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Eddie

RL in New Zealand

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Loads of off topic stuff removed in order to be able to reopen this thread which is about RUGBY LEAGUE IN NEW ZEALAND.

If you have something to post on that subject, post it in here.

If you want to argue about Rugby League expansion (or lack of it) generally, start a new thread.

Thanks.

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On 03/07/2020 at 21:47, gnidir said:

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.

 

 

Your "seen as the dregs of society" comment is harsh but accurately describes the sentiment some people have for Rugby League in NZ. I assume your talking about the Gangs which have long had a presence in NZ league, but Rugby League has saved many people from a life of gang involvement and most people involved in the sport are not gang members. A few years ago I saw a TV news story about people worried about gang members playing union in Northland, story was other team and spectators were afraid... I can remember multiple occasions of gang members watching and playing league in NZ... but theirs no story because its NZ Rugby league its expected to be that way. Now that i think about it the start of Wellington Rugby League downward spiral can be traced back to mid 1990's when a gang shooting occurred at the Wellington Grand Final.

Edited by kiwis 13 6
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20 minutes ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

Your "seen as the dregs of society" comment is harsh but accurately describes the sentiment some people have for Rugby League in NZ. I assume your talking about the Gang element which has long had a presence in NZ league, but at the same time Rugby League has saved many people from a life of gang involvement and most people involved in the sport are obviously not gang members. A few years ago I saw a TV news story about people worried about gang members playing union in Northland... I remember multiple occasions of gang members watching games and playing league in NZ... but theirs no story because its NZ Rugby league its expected to be that way. Now that i think about it the start of Wellington Rugby League downward spiral can be traced back to mid 1990's when a gang shooting occurred at the Wellington Grand Final.

That's shocking can you tell us more about NZ RL and it's relationship with gangs? Who allowed this to happen?

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15 minutes ago, Themusician_2 said:

That's shocking can you tell us more about NZ RL and it's relationship with gangs? Who allowed this to happen?

Its complicated but to explain it simply the areas where league is popular gangs usually have a presence and everyone has just accepted thats how it is, I guess if your familiar with professional boxing and how that can have some shady participants and supporters and people just accept that is the way it is.

Edited by kiwis 13 6

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21 hours ago, Themusician_2 said:

That's shocking can you tell us more about NZ RL and it's relationship with gangs? Who allowed this to happen?

I mentioned the Facebook page "Rugby League: A New Zealand History" previously. There`s a section on there detailing the links between League and gangs. It`s a sub-plot of the historical connection between League and Maoris. And it`s overwhelmingly a tale of League clubs drawing people in to try and turn them away from crime and violence. Don`t get the impression that NZ politicians have ever recognised the value of this work. And they have done next to nothing to give RL a chance of establishing a presence in secondary schools.

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A tentative question to NZ residents who report stories of League decline. Is it possible that things might be healthier and more resilient than you realise? How much awareness is there of grass roots RL in small towns in Waikato, BOP, Northland outside the areas themselves? Even on the South Island, last year saw a massively successful Pacific Series Gala in Christchurch, West Coast recently held a very well-attended junior event, Southland RL ran an autumn competition. All of these types of things get little or no national media attention.

Here a lot of English RL fans are surprised at the grass roots growth in the North-East, because it similarly happens under the radar.

We should not underestimate the number of people, male and female, from NZRL backgrounds who have migrated to Australia in recent times. Those battling away in marginalised communities can see on the Internet the size of Aussie clubs and the quality of their facilities. No surprise that so many are attracted across by the appeal of better job and RL opportunities. The fact though that most of these Kiwi players are able to quickly settle in and hold their own in good quality Aussie competitions shows that the small leagues and clubs they come from must be doing something right. Would equivalent English players be able to do the same?

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3 hours ago, Newguy said:

Maybe by viewing figures, not by playing numbers not by a long shot.

Maybe the viewing figures suggest that RL in NZ is not a forlorn hope and they indicate that there exists a high level of interest in, and possibly goodwill towards, our sport. 

The Million Dollar question is how to capitalise on this interest. Unfortunately the answer is a Million Dollars. And the rest. 

A successful Warriors would certainly attract increased investment in RL. But we're a long way off that at the moment. 

The NRL won't put its hands in its pockets to support the grassroots in NZ despite their clubs again and again going to that well. 

 

Edited by Number 16
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15 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

A tentative question to NZ residents who report stories of League decline. Is it possible that things might be healthier and more resilient than you realise?

Yes the game has always been very resilient in NZ, might be a few bright spots here and there but definitely not that healthy. TV Viewing figures in NZ have always been good for the Kiwis test and the NRL. NRL makes millions every year out of NZ market and to date theres never been any NRL reinvestment from those NZ sourced profits back into the grassroots NZ game. Rugby League has never got any recognition or specific government funding for the work it does providing something positive in NZ most disadvantaged communities. Then the games administration  has ranged over the last 25 year from very poor to average at best. 

Look at the below link for the 1982 NZ grassroots club knockout competition where the best clubs from each region used to play each other at the end of the season in a knockout competition. The prize money was $5000 for the winner and $2000 for the runner up, the crowd going nuts, cheerleaders, live TV coverage.... 

 

Edited by kiwis 13 6
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51 minutes ago, Number 16 said:

Maybe the viewing figures suggest that RL in NZ is not a forlorn hope and they indicate that there exists a high level of interest in, and possibly goodwill towards, our sport. 

The Million Dollar question is how to capitalise on this interest. Unfortunately the answer is a Million Dollars. And the rest. 

A successful Warriors would certainly attract increased investment in RL. But we're a long way off that at the moment. 

The NRL won't put its hands in its pockets to support the grassroots in NZ despite their clubs again and again going to that well. 

 

Yeah I see what you are saying, but soccer in NZ is handicapped by time zones, if the EPL was on at a decent hour they would have very solid numbers.

There is a lot of latent support in NZ for rugby league, it won't be a popular thing around here, but many union fans are casual league fans in NZ. I have a white middle class background and plenty of my friends have a minor interest in rugby league, while other also love the game as well as the dreaded 'yawnion.' If the Warriors and Kiwis do well, they will be on board. How you get people like that to get involved in the game in a meaningful way is I think the more difficult thing.

Seeing Randwick and Petone playing in that video saddens me because of the hard times that have befallen both clubs of late. Community sporting clubs of all codes make for a better wider community, giving people a social aspect that used to be filled by other institutions, I hope both these clubs can return to their former glory.

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5 hours ago, Newguy said:

Maybe by viewing figures, not by playing numbers not by a long shot.

If you go by playing numbers then Soccer is more popular than RL in Australia and Soccer is more popular than American Football in the US. It doesn't really tell the full story though does it?

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NZ TV Viewing figures have always been there since the 80's but that dosnt have much connection to NZ domestic game. NZ national club knockout competition which ran for about 10 years in the 1980 -1990's is a total no brainier to bring back to help revitalize the grassroots game... I remember around 2007 NZRL brought it back one year and Wainuiomata from Wellington won it against Papakura from Auckland. NZRL does an OK job at present but still not really good enough and one thing i cant understand they have all these employees who run play groups for preschool aged kids... as far as i can tell its just a way to get government funding and has very little to do with the sport, but thats another story.

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13 minutes ago, Damien said:

If you go by playing numbers then Soccer is more popular than RL in Australia and Soccer is more popular than American Football in the US. It doesn't really tell the full story though does it?

No it doesn't. Soccer also has a semi professional national comp, a fully pro team in Wellington and hell of a lot of fans who follow Euro leagues. 

 

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1 hour ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

Yes the game has always been very resilient in NZ, might be a few bright spots here and there but definitely not that healthy. TV Viewing figures in NZ have always been good for the Kiwis test and the NRL. NRL makes millions every year out of NZ market and to date theres never been any NRL reinvestment from those NZ sourced profits back into the grassroots NZ game. Rugby League has never got any recognition or specific government funding for the work it does providing something positive in NZ most disadvantaged communities. Then the games administration  has ranged over the last 25 year from very poor to average at best. 

Look at the below link for the 1982 NZ grassroots club knockout competition where the best clubs from each region used to play each other at the end of the season in a knockout competition. The prize money was $5000 for the winner and $2000 for the runner up, the crowd going nuts, cheerleaders, live TV coverage.... 

 

The NZRL ought to get the report the RFL sent to the UK government about the positive social impact rugby league plays in disadvantaged communities and what that looks like in financial terms

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1 hour ago, Newguy said:

There is a lot of latent support in NZ for rugby league, it won't be a popular thing around here, but many union fans are casual league fans in NZ.

Good for them. I also like both RU and RL. I don't think RL as a sport can afford to turn people away.

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On 08/07/2020 at 09:18, kiwis 13 6 said:

NZ TV Viewing figures have always been there since the 80's but that dosnt have much connection to NZ domestic game. NZ national club knockout competition which ran for about 10 years in the 1980 -1990's is a total no brainier to bring back to help revitalize the grassroots game... I remember around 2007 NZRL brought it back one year and Wainuiomata from Wellington won it against Papakura from Auckland. NZRL does an OK job at present but still not really good enough and one thing i cant understand they have all these employees who run play groups for preschool aged kids... as far as i can tell its just a way to get government funding and has very little to do with the sport, but thats another story.

What reasons were given for not continuing with the national club competition? Lack of funding is usually the claim in such matters.

The impression I have of NZ league is that club identities massively outweigh provincial ones. And with the division of Auckland, do people feel much attachment to Akarana or Counties? Rather like over here where the county sides just don`t connect with fans.

Given how well Canterbury Bulls went last year, there`s good reason to think a game between Linwood and Howick would have been just as competitive as the provincial games, but with a better chance of engaging people`s loyalties.

Edited by unapologetic pedant

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Good question, I had to check with Wikipedia to jog my memory lol, NZ end of season knockout club competition ended 1993. As in 1994 the Lion Red Cup was introduced, which lasted 3 years then folded in 1996. Batercard Cup was introduced 2000 - 2007 then that folded. Also in 2007 they brought back the national club knockout competition I went and watched Wanui beat Papakura there was a good crowd there too, but think NZRL went broke about that time due to dodgy financial dealings involving poker machine funding grants. Ever since there has been provincial games at end of season so theres no window for NZ national club knockout comp to take place.

Auckland is to strong as they have the most playing talent to pick from so NZRL have split Auckland into 2 provinces this also happens in other sports. But so many chops and changes and many people not that aware or familiar with the NZRL premiership and NZ provincial level sports across all codes dont get the crowds they once did. Was good to see that Canterbury Bulls played Samoa in a warm up game last year coverage from youtube looked like a good sized crowd in attendance. 

Edited by kiwis 13 6

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On 07/07/2020 at 16:56, unapologetic pedant said:

I mentioned the Facebook page "Rugby League: A New Zealand History" previously. There`s a section on there detailing the links between League and gangs. It`s a sub-plot of the historical connection between League and Maoris. And it`s overwhelmingly a tale of League clubs drawing people in to try and turn them away from crime and violence. Don`t get the impression that NZ politicians have ever recognised the value of this work. And they have done next to nothing to give RL a chance of establishing a presence in secondary schools.

Emphasis on the word try. Some will never escape gang life and that might damage the games imagine. Here in the england the RL community will never have gangs involved in our sport. RL is a family sport here. But I guess NZ can't afford to turn people away.

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On 07/07/2020 at 05:20, Themusician_2 said:

That's shocking can you tell us more about NZ RL and it's relationship with gangs? Who allowed this to happen?

Up until 1960's Maori had been mostly rural people they were attracted to working class areas of Cities when industry and jobs were booming. From 1970's onward Pacific Island began coming in large numbers to the same working class areas of cities to fill a labour shortage in NZ. In 1980's NZ economy suffered badly due to a variety of reasons and unemployment was at its highest levels for the overall population but rate were even higher for Maori and Pacific Island people. Gangs provided a tribe like environment for people disconnected from family in an unfamiliar environment were jobs were not abundant. Rugby Union has always been the most popular game in NZ and has fans and players from all sectors of society. League has always been a predominately working class sport. League clubs were and are predominately based in working class areas many of which have turned into NZ versions of ghettos, where gangs are present. So in NZ you have the traditional Union vs League rivalry due to class and competition involved with being similar rival sports. Added to that tho is a stigma that League has an underclass and gang element to it that people who might like watching the Kiwis on TV or the NRL want no involvement with on a grasroots level. As far as I can tell though in Wellington at least the gang element involvement has dwindled a lot, gangs these days are more concerned with money making from illegal activities and there sport of preference seems to be MMA these days.

heres a link to facebook page a earlier poster were refering to 

here a doco from early 80's of a well know incident involving a League team clashing with a gang

Heres a doco bout a gang in late 80's rugby league is mentioned throughout the doco as the gang was involved in playing rugby league

 

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It`s been set out how deindustrialisation has hit RL in places like West coast and Huntly, but in Auckland gentrification of certain areas seems to be significant too. I can`t make sense of clubs like Richmond and Point Chevalier. They have strong set-ups and numbers, despite being based in districts where you would think it would now be too expensive to live for people from traditional League backgrounds.

And the huge mystery is what happened to the British-heritage working-class involvement in NZRL. Where are all those families now? It`s great that Maoris and Pacific Islanders are a strong part of NZRL culture, but their proportion of the population is not big enough for the game to really thrive.

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Regarding UK/Irish heritage NZlanders participation look at any NZ League coverage before the 1970's and 80-90% of people involved were White. I don't think it's a mystery most working class white people improved there economic situation and moved and game usually didn't get taken up by there kids. Then there the size difference in youth grades that see lot the white kids that do play drop off in the teenage years. There still some involved just look at Auckland clubs like Northcote, Howick, Mt Albert, Glenora etc you'll see a few white guys in the teams. Also still reasonable numbers of white people in South Island play the game in Canterbury & West Coast.

Regarding Richmond, PT Chev etc and property values increasing... I think some families bought houses back when it was cheaper, theres Still some state houses in those areas, some Maori & Polynesian now have middle & upper middle class incomes and bought houses, others travel to areas to play due to family tradition

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46 minutes ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

Regarding UK/Irish heritage NZlanders participation look at any NZ League coverage before the 1970's and 80-90% of people involved were White. I don't think it's a mystery most working class white people improved there economic situation and moved and game usually didn't get taken up by there kids. Then there the size difference in youth grades that see lot the white kids that do play drop off in the teenage years. There still some involved just look at Auckland clubs like Northcote, Howick, Mt Albert, Glenora etc you'll see a few white guys in the teams. Also still reasonable numbers of white people in South Island play the game in Canterbury & West Coast.

Regarding Richmond, PT Chev etc and property values increasing... I think some families bought houses back when it was cheaper, theres Still some state houses in those areas, some Maori & Polynesian now have middle & upper middle class incomes and bought houses, others travel to areas to play due to family tradition

I still don`t understand why when white working-class people moved they didn`t maintain their connection with the game. Even if their children didn`t want to play after juniors, or not at all, there are plenty of other ways to be involved in a club or the game if there were a family attachment to it.

I had a feeling a lot of the people in the Auckland clubs cited must commute across town. How easy is that though? I`ve seen lots of instances on police ten 7 where Auckland cops refuse to take someone home because its too far.

Interesting that Richmond seem to have cornered the inner-city Auckland RL market at the expense of Ponsonby. Unlike further west where Mount Albert and Marist remain equally strong despite similar proximity. For Marist it demonstrates the value of having an identity that goes beyond football.

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Rugby League certainly does ok with viewer numbers in NZ. I grew up in the 90s in New Zealand supporting the Sydney Roosters. I have always hated the Warriors however. NZers will watch top quality RL, State of Origin and Queensland in particular gets a lot of coverage and support. But I don't think the fanatical interest is there to watch lower tier RL like local competitions. Really only Rugby Union has that sort of fan base in NZ. Its a bit like how for much of the world interest in local football leagues is minimal but everyone goes nuts over the English Premier League.

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I can only speculate why from 1980's onwards white working class peoples kids didn't take up the sport much anymore. My guess is a combination of game wasn't popular with peer group, an element of white flight from the sport, size difference in teenage years as Polynesian can be the size of an adult man at 13 while European usually aren't fully developed until 20's.

I can't say to much about Auckland I only lived there for 2 years in the mid 199O's when the Warriors came into NRL. I played under 19's for Northcote Tigers. But have only occasionally visited there since then.

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