Eeny, meeny, miny, Rebels?

Bunyip Roar Rookie

By Bunyip, Bunyip is a Roar Rookie

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85 Have your say

    With the impending demise of one our Super Rugby teams all but decided, the question is now which team should go.

    I generally like to be short, sharp and straight to the point so I will be.

    The Australian Super Rugby team that should be cut is the Melbourne Rebels.

    There are several reasons that make this decision the correct one.

    The first reason being is they have not captured the imagination of the Melbourne/Victorian public, including a large majority of the rugby playing fraternity.

    This is primarily due to the fact that many, many of the rugby playing and supporting fraternity are Kiwi ex-pats, people from NSW or QLD, and Pacific Islanders. They support their own teams such as the Crusaders, Waratahs or Hurricanes, for example.

    Another major reason is that initially the Rebels were very good at getting involved with Victorian Rugby and local clubs in and outside of Melbourne. This all but disappeared after the first year.

    The Rebels became solely focused on themselves and forgot about the rugby population in Victoria. The Conversion for Clubs was a good initiative but it was primarily run by Rabodirect, not the Rebels – they went with it as they were bound by the sponsorship agreement – but once Rabo pulled the Conversions for Clubs and eventually ceased the sponsorship there was nothing done by the Rebels to replace it.

    Perhaps a sheer lack of funding was the culprit, as investment into the Dewar Shield and other comps has been minimal at best.

    Further to this is that as many people have pointed out many people in Victoria still get league and union confused – it’s all rugby, they simply do not care about the Rebels. How do I know this? I lived and played rugby in Victoria for several years and my former club won Conversions for Clubs two years in a row, and I saw first hand how interested the Rebels were with it.

    Another argument against their inclusion is that a couple of years ago when more local derbies and games against New Zealand teams were announced, the Rebels were very happy. Why? Not because they had more local derbies but because they stated that their best crowds were against NZ sides.

    This was a short term growth strategy – relying on growing and getting exposure through fans of other clubs – more people were going to a Rebels vs Crusaders game to watch the Crusaders!

    Scott Higginbotham in action for the Rebels during the round 5 Super Rugby

    Another note to add onto this point is that several sponsors look at the Rebels as a way of getting exposure in the South African and NZ markets as opposed to Australia, again purely because the market in Australia does not watch and engage with the Rebels.

    Another valid reason is that the Rebels have lost vast amounts of money over the years and have not been able to secure a major sponsor for the past couple.

    If the Rebels were going to work they would have worked by now. Their recruitment has been poor with vast amounts of money wasted on ‘stars’ that were not interested in the club and the talent coming through is predominantly coming from external sources.

    They have a private owner now, but they were under private ownership when they started and they were eventually handed back to VRU, who did not have the resources to run an organisation as large as the Rebels, so the ARU took over until another owner was found.

    It was simple business that led the Rebels to be sold in the first place, it will eventually be simple business again that will see the ownership change again.

    There are other reasons that I could list but I believe that the former are the main reasons, in my opinion, that place the Rebels at a greater disadvantage than the other teams at risk of being cut in the Brumbies or Force.

    Others have suggested on this site that a merger between the Brumbies and the Rebels could be a way to save both clubs history and I believe that has merit if it is done correctly.

    For what it is worth, I am actually a Rebels fan, I go to their games when I can (I now live in NSW) and I have the merchandise and I watch them whenever they play. But I am also a rugby fan and if the reality is that Australia has to drop a team than I feel the best team to drop that will have the most positive effect on rugby in this country is unfortunately the Rebels.

    I have written this based on the fact that it has been decided that a Aussie team will be cut, not because I agree with a team being cut. I just hope a decision is made quickly and the decision is well thought for what is in the best interest of rugby, not money!

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    The Crowd Says (85)

    • March 16th 2017 @ 5:18am
      mania said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:18am | ! Report

      agree bunyip. in fact I’d go even further and get rid of the force as well

      • March 16th 2017 @ 6:47am
        Rhys Bosley said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:47am | ! Report

        Yeah, because you really have the interests of Aussie rugby at heart.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 7:31am
          Bunyip said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

          Rhys Bosley – despite what you say, I do have the best interest at heart, as I state in my article – I wrote this based on the understanding that an Australian team has already been decided to be cut, not because I agree that a team should be cut. The mods themselves have cut out a large piece of my article where I stated my opinion on that I believe all teams should stay under a different competition format

          • March 16th 2017 @ 8:29am
            Rhys Bosley said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

            Bunyip, my response was to Mania, not you. In case you haven’t noticed he is a Kiwi troll who floats around here dissing Australian rugby, the repetition that we should go to three teams is just his latest theme. It is stupid behaviour, not least because nobody is seriously suggesting that we will drop two teams.

            With regards to your article, I would rather keep all five teams but if dropping one looks inevitable, I think a Victoria/ACT joint venture would be the best way forward.

            • March 16th 2017 @ 11:15am
              Bamboo said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              He has a point though. There have been 5 NZ Super teams since the start of comp, and Australias most successful era in the professional era against the ABs was when there was only 3 teams.

              Would comparing us to NZ not be the barometer for success? Given they are typically #1 in the world, if we figure out how to match them all the other stuff should come a lot easier?

              Yes, more players etc etc etc argument, but rugby at best is a fringe sport in Australia. Part of getting spectators, sponsors and more favorable TV revenue is producing winning teams consistently, otherwise people just switch off…..which is where we find ourselves at present.

              • March 16th 2017 @ 12:23pm
                Old Bugger said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                Good response and fair comment about winning teams. Success breeds success and since, the 3-team era produced those successful results, then a precedent, has been established.

                The difficulty is accepting that “smaller is better” which is going against all arguments put together by the ARU, to produce a “bigger is better” concept.

                Nevertheless, the die has been cast even if, it is such a shame so, let’s hope that this latest act, will produce a successful outcome.

                If not, then I fear for Australasian rugby in general and its impact, upon the Southern Hemisphere, in particular.

              • March 16th 2017 @ 1:02pm
                Rhys Bosley said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                As has been written on recently on this site by Brett McKay, we are not going to impeove the depth of Aussie rugby by removing elite playing opportunities. Approximately 20% of last year’s Wallabies squad were developed at the Force and Rebels, do people seriously think that Aussie rugby would be improved without the likes of McMahon, Naivalu, Timani, Hayley-Petty, T. Smith, Godwin and Coleman? Players can’t show what they can do without the opportunities that enough playing places provides.

                People pining for the good old days when we had three teams need to realise that times have moved on from then, there is more money in rugby overseas and keeping players is harder, we can’t afford to ignore recruitment outside of the original teams.

          • March 16th 2017 @ 8:36am
            Rhys Bosley said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

            Bunyip, I was responding to mania who is a Kiwi troll.

            • March 18th 2017 @ 4:21pm
              Lincoln Lense said | March 18th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

              Cut the Force and sooner rather than later.
              They are a failure to Australian rugby fans with nothing to show in over 10 years of being propped up by the code.
              You put their players in a different state/jersey and I guarantee you’ll get a better result

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 5:33pm
            sheek said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report


            Well, if you don’t agree a team should be cut, have the guts to say so.

            We the fans, may have no say in this but we can register our displeasure. And who knows, if enough of us do so, it just might scare ARU enough into not cutting a team.

            I am incensed by all the articles that consider this a foregone conclusion, without any semblance of a fight.

            Even The Roar has been sucked in, running a poll on which team will be culled. They never even considered the option, “No team to be culled”.

            I cannot believe the lack of fight among Australian rugby fans, that they are happy to just let this happen without voicing their disapproval.

            I have another suggestion. Let’s cull the ARU, & anoint a new ruling body for Australian rugby.

            • Roar Guru

              March 17th 2017 @ 12:59pm
              gatesy said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

              I’m with you, there, Sheek.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 2:08pm
              col in paradise said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

              they should be cutting the Sunwolves…but that is definetly about the money – no real reason they should be in the Comp from a standard perspective..and although I love Argentinian rugby also wonder about gtheir inclusion if costs and the draw are the main problems facing the competition..aslo its virtually a National side so what’s the point….lets play more actual Tests against them instead of having them in the Super

    • March 16th 2017 @ 5:21am
      Jonathan said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:21am | ! Report

      As a Rebels fan I can acknowledge that they’re probably the team that should be cut, however I think it would be a disaster if there weren’t at least a few games played a year in Melbourne. The mid-year test doesn’t always happen and when it does it’s exorbitantly priced. The Rebels have at least brought affordable exciting rugby to melbourne on a regular basis (even if it’s ‘exciting’ cause we’re playing the Canes and Beauden has a stormer)

      • March 16th 2017 @ 7:32am
        Bunyip said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

        Agree with that Jonathon

      • March 17th 2017 @ 12:50am
        scottd said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:50am | ! Report

        Jono, I agree that Melbourne should get some games and a circumstance where the Brumbies stay in Canberra but play some of their home games in Melbourne and the Melbourne Rebels become an NRC team that feeds the Brumbies is in my opinion a very good outcome as it will maintain the ability of Victoria home grown players to progress.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm
          col in paradise said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

 a Brumbies man I don’t mind that as a option…..strengthens both the Super Rugby and the NRC..which is where the ARU has to focus more..and maybe some free to air arrangement if they want to grow the game…sometime you got to spend (revenue) money to make (revenue) thing Canberra and Melbourne have in common is beating Sydney at anything !!!!

    • March 16th 2017 @ 7:07am
      Highlander said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      Not sure I agree the contention that ex-pats only support their own team regardless of domicile.

      I have lived on West Island and still spend a great deal of time there, and despite bleeding Blue and Gold am a regular visit to the SFS to watch the Waratahs when they are at home in order to catch some code live, as do a large number of expat Kiwis that I know, plus a few Poms and Saffas, we of course switch alliance rapidly when our ‘home’ side plays.

      Was even a Tah’s season ticket holder during the Chris Hickey kick and chase ugly rugby years. (still trying to wipe that from the memory banks all these years later.)

    • March 16th 2017 @ 7:23am
      tc said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

      IMO, I believe no Aussie teams will be cut. The reason I believe this is so, is because the ARU would be sued by the Franchise that was cut.
      Look at it clearly for a second, what does the ARU do with existing sponsorships, player contracts, stadium hire and a miriad of other contracts that are signed until 2020. Then there’s the sticky issue of News LTD. This is why they are dragging it out and not saying anything, they are not sure what to do.
      My personal opinion is that the current deal will run till 2020, but the format will change (3×6). SA stays as it is, Sunwolves join Aussie conference, and Jags join NZ conference.
      Aussie rugby fans, dig your heals in, or they will cut a team, and you’ll be lucky to ever get that city back.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 7:27am
        Highlander said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

        How about the Force tc, who the ARU own outright.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 10:55am
          tc said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          Highlander, there are still contracts to honour.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 7:37am
        Bunyip said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

        Hi tc,

        The mods cut out a large piece of my article where I stated my opinion on that I believe all teams should stay under a different competition format. My personal opinion is that no teams need be cut. I think a simple two pool system could have been drafted up, with the pools as follows:

        Pool A
        Western Force

        Pool B

        Top three from pool B and top 2 from pool a go into a finals series with locations and status of games to be decided by the number of points that the qualifying teams achieve. Yes there are two less teams in Pool A but I am sure that could be figured out Given the political nature of the Kings in South Africa I don’t believe they will be cut (I am probably wrong). As many people have mentioned on this site previously if Australia need to cut a team than a Brumbies/Rebels merger should be considered, then you would have pools of 9 & 8 – pretty even.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 11:01am
          tc said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

          Bunyip,while I admire your creative thinking, do you think the Force fans and Australian Rugby in general would agree to that setup. At the end of the day everything is up in the air, but my advice to Aussie rugby fans would be, let the ARU know that you do not like the thought of any teams being cut. If you guys don’t speak up, the ARU will think the fans are all in line with any decision they make.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 12:00pm
          puff said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

          Bunyip, admirable thinking but according to my NZ, friends they believe NZ teams should play the best in the comp. Not a pool type schedule that has NZ teams displaying their skill & ability in local derbies. That is one of the main issues with the conference on offer. The Sharks don’t play a NZ team, hence without having to play the cream of the competition will probably make the finals. The Lions also have a comfortable run like they did last year, while NZ teams knock each other about. The competition requires balance and a home game for the local conference winner is not the answer.

          • March 16th 2017 @ 12:30pm
            Old Bugger said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

            Should the conferences continue, then the conference winners will get an automatic entry to the finals series.

            If that’s the case then fine but, their place on the finals table should reflect the total points they earned, at the end of the comp. And if they have equal points with another side, then they gain entry through being conference winners over, that other side.

            So if they top their conference but have less points than another team, then their position on the finals table, should be lower than that other team – it means they may lose a home QF play-off but, they retain their conference winner’s right, to be playing a QF.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 8:23am
        The Battered Slav said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        There’s not really anything Aussie fans can do to prevent this, no matter how much heel digging gets done.

        The ARU has made their mind up, and an Aus team will go, and my understanding is that it’s to be the brumbies.

        This has been decided for some time, the gutless ARU need to come out and put an end to the speculation and just hurry up and raise the tarpaulin and load the 303 and put my beloved Brumby out of its misery.

        If by some miracle the Brumbies survive, and another team (realistically only the Force are being considered due to the expense in buying the rebels out of their private ownership) then I will be less sad, certainly nowhere near as heartbroken, but pissed off nevertheless. Losing an Aus team would be a massive step backwards, but definitely the grief would be easier to deal with if it weren’t my Brumbies.

        I think your last comment is worrying too. Say the brums are cut, the super rugby limps on another couple of years and then it all goes belly up, will the Brumbies infrastructure and identity still exist to a point were they can reform and take part in whatever the new rugby landscape will be.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 10:33am
          Republican said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          …….i feel your painTBS.
          The ARU are gutless and probably are waiting until post weekend fixture v the Tahs to announce the Brumbies demise.
          You are correct in saying they have long known who the sacrificial lamb would be while Canberra are always the expedients when it comes to elite sport in this country.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 1:01pm
        Markie362 said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        I’m with Tx and I’m a kiwi.ffs Aussies fight for ur teams.fxxxxk sanzaar.its about the u want ur kids growing up and not knowing about rugby

    • March 16th 2017 @ 8:08am
      Peter Hughes said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Hey Bunyip –
      Got any evidence for these claims about the Rebels or is it just your opinion?

      Force shud be dropped imo – no contest.
      Rebels get bigger crowds, better TV ratings and look to have real potential for improvement.
      Force have been boring bottom dwellers since inception & look to have no potential imo.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 2:14pm
        Republican said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

        Saffa hold all the cards and as such they are the Forces best ally.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:56pm
        Piru said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

        I read this comment as The Rebs gave up another bonus point loss, as they have done since round 1.

    • Roar Guru

      March 16th 2017 @ 8:30am
      PeterK said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      If a team has to go then a merger between brumbies and rebels would be the best idea.

      They each get 4 home games a year.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 9:23am
        Browny said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        4 opportunities to watch a team play makes it very unappealing to even bother with following them. Why not just switch to the storm who will play 10+ games at AAMI? Or an AFL club who I can see probably 16 times? 4 home games makes a team a laughable novelty.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 12:13pm
          Jock Cornet said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          Agree Browny , peter K has no idea. If you think supporters are going to support a team once every 2 months for 4 games. You have to be insane. Mergers will just dissipated 2 states fans.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 10:38am
        Republican said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        …….wont work because the identity of the Brumbies in particular will be completely compromised beyond recognition.
        Any power base will be assumed by the commercial mecca i.e. Melbourne so Canberras association with the reinvented entity will be purely tokenistic and I might add, will not be supported anyway by the Canberra faithful.
        I envisage a surge in both Raiders and GWS memberships, as a consequence of this injustice while Union will now die at the GR here in one of its historical heartlands, mark my words.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 12:42pm
        Old Bugger said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report


        I agree, it is the best idea but it seems, folks don’t seem to realise the impact, of losing a franchise vs merging franchises. At least in a merger, you’d expect the best of both franchises are retained, by the new merged entity before the remainder, are released.

        If the franchise is lost without a merger, then the potential is that 40 players (or however many are currently under contract) will now be available, to spread across, the remaining 4 franchises – then it becomes a contract battle of where, is the best deal, for the individual.

        Unfortunately, this whole episode may be all to no avail if, it fails to provide as successful an outcome, as what the powers-that-be, envisage.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 2:15pm
          Republican said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          …..but they won’t be because this is always going to be about the commercial not the virtue………

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