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Selling The Drama


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13 hours ago, gingerjon said:

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.

I don’t think any individual can ever be as big as they were (pre internet days) when media was more streamlined and so the focus was on a small number of people.

Princess Diana and the Spice Girls, you couldn’t open a newspaper without seeing either plastered across them, and newspapers were the main source of news. There is nothing remotely at that level of fame today as there are so many more famous people so the attention is much more diluted.

13 hours ago, Dave T said:

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. 

 

You listed great players. The talent level hasn’t changed (certainly in RL, RU is a different story as it’s much more gym focused), the opportunity to stand out and become stars has. None of those are ‘star’ names in the sense of being known. They aren’t known because they can’t stand out. RU has the same issue in this regard. No household name in precisely the same period (15 years). 

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13 hours ago, Dunbar said:

Is there any evidence to back this up or is it your memory/perception of how the game is now played?

Statistics from the Super League are impossible to come by but as I have posted in another thread, in the NRL in 2019 4 out of every 10 tries was scored from a play starting outside the 20 metre line of the opposition and 1 in every 10 tries started from a play 40 metres out or longer.

There were 1,331 tries scored in the NRL in 2019 so 532 were scored from a play starting outside the 20m line and 133 from outside the 40m (this is plays where the attacking team plays the ball and so intercepts etc. are not counted in the distance analysis).

When it comes to individual players, St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty scored 8 in the year which started further than 40 metres away from the line with Ryan Papenhuyzen on 7 and Josh Addo-Carr with 6.

Now, I genuinely don't know how this compares to tries scored in the 80's and 90's or earlier as those types of stats are not available.  But I posted this data last time in response to a comment that said 'almost every try' is scored from close to the line which is clearly not true.

The problem I have with trying to compare era's is that I used to watch one game of Rugby League live in person and maybe another live on tv... everything else was highlights at best.  Now, I am watching 8 or 9 live games a week.  If I were to simply watch the NRL or Super League highlights packages then I would assume every game was full of breaks and tries.

My view is that modern defences are better organized than ever before and more difficult to break down but modern players are more skillful than ever before in order to break down these defences.

I’m sure a few stattos on here could oblige. Offiah top scored with 57 tries, Makinson with 24, I’m sure there’s more.

The difference is patently obvious from watching footage of both eras though. The much maligned “turnstile defences” (to me, space and opportunities for attacking players), you don’t see now, or certainly not to anywhere near the same degree.

Then there’s the more conservative play (four/five quickfire runs up the middle, as opposed to trying to make plays in the first few possessions).

Its a different sport to the one Wigan played at the old Wembley. 

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13 hours ago, Dunbar said:

Indeed.  But Offiah scored 37 tries in the league in the 1988-89 season.   A season in which Widnes played 26 games.  And Makinson scored 23 tries in the league in a season in which Saints played 29 games.

And Saints in 2019 scored more points per game in 2019 than Widnes did in 1988-89.

37 in 26...versus 23 in 29 (and for a top side). So it’s harder to score (not for a team, for individuals). With far less capacity for the individualist tries (Hanley, Offiah, Robinson, Tuigamala) scores are more spread out, more team based. 

Said previously, those four rampaging tries against England that made Lomu a star overnight, he ain’t scoring those tries today. Shut down, nullified in an increasingly attritional dominated game.

Both codes are their own worst enemy.

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11 hours ago, DC77 said:

Both codes are their own worst enemy.

Who on here cares if yawn is its own worst enemy? I find it intriguing how often that sport invades these pages to no real purpose.

I would rather watch football anytime and I have absolutely no interest in that. And they are not both codes, they're just one of many codes of football and as related to us as we are to the chimpanzees.

The selling of our drama should be the easiest thing in the world a compilation video of last minutes and theatrical moment from SL/NRL& Internationals at the end would do that in a moment. With one of those pithy three word phrases like "Never All Over!"

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12 hours ago, DC77 said:

37 in 26...versus 23 in 29 (and for a top side). So it’s harder to score (not for a team, for individuals). With far less capacity for the individualist tries (Hanley, Offiah, Robinson, Tuigamala) scores are more spread out, more team based. 

Said previously, those four rampaging tries against England that made Lomu a star overnight, he ain’t scoring those tries today. Shut down, nullified in an increasingly attritional dominated game.

Both codes are their own worst enemy.

I am not disagreeing with your point that individual superstars are great for the game and the likes of Hanley, Offiah and Lomu were wonderful for their respective sports.

But I am not sure about the 'worst enemy' part.  Rugby players were always going to get stronger and faster as the focus on physical preparation evolved.  A player who is naturally gifted is not going to stand out as much as full time athletes put in the hours to get bridge the gap... it is a natural evolution of any sport.

The fact that modern teams score as many points as teams from previous era's show that despite the better organized defences, teams are skilful enough to score... and the fact we have the Makinson's, Addo-Carr's, Johnstone's and Papenhuyzen's of this world scoring tries with skill and pace shows that is not lost to the modern game.

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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3 hours ago, Dunbar said:

I am not disagreeing with your point that individual superstars are great for the game and the likes of Hanley, Offiah and Lomu were wonderful for their respective sports.

But I am not sure about the 'worst enemy' part.  Rugby players were always going to get stronger and faster as the focus on physical preparation evolved.  A player who is naturally gifted is not going to stand out as much as full time athletes put in the hours to get bridge the gap... it is a natural evolution of any sport.

The fact that modern teams score as many points as teams from previous era's show that despite the better organized defences, teams are skilful enough to score... and the fact we have the Makinson's, Addo-Carr's, Johnstone's and Papenhuyzen's of this world scoring tries with skill and pace shows that is not lost to the modern game.

Worst enemy in the sense that what made (and still makes) players stars is being allowed to stand out in games, like Hanley, Offiah, Robinson (and in RU case, Lomu, Campese etc.), which they cannot do now. You constantly hear the question posed, “what can RL do to make the game more popular”, or “how do we create stars”...yet it’s never addressed. You get the like of Phil Caplan suggesting they appear on Question of Sport (and he was serious when he said it).

If players get “bigger, stronger, faster”...then you alter the game to ensure the platform afforded to players who became stars in the past is also given to players today. What the answer is? I don’t know. But no attempt is made to provide an answer. Someone posted a clip of Hanley tries for Leeds....good God the space he was afforded to run into, that space would not be there today. There wouldn’t be a Hanley clip rolled out if he played today. RU, the field is obscenely overcrowded now. Players twice as wide. France midfield: Bastereaxusd (or however that is spelt), an 18 stone limited bruiser, replaced Sella, 13 stone of flair/skill. They have also introduced 8 interchanges, which means the mammoth brutes only need to last 50 minutes, before they are replaced by another set of brutes for the last 30. Making them last 80 minutes they’d need to be much trimmer. In RL there needs to be more of a reward to attempt to make plays early in a set of six. Having four runs straight up runs through the middle, then one attempt at a play, before a kick. This conservatism is rampant. Throw in the wrestle imported from Australia, and you have yourself a different, attritional dominated game.

Edited by DC77
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4 hours ago, Oxford said:

Who on here cares if yawn is its own worst enemy? I find it intriguing how often that sport invades these pages to no real purpose.

Take your point, but it is relevant in the sense they are following a similar trajectory with so much cross pollination between them. RU became much better defensively by importing RL coaches. Being better defensively might be good in terms of making it a tougher test, the problem is it’s to the detriment of attacking play, and at the end of the day it’s attacking play that generates most headlines, what people most want to see.

The Aussie bloke that was in charge of England. Imagine having to watch his teams play. 

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37 minutes ago, DC77 said:

Worst enemy in the sense that what made (and still makes) players stars is being allowed to stand out in games, like Hanley, Offiah, Robinson (and in RU case, Lomu, Campese etc.), which they cannot do now. You constantly hear the question posed, “what can RL do to make the game more popular”, or “how do we create stars”...yet it’s never addressed. You get the like of Phil Caplan suggesting they appear on Question of Sport (and he was serious when he said it).

If players get “bigger, stronger, faster”...then you alter the game to ensure the platform afforded to players who became stars in the past is also given to players today. What the answer is? I don’t know. But no attempt is made to provide an answer. Someone posted a clip of Hanley tries for Leeds....good God the space he was afforded to run into, that space would not be there today. There wouldn’t be a Hanley clip rolled out if he played today. RU, the field is obscenely overcrowded now. Players twice as wide. France midfield: Bastereaxusd (or however that is spelt), an 18 stone limited bruiser, replaced Sella, 13 stone of flair/skill. They have also introduced 8 interchanges, which means the mammoth brutes only need to last 50 minutes, before they are replaced by another set of brutes for the last 30. Making them last 80 minutes they’d need to be much trimmer. In RL there needs to be more of a reward to attempt to make plays early in a set of six. Having four runs straight up runs through the middle, then one attempt at a play, before a kick. This conservatism is rampant. Throw in the wrestle imported from Australia, and you have yourself a different, attritional dominated game.

Fair enough, everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinions.  For mine, I would say the following:

(I am happy to discuss Union on the cross code forum but I don't care enough about it to worry about it).

I have to admit while I watch the Super League and more UK RL, my primary Rugby League fix is from the NRL these days as I think it is an outstanding competition.

I personally feel that the sport has got the right balance between flair and effort... yes, there is a lot of forward effort in a game of Rugby League but I think there should be an attritional element to the sport - you need to earn the right to score.  If we want a try every play or two we can watch 7's or 9's, personally that does nothing for me.

But after teams have earned the right to score then there are still plenty of flair and speed on show.  I cannot understand how anyone can watch even just one round of NRL and not be impressed by the skill and flair, there is loads to admire every week.

I think the 6 again law has also helped to limit the wrestle and this year we saw more of a collision sport than a wrestle and I think the spectacle benefited hugely from it.

I am the biggest fan of Hanley (the best player I have ever seen) and all the others you mention but I am very happy with what the sport dishes up these days.

Edited by Dunbar

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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I'm not sure why RU keeps being raised but RL is fundamentally different in nature and RL has evolved to get away from all the problems seen in RU. RL players can only get so big and strong before it has a detrimental affect of their game and performance. RU is a different kettle of fish completely and many of its issues simply don't apply in RL.

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3 hours ago, DC77 said:

Take your point, but it is relevant in the sense they are following a similar trajectory with so much cross pollination between them. RU became much better defensively by importing RL coaches. Being better defensively might be good in terms of making it a tougher test, the problem is it’s to the detriment of attacking play, and at the end of the day it’s attacking play that generates most headlines, what people most want to see.

The Aussie bloke that was in charge of England. Imagine having to watch his teams play. 

Yawn got better defensively because of RL coaches ..... and then you woke up!

There should always be cross polination between all sports but it needs more than  a similar oval ball for it to be of any use.

There is already plenty of drama in RL and it only needs good marketing to make use of it .

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15 hours ago, Damien said:

I'm not sure why RU keeps being raised but RL is fundamentally different in nature and RL has evolved to get away from all the problems seen in RU. RL players can only get so big and strong before it has a detrimental affect of their game and performance. RU is a different kettle of fish completely and many of its issues simply don't apply in RL.

Totally agreed I tried to watch a Union game that was on amazon prime recently but turned it off due to how slow the game play was. I appreciate they may have different skill sets with patience being their main one. When you watch the NRLs best tries/best long tries you realise how quick they really are when you watch it week in and out you get used to it but the Union build up play and rolling over each other is definitely something that's not for me. League, Footy, RL what ever you want to call it is definitely a different game. 

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