RU in Australia on “life support”

Discussion in 'Rugby Union' started by DC80, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. axl rose

    axl rose Bench

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    Blame the coaches. They each have their turn at ruining the sport at the end of each year by sitting on the rules committee. Phil Gould told them 20 years ago that it would be a disaster but they dont listen.
     
  2. DC80

    DC80 Juniors

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    I predominantly watch NH RL (St Helens) so I wasn’t that aware of how inhibited/safe/low risk the game in Australia is. The RLWC final I was expecting a lot more from the Aussies than an 80 minute arm wrestle. Melbourne being so succesful, and doing so employing wrestling tactics, I found quite shocking to be honest. A few who do watch more NRL than me have said super league is more attractive to watch (albeit lower in quality).

    Given how much apathy there now is in Australia to RU due to the game itself being more attritional, less expansive/open, I’m suprised this hasn’t hit RL in Aus (if the wrestling aspect of the game really has had such an affect as has been stated).

    Sports with more open, expressive game play have always been more appealing in terms of participation, which is why collision based sports have ranked lower. The two team sports that offer that most, football and bsstekball, it’s no suprise to see them ranked 1 and 2 around the world. A video of Messi (or Jordan) expressing himself with a ball, a kid is more likely to want to emulate that than say a video of a bloke running straight into another bloke. Rugby Union, where being a body builder is a pre-requisite to play, has definitely been affected by the increase in bulk when it comes to appeal. That’s not to say bulking up isn’t appealing, to some it is, but to the masses it isn’t. It’s tedious, hours spent wasted in the gym as opposed to honing skills and expressing/enjoying themselves with a ball.

    The most popular RU video on YouTube is a try from over 40 years ago. Gareth Edwards with the Barbarians. Players who were regular sized blokes, an emphasis on skill over bulk, a game that was far more appealing than the attritional game of today.

    Kids have far options today than previous, plus concussion is also an issue. A 39% drop in rugby league participation over the last decade to 44,900 players in the UK has coincided with these changes.

    More on Rugby Union in Australia,

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/behind-the-lines/2016/dec/08/australia-rugby-union-england

    “The Wallabies returned home after a heavy defeat to England. Taking a beating from England is never easy for any Australian sports fan, but the result was softened by the fact the match reports hovered slightly above the weekend’s lawn bowl results. Rugby union is largely out of sight and out of mind here.

    Australian children are not taking up Rugby the way they did in the past. Research commissioned on the top 20 sports for Australian children showed that rugby union featured 18th for children aged 14 and over in terms of participation – behind volleyball, horseriding, netball, tennis and football. Sports such as football and basketball are gaining popularity among youngsters.”
     
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  3. RoosTah

    RoosTah Juniors

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    Mate, you're a soccer fan, so why is this remotely surprising to you? You're in love with a game that is famous for being the only major sport in the world that regularly ends with no scoring and no result... soccer fans seem content to watch 0-0 draws for weeks on end and never question whether the rules might need tweaking. Why? Incumbency and tribalism; it's nothing more than the power of group identity and it's as simple as that.

    If you'd watched Super Rugby this year, you'd know it's the the most open and expressive football the code has displayed in its history. Yet the NRL still shits all over Super Rugby from a great height despite having more penalties and less tries than Rugby - a reversal of the traditional cliches of the codes.

    To my mind you are continually misdiagnosing the problems of all football codes - fluidity and openness are a factor in some sense perhaps, but the most valuable football competition on the planet is and remains the NFL. The Americans are aware of other sports, but the NFL is woven into the American identity and crosses ethnic bounds more than any other sport there (it shits all over the NBA for ratings as the NBA has a much more urban demographic). THAT's why it's dominant and ironically that's why it's suffered recently; because it has inadvertently waded into broader political identity debates.

    Sure, participation will be affected by concerned mothers, but ironically from a business and vierership standpoint, the increasing visibility of soft, weak sports like soccer that typify our cultural shift toward risk aversion and over-protectiveness are arguably driving the popularity of more brutal and kinetic sports like the UFC, which is booming despite being about as barbaric as it gets. Sure, the barriers to entry are massive, but that adds to its appeal, as young men instinctively admire toughness, and toughness just isn't something people associate naturally with sports like soccer - least of all in countries like Australia, the US etc.

    Getting back to Rugby - collisions and a lack of openness aren't what hurt it; exclusivity in access via an excessive focus on private schools, limiting viewer access to Pay TV (which only has 30% penetration in Aus) and spreading super rugby across 3 time zones is what has killed the sport.

    The problems with Rugby in Australia are in short a classic example of corporate mismanagement driven by nepotism, complacency and incompetence in the midst of a fast evolving and increasingly competitive football market place. Ironically however, it's been the AFL that has hurt the code the most - not soccer, which from a viewership standpoint actually competes with Cricket in Australia far more than it does the big football codes.

    This, incidentally, is also why the A-League has suffered. The chose to play in summer to avoid head on competition with far more 3 established football codes, but then Cricket decided to expand its footprint with the BBL and that competition has become the A-League killer in the summer over the past few years.

    It turns out that from a viewership standpoint, most Australians would much rather tune into the fast paced and high octane thrills of BBL, than the mostly low scoring, low quality A-League. Both competitions are quite new and lack history, but Cricket has an established relationship with the Australian identity, and the competition actually attracts world class talent, whilst the A-League has none.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  4. axl rose

    axl rose Bench

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    After the astonishingly successful 2003 World Cup it was really the ARU chance to assert some dominance over codes predominantly assigned to this island. Instead, they squandered their 100's of million windfalls on god knows what, League wingers probably. Apparently Israel is more important than identifying a talent like Angus Crichton. When he was 19 he was told my Waratahs to come back in 3 years and see if you are ready. He is/will be a superstar for a decade.
     
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  5. RoosTah

    RoosTah Juniors

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    Yeah it’s astonishing how many players the Super Rugby sides in Australia have overlooked only to see them head to the NRL or European rugby
     
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  6. axl rose

    axl rose Bench

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    There is a rusted on fans/tv viewership for NRL in Brisbane and from traditional Sydney teams, no matter how average the 'product' or rule changes. There is occasional apathy (GF last year gave away 20,000 tickets) but league heartland is generally fairly resilient.
     
  7. Pommy

    Pommy Coach

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    Where did you hear that figure?
     
  8. axl rose

    axl rose Bench

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    SMH and Tele threw that figure around with the usual calls for Brisbane to host some day.
     
  9. RoosTah

    RoosTah Juniors

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    For all the doom and gloom here today, the Wallabies played pretty well yesterday I thought. Honestly didn't think they'd have it in them to beat the Irish, so very impressed to see them get up. Also good was seeing England lose - 5 losses in a row now for the richest and most well resourced rugby nation in the world lol
     
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  10. t-ba

    t-ba Referee

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    Obviously need to source South Africans better like their Cricket team.
     
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  11. Parra

    Parra Coach

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    Record crowd at Allianz tonight. TV will tell the full story. Something for the death riders to consider. Or ignore.
     
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  12. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    I heard Stephen Moore talking about this yesterday - he says that the consensus amongst the players is that the problem is Super Rugby. It’s a convoluted competition that nobody really follows.

    The Wallabies are still drawing great crowds and club rugby is going really well - I got down to a Shute Shield game a few weeks ago, it was buzzing. So The grassroots are strong, and the international scene is strong.

    If only they could do something about the middle tier.
     
  13. King hit

    King hit First Grade

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    Here in Brisbane the hospital cup (brisbane's premier grade) is going quite good. My dad and I go out to a Sunnybank game every here and there and when we go the quality of rugby is much better than the Reds and there far more tribalism and passion shown there. The Reds game are like funerals. Think the biggest crowd has only been 14,000 or something.
     
  14. magpie4ever

    magpie4ever First Grade

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    I think super rugby needs to go and a strong professional national competition needs to be created- 8 to 10 teams.
     
  15. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that they should’ve just built on Sydney and Brisbane grade and gone from there - the NSWRL -> NRL and VFL -> AFL model.

    You could even see the NSWRU were trying to do that with the Shute Shield in the 90s. There were teams from Newcastle and Canberra in there. I think at one point they even had 3 games a week on TV too. Then Super Rugby came along and club rugby has been a bit of a mess ever since.
     
  16. magpie4ever

    magpie4ever First Grade

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    Yep agreed, but I now think the best way would be 3-4 NSW, 2-3 Qld, 1 ACT, 1 Vic, 1 WA.-, fully professional, followed by semi-pro comp in the states.
     
  17. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    The issue as I see is that people have shown that they don’t really seem to care about manufactured clubs.

    Nobody cares about the ARC teams, even though the NSW sides have Shute Shield sides as stakeholders.

    But if you were going to use them as a foundation point, where do you go at this point? You could only take 8-10 tops out of Sydney and Brisbane, what would happen to the 12 clubs who miss out?
     
  18. magpie4ever

    magpie4ever First Grade

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    It is hard, but say a side based in Wagga and/or one in Newcastle, Coffs; Qld - one in Rocky or Cairns. ACT - Brumbies, Mebourne - Rebels, WA - Force.
     
  19. Valheru

    Valheru First Grade

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    This

    I go to some southern districts home games every year and ot is always a great club rugby atmosphere with around 2k there each game and the bar goes off afterwards.

    The wallabies still draw well albeit not as good as the early 2000s.

    As you say the middle tier is rubbish and needs a total revamp. I'm not sure the super rugby concept doesn't work because the waratahs were always a hot ticket up until 4 years ago but the concept has clearly stagnanted.
     
  20. Timbo

    Timbo Moderator Staff Member

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    It’s just too convoluted and there are too many time zones. Sydney today, Auckland next week, Buenos Ares the week after? It was bad enough when you just lost track for the South African road trip.

    There’s obviously the depth in NZ, and I still think Australia could support 5 teams. I think the competition would work much better if it was just Australia and NZ. If it was a 12 team competition, you could have the ten Super teams plus two more from NZ (North Harbour and Southland maybe? They seem to be the underrepresented areas).

    Most importantly, get a couple of games on FTA TV - even if you have to pay production costs and sell it to SBS.

    I still don’t know if it’d work. I’ve really enjoyed getting along to the Tahs quite a bit, but I much prefer a Saturday arvo at Coogee Oval cheering on Randwick.
     

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