Bring on the Indo-Pacific Rugby Competition … now

Rhys Bosley Roar Rookie

By Rhys Bosley, Rhys Bosley is a Roar Rookie

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    Like every Aussie rugby supporter who still believes in a fair go, I was left with a mix of anger and sadness for our mates in the West when I heard the NSW Supreme Court has decreed that the Western Force will be no more.

    There were a few different article ideas floating around my head about what I would like to say about the ARU’s conduct on this matter, in the hope that something might be learned from this sorry saga.

    Then I saw Cameron Clyne’s interview yesterday afternoon. He simply stuck to the script that Andrew Forest’s $50 million offer to the ARU to keep the Force in the competition was made too late.

    Clyne made no mention of the relevant fact that before Andrew Forest even entered into this affair, grassroots Force fans joined in to stump up $1000 each in an effort to save their club. They raised plenty, a testament to the financial capacity and commitment of that club to remain viable.

    Even reports that the Force axing decision was done and dusted days before the float went live failed to convince the West Australians not to put their money where their mouths are.

    The interview with Clyne immediately changed my feelings from anger and sadness to the determination not to let this decision cause a further ounce of angst.

    I’m sure that Clyne believes he is a good bloke who has had to make a hard decision. However, I feel he is wrong in this matter.

    Sadly, the board members who have supported him are in the same boat. They would have come up with their own innovative solutions to protect the interests of West Australian rugby if they weren’t.

    Suffice to say that as a long-term, Test-attending, formerly Foxtel-subscribing rugby fan, I now don’t feel the need to continue to support the ARU through the continued purchase of their products. This is beyond hoping to convince the board to change the way they act, because that clearly isn’t going to happen.

    Now I just don’t want to give them any of my money, because it would make me feel icky.

    Bill Pulver Cameron Clyne press conference

    (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

    But the silver lining is that Forest has indicated that he is looking to establish a competition in the Indo-Pacific Region so that professional rugby may live in the West. I say ‘good on ya Twiggy’, it’s a great idea and I hope it becomes reality.

    Furthermore, I hope that games are available for viewing to people outside of the region where the competition will be played, via some sort of affordable web-based broadcasting arrangement.

    If this was available, I would certainly be happy to watch games and adopt the Force as my team while they take on the pride of Asia. Perhaps the Force could combine web access with some sort of membership for non-Western Australia based Western Australians and supportive Easterners? “Nullarbor memberships”, as it were. 

    I am equally sure that there would be plenty of Australian-based expats from the participant nations in Asia who would like to be able to watch their teams from afar.

    I will also be really interested to see what sort of innovative competition that the Western Australians can come up with. If there was ever a time when we needed something new to break the patterns of tribalism, groupthink and patronage that have dragged Australian elite rugby administration from being top of the world only 15 years ago to the current doldrums, it is now.

    It would be great if the Westerners could show us how it is done.