What’s next, Rebels without a cause?

RobC Roar Guru

By RobC, RobC is a Roar Guru

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24 Have your say

    ‘Union’ was never in the international governing body’s name for good reason.

    130 years ago, following a stoush between Scots and English, the Irish, Welsh joined the Scots and formed the body to solve disputes. England refused to join.

    Rugby is full of bullheaded administrators. In Geoff Parkes’ casually authoritative and richly-researched book, the Kiwi transplant to Melbourne writes perhaps his grimmest and most poignant section on the rugby union challenges faced by his adopted hometown, itself.

    Harry Jones and RobC were heatedly sitting in the “Onsen Ma” sauna in Melbourne’s CBD. They were clearly in the mood for a steamy stoush regarding the organisation which recently dropped ‘Union’ from its name: Rugby Australia.

    Harry bellows melodically, clearly appreciating the excess water and good massage in Melbourne that is severely lacking in Cape Town: “Can the Victorian dream have a happy ending?”

    RobC retorted too analytically for the setting, quoting Geoff Parkes: “Unlike top rugby exemplars Clermont, Gloucester, and Leinster, which he depicts earlier in this needed rugby-as-business textbook as dominating their respective populace’s sporting loyalty, the Rebels lacks a key trait.”

    He suddenly turns in excitement, twirling his robe open, causing everyone to start flinching and stop thinking: “GP himself says the Rebels have not yet intertwined the culture of their club to that of the local region. He also admits its a lost cause: This is status that the Rebels can only dream of!”

    “Rubbish!!!”, Harry angrily rams his fist into the hot coals and quickly rises. His towel is obviously too small for his big ideas. “The future can be brighter in Melbourne than anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere.”

    The alpha male adds “Melbourne is an alpha global city, drawing infinite talent and wealth-creation from around the planet!”

    Flexing his sculpted muscles, Harry insists: “Sports teams are market fabrications. They are sculpted just like any other entertainment brand, albeit the concussions are real.”

    “If the Rebels learn how to win the Australian conference, and even lift the trophy as often as the Waratahs, neo-rugby fans who never understood tragedy or the breakdown will hop on the winners’ wagon with annoying alacrity.”

    RobC is not convinced, sweating his argument through every pore. “Melbournites are sportaphiliacs. But they also have a foot fetish. If you ain’t kicking the ball, it ain’t sexy.

    “Chasing Melbourne’s third team status is a total waste of money. Millions were splurged by Raelene Castle’s predecessors just to keep it alive. How many more will go up in smoke?

    “Every Force fan has every right to be upset. They got a fraction of financial support, but they got full shaft from Rugby Australia!”

    Indignant, Harry snorts: “Melbourne is the second richest city in the Southern Hemisphere. Ten per cent of Melbourne equals two Canberras in sporting purchasing power.”

    RobC shakes his head, slowly, like a Queenslander does.

    But Harry was on fire: “The large Melbourne sport market is an opportunity, not a barrier. Convincing 10-15 per cent of a huge and bourgeois already-sport mad city with multiple interests and perfect weather to add or switch an allegiance is infinitely easier than teaching a guy from Clermont to be interested in a new game or team.

    “Australians will back a winner. Women’s sevens are suddenly in vogue. Why? They win.”

    RobC opened Parkes’ seminal text. He waded through the cheeky anecdotes, spot-on interviews, and trademark wry observations, to find the passages describing the uphill climb for the Melbourne Rebels: “19 high-profile professional sporting teams.”

    RobC started to talk about Parkes’ recitation of the ten AFL teams in and around Melbourne, some of which have upwards of 70,000 paid up annual memberships, and then said Parkes wrote about the Victory, City, the Storm, basketball, netball, and a wildly allegiant cricket crowd competing for Melbourne sport dollars.

    “Look here, Harry. Parkes says they all have a ‘higher profile, and better access to sponsors dollars in the Melbourne market, than the Rebels.’ What are you not getting?”

    Harry roared like a Viking, while clicking his heels. “Nein! If it was all about that, why would they put the Tennis Open, the Grand Prix, and the Carnival there? It’s unlimited!”

    Rob, also tired of arguing about rugby, muttered “You scream like a Stormer, yet you think like a Bull. The writing is on the wall. There’s an army of rugby talent in Western Sydney who can fill many fields and stadiums.

    “Instead, they are poached like fat babies by a marauding army of NRL clubs. Lost fans and lost teams. Meanwhile, Rugby ‘straya is going to lose even more money in Victoria by chasing fantasies.

    “In any case, DaniE explained to me the full solution. She said it starts by sorting out the….”

    Suddenly, doors open with a whoosh. Steam pours out. And the naked body of Geoff Parkes juggles in. He bursts out, fists in the air, spread-eagled: “It’s time for the Rebel Yell! Let’s rumble!”

    Rebuild announcement

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 7:59am
      Machooka said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      Harry on fire in a sauna with MrRobC shaking his thing like a QUEENSLANDER does being rudely interrupted by a naked Dr P… yeah, things could be worse for the sporting public of Melbourne eh!?! 😉

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 3:47pm
        RobC said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

        Dr C, will always have the last word.

        Melbourne, Qld, SYD. Were all in the same soup MrChook!

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 9:24am
      Harry Jones said | February 21st 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      This article is so disturbing(ly accurate)

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 3:45pm
        RobC said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

        Left out some even more accurate bits, but Im afraid the audience, including RA-ra might have problems with it

    • February 21st 2018 @ 10:04am
      scottd said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      Great work Rob!!

      Beautifully written but I will have nightmares for a long time….

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 3:39pm
        RobC said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

        Scott, we’ve got photos of Haaaazzaaaaaaaaa wearing only a towel:
        – Some would say its a living nightmare
        – But he might say he’s living the dream

    • February 21st 2018 @ 2:34pm
      Adsa said | February 21st 2018 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

      Thanks for lunch time chuckle RobC, all the theories on Melbourne being retained over Perth come of the drawing board and under the microscope this Friday. Let’s hope the Reds give them a kickin and they realise the ARU largesse they have benefited from ends. Not only do they have to win games but also the support of the city they represent not an easy task.

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 2:47pm
      Diggercane said | February 21st 2018 @ 2:47pm | ! Report


      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 3:40pm
        RobC said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

        Youre turn next, DC!

        • February 21st 2018 @ 7:05pm
          Diggercane said | February 21st 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

          I will be in the steamroom ?

          • Roar Guru

            February 21st 2018 @ 8:09pm
            RobC said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

            Yours will be in the streets of Cannes and / or Monaco

    • Roar Guru

      February 21st 2018 @ 3:37pm
      John R said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

      Fair points on both sides, and a vivid picture painted! lol!

      On a more serious note, I reckon the Storms support/attendance is pretty much a ready made indicator as to the Rebels market ceiling.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 3:44pm
        RobC said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

        I reckon the same, John. Unless half of NZ (and or white SA) displaces the greek community and fills up Melbourne / Vic

        • Roar Guru

          February 21st 2018 @ 4:03pm
          John R said | February 21st 2018 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

          Never say never! But can’t see it happening in my lifetime.
          It’ll be interesting to see how the new pricing affects attendance too. Full price adult for the cheap seats is $15.00 now, about the same price as a pint at a CBD bar nowadays!

          • Roar Guru

            February 21st 2018 @ 4:10pm
            RobC said | February 21st 2018 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

            Thats great. A lot cheaper than Lang Park!

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