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The NRL revive talk of 2023 season opener in LA


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4 minutes ago, The Future is League said:

One of the things that tipped it for the Dolphins was their junior development program

Junior development is the antidote to stop the AFL spreading

Maybe in Queensland and Sydney but not Perth or NZ but I agree that junior development is vital.

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On 19/04/2022 at 20:28, The Rocket said:

The amount of money that the NRL actually spend in the Pacific Islands would be a pittance any way, and what they do spend would go a long, long way because of the difference in value of the relative currencies.

The NRL has given the Hunters alone grants of AUD $5mil just to keep them solvent.

That kind of money spent in the bush, on an affiliated state, or even split between all of them, would make a monumental difference to the sport's fortunes in Australia.

Sure most of the rest of the movement in the Pacific at the professional level is simply the clubs poaching players on the cheap, however there's a large push for expensive Hunters/Silktails style programs to spread across the entire pacific, and that was what was being advocated for here if we are being honest.

Those programs, should they come to be, will inevitably come at the expense of possible investment within Australia.

On 19/04/2022 at 20:28, The Rocket said:

The other thing to note was that a lot of it was funded by the Federal Gov`t any way as part of their push for closer ties to combat Chinese influence. Having a League friendly PM didn`t hurt as well.

I've already addressed that.

For the most part the government's sports diplomacy programs in the pacific have failed, but even if they were a success that money still can't be relied on.

Sooner or later that money is going to dry up (it could dry up within a month or so if the Libs are voted out or are forced to form a minority government), and once that money dries up somebody is going to have to pick up the slack otherwise all those programs in the PI's fold.

Pressure will be on the NRL to pick up the slack since they are the only organisation with the will and the means to fund such programs, and frankly they can't really afford to be investing that kind of money into the PI's while RL is more or less functionally extinct in half of Australia.

Edited by The Great Dane
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17 hours ago, NW10LDN said:

I know why the money is being spent. Happens in the UK as well. Your comparison to Tunisia and Libya doesn't work because those countries don't border the UK and influenced by UK media.

The relative cultural influence each nation has on North Africa and the PI's respectively is totally irrelevant to the point I was making...

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15 hours ago, The Future is League said:

One of the things that tipped it for the Dolphins was their junior development program

Junior development is the antidote to stop the AFL spreading

Junior development only targets the top 20-30 players in each age group in a particular region. As such increased junior development alone will have little to no impact on the AFL's growth.

If you want to stop the AFL's growth then you need to do three things-

  • Increase grassroots funding across the board.
  • Target strategic markets on the Eastern Seaboard for targeted investment to halt the AFL's spread in those regions (Murray region, the Riverina, ACT/Capital region, GC, Ipswich, Blacktown, etc, etc).
  • Force the AFL to play defence by investing in growth south and west of the Barassi line, particularly in the Metro markets (Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide).

Do those three things well and in the mid-long term it'll make all the difference.

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11 minutes ago, The Future is League said:

The NRL will try and get Crow and Jackman onboard in their bid to host a game in the US

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/apr/19/american-dream-when-australian-sport-tries-to-crack-the-us-market

Although it was only a pre-season friendly but didn’t Crowe promote and attend the south’s v Leeds game in Florida?

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Just now, The Future is League said:

I think he did

I could have also dreamt it but I think he went on a US late night talkshow wearing his south’s jacket and talked about the game. 
 

Could have been jay Leno or David letterman. Not quite sure?

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7 minutes ago, Cameron Highlander said:

I would expect that he did/would have.   Does he not Co-Own the Souths team?

I think he scaled back his involvement and investment due to a divorce a few years back but still has a somewhat smaller stake in the club.

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On 19/04/2022 at 20:01, The Great Dane said:

All that grassroots and junior development in the PI's comes at the expense of development locally. In other words every dollar spent on development in the PI's is a dollar that could be spent in Australia, and every Sivo, Kikau, and Olam takes a place that an Australian athlete could have had.

I assure you that better investment into the Vic, WA, SA, etc, even just the bush, would produce better returns for the NRL in the long term than Fiji, Tonga, etc, and that guys like Buddy Franklin, Dustin Martin, and Christian Petracca would have been just as big of stars as Sivo, Kikau, et al., had RL realistically had a chance of converting them to RL in their youth.

Furthermore, those Australian athletes that get dropped to make room for your Sivo's and Kikau's of the world don't just disappear. If they are good enough to make it in RL then they're good enough to make it in other sports, and that's exactly what they go on to do and it's increasingly biting the NRL in the ###### as a result. Alexander Volkanovski, Jordan Mailata, and many others all started in RL before moving to other sports once they ran out of opportunities in RL.

Olam never played proper rugby league until he went to university. He was only exposed to the ARL system when he joined the hunters. The NRL has 0 grassroots footprint on the game in PNG. The Digicel cup and all the 30 or so affiliated local leagues are independently run by passionate locals and sponsored by local business man and companies. The Digicel cup is primarily sponsored by Digicel PNG and a few nationally owned businesses. Again no NRL input there.

My understanding is that the NRL is the premier rugby league competition in the world, Sivo, Kikau and Olam etc... are all elite athletes who have earned the right to be in this competition. Any athlete Australian or otherwise who wants to get picked over them, must earn the right to be picked over them to play in the NRL. At the end of the day the NRL is a business and the product it puts out every round is what keeps viewers engaged and generates revenue which inturn stimulates growth. Putting out inferior product in the name of national expansion is something that will never happen. Especially when it comes to an organisation like the NRL who are reluctant to expand beyond the Eastern Seaboard and Auckland, without a very strong support base and financial backing. I mean look at the reasons Vlandys stated for playing round zero in LA next year.

Didn't Sivo play bush footy before playing in the Ron Massey? Wasnt Kikau brought up playing rugby union in Fiji before being brought to Queensland? 

 

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12 hours ago, Cameron Highlander said:

I would expect that he did/would have.   Does he not Co-Own the Souths team?

Crowe and Holmes-a-Court scaled back their 50/50 ownership of Souths so that founder and owner of software giant Atlassian and top 20 world`s richest man Mike Cannon-Brookes could buy a 30 % share. 

Cannon-Brookes is already a part owner of Utah Jazz NBA basketball team and grew up in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

These one off games in America have been going on for 40 years and frankly are a joke, seemingly ad hoc and intermittent, all the worse things about Rugby League expansion and business planning. I`m hoping this time we are going to a strategically, co-ordinated and on-going plan for attempting to break into the American sports gambling market, V`landy`s is talking about 5 - 10 years. 

If League can makes in-roads as an NFL off-season contact sport gambling alternative we might then finally see some serious progress in the actual playing of the game in America. 

 

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53 minutes ago, Waghi Tumbe said:

Olam never played proper rugby league until he went to university. He was only exposed to the ARL system when he joined the hunters. The NRL has 0 grassroots footprint on the game in PNG. The Digicel cup and all the 30 or so affiliated local leagues are independently run by passionate locals and sponsored by local business man and companies. The Digicel cup is primarily sponsored by Digicel PNG and a few nationally owned businesses. Again no NRL input there.

Your point being?

Developing leagues in other regions, and thus developing talent locally with the least impact on development within Australia as possible is the best outcome for everybody.

53 minutes ago, Waghi Tumbe said:

My understanding is that the NRL is the premier rugby league competition in the world, Sivo, Kikau and Olam etc... are all elite athletes who have earned the right to be in this competition. Any athlete Australian or otherwise who wants to get picked over them, must earn the right to be picked over them to play in the NRL.

Here's the issue; most Australian athletes are never afforded the opportunity to get picked over them because there's only limited space within the system.

Starting in the late teens the system reaches a bottleneck where there're thousands of guys from all across the region of similar talent, but nationally there's only space for a few hundred of them to get an opportunity. At that point it's almost arbitrary as to whom gets to continue in the system and whom doesn't, and the vast majority of those that don't are forced to move on from RL by financial pressures.

The whole system has become Americanised as a result of said bottleneck as well, with most players being selected because of their physical attributes rather than their capability as footballers, which is a huge issue. Plenty of legendary players of the past would never get a run in modern times simply because they're 'too small', 'too slow', 'can't lift enough', etc, etc, and it's leading to a dearth of footy brains in the competition.

Every person from outside of Australia that is taking a position in said system is doing so at the expense of an Australian, and for the most part that's not in the NRL's or Australian RL's interest considering the state of RL within Australia and the opportunities available to us .

53 minutes ago, Waghi Tumbe said:

At the end of the day the NRL is a business and the product it puts out every round is what keeps viewers engaged and generates revenue which inturn stimulates growth.

Uh-huh, and as a business it makes sense to pursue the best opportunities that will stimulate the most growth possible, and those best opportunities undoubtably exist in Australia and not the PI's... Any of Vic, WA, and SA alone would be more valuable financially and in grassroots and junior growth alone than most of the PI's put together.

53 minutes ago, Waghi Tumbe said:

Putting out inferior product in the name of national expansion is something that will never happen. Especially when it comes to an organisation like the NRL who are reluctant to expand beyond the Eastern Seaboard and Auckland, without a very strong support base and financial backing. I mean look at the reasons Vlandys stated for playing round zero in LA next year.

You don't know that the product would be inferior.

Frankly I'd argue that most top AFL, RU, [insert popular contact sport here] would easily make it in the NRL, and that their presence in the league would do more for the sport in Australia than most Islanders ever could, but the sport doesn't allow it's self the opportunity to poach them when they are young because it's priorities are totally backwards.

BTW, most honest people would argue that the product on the field is significantly worse now than it was just 5 years ago. But that's a whole other discussion.

53 minutes ago, Waghi Tumbe said:

Didn't Sivo play bush footy before playing in the Ron Massey? Wasnt Kikau brought up playing rugby union in Fiji before being brought to Queensland? 

Your point?

Edited by The Great Dane
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2 hours ago, The Great Dane said:

Here's the issue; most Australian athletes are never afforded the opportunity to get picked over them because there's only limited space within the system.

Starting in the late teens the system reaches a bottleneck where there're thousands of guys from all across the region of similar talent, but nationally there's only space for a few hundred of them to get an opportunity. At that point it's almost arbitrary as to whom gets to continue in the system and whom doesn't, and the vast majority of those that don't are forced to move on from RL by financial pressures.

The whole system has become Americanised as a result of said bottleneck as well, with most players being selected because of their physical attributes rather than their capability as footballers, which is a huge issue. Plenty of legendary players of the past would never get a run in modern times simply because they're 'too small', 'too slow', 'can't lift enough', etc, etc, and it's leading to a dearth of footy brains in the competition.

Every person from outside of Australia that is taking a position in said system is doing so at the expense of an Australian, and for the most part that's not in the NRL's or Australian RL's interest considering the state of RL within Australia and the opportunities available to us .

 

Using this as an argument against the Hunters is absolute nonsense, there are 15 Australian NRL clubs, 13 QLD Cup sides, 12 NSW Cup sides and even more junior rep sides at each age group below these levels. There are more than enough opportunities for Australian athletes to make it, it is definitely not arbitrary as to who gets in the system and who doesn't there are many different factors that influence this and failure to identify the correct talent is an issue that has much more to do with individual clubs rather than the NRL itself.

The Hunters have 1 club in the QCup that represents nearly 9 million people - a population that is as much of a RL heartland as NSW/QLD. The Papuan talent that populates the QCup/NRL is infinitely more valuable to Australian RL systems than propping up another team of mediocre Australians in QCup, PNG talent raises the standards of QCup which in turn exposes Australian players coming through the grades to a higher level of competition. There's already the entire Hunters squad plus over a dozen other players signed to other QCup sides in the competition, without those player QCup would be undoubtedly weaker which is in no way in the interests of the QRL/NRL. 

Only recently has PNG begun reforming their schoolboys system to provide a proper structure for junior talent to come through while the Digicel cup is also in the process of expansion. Once some of these structures become further refined PNG will be the largest source of untapped talent in RL bar none and the Hunters will provide the NRL an access point to that talent, it would be grossly negligent of the NRL not to continue fostering this pathway when further expansion is expected in the next few years.

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1 hour ago, UTK said:

Using this as an argument against the Hunters is absolute nonsense, there are 15 Australian NRL clubs, 13 QLD Cup sides, 12 NSW Cup sides and even more junior rep sides at each age group below these levels. There are more than enough opportunities for Australian athletes to make it, it is definitely not arbitrary as to who gets in the system and who doesn't there are many different factors that influence this and failure to identify the correct talent is an issue that has much more to do with individual clubs rather than the NRL itself.

The Hunters have 1 club in the QCup that represents nearly 9 million people - a population that is as much of a RL heartland as NSW/QLD. The Papuan talent that populates the QCup/NRL is infinitely more valuable to Australian RL systems than propping up another team of mediocre Australians in QCup, PNG talent raises the standards of QCup which in turn exposes Australian players coming through the grades to a higher level of competition. There's already the entire Hunters squad plus over a dozen other players signed to other QCup sides in the competition, without those player QCup would be undoubtedly weaker which is in no way in the interests of the QRL/NRL. 

Only recently has PNG begun reforming their schoolboys system to provide a proper structure for junior talent to come through while the Digicel cup is also in the process of expansion. Once some of these structures become further refined PNG will be the largest source of untapped talent in RL bar none and the Hunters will provide the NRL an access point to that talent, it would be grossly negligent of the NRL not to continue fostering this pathway when further expansion is expected in the next few years.

Great post, I expect to see Papua New Guinea to be a potential major source of players for the womens` competitions as well. If that could culminate in them having their own NRLW side would be even better.

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5 hours ago, The Great Dane said:

Frankly I'd argue that most top AFL, RU, [insert popular contact sport here] would easily make it in the NRL, and that their presence in the league would do more for the sport in Australia than most Islanders ever could, but the sport doesn't allow it's self the opportunity to poach them when they are young because it's priorities are totally backwards.

BTW, most honest people would argue that the product on the field is significantly worse now than it was just 5 years ago. But that's a whole other discussion.

Ouch!  The NRL's product on the field was pretty dire back then, I remember watching some 2016 matches which I found online and finding the play dull, predictable and very unimaginative with the teams making 6-8 metres per play with ease.  What I saw then absolutely would not reel in North Americans who might have tuned in, accustomed as we all are to the play in gridiron where every single yard gained is earned and there are no easy yards made.

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3 hours ago, The Future is League said:

I read this article when it came out and for once I thought Johns might have actually had a good idea, but he showed his ignorance when he said " being aired in prime-time on American TV". It ain`t Newcastle.

Johns is openly at war with Billy Slater on Nine`s coverage now, I don`t think he can stand Billy`s intelligent insights and as much as Slater tries to appease him by deferring to him, John`s won`t let up. Things became quite heated last week when someone got a sin-bin for a push in the face, Slater conceded it wasn`t the highest grade offence but was adamant if we want kids to play then we can`t have this stuff - and he`s right - and it`s idiotic for Johns to say it was o.k. when I grew up - but the reality is, it ain`t o.k now.

Johns repeated references to Mr Magoo, The Flinstones and the Road Runner shows what he was doing when he wasn`t playing football as a kid and there was reports last week that he was being demoted by channel 9, about bloody time.

One other thing, the unprofessional bias shown by him and Gould towards Newcastle last week was gobsmacking, listening to them Newcastle was a 40 point better team and were being robbed at every point, it made the victory all the sweeter for this St. George fan.

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I am down to watching four games a year on Nine - and only then because there is no choice. 

"There has never been a Challenge Cup semifinal of 65,000 either individually or combined" - Damien

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On 21/04/2022 at 17:15, The Rocket said:

If League can makes in-roads as an NFL off-season contact sport gambling alternative we might then finally see some serious progress in the actual playing of the game in America. 

 

My thoughts as well.

Over the years we have seen, and continue to see a group of enthusiasts running what is essentially an amateur league in the US.  For that model to grow into a fully professional league with a critical mass of clubs to sustain it and grow commercially is a long shot.

Although I am not overly supportive of gambling linked to the game I accept that many millions of people do gamble and it does possibly provide the ‘angle’ needs to make greater inroad’s into the North American market.

 

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3 minutes ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

My thoughts as well.

Over the years we have seen, and continue to see a group of enthusiasts running what is essentially an amateur league in the US.  For that model to grow into a fully professional league with a critical mass of clubs to sustain it and grow commercially is a long shot.

Although I am not overly supportive of gambling linked to the game I accept that many millions of people do gamble and it does possibly provide the ‘angle’ needs to make greater inroad’s into the North American market.

 

Yes if we could get enough people to start watching highlights, or certainly initially excerpts of relevant bits of the games that they are betting on, that may provide the foot in the door for people to start wanting to see more and watching more of the games.

Those same people may as you infer in your second paragraph, start to take more notice of the game at their domestic level.

TBH though mate, I`d probably settle for an extra $50m - $100m coming into the game, especially if like V`landy`s said we used that money to grow the game in Australasia with a true national and trans-Tasman comp.

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On 22/04/2022 at 00:02, Big Picture said:

Ouch!  The NRL's product on the field was pretty dire back then, I remember watching some 2016 matches which I found online and finding the play dull, predictable and very unimaginative with the teams making 6-8 metres per play with ease.  What I saw then absolutely would not reel in North Americans who might have tuned in, accustomed as we all are to the play in gridiron where every single yard gained is earned and there are no easy yards made.

Two major problems have harmed the NRL's on field product in the last 15-20 years.

Somewhere in the mid 00s the referees adopted a philosophy to refereeing, commonly referred to as 'game management', where instead of simply enforcing the rules to the best of their ability they would try to subtly manipulate the game so it 'flowed' better and would in theory be more entertaining.

In practise what ended up happening as a result was the refs were effectively given the discretion to decide whether or not they'd enforce the rules when they were broken, which lead to totally inconsistent rulings which not only totally stuffed the game, and allowed prior unforeseen amounts of bias to leak into the game, but lead to a whole bunch of other knock-on effects.

Jumping ahead, instead of removing that refereeing philosophy and removing as much of the subjectivity that had leaked into the rulebook as a result, i.e. addressing the real issue, PVL and the current NRL's 'solution' to the problem was to introduce the six again rule, which not only failed to fix any of the problems it was specifically introduced to fix, in fact it exacerbated most of them, but has so completely screwed the game in a bunch of other ways that it's to the point that the game's so different from what it used to be that it may as well be considered a completely different sport, and not for the better.

If you truly believe that the current confused trash is better than what was on the field even a few years ago, then I strongly suggest that you do yourself a massive favour and look up some older footy.

If you're interested in some suggestions then a good place to start would be the 2015 GF and round 22 2019 Storm vs Raiders. Those games are great examples of modern footy at it's best, and what it could and should be with a few minor changes. If you're willing to look at older, golden age, stuff then the 89 and 97(ARL) GFs are a great place to start. 

BTW, you're simply wrong if you think that field position was bought more cheaply in the NRL 5 years ago then now, when these days the refs regularly give cheap possession and field position to teams for reasons that even they can't explain after the fact because of the 6 again rule.

Edited by The Great Dane
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