Trial matches mean something to the fans

Curtis Woodward Roar Guru

By Curtis Woodward, Curtis Woodward is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

7 Have your say

    On the outskirts of western Sydney sits the humble town of Appin. A rugby league mad town with a population of around 2000 people.

    With thriving areas like Campbelltown and Camden nearby, Appin would be the perfect place for a National Rugby League trial.

    Wests Tigers host the Parramatta Eels on Saturday night at Campbelltown Stadium in a fully fledged trial game.

    Fantastic news for the people of Macarthur.

    But the problem sits with the setting of the following week’s match between the Tigers and the Sydney Roosters.

    These two teams will once again play in the heart of the city at Allianz Stadium.

    It might be easier for the teams and their support staff to make the short drive to Moore Park, but do they not have a duty to showcase these games to as many people as possible?

    People that don’t normally get to see NRL players up close and personal?

    There used to be a carnival atmosphere whenever these matches were played in the bush. A chance for kids to meet their heroes because “the big show was in town”.

    Appin was mentioned because it is a perfect example of the slow change taking hold of Sydney’s outskirts.

    A few years ago, right across the road from the rugby league ground, AFL posts were erected on another field.

    Nobody is saying AFL has taken a stranglehold on Appin. But the fact that there is an AFL field fifty yards away from the rugby league field is damning enough.

    Being proactive has never been rugby league’s strongpoint.

    Being the number one code in a town isn’t enough anymore either. Rugby league needs to show its claws and dominate the competition. Fans want to feel like they care and that they matter.

    Only last weekend we saw the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Cronulla Sharks play at yep, you guessed it, Brookvale Oval.

    Would it have been that difficult to take the match to Umina or Berowra?

    The Penrith Panthers battle the Parramatta Eels in two weeks at Penrith’s Centrebet Stadium.

    Where is the harm in taking the match to a place like Oberon or Bowral?

    Even the Melbourne Storm’s first trail against Queensland Cup side Easts Tigers could have been taken to Bendigo or Sale. Instead it was played at the Storm’s training ground, Gosch’s Paddock.

    This decision definitely raised this writer’s eyebrows.

    The chance for country Victoria to get a taste of professional rugby league was missed. You can argue that country Victoria doesn’t give a stuff about the NRL or rugby league in general.

    But you can bet your bottom dollar they still would have come out watch.

    Sure teams have still taken games to places like Bathurst and Mount Isa. Games will be played at Coffs Harbour, Gosford and Cairns too.

    But do we have to settle for a job almost done?

    Should we not expect the world from the NRL?

    If we do not expect everything, we will never get anything.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • February 14th 2013 @ 8:51am
      B.A Sports said | February 14th 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      Agree trials are a great opportunity to take th egame to the bush. They also add as an economic boost when several hundred die hards from the big smoke travel to these towns and spend the night, buy food in local stores etc..

      Disagree on Appin being an option. I’ve driven through Appin many times and people in Appin could very comfortably drive to Campbelltown Sports ground on any given Sunday (or WIN for that matter.

      And while I advocate many of the good things the AFL do, they are worse when it comes to taking games to the bush. For a while the NAB Cup was played almost entirely in regional centres, nowalmost every game is played in a capital city AFL ground.

      • Roar Guru

        February 14th 2013 @ 10:06am
        Curtis Woodward said | February 14th 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

        Cant believe they play the majority of the NAB Cup at their usual venues.

        • February 14th 2013 @ 10:31am
          B.A Sports said | February 14th 2013 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          Yeah and what is annoying is they con all of these Councils into upgrading their grounds with the promise of a preseason match. These Councils all think they will get a televised NAB match but instead they get (if they are a lucky) a trial with few top line players involved. Townsville, Wagga, Bathurst – I am looking at you…..

    • February 14th 2013 @ 9:57am
      betts said | February 14th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      Why isnt the Foundation cup in Campbelltown too?

    • February 14th 2013 @ 11:51am
      Tim said | February 14th 2013 @ 11:51am | ! Report

      I’m honestly sick of this drum being repeatedly banged…

      For the record, trials are being (or have been) played in:

      – Geelong
      – Bathurst
      – Gosford
      – Redcliffe
      – Cairns
      – Mackay
      – Mt Isa
      – Armidale
      – Coffs Harbour
      – Tamworth
      – Goulburn
      – Hamilton (NZ)
      – Dunedin (NZ)

      Criticism of the Storm, IMO, is unwarranted given they still took a match to Geelong, then have the expense of the WCC to consider. Other trials played at regular venues/built up cities are regular matches/annual matches that attract significant interest in most cases.

      I think people forget that while it’s great to get out into the regional areas (and most clubs DO), it’s also important to maintain pre-season interest and maximise membership sales opportunities in your heartland as well. 1 game at Allianz, 1 game at ANZ, 1 game at Brookvale, 1 game at Campbelltown…? Not gonna hurt all that much.

      • February 14th 2013 @ 12:32pm
        oikee said | February 14th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        Most the areas you are tallkng about Curtis are in NSW, maybe narrow it down to NSW letting league down again.
        Brisbane has the Bee Gees homecoming, we look after our own.
        The Broncos have been out supporting the flood team areas again.

    • Roar Guru

      February 14th 2013 @ 10:21pm
      Mark Young said | February 14th 2013 @ 10:21pm | ! Report

      Strongly agree Curtis, good article. I have been enjoying your stuff on here for while mate, going well!

      I do recall that a few years ago the players just behaved like idiots when they went on the road pre-season. The Bulldogs at Coffs Harbour is just one. I suspect that has played a very big part on them sticking around close to home.

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