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Rugby League is in the greatest shape ever. (Discuss)

Suitman

Post Whore
Messages
55,316
I have been watching the game of RL since the late 60's/early 70's.
I was obsessed by it as a kid during the early 70's, then watching as the Eels rise to greatness during the late 70's, and then the 81 - 86 years of dominance. It cemented me as a fan in my youth, and I have been one ever since.

The point of this thread is to discuss whether the game has ever been in a better position than it is now.

My views follow, and I'm happy to hear the views of others who have been watching the game for a long time.

I have never seen it in better shape. I'm finding that nearly every game is a spectacle. This afternoon's Souths/Bulldogs game was a perfect example. Two of the worst performing teams in the comp provided a cracking match to watch on TV and a crowd of over 35 000.

It was just 4 or 5 seasons ago when I finally lost interest in watching. The Melbourne Storm introduced wrestling into the game 15 or so years ago and ruined the game as a sport to watch. Other clubs then followed suit. It became stagnant and was cumbersome and predictable. I stopped watching on tv and rarely went to games. I was sick of the game and hated what it had become.

However, in the past few years, since Peter V'Landy's came on board and introduced subtle rule changes, the game has completely changed.
The game is faster, more skillful, just as intense as ever and a greater spectacle than it has ever been in my lifetime.

The most exciting teams I had ever seen in my life were the 80's Eels and the 90's Raiders. Both teams had amazing backlines and produced exciting attacking RL.

Anyway, back to the present, TV ratings and crowds have gone through the roof. There is a reason for that.
Not only has the quality and skill of the game improved on the field, but it has also improved as a media product.
I've gone from watching bugger all 5 years ago to wanting to watch pretty much every game every weekend.
Crowds and TV ratings are increasing like we could not have imagined 5 years ago.
That Welsh git who talked about 20 000 average attendances had absolutely no clue, yet within 3 years, V'Landy's has pretty much got us there. I didn't think it possible.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts.
And please don't mistake this post as a V'landy's love in.
It's a love in for how well RL is going at the moment.
 

Billythekid

First Grade
Messages
6,649
Big crowds. Big TV viewers. Higher revenue than ever. The game finally looking like it’s going to start expanding in a serious way. It’s kinda hard to argue with.

On the field is debatable but that’s always so subjective.

Edit: Forgot to mention more teams playing out of state of the art stadiums.
 

Colk

First Grade
Messages
6,637
What's your onfield issues.
This feels like the tuna turner years to me. The game is riding a wave of popularity.

I think we need a couple of new teams to challenge. Enemy of any sport is predictability. The obstruction rule is a problem too
 

axe&smash&crush

Juniors
Messages
388
Oh c’mon Suitman, don’t you miss, the 4,000 crowds at sfs or Leichhardt in the 90s, the baggy jerseys, 43 minute replays on Channel 9, one radio station with commercial rights era, endless merger stories, clubs struggling to find a major sponsor for the jersey, haha

I enjoyed your post.

I felt we could get there, but never would.

Warriors, Broncos, Newy all energised has assisted with the growth and excitement recently. 2nd Brissy team was vital to the mix, wish they were officially called Redcliffe though.

NRL certainly on the rise, hoping to see in the future NRLW becoming the number 1 woman's “Rugby” comp in the world, a new stadium for Canberra, Warriors filling Eden park for a semi, Parra winning a comp, 10 PNG players in the comp, Wests Tigers embracing Campbelltown as their future, more support for ex-players and community clubs/volunteers, more support for the English and French outposts and the Bears rejoining (probably as Perth)

I think the NRL Draw stills needs much more attention, must be a work of art.
 

Bukowski

Juniors
Messages
2,329
I think we need a couple of new teams to challenge. Enemy of any sport is predictability. The obstruction rule is a problem too
There's a gap betwern penrith and the next level, I'll concede that. But that can change quickly. I think more games are evenly contested than previously.
 

Bukowski

Juniors
Messages
2,329
Oh c’mon Suitman, don’t you miss, the 4,000 crowds at sfs or Leichhardt in the 90s, the baggy jerseys, 43 minute replays on Channel 9, one radio station with commercial rights era, endless merger stories, clubs struggling to find a major sponsor for the jersey, haha

I enjoyed your post.

I felt we could get there, but never would.

Warriors, Broncos, Newy all energised has assisted with the growth and excitement recently. 2nd Brissy team was vital to the mix, wish they were officially called Redcliffe though.

NRL certainly on the rise, hoping to see in the future NRLW becoming the number 1 woman's “Rugby” comp in the world, a new stadium for Canberra, Warriors filling Eden park for a semi, Parra winning a comp, 10 PNG players in the comp, Wests Tigers embracing Campbelltown as their future, more support for ex-players and community clubs/volunteers, more support for the English and French outposts and the Bears rejoining (probably as Perth)

I think the NRL Draw stills needs much more attention, must be a work of art.
You can stick parra winning a comp up your arse. 🤣
 

Colk

First Grade
Messages
6,637
There's a gap betwern penrith and the next level, I'll concede that. But that can change quickly. I think more games are evenly contested than previously.

It needs to change this year I think.

I agree with the second point though. I was very worried about the on field product a couple of years ago but it has got better.
 

ash the bash

Juniors
Messages
1,096
I concur its the best shape I have seen it since I got into League. Find the games very entertaining on the most part. We need to keep at it, still lots to do. Sort out Accor stadium, expansion etc.. Forget the other codes and the dick measuring we concentrate on Rugba League and the sky is the limit.
 

nick87

Coach
Messages
12,346
I think so.
The product on the field we have our quibbles with with certain rules and interpreations but the game is as exciting as it's ever been, the athletes on the field are as good as they've ever been
Dynasty's are good for sports and we're in the midsts of a truly special one... off the field again we can quibble about PVL but the code is going from strength to strenght and the general direction and strategic plan for the code is as ambitious and aggressive as we've ever seen whilst underpinning that with sound decisions about diversifying the revenue streams

More to do and this has to be a stepping stone but i do think the code is in the best position it's ever been in, at least in my 36 years of life.
I think expansion, and how we handle that from a draw/schedule perspective and how the code handles putting something into place that is additive to the salary cap to handle parity will be the key decisions and directions that will drive the code for the next 20 years

if the Rugba Leeg continues to be bold and ambitious, there is much to be gained in the next 10-15 years.
Other sports around the country are fumbling the bag, time for RL to strike
 
Messages
291
I have been watching the game of RL since the late 60's/early 70's.
I was obsessed by it as a kid during the early 70's, then watching as the Eels rise to greatness during the late 70's, and then the 81 - 86 years of dominance. It cemented me as a fan in my youth, and I have been one ever since.

The point of this thread is to discuss whether the game has ever been in a better position than it is now.

My views follow, and I'm happy to hear the views of others who have been watching the game for a long time.

I have never seen it in better shape. I'm finding that nearly every game is a spectacle. This afternoon's Souths/Bulldogs game was a perfect example. Two of the worst performing teams in the comp provided a cracking match to watch on TV and a crowd of over 35 000.

It was just 4 or 5 seasons ago when I finally lost interest in watching. The Melbourne Storm introduced wrestling into the game 15 or so years ago and ruined the game as a sport to watch. Other clubs then followed suit. It became stagnant and was cumbersome and predictable. I stopped watching on tv and rarely went to games. I was sick of the game and hated what it had become.

However, in the past few years, since Peter V'Landy's came on board and introduced subtle rule changes, the game has completely changed.
The game is faster, more skillful, just as intense as ever and a greater spectacle than it has ever been in my lifetime.

The most exciting teams I had ever seen in my life were the 80's Eels and the 90's Raiders. Both teams had amazing backlines and produced exciting attacking RL.

Anyway, back to the present, TV ratings and crowds have gone through the roof. There is a reason for that.
Not only has the quality and skill of the game improved on the field, but it has also improved as a media product.
I've gone from watching bugger all 5 years ago to wanting to watch pretty much every game every weekend.
Crowds and TV ratings are increasing like we could not have imagined 5 years ago.
That Welsh git who talked about 20 000 average attendances had absolutely no clue, yet within 3 years, V'Landy's has pretty much got us there. I didn't think it possible.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts.
And please don't mistake this post as a V'landy's love in.
It's a love in for how well RL is going at the moment.
Agree with most of that but one area where I believe the game has gone backwards is the socio-economic spread of its` participants and possibly followers.
This retraction into a largely working class participants` game has been masked by the growth in the population and the expansion of the lower socio-economic numbers wise, in line with the rest of the population of course.
Just anecdotally, I remember when I was at high school kids played in numbers from every grade in the different years, I doubt that is the case today. Also having worked in aged care it amazed me how many old blokes who had been bank managers etc had played in their teens and even later, I don`t think the game would have that spread nowadays.
HST, if we can become fashionable again and socially acceptable that could change again. Interestingly I saw a journalist say the other day that the NRL`s Vegas adventure may start to reengage a wealthier socio-economic bracket back to the game.
 
Messages
14,561
There's a gap betwern penrith and the next level, I'll concede that. But that can change quickly. I think more games are evenly contested than previously.
You could make the same point about Melbourne 2006-2009 and also Roosters 2000-2004. Only difference is Penrith are able to convert dominance into consistent premierships.

The cap is slowly taking this panthers team apart. As it stands 7 players from the 2020 grand final 17 will be with the club in 2025. They’ve just managed to retain key players (Edwards, To’o, Cleary, JFH, Leota, Martin and Yeo).
 

Diesel

Referee
Messages
22,049
1994 was a good year, but the NRL has been pretty good most weeks since it returned from COVID in May 2020
 

gerg

Juniors
Messages
2,390
The game is in a really good place. Referees have got the balance right with the speed of the game. The 6again interpretation sped the game up too much but they're easing up on that now. It was just a tactic to get rid of the wrestling and its worked.

I watch most games and have done so for a long time, but that Roosters/Storm wrestling era was a tough slog to watch. Credit to NRL admin - for so long the achilles heel of the game - for finally getting it right.
 

The Great Dane

First Grade
Messages
7,917
I think the NRL is teetering on a precipice. The NRL has stumbled into a golden period where a domino effect of economic impacts has lead to the traditional broadcast industry pumping enough money into the NRL that it's papering over a lot of the cracks, but those circumstances can't last forever.

If the NRL uses this golden period as a time to address some of it's major underlying issues it could be remembered as the start of something huge, but it's just as likely that in 20 years time people will look back on this period a bit like RU does on the early 00s; as a time of wasteful excess and luxury.

On average the product on the pitch is the worst it's been for a long time. It's easily the most predictable the game has ever been, yet at the same time the rules are borderline unenforceable in practice, which leads to huge inconsistency in referring, both of which is generally being ignored by the majority for the time being.

Off the field the grassroots are literally dying in most of the country. It's the worst it's ever been, so bad in many areas that it's not unlikely that they'll simply stop regularly producing high standard male juniors in our lifetimes, and that will have long term implications for the sport.

The way the NRLW and women's footy in general has been handled has been abysmally short-sighted. They're literally repeating all the mistakes made with the men's league, mistakes that everybody that mattered claimed they wouldn't repeat if they were starting from scratch.

Rep footy has basically become a sideshow joke at this point. Most Internationals for example don't even deserve to carry the term international at this point. SOO is quickly getting to that point as well, and the other major rep game in the schedule is openly discriminatory.

The game has experienced a boost of positive publicity since PVL took over that's largely unexplainable. We can only speculate as to why it is, but blokes who've made careers out of sinking the boot in have lay off the NRL since PVL took over. I doubt it's safe to assume that those circumstances will continue once he moves on though.

There's also been zero notable growth outside 'the heartlands', specifically Qld and parts of NSW. Yes they've been able to better exploit existing customer bases in said heartland markets, but they've more or less totally failed to expand the NRL and sport's reach in any meaningful manner outside of them despite billions of dollars being pumped into the sport over the past decade, which should be concerning.

So yeah, things are going pretty good right now, but that can change very quickly, and it'd be a massive mistake for the NRL to allow the glitz and glamour of this period to overshadow some of the major issues facing the sport.
 

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