of players to both the English and Australian game and the NRL now in particular shows that it continues to be so. Considering the battles faced by the game there it is amazing how big and popular it actually is. If the game, and obviously the NRL, actually tried to build the game in New Zealand and invest more of the money it takes in TV rights back I would be really interested in what the game can achieve there. A 2nd NRL team, more development officers and a semi-professional domestic league and the sporting scene there takes on a whole new complexion.

Don`t understand the tone of this. Who is "Rugby League as a game"?  Do you mean us? The Aussies? Why does that phrase not include NZRL? They have been going for well over a century. They have their own agency. As I mentioned in a previous post their biggest problem is the Union stranglehold on secondary schools. This is an internal NZ political matter, not something the NRL can have any influence over.

BTW, for anyone interested, there`s an excellent Facebook page "Rugby League: A New Zealand History" which details the background to the game`s strengths and weaknesses there.

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On 03/07/2020 at 00:01, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

I wouldn’t rule out Hamilton on population alone. Townsville is similar at 180k. 

Most places over here are smaller Warrington 160k, Wigan 100k, St Helens 100k, Wakefield 100k, Castleford 40k. Hull have 260k but split between 2 teams.

Cowboys play most of their games on saturday because many of their fans drive long distances to see them play. So they have to right off their saturdays and sundays driving to and from the game .Cairns a couple of hours away has pop. 165000. Absolutely League mad  up there Cowboys one of the NRL most financially secure clubs. Many other small regional towns up there as well. Total pop. easy 400k

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On 03/07/2020 at 00:01, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

I wouldn’t rule out Hamilton on population alone. Townsville is similar at 180k. 

Most places over here are smaller Warrington 160k, Wigan 100k, St Helens 100k, Wakefield 100k, Castleford 40k. Hull have 260k but split between 2 teams.

The towns you mention  are they not like regional centres , so the population of the greater area might be considerably larger.

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Rugby League in NZ is essentially just the NZ (Auckland) Warriors and the occasional Kiwis test match. Domestic RL gets as much coverage in the media as the domestic American Football competition (i.e. none). School rugby union gets bigger crowds and media coverage than domestic RL. Talk of Rugby League being systematically oppressed by Union may have a grain of truth, but the real reason RL isn't flourishing is because the interest just isn't there, particularly outside of the Polynesian populace. NZRL as a governing body has few resources and even less vision. Maybe if the Warriors could ever get things right the game could get on a healthier standing, but I honestly think the Warriors are cursed.

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Just got back from Victoria University Hunters Vs Wainuiomata game. Wainui thrashed the Hunters 50+ - 0. Wainui were the top grassroots club in NZ and have won NZ club comp 3 times in the past... But NZRL don't don't run that anymore! Hunters are the only club in Wellington won Wellington comp 10 years ago but haven't been going to well in last couple years. Heard that reserve grade was struggling for number then covid hit so been scraped for a 10 team comp that wiil split into top & bottom 5 playoffs.

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Geez, that bring backs some memories, used to live just up the road while at Vic, played a shed load of games of touch with mates on that ground, and some social rugby. Was also a nice ground for cricket too, not a bad view of the city and harbour also.

Good to see Wainui doing well, I'm old enough to remember the glory days of the Lion Red cup, used to get the old man to take me over the hill to watch some of those games, regularly got good crowds. Seems like another time, watching PK play softball, Miramar Rangers in soccer, and Poneke for club rugby. Watch the game, your parents used to have a few jars in the clubrooms afterwards, while the kids would be playing pickup games in the dusk. Good times

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16 minutes ago, Newguy said:

I imagine big Billy Weepu would have been playing as well. 

I was going to mention Billy. Lost track of him after his Manly sojourn. He was great as a junior Kiwi. Did too much bulk stop him fulfilling his potential?

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People keep talking about a second NRL club in NZ, but the chances of it happening within the next couple of decades are slim to none.

There’s two main hurdles in the way; firstly, nobody in NZ is standing up to own and operate it, and put simply, none of the markets in NZ are as valuable as the large markets in Australia (Bris, Perth, Adel, etc) the NRL still has room to grow into.

So unless something unpredictable happens (like a Wolfpack situation), at the very least a second NZ club is probably fourth in line for an NRL license and chances are the by the time the NRL get around to them their will be legitimate demand for clubs in other places.

Long story short, don’t hold your breath for a second NRL team in NZ anytime soon.

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