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2 hours ago, GUBRATS said:

How often to we now see the primary positive for a winger being his runs out from defence on plays 1&2 ? 

Similar with full backs , too much emphasis on their kick returns rather than creation and support at the other end 

 

1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

You have a fair point with the wingers, they are measured by run metres and 'exit sets' these days.

I can't agree with the full back comment though, full backs are far more skilful and creative than they have ever been... they are the key attacking position on the pitch in many teams these days.

I think this is one of the things I refer to - people race about the industrious effort when I think as a game we should focus more on the wonder plays and skills on shows. 

Of course Charnley at Wire makes his hard yards and is a valuable player when coming away from our line, but Charnley should be celebrated for his tries and great finishes. Tbf I think we often do with the wingers, but then we do belittle this skill by saying things like they should never get MoS or Golden Boot awards. 

I think we should be selling the wonder skills on show, because with all due respect to the players involved (they all deserve a lot of respect), it is easier to be a hard worker and get a high tackle count than it is to complete some of the attacking game-changing plays. 

They are all as important as each other for a team, but nobody is paying to go and see a player make 60 tackles, they are paying to see those Hollywood style players. We should celebrate them more IMHO. 

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2 hours ago, DC77 said:

You’re right the star names in boxing are not at the same level to what they were. Naz for example, he was everywhere. You could have put Beckham and Naz beside each other and had a genuine discussion as to who was a bigger name. 

Joshua is a big name in the UK today, though he’s nowhere near the standard of his predecessors. He ain’t selling out Vegas anytime soon. He’s fortunate to be around in a weak era (could be permanent), and at a time when Hearn has managed to work wonders in the UK market (while the sport declines in the rest of the world). The UK is keeping Michael Buffer in a job. Fury vs Joshua, 20 years ago that’s a British and Commonwealth title level fight. 

God the days of Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan, two world class fighters, on free to air TV. And now it’s George Groves vs Carl Froch, on PPV, at Wembley Stadium.

The whole thing is insane. Everything is backwards.

Regarding names, boxing would still be much bigger than RL (including your criteria of naming clubs). Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury would both be household names in the UK, that would not to apply to RL (including clubs).

Joshua might not be selling out Vegas (Americans are particularly snobbish in that regard) but he is selling out Wembley. Something RL hasn't done for a very long time

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11 hours ago, Dunbar said:

The reference to teams being more difficult to score against now does throw up a really interesting statistical anomaly.

In the 1988-89 season, Martin Offiah finished as the top try scorer in the league with 57 tries for Widnes.  In the 2019 Super League season the top try scorer was Tommy Makinson with 23.  In fact in 1988-89 there were another three players who scored more than Makinson did in 2019 - Grant Anderson at Cas, Les Quirk at Saints and Ellery Hanley at Wigan.

This would all imply that points are harder to come by now and yet when you look at the points scored by teams, in 1988-89 there was an average of 19 points scored per team and in 2019 it was up to 23.

The Widnes team which Offiah was a part of finished top in 1988-89 scoring an average of  28 points per game and Saints finished top in 2019 with an average of 32 points a game.

What I don't have is how many tries were scored by each team in their respective seasons and certainly there may have been more points from the boot in Saints year but surely not enough to suggest that tries were easier to come by in 1988-89.

What does this suggest?  I don't know, but it could be that tries are more evenly distributed across teams now and that has an impact in creating the star players who would score 40 or 50 tries a season?  

It’s not really an anomaly. What’s happened is the method of scoring has changed. There isn’t the same volume of long distance tries (again, in both codes, as they share cross pollination..especially RL coaches to RU). There just isn’t the space or freedom to make them in such a regular basis now. Tries are scored from a lot closer in, often after grinding down the opposition. Defences are far better organised, with space at a premium for attacking players, so you get more of the bulldozing type tries (certainly in RU). With less individualist tries scoring will then be more spread out, so a total like Offiah’s 57 is unreachable. Lomu scoring four tries vs England, that ain’t happening today. He’d be lucky to get two.

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12 hours ago, Dave T said:

I don't agree with all of this, but there was a thread discussing something similar here recently where I made the point that we undervalue wingers and the likes in favour of workhorses who make 60 tackles a game. Whilst I appreciate those players, I don't watch RL because James Roby makes 60 tackles in a game (although that is an aspect of the toughness and the team unit at play), I watch for the star quality of Blake Austin, Matty Russell, Stefan Ratchford and hopefully Greg Inglis next season at my own club. Of course I appreciate the forwards, but we need to be careful not to go down too far down the rabbit hole of it being all about the forwards. At the moment we are maybe just about right, although the thread highlighting that wingers shouldn't get awards like Man of Steel show an odd mentality to me. And we are quick to write off the likes of Austin or Lomax or Williams when they don't make breaks and set up tries in a game, dismissing them as having a bad game. I think our appreciation of these skills is a bit dumb in RL. 

You don’t agree with what? 

The post below yours just highlighted the difference among the top try scorers in different eras. Offiah got 57 tries. Makinson 23. It’s infinitely harder to score the type of tries Offiah did that made him stand out. 

Neither code has had a star name in 15 years. It’s become almost impossible for a player to stand out in games. Tighter defences (water-tight in the case of RU, thanks to massive increase in player bulk and the use of RL coaches). I’ve highlighted two games where it was impossible for anyone to make a smidgen of an impression (2017 RLWC final, and the recent Grand final). They are much harder to play, to the detriment of attacking play. 

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12 hours ago, GUBRATS said:

How often to we now see the primary positive for a winger being his runs out from defence on plays 1&2 ? 

Similar with full backs , too much emphasis on their kick returns rather than creation and support at the other end 

Watching footage from old Wigan games at Wembley, it’s clear players would attempt to make attacking plays much earlier in their set of six. Now it’s often the fifth possession before they attempt something, after four bulldozing plays through the middle. It’s a much more conservative, defensive, attritional game, and infinitely harder for individuals to stand out. They are working with scraps. No wonder the highest profile player in the English game, Sam Tomkins, can show footage of himself on the London Underground with not a soul knowing who he is.

The worst example of attritional play I can think of was England vs Wales at the 2015 RUWC (the game S. Burgess got wrongly blamed for). The first half had one line break. One. The roof almost came off the place when it happened. England beating NZ at the last RUWC, massive win, but there was no individual to focus on. Nobody stood out. How could they? 

The era of off the cuff play, turnstile defences, much slimmer players with an emphasis on skill over gym work and bulking up, that’s over. They are are attritional dominated codes.

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8 minutes ago, DC77 said:

It’s not really an anomaly. What’s happened is the method of scoring has changed. There isn’t the same volume of long distance tries (again, in both codes, as they share cross pollination..especially RL coaches to RU). There just isn’t the space or freedom to make them in such a regular basis now. Tries are scored from a lot closer in, often after grinding down the opposition. Defences are far better organised, with space at a premium for attacking players, so you get more of the bulldozing type tries (certainly in RU). With less individualist tries scoring will then be more spread out, so a total like Offiah’s 57 is unreachable. Lomu scoring four tries vs England, that ain’t happening today. He’d be lucky to get two.

It is when defences are good (which in general they are constantly improving as they are in all sports) yes they're very hard to score against. When they're rubbish you can still score multiple, see Tom Briscoe's 5 at Wembley. I don't think that is a problem though. Football can still have stars that don't need anywhere near an average of a goal a game let alone multiple.

I think fundamentally though the focus on scoring tries has shifted from the man who puts it down over the line. Aside from excellent individual efforts from in their own half or midfield, most tries are the end product of team displays. Fans, pundits, and coaches are (more than in most sports) seemingly obsessed by the assist makers more than the point scorers. This is evidenced by comments such as "it still takes some scoring" when such efforts are noticeably harder than usual.

Prime example, Ash Handley. Finished top try scorer for Leeds and I think Super League as a whole this year. Yet there doesn't seem to be much if any clamour for other clubs wanting to sign him to up their try scoring record. Even as a Leeds fan, there's a large element of "well playing next to a centre like Hurrell and on the left he should score a few". To put that in context its like football fans downplaying a striker scoring goals.

I think partly its because Rugby, and Rugby fans, have gone beyond the rather simplistic end product view a lot of (but always increasingly less) football fans seem to have or be able to use as an excuse. Put it this way, if these days your team was only capable of or reliant on scoring long range efforts from your wingers, people would straight away see that as an issue. Equally, the vast majority of rugby fans know a halfback should be one of your most valuable players because good ones can set you up to win games and titles. Yet unlike say NFL with their quarterbacks, we don't seem to make too much furore about these real stars either!

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11 hours ago, DC77 said:

You’re right the star names in boxing are not at the same level to what they were. Naz for example, he was everywhere. You could have put Beckham and Naz beside each other and had a genuine discussion as to who was a bigger name. 

Joshua is a big name in the UK today, though he’s nowhere near the standard of his predecessors. He ain’t selling out Vegas anytime soon. He’s fortunate to be around in a weak era (could be permanent), and at a time when Hearn has managed to work wonders in the UK market (while the sport declines in the rest of the world). The UK is keeping Michael Buffer in a job. Fury vs Joshua, 20 years ago that’s a British and Commonwealth title level fight. 

God the days of Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan, two world class fighters, on free to air TV. And now it’s George Groves vs Carl Froch, on PPV, at Wembley Stadium.

The whole thing is insane. Everything is backwards.

Regarding names, boxing would still be much bigger than RL (including your criteria of naming clubs). Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury would both be household names in the UK, that would not to apply to RL (including clubs).

Yup, it was pretty much those two names. Anyone else and you're moving into specific sports fans territory. And not too far along before it really only is people who actively follow boxing.

It's worth pointing out that, rather like the decline in participation not being a rugby league specific thing, that sport in this country is simply not as mainstream as it once was.

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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9 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

Joshua might not be selling out Vegas (Americans are particularly snobbish in that regard) but he is selling out Wembley. Something RL hasn't done for a very long time

As I posted above , no shortage of idiots in this world willing to pay for that rubbish 

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4 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

As I posted above , no shortage of idiots in this world willing to pay for that rubbish 

There seems to be a major shortage when Rugby League tries to sell to them! Perhaps the (inverted?) snobbery doesn't appeal!

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42 minutes ago, DC77 said:

You don’t agree with what? 

The post below yours just highlighted the difference among the top try scorers in different eras. Offiah got 57 tries. Makinson 23. It’s infinitely harder to score the type of tries Offiah did that made him stand out. 

Neither code has had a star name in 15 years. It’s become almost impossible for a player to stand out in games. Tighter defences (water-tight in the case of RU, thanks to massive increase in player bulk and the use of RL coaches). I’ve highlighted two games where it was impossible for anyone to make a smidgen of an impression (2017 RLWC final, and the recent Grand final). They are much harder to play, to the detriment of attacking play. 

I don't agree that the game negates individual skill, not at all. Those two games you highlight were extremely rare. The Cup Final at Wembley this year was a far better game than the Grand Final and a far better example of a top quality game which was tight and tense and still had some quality attacking play. 

If you think that RL hasn't had a star player for 15 years then you are just wrong. During this period Super League has had attacking talent like Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Sam Tomkins, Rangi Chase, Stefan Ratchford, Johnny Lomax, Kevin Sinfield, plus then we have had short term talent like Ben Barba, Chris Sandow etc wowing crowds. I could probably list 50 or 60 players from this period who were known for their flair. 

I think a slight problem we have in this country is the reliance of Aussie coaches and tactics which has led to a more conservative game, but the rules more than allow for creative play and flair players. 

 

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Just now, Dave T said:

Rugby League has around 50 to 70k paying spectators at events every week for around 30 to 35 weeks a year. 

That should be qualified by how that is largely the same 50 to 70k each week though Dave, and has been for the past 15 years

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9 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

That should be qualified by how that is largely the same 50 to 70k each week though Dave, and has been for the past 15 years

You'll have to provide evidence of that Tommy. 

Because that ain't actually true. The 50 to 70k number is based on only half the teams being at home. So that number of total fans is higher to start, maybe 90 to 100k. Then you have the rotation of fans, meaning that differentfans go in different weeks throughout the year. Wire may average 10.5k, but they probably get over 15k different fans throughout the year. Same for every club. If they make finals, the numbers can be up to double that. 

We also know that we have turnover of fans, some leave, some start going etc. So over the 15 years there will have been plenty of new numbers in there. 

Tbh, your claim has no substance to it in the slightest. 

Edit: to add, even if it was true, I'm not sure of the relevance, nobody has brought this up as a negative for any other sport. 

Edited by Dave T
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3 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

You cannot force people to watch any particular sport 

Horses to water 

I know you think that is clairvoyant stating of the hard facts Gubby, but it is literally what the Hearn's said for Boxing and Darts years ago and plenty of other sports have done since 😂 Well done!

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2 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I know you think that is clairvoyant stating of the hard facts Gubby, but it is literally what the Hearn's said for Boxing and Darts years ago and plenty of other sports have done since 😂 Well done!

True , you can lead an idiot to water , but you can't make him drink , change it to beer on the other hand ?

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1 minute ago, Dave T said:

You'll have to provide evidence of that Tommy. 

Because that ain't actually true. The 50 to 70k number is based on only half the teams being at home. So that number of total fans is higher to start, maybe 90 to 100k. Then you have the rotation of fans, meaning that differentfans go in different weeks throughout the year. Wire may average 10.5k, but they probably get over 15k different fans throughout the year. Same for every club. If they make finals, the numbers can be up to double that. 

We also know that we have turnover of fans, some leave, some start going etc. So over the 15 years there will have been plenty of new numbers in there. 

Tbh, your claim has no substance to it in the slightest. 

Oh great, so we go from 50 - 70k to 90 - 100? 

Its relatively tiny numbers Dave. And in areas that sadly have little relevance or sway in any media or otherwise. Its arguing over peanuts. 

TV numbers are far more relevant, and we've reportedly just been offered £20 million for those. 

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2 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

True , you can lead an idiot to water , but you can't make him drink , change it to beer on the other hand ?

Change it to whatever, gourmet fish and chips if you fancy! That's precisely the point.

Making something fun and enjoyable for people beyond the pure sport enthusiast is a good thing all round!

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2 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Oh great, so we go from 50 - 70k to 90 - 100? 

Its relatively tiny numbers Dave. And in areas that sadly have little relevance or sway in any media or otherwise. Its arguing over peanuts. 

TV numbers are far more relevant, and we've reportedly just been offered £20 million for those. 

How many of these boxing and darts fans pay to go and watch it every other weekend for 20 times a year ?

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