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RL in New Zealand

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On 08/07/2020 at 08:41, 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.... 

 

 

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11 hours ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

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

 

The most underrated post on this forum thanks for this

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6 hours ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

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.

RL is already the number 1 or 2 sport among Maori and pacific islander in New Zealand. That market is already maxed out. The key is to tap into the pakeha and migrant market. That is really the only missing piece and get the sport into schools.

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7 hours ago, Themusician_2 said:

RL is already the number 1 or 2 sport among Maori and pacific islander in New Zealand. That market is already maxed out. The key is to tap into the pakeha and migrant market. That is really the only missing piece and get the sport into schools.

There is room for growth in Maori & Pacific Island participation. Back in the 1990's participation reached 40,000 that was mostly Maori & Pacific Island. These days playing numbers are 15,000 - 20,000. Regarding attracting more European/Pakeha people to the sport. I can't see NZRL being able to run a program to do that even if they wanted to. The only program I'm aware the NZRL are currently running is playgroups for parents and kids aged 0 - 5 at league clubrooms in partnership with ministry of education. Its a good idea but dosnt directly have anything to do with playing Rugby League.

https://nzrl.co.nz/community/community-playgroups/

If NZRL could develop a more social touch rugby or less heavy contact version of the game that everyone can play, that reduces the chance of injuries, can increase participation rates and engagement from a bigger range of people in society. Some thing like X league concept

https://xleaguerl.com/

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2 hours ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

There is room for growth in Maori & Pacific Island participation. Back in the 1990's participation reached 40,000 that was mostly Maori & Pacific Island. These days playing numbers are 15,000 - 20,000. Regarding attracting more European/Pakeha people to the sport. I can't see NZRL being able to run a program to do that even if they wanted to. The only program I'm aware the NZRL are currently running is playgroups for parents and kids aged 0 - 5 at league clubrooms in partnership with ministry of education. Its a good idea but dosnt directly have anything to do with playing Rugby League.

https://nzrl.co.nz/community/community-playgroups/

If NZRL could develop a more social touch rugby or less heavy contact version of the game that everyone can play, that reduces the chance of injuries, can increase participation rates and engagement from a bigger range of people in society. Some thing like X league concept

https://xleaguerl.com/

I can't agree with this. It seems that the answer to participation is always to essentially play a different sport in the hope that it attracts new participants. 

In essence, we are trying to shy away from what makes our game popular.

In my opinion, the issue with europeans playing the game are more about culture than about fear of big Polynesian kids. The lack of a public profile for our game in NZ is a big problem, even eligible NRL players talk about supporting the all blacks.

The further the local bodies stray from actually promoting our product for what it is, the worse the future of our sport is.

the idea that we need to be a non contact sport is contrary to what makes our game attractive, and in the same vein, both boxing and the UFC have never been more popular. 

We have to accept that our sport is combatitive. Not everyone is suited to playing, but many are drawn to our sport as supporters for the exact same reason. If we continue to try and make our game based on non contact, then we move into competition with soccer, basketball and cricket, all of which are well established and growing. 

For me, the focus should be on quality, this gives a great end 'product' but also helps the player who want to progress to do exactly that. 

There is plenty enough talent in NZ, and willing players; we just continue to do a disservice to them by trying to sell to an audience that isn't interested in the same values.

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On 09/07/2020 at 12:41, Themusician_2 said:

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.

I think thats a bit of an oversimplification of the situation mate.

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1 hour ago, gnidir said:

I can't agree with this. It seems that the answer to participation is always to essentially play a different sport in the hope that it attracts new participants. 

In essence, we are trying to shy away from what makes our game popular.

In my opinion, the issue with europeans playing the game are more about culture than about fear of big Polynesian kids. The lack of a public profile for our game in NZ is a big problem, even eligible NRL players talk about supporting the all blacks.

The further the local bodies stray from actually promoting our product for what it is, the worse the future of our sport is.

the idea that we need to be a non contact sport is contrary to what makes our game attractive, and in the same vein, both boxing and the UFC have never been more popular. 

We have to accept that our sport is combatitive. Not everyone is suited to playing, but many are drawn to our sport as supporters for the exact same reason. If we continue to try and make our game based on non contact, then we move into competition with soccer, basketball and cricket, all of which are well established and growing. 

For me, the focus should be on quality, this gives a great end 'product' but also helps the player who want to progress to do exactly that. 

There is plenty enough talent in NZ, and willing players; we just continue to do a disservice to them by trying to sell to an audience that isn't interested in the same values.

I think you have misunderstood my point, I am talking about a social, lower physical impact, more accessible version of the sport that feeds into the amateur and professional versions of the sport. The same way amateur martial Arts have milder contact sparing  & non contact fitness sides that feed interest & participation in professional UFC/MMA. Head injuries from concussion are serious with possible life long effects to the brain. Times have changed this new generation across all ethnic groups is less likely to risk participation in rough and tumble contact sports at a social amateur level. Even if they still like watching the Professional versions on the internet and TV. Many people dont have time anymore to play a full length contact version of the game. Wellington 20 - 25 years ago at adult level had Premier Grade, Reserve Grade and 4 social grades below that. Now at adult level in Wellington there is Premier Grade and Masters grade left. Masters grade is a shortened time & altered rules version of the game... the writing is on the wall...a more social/lower impact version of the game is a no brainier to increase participation rates or else the game ceases to exist as an adult social participation sport. 

Edited by kiwis 13 6
Clarify my point
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12 minutes ago, gnidir said:

I can't agree with this. It seems that the answer to participation is always to essentially play a different sport in the hope that it attracts new participants. 

In essence, we are trying to shy away from what makes our game popular.

In my opinion, the issue with europeans playing the game are more about culture than about fear of big Polynesian kids. The lack of a public profile for our game in NZ is a big problem, even eligible NRL players talk about supporting the all blacks.

The further the local bodies stray from actually promoting our product for what it is, the worse the future of our sport is.

the idea that we need to be a non contact sport is contrary to what makes our game attractive, and in the same vein, both boxing and the UFC have never been more popular. 

We have to accept that our sport is combatitive. Not everyone is suited to playing, but many are drawn to our sport as supporters for the exact same reason. If we continue to try and make our game based on non contact, then we move into competition with soccer, basketball and cricket, all of which are well established and growing. 

For me, the focus should be on quality, this gives a great end 'product' but also helps the player who want to progress to do exactly that. 

There is plenty enough talent in NZ, and willing players; we just continue to do a disservice to them by trying to sell to an audience that isn't interested in the same values.

In terms of increasing participation I think there's nothing wrong with having a more casual version of the game, indeed I'd actually encourage it.

Football's continued high playing numbers isn't off the back of booming 11 a side teams playing 90 minutes, but thousands of 5/7 a side pitches all over the country with weeknight leagues.

People don't have the time or commitment that they used to have and adapting will be essential to maintaining relevance and accessibility.

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13 hours ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

I think you have misunderstood my point, I am talking about a social, lower physical impact, more accessible version of the sport that feeds into the amateur and professional versions of the sport. The same way amateur martial Arts have milder contact sparing  & non contact fitness sides that feed interest & participation in professional UFC/MMA. Head injuries from concussion are serious with possible life long effects to the brain. Times have changed this new generation across all ethnic groups is less likely to risk participation in rough and tumble contact sports at a social amateur level. Even if they still like watching the Professional versions on the internet and TV. Many people dont have time anymore to play a full length contact version of the game. Wellington 20 - 25 years ago at adult level had Premier Grade, Reserve Grade and 4 social grades below that. Now at adult level in Wellington there is Premier Grade and Masters grade left. Masters grade is a shortened time & altered rules version of the game... the writing is on the wall...a more social/lower impact version of the game is a no brainier to increase participation rates or else the game ceases to exist as an adult social participation sport. 

The value in attracting people to minimal-contact versions of RL is one of my pet themes. Tag RL is my preference since it`s closer to the tackle game than Touch. The poster who wanted the tackle game focused on is missing the point that when other formats are integrated into RL clubs this means more members and volunteers as well as participants. The more people in a club, the greater the presence in the community and the bigger the fanbase for the Tackle game.

NZRL missed a trick with Tag. It was devised by a Kiwi (Perry Haddock) for RL players in the off-season yet the leagues and clubs ignored it and it`s developed a life of its own in the NZTFI away from RL clubs.

As far as I`m aware the Auckland RL are alone in attempting to recover lost ground via KiwiTag. The only team I`ve seen competing regularly in national Tag comps from outside is Porirua Tag, and I don`t think they have any formal connection with the Vikings.

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36 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

The value in attracting people to minimal-contact versions of RL is one of my pet themes.

I had been arguing for 20 yrs that N.R.L. should tap into the success of "touch football" . Thankfully about five years ago it was brought in under the Rugby League `umbrella`. Massive Touch Football tournaments ,with literally hundreds , if not thousands of participants are regular occurrences now.  If I may add, it is the play the ball aspect that touch has in common with Rugby League that allows us to claim it as being more related to our sport rather than RU and of course following on from that limited tackle/touch count.

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If the grassroots is so poor in New Zealand, how do they manage to produce so many NRL and Super League players?

It would be interesting to see the stats on how many players qualify for New Zealand, PNG and France from those competitions. Each of those nations has 1 fully professional club and its own semi pro/amateur league beneath it.

Edited by Sir Kevin Sinfield

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6 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

The value in attracting people to minimal-contact versions of RL is one of my pet themes. Tag RL is my preference since it`s closer to the tackle game than Touch. The poster who wanted the tackle game focused on is missing the point that when other formats are integrated into RL clubs this means more members and volunteers as well as participants. The more people in a club, the greater the presence in the community and the bigger the fanbase for the Tackle game.

NZRL missed a trick with Tag. It was devised by a Kiwi (Perry Haddock) for RL players in the off-season yet the leagues and clubs ignored it and it`s developed a life of its own in the NZTFI away from RL clubs.

As far as I`m aware the Auckland RL are alone in attempting to recover lost ground via KiwiTag. The only team I`ve seen competing regularly in national Tag comps from outside is Porirua Tag, and I don`t think they have any formal connection with the Vikings.

Completely agree with this.  I wish RL clubs in the UK would run midweek tag/touch competitions. There could be different levels.  

It could just be social, non competitive games of tag or it could be a weekly league run by the club that teams of 7 or so players enter and play a couple of fixtures each week. A bit like Soccer 6s. 

Another option could be for individual clubs to run touch/tag teams that compete against other clubs in an organised league.

A combination of all these would be great and would increase the amount of people accessing their local RL club and make it a much larger part of the community. It would probably also help with recruiting volunteers, players etc for the full contact teams

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3 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

If the grassroots is so poor in New Zealand, how do they manage to produce so many NRL and Super League players?

It would be interesting to see the stats on how many players qualify for New Zealand, PNG and France from those competitions. Each of those nations has 1 fully professional club and its own semi pro/amateur league beneath it.

A significant amount get picked up from the union high school game (which in turn recruits many Polynesians/Maori league players through scholarships). The school game over there is massive with sky sports coverage etc.

League has a much bigger focus in these less affluent groups and succeeds in spite of everything rather than because of it.

 

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21 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

A significant amount get picked up from the union high school game (which in turn recruits many Polynesians/Maori league players through scholarships). The school game over there is massive with sky sports coverage etc.

League has a much bigger focus in these less affluent groups and succeeds in spite of everything rather than because of it.

 

I have spoken to a couple of Kiwi internationals about this. They would both be from staunch League families but both could never play League at school and playing Union was a big advantage. NZ seems to have a lot of generic Rugby talent and the athletes that can easily switch from one to another.

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2 hours ago, Damien said:

I have spoken to a couple of Kiwi internationals about this. They would both be from staunch League families but both could never play League at school and playing Union was a big advantage. NZ seems to have a lot of generic Rugby talent and the athletes that can easily switch from one to another.

Maybe this is the model we should look to copy in countries like Wales. Recruit union players to play high level academy rugby league at 16/17 years old. 

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11 hours ago, The Rocket said:

I had been arguing for 20 yrs that N.R.L. should tap into the success of "touch football" . Thankfully about five years ago it was brought in under the Rugby League `umbrella`. Massive Touch Football tournaments ,with literally hundreds , if not thousands of participants are regular occurrences now.  If I may add, it is the play the ball aspect that touch has in common with Rugby League that allows us to claim it as being more related to our sport rather than RU and of course following on from that limited tackle/touch count.

You hit a nail with the point that Tag, and to a lesser extent Touch, have to be League to make any sense.

There is something called "Rippa Rugby" that the NZRU run but it has little structure and looks more like a training drill than a game. So Tag is a big advantage for us.

Just for the record, I`ve been rightly corrected by "deluded pom". Turns out I`m also a deluded pom because Perry Haddock, who developed Oztag/Tag Football, was in fact Australian. Unless I`m completely deluded he must have had some NZ connections for me to have made the mistake. Does anyone know what they were?

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12 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

If the grassroots is so poor in New Zealand, how do they manage to produce so many NRL and Super League players?

It would be interesting to see the stats on how many players qualify for New Zealand, PNG and France from those competitions. Each of those nations has 1 fully professional club and its own semi pro/amateur league beneath it.

Its adult participation rates that have dramatically shrunk in Wellington, Manawatu, Taranaki in recent times and in the West Coast, Tasman, East Coast and Hawkes Bay the adult game is either dead or near dead. Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury seem to have stable adult participation rates, Southland/Otago has a joint competition which is small but seems stable. There is a bright spot in Aoraki region of the South Island having started up an adult competition in recent years.  

At kids level nationwide up to Under 13 at club level things seem pretty stable. But outside of Auckland in the teenagers years Club &  Secondary School Rugby League really struggles & Under 18/19/20's grades have shrunk or vanished in the regions. Adult Social league teams have shrunk in numbers everywhere. Teenage kids in most regions have no choice but to go straight to Premier grade playing against experienced players in there 20's & 30's. Wellington and Canterbury Club competitions had a semi pro element up til mid 1990's. National competition started 1994-1996 & restarted 2000 - 2007, Wellington, Canterbury, Waikato, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Northland had semi pro teams. Regions are now missing a semi pro element to attract people to play & stay in the game. The best chance of a full season National Semi Pro competition is Auckland's Fox memorial Competition expanding to Include 2 or 3 regional rep sides, That means the NZRL and ARL working together....Which has proven to be difficult in the past.

NZRL needs a social league lower impact version of the sport for all ages to attract more social participation. Good to see NZRL work with France under18's, GB community Lions and Toa Samoa tours of NZ last year. Tours by international sides have been missing for a long time and help attract people to play and watch the sport. Would be good to see the NZ residents side do overseas tours again? I read the 2020 NZRL premiership maybe cancelled due to Covid? So probably be no NZ resident this year? Hope the NZRL realize a big reason why people play the game in regions is to try and make rep sides? lack of coverage of last years South Island Provincial Competition on NZRL's website was really poor. NZRL have never had more employees than right now. But that is due to the ministry of education playgroups for 0-4 year olds, which is a good idea for the community, but has little to do with people playing rugby league. NZRL & Skysports NZ are giving out free registration packs to all Junior league players for the 2020 season which is a great idea.

https://nzrl.co.nz/nzrl-providing-free-sky-sport-starter-packs-to-all-u6-u12-kids/

 

   

 

Edited by kiwis 13 6
Spelling and edit the length of post
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On 12/07/2020 at 07:40, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

If the grassroots is so poor in New Zealand, how do they manage to produce so many NRL and Super League players?

It would be interesting to see the stats on how many players qualify for New Zealand, PNG and France from those competitions. Each of those nations has 1 fully professional club and its own semi pro/amateur league beneath it.

By poaching 1st XV RU players. Like RTS and Vunivalu. Australia do the same thing.

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4 hours ago, Themusician_2 said:

By poaching 1st XV RU players. Like RTS and Vunivalu. Australia do the same thing.

RTS played both League and Union at Otahuhu College. And, as in Australia, some of these 1st XV players are League juniors.

Why are Union clubs or schools never described as "poaching" League players?

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10 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

RTS played both League and Union at Otahuhu College. And, as in Australia, some of these 1st XV players are League juniors.

Why are Union clubs or schools never described as "poaching" League players?

And vunivalu? RTS started league in high school hes a union kid. 

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31 minutes ago, Themusician_2 said:

And vunivalu? RTS started league in high school hes a union kid. 

What classifies someone as ‘a union kid’?

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13 minutes ago, Themusician_2 said:

The primary sport they play

And what determines 'a primary sport'?

Edited by DoubleD

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7 hours ago, Themusician_2 said:

And vunivalu? RTS started league in high school hes a union kid. 

Why is Vunivalu the property of RU but League juniors not the property of RL?

When someone plays junior League through their own or their family`s choice, but then plays Union at secondary school because that`s the only offer, the former is the better indication of where they could be said to naturally belong.

The social engineering entailed when thousands of League juniors go to Union-only schools is a lot more insidious than a small number of Union schoolboys being "poached" by NRL clubs.

When Honey Hireme was playing Union as I remember she always avoided answering questions about which game was her preference. Now there`s a Fresh TV feature up on YouTube where she makes it perfectly clear that she prefers the game she and her family played at Putaruru Dragons RLFC.

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