If the Brumbies are in the firing line, why not the Tahs and Reds?

gatesy Roar Guru

By gatesy, gatesy is a Roar Guru

 , , , ,

128 Have your say

    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.

    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?

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (128)

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2017 @ 8:40am
      sheek said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report


      Off with their heads!

      Do you hear the people sing? The song of angry men?

      It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again!

      When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums!

      There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!

      Off with their heads!!

      • Roar Guru

        March 21st 2017 @ 9:20am
        gatesy said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        G’day, Sheek

        If you think that was emotive, you should have seen it before the editor got amongst it!

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2017 @ 9:46am
          sheek said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          Hi Gatesy,

          You do make some good points but it’s not possible to canvass everything that goes on in one’s mind.

          in the past I have laid blame at the feet of the intransigency that exists in Sydney & Brisbane. They are not without sin!

          However, they do have ‘bragging’ rights having sustained rugby for over 130 years. They haven’t always done it right of course, which is where the gripe comes in.

          It would be great to get consensus on all this, but that is probably too ambitious a thought.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2017 @ 1:36pm
            gatesy said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

            It’s a bit like that joke where Lady Astor tells Winston Churchill ..”..you, sir, are drunk…”and he replies: ..”and you madam, are ugly, but tomorrow I’ll be sober..”

            My point is that by bringing the competition back to a meaningful size, with a proper home and away structure (even if it is in 2 conferences) and giving the teams some proper identity that fans can relate to in the tribal sense, we can make Super Rugby great again. The Brumbies can rise back to those great days of their first ten years, but I doubt that the Rebels or the Force can improve to the same degree.

            In my opinion, what has happened to the Brumbies has been caused by events way outside their control and we need to pare the whole thing back to make it meaningful again.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2017 @ 8:59pm
              sheek said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

              Gatesy – obviously I agree with that.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2017 @ 9:02pm
              Fionn said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

              Best summary of Australia’s Super Rugby woes I’ve ever read, gatesy.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 9:44am
        scottd said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Ok Sheek, where did that come from?

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2017 @ 9:47am
          sheek said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report


          Oh, I heard it driving around yesterday & thought I must use it at the next appropriate opportunity.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 11:49am
            scottd said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

            I thought you might have jotted it down when you were feeling particularly inspired over a couple of beers 🙂

    • March 21st 2017 @ 9:39am
      Rhys Bosley said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      I don’t want to see the Brumbies go, I lived in Canberra and follow them as a second team, but suggesting that the Reds or Tahs should be on the block instead will not help your cause. The fact is that Queensland and NSW are the two largest rugby states in Australia by far, produce most of the players and have the strongest support base. The comparison of the Reds crowd against one outsized Broncos/Cowboys game is irrelevant, compared to the Brumbies the Reds double their turnout on a bad day. That is why they are safe and the same goes for the Tahs.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 10:09am
        Republican said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        ……..exercise in futility to suggest that Qld & NSW be considered for extermination.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 11:49am
        Marto said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Reds two home crowds this year have not been ,but not bad, better than most though…

        15,015 v Sharks
        18 006 v Crusaders

        • March 21st 2017 @ 6:32pm
          Republican said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

          …….& whats the population of greater Brissy?

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2017 @ 8:13am
            Train Without A Station said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

            And how does a smaller population help the Brumbies when they lose money with that attendance?

            Economics. They need to stack up.

        • March 22nd 2017 @ 2:24am
          Rhys Bosley said | March 22nd 2017 @ 2:24am | ! Report

          The Brumbies got 8700 for the, just over half the Reds for the equivalent fixture.

      • Roar Guru

        March 21st 2017 @ 1:41pm
        gatesy said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        If you read my article more carefully you would see that I am not advocating the demise of either the Reds or Waratahs, just asking the question why the Brumbies should be put in the same basket as the 2 teams from the AFL heartland, and having their considerable past achievements, totally disregarded, and, further, suggesting that people look behind the scenes to see just what the ACT does for Rugby at the grassroots level. As I said, it would be a travesty to hand the whole region back to the NRL, as it would in Qld or NSW

        • March 21st 2017 @ 6:31pm
          Republican said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

          …….interestingly the NRL are new kids on the block here in the ACT relatively speaking.
          It is Australian Footy (& I don’t mean Soccer) and Union that have the far larger historical claim to the region, many being ignorant to the fact…….

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2017 @ 8:13am
          Train Without A Station said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

          And as many have replied, it’s because they share a home market of 400,000 people with another team and haven’t made a profit for 14 years.

          • March 22nd 2017 @ 3:14pm
            Republican said | March 22nd 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            ………this towns too small for both of us?
            That said I believe markets in the larger markets i.e. Brisbane, Melbourne et el are even more saturated and as such – commercially vulnerable.

            • Roar Guru

              March 22nd 2017 @ 3:50pm
              Train Without A Station said | March 22nd 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

              No they aren’t.

              Brisbane. 2.4M people, 3 winter teams – 800k per team.

              Sydney – 5M people, 12 winter teams – 416k per team.

              Melbourne – 4.7M people – 11 winter teams – 427k per team.

              Perth – 2.2M – 3 winter teams – 733k per team.

              Canberra – 400k people – 2 winter teams – 200k per team.

              I haven’t included the surrounding area of Canberra, for the same reasons I haven’t included all of SEQ, or the regions surrounding Sydney and Melbourne.

              But ultimately Canberra has the tightest commercial market.

              Doesn’t mean they cannot be viable though. I’d merely be asking them how they intend to reach a higher market absorption in order to be sustainable.

              • March 22nd 2017 @ 4:37pm
                Republican said | March 22nd 2017 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

                ….yep, I understand TWAS.
                It is a tight market to be sure but I maintain the profile of the code i.e. Union here is greater than what it is in Melbourne, not to say it wont grow in Vic.
                The Canberra market is anything but stagnant, as the city is growing together with the region and contrary to popular belief, people do come here for the long haul and actually like the place.
                I see all these commercial markets at saturation point as is while I also reckon it is way too easy to be dismissive of Canberra and indeed scape goat them on a commercial criteria that may never come to fruition in respect of your preferred larger markets.
                The criteria to grow cannot be exclusively dictated by $’s if you also hope to foster real growth and a culture of tribalism, loyalty and passion for the code.
                By the way, the surrounding region does raise the potential commercial catchment to between 600 – 700K I believe.
                Thanks for sharing your knowledge and opinion TWAS.

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2017 @ 11:20am
      pformagg said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

      Its about the money.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 1:50pm
      Bfc said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

      People who analyse the game in greater detail would probably know the stats…but I still suspect that the much lamented QRU system provides more pro-rugby players than even the NSWRU…?
      The QRU does have issues in managing the Reds, retaining talent (eg Liam Gill…) etc…but the talent stream still seems to function.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 21st 2017 @ 1:51pm
      piru said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

      I can’t believe the Brumbies are even being considered for the chop, they deserve their team more than the Reds or Waratahs do.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 6:28pm
        Republican said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

        …….& dare I say, moreso than the Force do piru…….

        • Roar Rookie

          March 22nd 2017 @ 12:10pm
          piru said | March 22nd 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          You’ll get no argument from me on that Republican

          That said I’ll fight to the death for my side

          • March 22nd 2017 @ 3:13pm
            Republican said | March 22nd 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

            …….more power to you piru.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 3:01pm
      Raa said | March 21st 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

      there are VERY few players playing for the brumbies that are actually from ACT, Victoria and WA (WA would have the most players from WA in the side) Also the Reds and Waratahs are the only teams with exception of the Rebals that the ARU have not had to put money into or come and sort out their board. NSW and Reds have the biggest growth markets it is where the game is played the most and majority of players come from. That is why and is ridiculous to thing they would be axed

      • Roar Rookie

        March 21st 2017 @ 3:36pm
        piru said | March 21st 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

        Didn’t the Reds get bailed out a few years back?

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2017 @ 8:14am
          Train Without A Station said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

          We’ve all been bailed out.

          A past bail out is almost irrelevant.

          Likelihood of future ones is very relevant.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 22nd 2017 @ 12:11pm
            piru said | March 22nd 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

            It’s very relevant when someone incorrectly asserts they haven’t been assisted as a part of their argument

            Also the Reds and Waratahs are the only teams with exception of the Rebals that the ARU have not had to put money into sic

      • Roar Guru

        March 21st 2017 @ 4:06pm
        Rob na Champassak said | March 21st 2017 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

        The Brumbies have had the most success of any Aussie franchise and have churned out a huge number of Wallabies while managing to do so by taking on players that the Reds and Waratahs had no contracts for. That is why it is ridiculous to think they would be axed.

        And yet, here we are.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 5:01pm
          Markus said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

          Love the claims that the Brumbies sap all the talent from the Reds and Tahs, when in almost every case it came down to terrible talent identification from both.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 6:26pm
            Republican said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

            …….while the ACT produces some significant home grown Union talent, pound for pound – always has…….

          • Roar Guru

            March 22nd 2017 @ 8:16am
            Train Without A Station said | March 22nd 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

            That’s rubbish.

            To make that claim you don’t consider who is on contract at the time the Brumbies pick up that player, and then you don’t consider the success of the alternatives.

            The most of the Brumbies success centered around a strongly home grown team.

            That seems to have changed a lot since then though.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 4:53pm
        Markus said | March 21st 2017 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

        The ARU have had to put money into both the Reds and the Waratahs, they have never had to bail out the Brumbies.

        NSW and Reds have the biggest markets, but that does not equate to biggest growth markets so long as they continue to be as poorly managed as they are.

        • March 22nd 2017 @ 11:28am
          Raa said | March 22nd 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          The brumbies have had to pay big payout money to their CEO that the board tried to fire then after a court case were forced to pay him out. this was only last year. they have had their problems

          • March 22nd 2017 @ 11:51am
            Bakkies said | March 22nd 2017 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Money which wasn’t donated by the ARU. Seems to have stabilised now and they signed a new major sponsor. There is also overseas interest in the head coaching position. Johan Ackerman has had an offer from Gloucester and is considering, I wouldn’t mind him in charge of the Brumbies.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 4:58pm
        AndyS said | March 21st 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

        Interesting that you think Q’ld and NSW are growth markets. They have had 100 years of the ARU’s undivided attention and funding to get where they are. What makes you think they can ever be anything more than they are now?

        • Roar Rookie

          March 21st 2017 @ 5:07pm
          piru said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          Agreed – WA is the growth market

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2017 @ 6:07pm
            Rob na Champassak said | March 21st 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

            They would all be growth markets if they were being run competently.

      • March 22nd 2017 @ 3:21pm
        Republican said | March 22nd 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

        You will find the local ACT GR is spread across all Australian Super entities I believe. They dont seem to hold onto their own as well as they did in their halcyon days.
        That said, I sense a decrease in GR Union talent in Canberra that is consistent with the rest of the county, due in the main to a steady move away from the code by young people, their parents and schools, towards other codes i.e. Soccer and Australian Footy.

        • Roar Guru

          March 22nd 2017 @ 4:04pm
          Train Without A Station said | March 22nd 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

          Yes, they don’t retain all their own produced players.

          Just like WA and Victoria don’t. In fact players from each are on the Brumbies roster.

          Hell the Crusaders have 2 Victorian produced players even.

          • March 22nd 2017 @ 4:44pm
            Republican said | March 22nd 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

            ……….the point is the ACT continue to produce homegrown quality players and while this seems to be less than say it was a decade back, it remains competitive with all other states.
            I also believe that the 2 or 3 dedicated Rugby school nurseries in Canberra, who continue to play a major role in producing quality GR for the code, will shift their focus and culture away from Rugby, if the Brumbies are expunged.

    , , , ,