The Roar
The Roar


Embrace the conference system, don't make excuses for it

Samu Kerevi needs to spend some time on the pine. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roar Guru
6th April, 2017
1306 Reads

I used to think a contraction of Australian rugby talent from five Super teams to four was the way to go and have commented to that effect on a few Roar threads.

And I was dead bloody wrong.

As we now wait and wait and wait for that probable reality I realise what an utterly defeatist, small minded and visionless cop out the option of axing teams is.

 It is a futile attempt to put the toothpaste back in the tube. It is a meek surrender.

The ARU has to somehow grow some cojones, tap into the spirit and guile that Aussie rugby used to be famous for and kick all thoughts of walking away from its expansionist strategy, not just into touch, but over the friggin’ grandstand.

They just have to be a lot, lot better at executing it. You don’t grow the pie by taking a bloody great chunk out of it. They have to stop piddling about putting out fires and go hard with their vision in a ballsy, taking no prisoners, leaving no stone unturned, convinced and confident sort of way.

And if they don’t have a vision they can borrow mine for Super Rugby to embrace the conference system, not make excuses for it.

Take a lead from the NFL. Go the whole hog and make it strictly regional in pool play so that the Aussie conference only plays the kiwi conference – the Oceania Region. Likewise the two African conferences play among themselves, with the Sun Wolves in one region and the Argies in the other. Maybe alternating between each every other year to keep it interesting?

At the end of pool play, that may or may not include intra-country home and away – but at the very least everyone plays the other at least once – we have four quarter finalists from each region that whittle themselves down to the two grand finalists a fortnight later.


We could even go down to play off for 17th and 18. By sacrificing quantity for quality we have a truncated season so there’s no need for that absurd, momentum-killing Test window just before things get really interesting.

Nearly every game’s a derby. Most of the ones that aren’t are finals.

Pure and simple tribalism. Undiluted by confusion and apathy. The rugby, which is pretty bloody good now will only get better. Suddenly the conversations in the grandstands, the pubs, clubs, lounge rooms and papers will be about the quality or otherwise of the sport not its administration.

Throw in that its compulsory to have a grade club match as a curtain raiser for every home fixture.

Aussie teams are going through a tough patch now but they’ll come right when the crowds come back and the sport they play isn no longer fast becoming a standing joke to the easily swayed mainstream. Get the product good again and they’ll be easily swayed back.

I’m no doubt missing some very enormous flaws in this plan. Please dear Roarer, fill me in.