Why does the so-called ‘rugby establishment’ of Sydney and Brisbane have this sense of entitlement that automatically relegates the Brumbies, Rebels and Force to the group that should lose one of its members?
The Brumbies have won more Super Rugby titles, and made more finals, than the Waratahs, and unearthed more talent than all the other franchises.
Rugby has been played in this country for over 150 years, yet we don’t have a proper state-based competition. Why not?
The Sydney competition has been around since the 1890s, yet all they have managed to do with western Sydney is allow Penrith and Parramatta just to survive, and got rid of that fine club Drummoyne some years ago.
Rugby league, Australian football and soccer have established footholds in Sydney’s west, so our game is a long way down the pecking order.
NSWRFU once administered all of NSW rugby, but they dropped the ball, so ACT Rugby stepped in and took over the area known as Southern Inland (for the record, 39 local council regions) and does a pretty good job of it. I don’t know what happens north of Sydney, but one can only imagine.
Queensland Rugby has that same sense of entitlement, yet what have they done to promote the game in the northern parts of the state?
A Broncos vs Cowboys game produces a capacity crowd at Suncorp, of close to 50,000, figures the Reds can only envy.
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For all those people who want to point the finger at the Brumbies’ finances, just remember what their grassroots commitment is.
In Canberra, at the junior level, and I believe that the same is true of the Southern Inland region, there is no schools competition, as such. The private schools enter teams into the Canberra club competition, so you have the mighty Marist College, the powerful St Eddies, Radford, Canberra Grammar and Daramalan all playing on Saturdays in the club comp, with Vikings, Royals, Gungahlin, Yass, Jindabyne, Cooma, Broulee, Wests, Uni Norths, ADFA, and Goulburn all playing in the same competition in various divisional levels.
All of that is played on Saturdays, then rugby league has an open run at Sundays and, of course, many kids play both codes. The rugby league setup in the region is strong and very well organised.
At the senior level, there are few professionals playing at club level, as the Brumbies and the Brumby Runners play very few games, so most of the guys playing in the premier comp are not on professional contracts. Those guys go elsewhere.
Canberra embraces the Brumbies and the Raiders, so why would you take the Brumbies out of Canberra and hand the whole thing over to the Raiders on a golden platter?
You could well ask the same question of the Waratahs and the Reds: why would you give the NRL such a gift? Why not just hand an AFL stronghold back to the AFL?
Why do we need a team in Victoria? How many hearts and minds have been won over, how much of an inroad has been made into the AFL heartland?
Perth is different – apart from being a stopping-off point for South African teams coming inbound and other teams going outbound, it does show more promise.
If one team has to go, Melbourne is no a no-brainer.
Finally, why should the magnificent Brumbies even be considered in the same breath as the Rebels and the Force? And if the Brumbies are in the firing line, why aren’t the Waratahs and Reds considered for elimination too?