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Why an Irishman deems NRL the world’s best comp to follow

CizzyRascal Roar Guru

By CizzyRascal, CizzyRascal is a Roar Guru

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    As an Irishman studying at a university in the UK, how have I managed to come to the conclusion that the National Rugby League is the best season-long league competition in the world to follow?

    First of all, let me divulge some information about myself. I am from a family with a rich history in Gaelic Games on one side, while on the other, my father is rugby union through and through.

    This which makes it my sport of choice, followed by football (of the English variety). In the main, rugby league has little chance through my circumstances to affect my life, though the first live sporting event I remember going to was Great Britain beating Australia at Wembley with Jonathan Davies’ fantastic try being my sole memory of the game.

    As I’m sure anyone who has looked up rugby videos on YouTube will know, the ‘related videos’ selection to the right will contain videos from all categories of rugby, from league to union to 7s. Through this I found the 10 minute video of Benji Marshall doing things with a ball I have never seen anyone else do in either code.

    From there on in, I had to know more about the game, and if there were players like him. From him I went on to learn about Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne and others of that ilk, but still, it isn’t neccesarily these players that make the NRL so intriguing to follow.

    These players gave me an avenue into finding out more about the different teams in the competition, understanding which teams were from where and learning more about the history of the competition and of individual clubs.

    Learning about the parochial nature of the sides from Sydney and just outside it, with the deep rivalries which have been wrought over decades of footie (still odd to hear it called that), was fascinating. As an outsider as I didn’t have to get caught up in it, but enjoyed watching from the periphery how each game was fought with such passion and desire, not just on the pitch but on the terraces.

    While it is good to see big attendances in arenas like the Sydney Football Stadium and ANZ (or whatever acronym it now has), the game is defined in the city in the smaller cauldrons dedicated to league such as Leichhardt Oval or Parramatta Stadium.

    It isn’t just that tense local rivalry that excites but the variety of interstate battle at club level when the isolated teams travel to the big city to play the city-slickers, or invite them out to the hinterland to ambush them.

    There is so much more to it than that. While I see there being complaints about time delays for games, in Victoria especially, having your sport on terrestrial TV is an incredible luxury that should be appreciated. And while this might be something definitely seen more from an international point of view, the Aussie accent is perfect for commentating on sport.

    Hearing the voices of Ray Warren, Andrew Voss or Warren Smith adds to the spectacle and makes for great highlight packages or montages.

    But there is still more to it. The salary cap is the best thing in the game. It’s really interesting see how clubs develop and recruit players, trying to stay within the salary cap yet trying to build a championship winning side.

    We can watch a team blow a large part of its salary on a player to make the difference, or watch the more shrewd clubs building their squads with players who are less well-known but have something that can really shine in that environment.

    While it is not strictly part of the competition, the representative game is the cherry on top. While I know it is a new conception, the NRL All Stars v the Indigenous All Stars brings a big bang to the season, while State of Origin is the perfect way to break it up, being one of the best sporting contests across the globe.

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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • April 12th 2012 @ 12:17pm
      Jaceman said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

      Obviously not a sandstone university…

      • April 12th 2012 @ 2:45pm
        Whites said | April 12th 2012 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        Very true. Especially if you had read the first sentence.

      • April 13th 2012 @ 5:47am
        CizzyRascal said | April 13th 2012 @ 5:47am | ! Report

        An Irish man in a real university? Especially one from the deepest darkest south west? Not a chance.

        • April 13th 2012 @ 10:36am
          Shamus said | April 13th 2012 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Good to evaluate such a knowledgeable story coming from an inhabitant below Donegal. Coming from two generations of journalists, one chuckles at the power of the press.
          Can’t wait to see a post from an eskimo living in Upper Siberia.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 13th 2012 @ 11:19am
          Peter said | April 13th 2012 @ 11:19am | ! Report

          I’m glad the Irishman doesn’t reply to this, do you really want to know what the Irish think of the Aussies in their homeland. For that matter, just what do the Poms think of us?
          Go have another beer mate and sleep it off!

    • April 12th 2012 @ 12:18pm
      turbodewd said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

      Good post Cizzy,

      good to hear you enjoy the spectacle. I think rugby league is more interesting than union and American football. Although I watch the Super Bowl every year. I do watch soccer when the Socceroos are playing big games.

      Its a relatively free-flowing game with a good blend of skill, endurance and physical collisions.

    • Roar Guru

      April 12th 2012 @ 12:19pm
      The Cattery said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

      It’s not the greatest game of all for nothing.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 12:23pm
      Go warriors said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

      Good article and totally agree. As a Kiwi I use to love union but after watching the NRL I can no longer watching union as it is just to slow and boring compared to the NRL. The skills of the players are just incredible, Billy Slater, Benji Marshal, Greg Inglis just to name a few are incredible athletes. The closeness and unpredictablity of the comp just makes it the complete comp.

      I am looking forward to the test next week. Go the Kiwis and go the warriors.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 12:34pm
      tom said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

      I just love the history of south sydney motif, locals selling rabbits in the streets to make a living and so the local footy team was called the rabbitohs. The game transcends heaven and deserves a special place in the gratest games of all.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 12:47pm
      JimC said | April 12th 2012 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

      Great article. It’s nice to see a clear exposition of what makes the NRL so compelling. I hope the NRL keeps the salary cap and keeps the Sydney suburban grounds for at least some games. No point in changing a winning formula.

      I’m not an aussie (english) but follow the NRL from Singapore where we get 4 games live on TV every weekend. Cannot wait for next week’s test and then Origin!

      • April 12th 2012 @ 1:33pm
        oikee said | April 12th 2012 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        Hey Jim, the other day someone mentuioned we have 3 asians now in the comp, maybe not full asians, but at least one parent. Evringham, (rabbits) Shrama (titans), not sure of the other, someone might know.

        They get around 6 games a week now in England on paytv, premier sports i think.
        Hey Cizzy, do you watch the super league. ? I am loving this comp at the moment, crowds are good also, very entertaining to watch, they sing like angels, the lot of them. 🙂 But only a mother could love them., hehe
        And they also take their kids along to the games, i am talking 1-3 year olds, blooding them early. This is why we call ourselves the family.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 2:13pm
          Go warriors said | April 12th 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

          Oikee I think the other player with an asian background you are thinking of is Shaun Johnson. His mother is from Laos. I have been watching the ESL as well and I agree it is very entertaining. Did you watch the St Helens v Wigan game. They was an absolute beauty.

          • April 12th 2012 @ 2:29pm
            tom said | April 12th 2012 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

            What about the Afghan refugee, Omar Slaimankhel from the New Zealand Warriors playing for the NYC and apparently very, very good!

            • April 12th 2012 @ 3:23pm
              oikee said | April 12th 2012 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

              Yes, that was him, Shaunny Johnson, very tricky customer. Thanks go Warriors.
              Yes, seen that match and the Hull derby, wow, tell you what, i am loving the super league derbies.

              Yeah, and this kid Slaimankhel is the reason why we need at least another 2 new teams Tom, along with the fish and Inu running around not getting a game, as well as many more once we expand and grow, we will need to have a place for them to go, rather than sitting around doing nothing.

              • April 12th 2012 @ 4:15pm
                allblackfan said | April 12th 2012 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                apparently, that kid was one of the tampa refugees. Not wanted in Aust, made a life in NZ. He has a twin brother (plays rugby in Otago last time I head

        • Roar Guru

          April 12th 2012 @ 6:31pm
          Dan Wighton said | April 12th 2012 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

          Craig Wing’s mother is Filipino, and Kevin Gordon’s mother is Chinese. Along with Sean Johnson and Everingham, these guys have been some of the most exciting guys in the game to watch.

          Australia has such a strong Asian immigrant population, particularly in Sydney, it would be great if we saw more representation in the NRL, similarly to the way the Lebanese community has provided some of the best and most exciting league players for the past few decades.

        • April 12th 2012 @ 8:39pm
          Barry said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

          In 1788 Mathew Everingham arrived on the first fleet as a convict. He and his wife’s descendants orinating from the Hawkesbury Valley ,the food bowl of the NSW colony, are recognised as the largest family group in Australia. So maybe their descendant is Mathew’s father.

        • April 13th 2012 @ 5:43am
          CizzyRascal said | April 13th 2012 @ 5:43am | ! Report

          I do watch the Super League but only the highlights package on the iPlayer as it’s all on pay-per-view. Thought next year, I will have Sky Sports so be able to watch a bit more.

          It’s been a cracking start to the season with big swings already between all the top sides going through patches.

          I’m a Wigan fan but I’d love to see Catalans do the business. They probably play the best Rugby League to watch in the world and their win against St. Helens has to be the best end to a game I’ve seen.

          • April 13th 2012 @ 7:17pm
            Meesta Cool said | April 13th 2012 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

            I too am an ex pat Wigan supporter, I just love to see ANYONE beat Saints… Thanks Eurosports for bringing these games back into Oz!.

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