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14 minutes ago, Scubby said:

I couldn't  disagree more. It is completely around St Helens, Leeds, Hull, Wigan, Catalans etc. and finding 6-7 more clubs that can generate large turnover, pay the full salary cap plus marquee signings.

I am now old enough to realise pretty much the same teams can do this and many more do not have the potential to do this - ever! Salford, Halifax, Leigh, Featherstone, Batley, Wakefield (add a few more) etc. have been poverty stricken yo yo clubs my entire life with modest crowds and limited turnover. No amount of juggling formulas will make them anything other than what they are.

Their job if they have ambition is to spend the full cap, sell out their stadium and climb to those elite clubs. If they can't it is not elite RL it is semi professional RL aka 1982.

It is not to put those elite clubs into a downward spiral race to the bottom with stupid cross fixtures and diluted central revenues.

The whole sport is the product. Creating something the 5 clubs you mention is a spiral downwards. No business increases by reducing, it's counter productive and short sighted not to say selfish.

You seem to think it's one or the other, either look after the top 5 clubs or all clubs. It's not one or the other, both aspects are important.

Those 5 clubs cannot survive without other teams to play, unless they want their own league of 5.

All these same reasons were given when going from 14 to 12, so the question remains, what happens when the money drops again because Sky viewers are bored of watching the same 10 teams? Go to 8 or your top 5?

We are doing it your way now and the money has dropped, fans perception is at an all time low in my lifetime, sky paying less, crowds down, NRL lack interest in SL and World Cups yet you wish to retract further? Just looking after the top 5 won't help the other teams improve, and for the good of the game other teams have to have that opportunity, Tolouse, Bradford, York some others all have potential to be a bigger club, close the door and they never will.

Any structure has to be attractive to Sky and/or other TV stations to have the chance of increased revenue.

We have to attract investment and advertising, St Helens v Warrington numerous times a year isn't attractive to investment. I work all over the UK and you'd be surprised how many people say where's that when I tell them I'm from St Helens.

If we continue to do it your way we will be back to semi pro quite soon, it's an ever decreasing product.

Is that what fans want? If so fine, if not one league of 10 isn't the long term attraction anyone other than the same clubs think it is, IMO.

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You can come up with alternatives as much as you want but it keeps missing the point. The game's problems are nothing to do with the current league structure.

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33 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I don't think the game can be accused of ignoring the structure. 

 

It also shouldn't be ignoring the fact that it has failed to gain any tangible monetary value for any product that sits below SL level in 25 years.

The only things that have generated any significant money are SL, CC and internationals.

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2 minutes ago, Scubby said:

It also shouldn't be ignoring the fact that it has failed to gain any tangible monetary value for any product that sits below SL level in 25 years.

I agree and this hasn't been ignored, in fact discussing alternatives are to consider how to raise the lower levels so they contribute to the overall attraction. 

I also don't believe one league if ten would be that attractive either. Or 8 which will happen next time the overall value decreases 

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Just now, David Dockhouse Host said:

I agree and this hasn't been ignored, in fact discussing alternatives are to consider how to raise the lower levels so they contribute to the overall attraction. 

I also don't believe one league if ten would be that attractive either. Or 8 which will happen next time the overall value decreases 

There is no way any broadcaster is going to generate any tangible revenue for Championship and League 1 - ever! Our best hope is in-house via Our League and then that is limited potential and revenue. It is a tiny league structure filled with a number of tiny towns in the north of England and a few development clubs on tiny budgets.

Using some of those tiny towns to try and up the value of the SL competition is just as silly and completely fanciful. We had a Canadian club looking to spend millions and we ###### about making them climb a semi-pro league structure in stead of giving them a place at the top table and a 3-5 year lead in (and exemption from relegation)

Toulouse may get through the system to the top but they have wasted millions touring the likes of Keighley, Swinton and Rochdale and tonking them by 50-60+ Imagine if they were allowed to spend those millions to prepare for a 2022 entry into SL rather than scrapping around for a few #### players in October/November 2021 trying to avoid relegation in 2022. We may well have seen a couple of superstar signings that the competition craves.

Toulouse and Catalans should be exempt from all relegation completely. In fact P&R is a proven failure in a penniless sport like RL. Remember we nearly relegated Catalans via the stupid Super 8 formula in 2017. Had that happened they may well have gone the way of Toronoto. Now they turn over more money than any club in SL.

RL is the biggest self harmer in UK sport.

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6 minutes ago, Scubby said:

There is no way any broadcaster is going to generate any tangible revenue for Championship and League 1 - ever! Our best hope is in-house via Our League and then that is limited potential and revenue. It is a tiny league structure filled with a number of tiny towns in the north of England and a few development clubs on tiny budgets.

Using some of those tiny towns to try and up the value of the SL competition is just as silly and completely fanciful. We had a Canadian club looking to spend millions and we ###### about making them climb a semi-pro league structure in stead of giving them a place at the top table and a 3-5 year lead in (and exemption from relegation)

Toulouse may get through the system to the top but they have wasted millions touring the likes of Keighley, Swinton and Rochdale and tonking them by 50-60+ Imagine if they were allowed to spend those millions to prepare for a 2022 entry into SL rather than scrapping around for a few #### players in October/November 2021 trying to avoid relegation in 2022. We may well have seen a couple of superstar signings that the competition craves.

Toulouse and Catalans should be exempt from all relegation completely. In fact P&R is a proven failure in a penniless sport like RL. Remember we nearly relegated Catalans via the stupid Super 8 formula in 2017. Had that happened they may well have gone the way of Toronoto. Now they turn over more money than any club in SL.

RL is the biggest self harmer in UK sport.

The current structure has promotion and relegation. Something I'm against and my suggestion (as a talking point) would remove this.

The point I was debating was a reply to a poster suggesting it remains the same. So I'm not sure if you think I was proposing we maintain Pro/Releg? 

I also never claimed there's lots of imminently potential cash for the lower leagues? Not sure if you thought I was arguing there was? 

The problem with these threads is people don't always read back precious posts, we all usually only read the most recent and can mistakenly believe a point is being made which isn't. 

So back to my suggestion, rather than two leagues of ten, two conferences of 10, East and West. 

Play each other twice in same conference, and one game with each team in the alternate conference, therefore removing loop fixtures. This would be 28 games.

Top three of each conference would play off for a GF with no relegation. 

East and West winners straight into semi final with week one off 

2nd placed East plays 3rd placed West for semi final spot and Vice Versa.  

This would be current SL clubs plus top 8 in championship. 

Second tier would have its own league with potentially an application to be in the top 20 every few years.

Yes there are issues with this suggestion, I'm aware the money being spread around 20 is not attractive to the top 10/12, you lose some of the big games across conferences from 3 games to 1 potentially but I think overall this has merit for all the reasons I've stated before such as reducing over familiarity, same team fatigue, more spread geographically, more attractive to investors, more options for TV games, no relegation etc. 

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6 minutes ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

Yes there are issues with this suggestion, I'm aware the money being spread around 20 is not attractive to the top 10/12, you lose some of the big games across conferences from 3 games to 1 potentially but I think overall this has merit for all the reasons I've stated before such as reducing over familiarity, same team fatigue, more spread geographically, more attractive to investors, more options for TV games, no relegation etc. 

Crux of the issue in this part of your post. Spreading a finite resource further in order to ‘try’ increase value…. We’ve tried this in recent years. It hasn’t worked. Why do we think doing the same thing with a different format is going to have different results? 

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13 minutes ago, GeordieSaint said:

Crux of the issue in this part of your post. Spreading a finite resource further in order to ‘try’ increase value…. We’ve tried this in recent years. It hasn’t worked. Why do we think doing the same thing with a different format is going to have different results? 

We haven't tried it in this way before though. I'd argue that the situation is now more desperate with reduction in TV funding, so we don't have the same luxury as we did before. 

We reduced from 14 to 12 to spread the resource with fewer clubs yet a few years later we are going from 12 to 10. 

Moving from 14 to 12 solved the issue immediately by increasing the slice from 1/14th to 1/12th, until the resource for smaller again, so now our plan is to go to 1/10th. Our product is contracting which doesn't make it more appealing to Sky, investors etc.  

So I could ask you the same question, why would you want to do the same when it has proved not to work long term? 

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7 hours ago, Liverpool Rover said:

I think the big issue people had with the 8 team playoff was that it wasn’t weighted in favour of the top team as much as the previous systems, which had teams losing and still playing the next week but the top team was as close to being handed a place in the Grand Final as you could get.

In the top 8 system the top team could have won in week one, lose in week three and be out without a second bite at the cherry while the fourth team could lose in week one and still be in it.

Im confused on how you think 4th place has a better hand here?

Under this scenario 1st host 4th and beats them, they then get a bye to week 3 and are one home win away from the grand final. Meanwhile, 4th has to play week 2 then play away on week 3 to get to the grand final. Finishing 1st is the much better hand here.

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3 hours ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

The current structure has promotion and relegation. Something I'm against and my suggestion (as a talking point) would remove this.

The point I was debating was a reply to a poster suggesting it remains the same. So I'm not sure if you think I was proposing we maintain Pro/Releg? 

I also never claimed there's lots of imminently potential cash for the lower leagues? Not sure if you thought I was arguing there was? 

The problem with these threads is people don't always read back precious posts, we all usually only read the most recent and can mistakenly believe a point is being made which isn't. 

So back to my suggestion, rather than two leagues of ten, two conferences of 10, East and West. 

Play each other twice in same conference, and one game with each team in the alternate conference, therefore removing loop fixtures. This would be 28 games.

Top three of each conference would play off for a GF with no relegation. 

East and West winners straight into semi final with week one off 

2nd placed East plays 3rd placed West for semi final spot and Vice Versa.  

This would be current SL clubs plus top 8 in championship. 

Second tier would have its own league with potentially an application to be in the top 20 every few years.

Yes there are issues with this suggestion, I'm aware the money being spread around 20 is not attractive to the top 10/12, you lose some of the big games across conferences from 3 games to 1 potentially but I think overall this has merit for all the reasons I've stated before such as reducing over familiarity, same team fatigue, more spread geographically, more attractive to investors, more options for TV games, no relegation etc. 

I like this idea and I believe a suggested something similar about 80 pages ago.

The only thing I don't like here is no relegation. I guess it's just the way I'm wired.  I would have the bottom team in each conference play a death game to decided who drops, with the winner of the second tier being promoted. You could even have the UK winners of the 2nd tier play off against the winners of the French domestic competition for promotion, although I recognise that the French season would need aligning with ours.

A closed system with elevation by a box ticking exercise just doesn't get my juices flowing.

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50 minutes ago, David Shepherd said:

I like this idea and I believe a suggested something similar about 80 pages ago.

The only thing I don't like here is no relegation. I guess it's just the way I'm wired.  I would have the bottom team in each conference play a death game to decided who drops, with the winner of the second tier being promoted. You could even have the UK winners of the 2nd tier play off against the winners of the French domestic competition for promotion, although I recognise that the French season would need aligning with ours.

A closed system with elevation by a box ticking exercise just doesn't get my juices flowing.

I would be all for relegation if we didn't have the issue of the gap being so big.

If the gap from bottom of the top league/s to top of the one below fine but it isn't the case.

I understand not closing the door but a sensible methods required 

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5 hours ago, Scubby said:

There is no way any broadcaster is going to generate any tangible revenue for Championship and League 1 - ever! Our best hope is in-house via Our League and then that is limited potential and revenue. It is a tiny league structure filled with a number of tiny towns in the north of England and a few development clubs on tiny budgets.

Using some of those tiny towns to try and up the value of the SL competition is just as silly and completely fanciful. We had a Canadian club looking to spend millions and we ###### about making them climb a semi-pro league structure in stead of giving them a place at the top table and a 3-5 year lead in (and exemption from relegation)

Toulouse may get through the system to the top but they have wasted millions touring the likes of Keighley, Swinton and Rochdale and tonking them by 50-60+ Imagine if they were allowed to spend those millions to prepare for a 2022 entry into SL rather than scrapping around for a few #### players in October/November 2021 trying to avoid relegation in 2022. We may well have seen a couple of superstar signings that the competition craves.

Toulouse and Catalans should be exempt from all relegation completely. In fact P&R is a proven failure in a penniless sport like RL. Remember we nearly relegated Catalans via the stupid Super 8 formula in 2017. Had that happened they may well have gone the way of Toronoto. Now they turn over more money than any club in SL.

RL is the biggest self harmer in UK sport.

Just to say that this hits the nail on every single point - brilliant (and sadly true) post.

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12 hours ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

"Why on earth are we doing this" ?

Because we don't have enough money. Because we cannot sell it for enough money to TV channels.

 

This is why we aren't solving the problem - because people don't understand what the problem is. 

The problem that RL has isn't "because it doesn't have enough money". Not having enough money is a symptom and a side effect of the actual problem, which is that not enough people are watching RL. 

When you portray this as a "not enough money" issue, you try to solve it with "not enough money' responses. It leads to a narrative that our TV deals are a failure of salesmanship, rather than it not being attractive enough to generate competitive rights auctions. It leads to short-term tactics to get cash in, such as cheap tickets and loop fixtures, and it leads to zero-growth mindset changes to preserve slices of a diminishing pie (such as structure changes). 

When the sport actually addresses the real problem - a lack of people watching and buying - it can focus on solutions that actually make this sport more appealing and more accessible for more people.

I've asked this further up the thread, but how does this proposed restructure - or any other that has been proposed - get someone who isn't currently watching RL to watch RL? So far the best someone seems to have to that question is "well, if we repackage something that people don't get enthused about as something else, then they might like it". I'm sorry, but "might" isn't enough. Where is the market research to say that any of this is what the sport's target growth audiences actually want?  

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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2 hours ago, emesssea said:

Im confused on how you think 4th place has a better hand here?

Under this scenario 1st host 4th and beats them, they then get a bye to week 3 and are one home win away from the grand final. Meanwhile, 4th has to play week 2 then play away on week 3 to get to the grand final. Finishing 1st is the much better hand here.

I never complained about it at the time but i remember that there was plenty of people that did gripe about it

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20 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

This is why we aren't solving the problem - because people don't understand what the problem is. 

The problem that RL has isn't "because it doesn't have enough money". Not having enough money is a symptom and a side effect of the actual problem, which is that not enough people are watching RL. 

When you portray this as a "not enough money" issue, you try to solve it with "not enough money' responses. It leads to a narrative that our TV deals are a failure of salesmanship, rather than it not being attractive enough to generate competitive rights auctions. It leads to short-term tactics to get cash in, such as cheap tickets and loop fixtures, and it leads to zero-growth mindset changes to preserve slices of a diminishing pie (such as structure changes). 

When the sport actually addresses the real problem - a lack of people watching and buying - it can focus on solutions that actually make this sport more appealing and more accessible for more people.

I've asked this further up the thread, but how does this proposed restructure - or any other that has been proposed - get someone who isn't currently watching RL to watch RL? So far the best someone seems to have to that question is "well, if we repackage something that people don't get enthused about as something else, then they might like it". I'm sorry, but "might" isn't enough. Where is the market research to say that any of this is what the sport's target growth audiences actually want?  

You make good points but I do believe people understand the problem. Lack of interest leads to lack of money, people get that IMO.

Therefore the suggestions to format I've made are to address the lack of interest rather than simply reduce the number of teams so less money is split with fewer clubs.

Those reasons are removal of loop fixtures, more teams, wider geographical attraction, greater mix of games for Sky TV (or other) more opportunity for investment with removal of automatic promotion , relegation, opportunity given to more clubs, etc.

One thing against 20 teams in the top flight/s is the spread of money, but it's chicken and egg, without increasing interest income will continue to drop so at some stage a brave decision needs to be made. But if you ask the teams who get 1/10th of the money to vote to only get 1/20th you can imagine they won't 

I fully agree that this needs due diligence and there may be many unforseen issues like the middle 8s brought. But without discussion, suggestions, thoughts shared we repeat the same issues of the past.

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55 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

This is why we aren't solving the problem - because people don't understand what the problem is. 

The problem that RL has isn't "because it doesn't have enough money". Not having enough money is a symptom and a side effect of the actual problem, which is that not enough people are watching RL. 

When you portray this as a "not enough money" issue, you try to solve it with "not enough money' responses. It leads to a narrative that our TV deals are a failure of salesmanship, rather than it not being attractive enough to generate competitive rights auctions. It leads to short-term tactics to get cash in, such as cheap tickets and loop fixtures, and it leads to zero-growth mindset changes to preserve slices of a diminishing pie (such as structure changes). 

When the sport actually addresses the real problem - a lack of people watching and buying - it can focus on solutions that actually make this sport more appealing and more accessible for more people.

I've asked this further up the thread, but how does this proposed restructure - or any other that has been proposed - get someone who isn't currently watching RL to watch RL? So far the best someone seems to have to that question is "well, if we repackage something that people don't get enthused about as something else, then they might like it". I'm sorry, but "might" isn't enough. Where is the market research to say that any of this is what the sport's target growth audiences actually want?  

Gosh Michael that seems so much from the heart, that even though I don't wholly agree with you, I will "like" it to merit it's passion.

How is your question? Well as I have attempted to note, the RFL establishment seem to think that a Super Ten will mean higher quality. We as supporters fear that this kind of consolidation will mean fatigue, repetition and disinterest.

For me there is two streams. One is to increase revenue and the other is to reduce costs. 

Even a modest improvement could deliver substantial change. An 1k increase in attendance would reap an extra £3m pius,

A proper international programme - as distant as that seems in these days - would be another bonus. 

 

Edited by idrewthehaggis
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continually changing the system does not work. the product has to be good & competitive to work. the difference between SL, Championship & L! is too big. doing away with P/R does away with any ambition for any championship/league 1 team. clubs need to get fans into games & not keep doing, as on these forums about TV funding. IF toronto got back into SL & played catalans in Grand Final, it would be good for the game, but a disaster for the attendance! 

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12 minutes ago, kev p said:

continually changing the system does not work. the product has to be good & competitive to work. the difference between SL, Championship & L! is too big. doing away with P/R does away with any ambition for any championship/league 1 team. clubs need to get fans into games & not keep doing, as on these forums about TV funding. IF toronto got back into SL & played catalans in Grand Final, it would be good for the game, but a disaster for the attendance! 

Not if the GF was in Marseilles or Toronto

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10 hours ago, David Dockhouse Host said:

You make good points but I do believe people understand the problem. Lack of interest leads to lack of money, people get that IMO.

Therefore the suggestions to format I've made are to address the lack of interest rather than simply reduce the number of teams so less money is split with fewer clubs.

Those reasons are removal of loop fixtures, more teams, wider geographical attraction, greater mix of games for Sky TV (or other) more opportunity for investment with removal of automatic promotion , relegation, opportunity given to more clubs, etc.

One thing against 20 teams in the top flight/s is the spread of money, but it's chicken and egg, without increasing interest income will continue to drop so at some stage a brave decision needs to be made. But if you ask the teams who get 1/10th of the money to vote to only get 1/20th you can imagine they won't 

I fully agree that this needs due diligence and there may be many unforseen issues like the middle 8s brought. But without discussion, suggestions, thoughts shared we repeat the same issues of the past.

But the crux of this issue is where is the evidence that a lack of interest is the result of, or can be remedied by, a change in structure? There doesn't seem to be any at all. How has the sport, and the people championing a new structure, come to that diagnosis? 

The discussion around structures have come about because the game is treating this as a "not enough money" problem, not because the game is treating this as a "not enough people" problem.

To me, the questions that need answering are pretty straightforward: 

  • How does the sport get people who don't currently watch rugby league watching rugby league?
  • Who is the target audience (or audiences) that the sport wants to reach? What are they crying out for? 
  • How does the sport appeal to younger audiences to bring down our average supporter age? 
  • How does the sport make watching, attending and playing RL more accessible for the people we want to attract to the sport - particularly those out of earshot of the M62? How does it make it easier for 'exiled' northerners who find it had to follow the sport after moving for work, study or family?  
  • How does rugby league to market itself to more transient, aspirational audiences at a time when the "working class" identity that the sport has relied on is weaker than ever? 
  • How does the sport grow its audience on digital and social media? 
  • How does the sport create a more competitive TV rights auction? 
  • How does the sport reduce its reliance on season tickets and increase the 'casual attendance' audience? 
  • How does the sport increase the sense of excitement and "FOMO" around its key fixtures? 
  • How does the sport enhance the matchday experience for a market that wants more from a family day out than uncomfortable terraces, boiled burgers and flat Carling? 

For me, those are the key issues facing the sport and I genuinely can't understand why anyone, whether they are involved in the running of the sport, the media or just as a spectator would look at those issues and thing "yeah, 2x10 seems like the answer". 

I can understand that for some, it may be a slightly disingenuous argument because it helps their particular club, but as an overall measure to address the sport's key issues? I have to agree with @Dave T that in three years time we're going to be talking about how it was a colossal waste of time and how all of those problems, which aren't solved, have suddenly become even more expensive to solve. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

But the crux of this issue is where is the evidence that a lack of interest is the result of, or can be remedied by, a change in structure? There doesn't seem to be any at all. How has the sport, and the people championing a new structure, come to that diagnosis? 

The discussion around structures have come about because the game is treating this as a "not enough money" problem, not because the game is treating this as a "not enough people" problem.

To me, the questions that need answering are pretty straightforward: 

  • How does the sport get people who don't currently watch rugby league watching rugby league?
  • Who is the target audience (or audiences) that the sport wants to reach? What are they crying out for? 
  • How does the sport appeal to younger audiences to bring down our average supporter age? 
  • How does the sport make watching, attending and playing RL more accessible for the people we want to attract to the sport - particularly those out of earshot of the M62? How does it make it easier for 'exiled' northerners who find it had to follow the sport after moving for work, study or family?  
  • How does rugby league to market itself to more transient, aspirational audiences at a time when the "working class" identity that the sport has relied on is weaker than ever? 
  • How does the sport grow its audience on digital and social media? 
  • How does the sport create a more competitive TV rights auction? 
  • How does the sport reduce its reliance on season tickets and increase the 'casual attendance' audience? 
  • How does the sport increase the sense of excitement and "FOMO" around its key fixtures? 
  • How does the sport enhance the matchday experience for a market that wants more from a family day out than uncomfortable terraces, boiled burgers and flat Carling? 

For me, those are the key issues facing the sport and I genuinely can't understand why anyone, whether they are involved in the running of the sport, the media or just as a spectator would look at those issues and thing "yeah, 2x10 seems like the answer". 

I can understand that for some, it may be a slightly disingenuous argument because it helps their particular club, but as an overall measure to address the sport's key issues? I have to agree with @Dave T that in three years time we're going to be talking about how it was a colossal waste of time and how all of those problems, which aren't solved, have suddenly become even more expensive to solve. 

Of course your right with these questions. They identify things that need improveing . Many of them run alongside the discussions around structure. 

It isn't that discussing structure is ignoring the questions you pose. They have to be addressed and the game has to work together to come up with solutions. No league structure will address all problems, suit all parties, be agreeable to all fans, there is no utopia league structure. But there can be a better structure than two leagues on 10, which can hopefully work alongside other initiatives to address the key questions you've brought up.

Unfortunately league structure is key and being discussed at the moment due to income. It's reacting to the reduction in money rather than working towards a more attractive product which will contribute to increased attendances, more media coverage, more potential investment and a stronger position to negotiate a TV deal. As I said before, chicken and egg.

All I see at the moment is a move towards a Scottish football model which I really don't like for all the reasons I've given before.

I think my previous posts have addressed to a degree why a change to 2 conferences would hopefully contribute to covering some of your very good questions. 

I've also pointed out it's only a suggestion and need due diligence, which would probably include much if what your asking.

Edited by David Dockhouse Host
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The only time broadcasters are interested in the Grand Final is after a finish like last year or a Ben Flower incident. The fact Hull KR could be crowned Champions shows what's wrong with Rugby League.

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