Does the Barassi line mean anything anymore?

Aligee Roar Rookie

By Aligee, Aligee is a Roar Rookie

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208 Have your say

    The Barassi line is a construct of Australian sporting culture wars: it is historically a geographical line that separated Australian football from rugby league and, to a lesser degree, rugby union.

    It is also an example of some social and cultural differences between Sydney and Melbourne, one a city born of British convict classes and the social construct built around them and another born of men seeking their fortune and the brotherhood and equality built from working on the gold diggings.

    That is a common thought, and although it has a ring of truth about it, it is far from being cut and dried. Melbourne might play the same football code across the demographics and classes from ritzy Toorak to the back streets of Collingwood, but the same class divisions still exist.

    Sydney, on the other hand, has taken a different path and its history has seen them follow the British class system of different games for different classes. The rugby they play at exclusive GPS schools in Sydney is different to the sort of rugby they play at Blacktown, and never the twain shall meet

    The actual term ‘Barassi line’ has an interesting history of its own. It was somewhat comically named after the Brisbane line, a line drawn across Northern Australia where the Australian government was prepared to cut and run from the Japanese in World War II if we were invaded, which was thought a real possibility at the height of the war.

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Ian Turner, an academic and mad Richmond fan, coined the name ‘Barassi line’ in 1965 during a series of lectures about Ron Barassi. Barassi’s father served in the second world war and Barassi himself believed in spreading the code of Australian Rules football around the nation with an evangelical zeal, so much so that he became coach and major supporter of the relocated Sydney Swans.

    Barassi foresaw a time when Australian Rules football clubs from around Australia, including up to four from New South Wales and Queensland, would play in a national football league with only a handful of them based in Melbourne, but his prognostications were largely ridiculed at the time.

    The Barassi line is an imaginary line running principally from around Batemans Bay on the south coast of New South Wales and up through Canberra to Wagga Wagga or a little further north to tiny dots on the map such as Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo. It then heads north up to the Queensland-Northern Territory border/

    The line has barely moved in 100 years, and because many country areas are depopulating, it probably won’t move one way or the other in the future. It is what it is; the Barassi line still exists but essentially probably won’t move.

    Deep on either side of the Barassi line the different codes have their own strengths and weaknesses in different areas.

    In Western Australia rugby comes from the English, South African and Kiwi immigration in the last ten to 15 years. Because of the mining boom in WA and political changes in South Africa and the UK rugby has seen a real growth spurt – in particular rugby league is in a purple patch because Kiwi immigration has flowed in the west.

    Although initially it was built on Sydney and Newcastle, rugby league people moved west over in the 1950 and 1960s, usually for employment in the mining industry. Rugby union, though, has a far longer and stronger history, and at one stage in the 1880s it was arguably the primary code in the west.

    It seems rather ironic that rugby being in the strongest position it has been in Western Australia for 100-plus years has resulted in Rugby AU pulling the plug on its Super Rugby team. It possibly opens the door for an NRL team, but there is a huge difference between the two rugby codes at community level, with rugby union streets ahead.

    In Queensland state migration principally from Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, souther New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory from the 1970s onwards has seen places like Cairns and south-east Queensland gain a strong Australian Rules flavour, not to mention that Queensland has always had a decent pocket of AFL culture.

    You can also bank on the Gold Coast rugby league team getting some of its biggest crowds against the New Zealand NRL team, with Kiwi migration strong as well in that neck of the woods.

    (Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    It would also be remiss to not point out that the Rugby AU and NRL each have one team south of the Barassi line in Melbourne and that the AFL have four north, but In reality that is all superficial without the support below them and the ability to pay their own ways.

    I don’t have figures in front of me, but the Brisbane Lions ten years ago were making money and paying their way, although the last few season have seen them fall into quite a bit of debt.

    The last five or so years have seen the Swans turn a profit and do quite well on and off the field. I would only be guessing if any of the other AFL, Rugby AU or NRL team north or south of the line were making a quid, but I don’t think they are.

    It could be argued that they do turn a profit or pay their way due to media rights, but it’s a hard thing to quantify. Certainly they can be used to grow the game at a grassroots level through providing a pathway.

    Sport these days is like beer: no longer does a pub in Melbourne sell only Carlton Draught or Victoria Bitter or a club in Sydney sell Tooheys or Reschs; it would appear that sport has well and truly transcended the Barassi line.

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    The Crowd Says (208)

    • March 5th 2018 @ 7:32am
      RandyM said | March 5th 2018 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      only AFL and its xenophobic followers think there is a “barassi” line it must cross and conquer while defending its own territory like its a war.

      • Roar Guru

        March 5th 2018 @ 7:50am
        Redb said | March 5th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        Pot, Kettle Black, ol’ mate.

      • Roar Guru

        March 5th 2018 @ 7:51am
        Grobbelaar said | March 5th 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        Further to that, sport such as cricket, football, basketball, hockey, netball, golf, tennis, volleyball, lawn bowls and bocce conquered the whole continent many decades ago.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 9:18am
          Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          Yeah thank god for bocce and soccer otherwise we’d be bored stiff.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 10:04am
          Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          What months of the year is the BNL on ( Bocce national league) further to that some of the sports you mention are stronger or weaker in different parts of the country, i know for a fact that quite a number of tennis clubs have been mown down for townhouses and golf has a had a bit of a downturn FWIU.

          Further to that Bocce has struggled to move out of Balcatta, Carlton, and Leichhardt really, it has its own Barassi line to cross.

      • March 5th 2018 @ 8:19am
        concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Our AFL or perhaps GWS shill author says,
        ” the AFL have four north, but In reality that is all superficial without the support below them and the ability to pay their own ways.”
        Please tell us how your GWS would survive without the AUD $21 Million grant from the AFL? Ability to pay their own way?

        “AFL payments to clubs revealed, Giants handed $21 millionJON RALPH, Herald Sun
        March 17, 2017 8:27pm
        GREATER Western Sydney received nearly $11 million more than the AFL’s financial heavyweights in distributions from the league last year.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:06am
          Jack Russell said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

          How does that differ from almost all NRL and A-League clubs that require millions in payments from their owners/leagues clubs just to stay afloat?

          • Roar Guru

            March 5th 2018 @ 10:57pm
            Cousin Claudio said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:57pm | ! Report

            Big difference.
            A-League clubs are privately owned franchises and don’t get $21 million handouts to stay afloat.

        • Roar Guru

          March 5th 2018 @ 11:24am
          Col from Brissie said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          Break the $2.5 billion TV rights the AFL received down by club and also that 9 games a week are played and $21 million a year isn’t that much. There are established clubs in Melbourne that get just a little less than the Giants.

          • March 5th 2018 @ 11:48am
            concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            Col, you say
            ” $21 million a year isn’t that much”
            Mate, probably the dumbest comment ever posted on the Roar.$21 Million is megabucks.
            One thing the AFL is brilliant at is $$$$$$.
            GWS’s Rugby Union neighbour clubs are Penrith Emus & Parramatta Two Blues.
            Both get NIL $ from the ARU or NSWRU. They are eating the paint off the walls.
            If they received grants of $21 Million, they would be high flying, unstoppable.Even grants of $1 Million would be welcome.
            The neighbour NRL clubs , Penrih & Parramatta Eels, are well established, with thriving junior clubs & player bases.
            Penrith have more than 4,500 junior players.

            • Roar Guru

              March 5th 2018 @ 12:09pm
              Col from Brissie said | March 5th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              Compared to $2.5 billion then $21 million isn’t a big dent. How much less are the TV rights if there are only 8 games a week and not 9?

              St Kilda who have been around for over 100 years got $18.5 million, Western Bulldogs $17.6 million. Both would have more than double the membership of the Giants. How do they survive without the AFL grant.?

              The AFL is made up of 18 sides, some financially strong and some not so strong. The not so strong get more assistance from the AFL. Whats the problem?

              • March 5th 2018 @ 12:32pm
                concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

                Back to school, Col. It is $21 Million grant to GWS per year, multiplied X 6 years = $126 Million, to make a proper
                Otherwise you are saying what I’m saying.

              • Roar Guru

                March 5th 2018 @ 12:59pm
                Paul Dawson said | March 5th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                No idea why people obsess over this idea each club has to be a net contributor to the competition.

                It’s not like every taxpayer is a net contributor to the federal government. So long as the overarching organisation has enough money it doesn’t matter anyway and there’s nothing to suggest the AFL is running short of cash anytime soon

              • Roar Guru

                March 5th 2018 @ 2:45pm
                Col from Brissie said | March 5th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                Break in down any way you like. $2.5 billion divided by 18 clubs is $139 million – still in front of your $126 million. Bigger interest in the Western Sydney suburbs when the next TV rights are due mean the AFL has more leverage. Look at the bigger picture and don’t be so concerned.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 3:10pm
                concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                The Ch 7 net profit for the half year ended 31/12/2017 was $110.7 Million.ASX:SWM,
                “ ”
                This was after paying the AFL $212 Million , note nearly double that of their net profit for the period.
                Read their half yearly report.
                When the current broadcast deal is finished, god knows what will happen, same with the NRL.

              • Roar Guru

                March 5th 2018 @ 3:51pm
                Col from Brissie said | March 5th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                I guess it all depends what revenue they get back from broadcasting AFL. They may be making a fair percentage of their profit from broadcasting the football compared to other shows. I am sure companies pay more for adverts during the footy than they do for Better Homes and Gardens.

                I am sure Channel 9 make a killing from State of Origin.

                More importantly am I still dumb and need to go back to school?

              • March 5th 2018 @ 4:12pm
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

                Col, anyone that needs to ‘carry the one’ when doing maths apparently needs to go back to school, i am putting my hand up.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 6:30pm
                Kangajets said | March 5th 2018 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

                T v money in the next few years , is a very interesting situation for every sport in Australia

                Because not many people in Sydney or Brisbane watch afl on tv ,, will the pot of gold still be there in 5 years .

                A lot of people here enjoy going to watch a game live now and then,
                but find footy terrible on tv as its not a rectangle sport as comes across to the viewer as very scrappy with lots of dropped ball etc .

                Time will tell .

            • March 6th 2018 @ 11:21am
              Kris said | March 6th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

              Richmond received 13.5m. GWS received $21m. GWS ‘costs’ the league $8m more than a benchmark established club.

              The 2016 NRL annual report says they gave a distribution of $160m to clubs in that year.

        • March 6th 2018 @ 12:23pm
          Perry Bridge said | March 6th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

          When revenues are centralised – such as TV revenues – then there is a ‘grant’ system to the clubs.

          That system provides ALL clubs at least $10+ million.

          Some clubs get more for a variety of reasons – either extra grants to assist with specific action points (such as when Giants got a grant towards RAS stadium and the Suns towards Metricon). Then there’s compensation type grants for clubs with with dodgy stadium deals (those that were stuck at Etihad less by choice but more by the AFL circa 2000 leaving them out to wither) or with unfavourable fixtures (i.e. hidden from FTA TV in particular – and reducing their sponsorship value – part of a vicious circle).

          This is all standard – NRL has centralised revenue like this now too – following an AFL model with a commission and grants to clubs.

          The A-League would if they could – to a greater extent – the broadcast revenue isn’t as substantial. Their private ownership model has in the past been more of a ‘soak’ on the cash of the owners than anything else – it’s like many things, a labor of love or a pandering to ones own ego.

          • March 6th 2018 @ 12:57pm
            concerned supporter said | March 6th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

            Pretty ell explained Perry Bridge,
            You failed to mention the really poor cousin, Rugby Union.
            They are stuck with Murdoch/Telstra, AUD $258 Million over 5 years, = AUD $58 Million a year.
            No FTA, except Test Matches,and Sydney club rugby on Ch 7, which was a big success in 2017.
            “Warringah’s Shute Shield grand final win out-rated Sydney Swans on free-to-air TV
            Iain Payten, The Daily Telegraph
            August 30, 2017 8:31pm
            THE success of the Shute Shield Grand Final was not just confined to North Sydney Oval last weekend, with TV ratings showing Warringah’s emotional victory drew a bigger free-to-air audience than the Sydney Swans’ game.
            A resurgent Sydney club rugby season culminated with the Rats taking out the Shute Shield over Norths in front of an estimated 15,000 people in North Sydney.” The gates were closed.
            The Board of Directors of the ARU/RA are currently on the nose with most Rugby people, especially West Australians, due to their decision to cull the Western Force from the 2018 Super Rugby comp.

            • March 6th 2018 @ 3:16pm
              Perry Bridge said | March 6th 2018 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

              RU – just gotta sit back now and see what Twiggy’s plans are? Kerry Packer was pretty clear cut back in his day.

              Wealthy people – generally lose their enthusiasm after a couple of years. But it might shake up the ARU model? It’s always harder to work out with the international dimension to the comp and no real domestic national league.

              • March 6th 2018 @ 3:29pm
                concerned supporter said | March 6th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                Just in, Perry Bridge,
                “ ”
                Can you believe a stuck up ARU Chairman Cameron Clyne knocked back Twiggy Forrest back in August. To the big end of town power is sometimes more important than money.

      • March 5th 2018 @ 8:42am
        Reservoir Animal said | March 5th 2018 @ 8:42am | ! Report

        What do the rugby codes think? What does soccer think?

      • March 5th 2018 @ 9:56am
        Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        Xenophobic!, i will be honest and had to look it up, although roughly knowing it wasn’t a good thing to be called, here is the top listing … having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

        I would argue that across the width and breadth of this vast and that most Australians are warm and welcoming to people from other countries and have been for most of its existence.

        To use Perth as an example and bring it back to football, it has a population of 2 million people, the English born population alone is moving up to 300,000, not including their Aussie born kids, many, many thousands of these people are involved in the playing and supporting of our Native game and they are welcomed with open arms to join us, so i ask how does this make us xenophobic.

        • Roar Guru

          March 5th 2018 @ 9:59am
          AdelaideDocker said | March 5th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          The bloke’s just attempting to start some sort of code-war, just ignore him.

          • Roar Guru

            March 5th 2018 @ 10:38am
            Redb said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

            yep and too blind to see the opposite happens to AFL from nrl fans. (see the lower case nrl lol)

          • March 5th 2018 @ 10:39am
            concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            AD, you say,
            “The bloke’s just attempting to start some sort of code-war, just ignore him ”
            The person attempting to start a code war is the author, Aligee, you said so yourself,
            “Oooh, this’ll be a controversial article. It’s a good one, though, Aligee.

            • March 5th 2018 @ 10:47am
              Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

              I wouldn’t say i am attempting to start a code war, but i am more than happy to have a reasonable discussion and seek different points of view, the Barassi line IMO is an important part of our sporting heritage whether you admit it or not, somewhere in the Riverina is a place where Australian football country becomes RL country, IMO its an interesting discussion.

              What you normally find is people who live close to, or on the Barassi line have more respect for each others code than those who do not live near it or on it.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 10:53am
                Reservoir Animal said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

                How about Perth? They’re about as far from the line as you’d get and their population seems to like soccer and the rugby codes much more than Adelaide or Darwin would.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 11:01am
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                I dunno, i think Adelaide and Perth share a pretty big love for soccer driven primarily by expat UK and post WW2 Italians, pretty similar IMO, although Perth has a far greater % of Rugby loving people, historically Perth is probably one of the only places where a football code has been supplanted, rugby was the main code up until a time in the 1890’s.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 11:12am
                concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                OK Alidee, i believe you.Wagga {Population + 54,000 } would be one epicentre of your Barassi line.

                “Wagga’s location approximately midway between Melbourne and Sydney on the “Barassi Line” contributes to high levels of participation in Rugby league, Rugby union and Australian rules football in the town. Other popular sports in Wagga include soccer, cricket, tennis, and lawn bowls.

                The local rugby league teams play in the Group 9 Rugby League competition and include Wagga Brothers, South City and Wagga Kangaroos. The Group 9 grand final is a major sport event in Wagga Wagga. Rugby union teams include CSU Reddies, Wagga Agricultural College, Wagga City and Wagga Waratahs in the Southern Inland Rugby Union. Australian rules football clubs in Wagga include Collingullie-Glenfield Park, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, Turvey Park and Wagga Tigers in the Riverina Football League and East Wagga-Kooringal, North Wagga and Rivcoll(CSU) in the Farrer Football League. Wagga soccer teams include Henwood Park, Wagga United, Tolland and Lake Albert, with the first grade competition for men being the Pascoe Cup and for women the Leonard Cup. The Wagga Wagga Gold Cup, said to be Australia’s second oldest thoroughbred horse race, is held in the first week of May.[73][74]

                Another smaller place would be Hay, NSW (Population 2500 },
                “Hay, like many places in the Riverina, supports and competes in a wide variety of sport, including all major football codes.
                The Hay Magpies are a Rugby League team playing in Group 20, a competition consisting of teams from towns situated in the South Western Riverina area. In the history of Group 17, the Hay Magpies won 12 premierships, more than any other team in the group. The Magpies moved into Group 20 in 2007, after the collapse of group 17. Hay being the only town from the former competition to survive. [15]
                The local Rugby Union team is the Hay Cutters playing in the Southern Inland Rugby Union against teams from as far away as Tumut and Albury.
                The Hay Lions are an Australian Rules football club competing in the Golden Rivers Football League which consists of small towns in northern Victoria and the western Riverina.
                The Hay Jockey Club runs a popular annual race meeting in November, promoted as “the biggest day in the year”. Whilst the meeting is professional and supported by the TAB, it retains a “picnic races” atmosphere.[16]

              • March 5th 2018 @ 11:50am
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

                You can count out Tumbarumba from group 9 this year.


                Survived on the back of Kiwi imports for to many years.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 1:02pm
                concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                BS l you don’t want to start a code war, referring to your posy on Tumbarumba, what about Burnie in Tasmania.

                “The Tasmanian region which produced AFL greats Darrel Baldock, Matthew Richardson and the Gale brothers will not be represented in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) in 2018.

                After 132 years on the paddock, the Burnie Dockers have withdrawn from the league this year because they were unable to field a team.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                Lot of it has to do with population shifts, In Burnies case AFAIK there are 3 clubs close (not in state league) and being in the state league like they are means big travel even in Tassie, that was one of the big issues.

                They came from the local comp and probably next year will return there.

                In Tumbarumbas case, the local RL team is in opposition (sort of) to the local AF team which plays in the Upper Murray comp and won the flag a couple of years ago, (its first ever) Tumbarumba RL club has been surviving on the back of imports ( mainly kiwi) to keep up with the rest of group 9, it has caught up to them, maybe they will be back next year, maybe not.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 10:25am
          RandyM said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          A more general definition is the suspicion and dislike of something that is foreign – I.e Rugby league, union, soccer, sports that are not AFL.

          I didn’t mean a prejudice against people from other countries…

          • March 5th 2018 @ 10:36am
            Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            I admit i don’t really like Bocce, have played it a few times whilst camping, wondering up and down having a beer, but TBH tired of it pretty quickly.

            Does that make me xenophobic ?,

          • March 6th 2018 @ 12:55pm
            Perry Bridge said | March 6th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report


            Back in the day – the 1880s in particular – there was much discussion about which was the best football code – – generally in the letters sections of the Brisbane and Sydney papers. Generally because the new arrivals from England were at that time bringing ‘Association Football’ or ‘Rugby Football’ off the boat in their baggage – so to speak.

            Well, the locals in Melbourne had been working on their own game for over 20 years by then and thought it a pretty good game to play. It wasn’t ‘suspicion’ of the ‘foreign’ games given that games from England were the initial motivation behind the local game.

            The English had had a crack at ‘one code for all’ but hadn’t managed it. The English conflict was imported to Australia – a dribbling game vs a handling game. And that argument never got settled.

            There was really no great reason for those folk where Australian Football had got established – such that the level of community involvement was arguably second to none in the world – there was no great reason to change. Suspicion had nothing to do with it.

            That the English were to later deliver another Rugby variant just showed how prone they were to indecision!!

            In Sydney and Brisbane – ‘football’ came later than it did to Melb/Adelaide. Without the local game having a solid history of bedding in – the locals were more open to being swayed. The lure of playing against and touring to England was great. And that was the ultimate killer of any momentum in Sydney – but that was part of the issue when the Rugby folk had their on schism and delivered RL to Australia.

            The concept of xenophobia if displayed anywhere in the first 50 years of football in Australia was actually a colonial xenophobia and suspicion from NSW/Sydney towards the upstart Victorians. As has been said – they (Victorians) would have had more success convincing the Sydney folk to play ‘Swiss Rules’ rather than ‘Melbourne/Victorian Rules’.

            That’s the irony – it’s not like the Australian Football folk did anything other than stick with what they enjoyed (and spectators did too – – and the proof continues to be in the eating for that pudding!!!!).

      • March 5th 2018 @ 10:27pm
        Tokenism said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

        and AFL will conquer.

    • Roar Guru

      March 5th 2018 @ 8:58am
      AdelaideDocker said | March 5th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      Oooh, this’ll be a controversial article. It’s a good one, though, Aligee.

      I don’t think the Barassi line means too much anymore, purely given how interconnected Australia and it’s states seem to be, but there definitely remains some undeniable division.

      I’d personally advocate that the best way to grow a sport in any particular region is through the grassroots level – particularly in schools – and I think most of the major codes are doing that pretty well. AFL is prolific throughout schools in most of the states – not too sure about NSW/ACT though – and soccer is as well.

      Rugby traditionally has a elitist stereotype surrounding it, which I feel definitely remains in place. It’s everywhere in Brisbane and Sydney, but from my experience here in Adelaide it’s very much a private school thing. I have friends who played it in my school, and from memory most of the competing schools were private schools – not much dispelling the stereotype!

      • March 5th 2018 @ 9:24am
        Reservoir Animal said | March 5th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Even in Sydney (and most of Brisbane), rugby union is largely a private school thing. Kiwis and S Africans who come to Australia find it hard to get used to, since the latter country has barely heard of rugby league and the former see it as a desperately poor cousin.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:34am
          RandyM said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

          the NRL is the biggest domestic comp with Rugby in it title in the world. If some little island country with less than half the gdp of Sydney doesn’t rate it, so what?

          Rugby is a white sport in South Africa, 91% if the population there are black and prefer soccer.

          • March 5th 2018 @ 10:33pm
            Tokenism said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

            Thought the French union was now the biggest, followed by the English.

            NZ is weird with its obsession with union. They had to pick a sport they could dominate because hardly else takes it that seriously.

            South Africa’s white population would be 5 percent and shrinking. Soccer is Africa’s game. Union is the old regimes.

            • March 6th 2018 @ 11:03am
              clipper said | March 6th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

              SA’s white population is nearer 9%, but as you say dropping. There is also around 10% mixed race. Some areas though, especially around Cape town there is a 20-30% white demograpic. There is some movement in grassroot balck participation, time will tell if it has any long term effects. Reseviour Animal is spot on in his assessment though.

    • March 5th 2018 @ 9:24am
      Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      Don’t think Rugby League is too elitist AD. Rugby sure, and personally I enjoy watching it a helluva lot more than League. The only time I watch League is to see the League intelligencia belt the living suitcase out of each other in SOO.

      • Roar Guru

        March 5th 2018 @ 9:41am
        AdelaideDocker said | March 5th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Sorry, yeah, by ‘rugby’ I was referring to union.

        I do enjoy watching rugby union heaps – my dad got me onto that one, being a Queenslander, but I don’t care much for league.

    • March 5th 2018 @ 10:53am
      Simmo said | March 5th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

      The Barassi line is a defunct concept. It ignores the biggest sport in the country and the overwhelmingly dominant sport in NSW. It’s a throwback to the 1970s and of no meaningful use to contemporary sporting culture discussions.

      It should probably be replaced with some kind of Johnny Warren Line which would delineate the areas where futbol is the most played code vs Aussie rules. Those are the only codes that occupy a No1 spot across any state/territory. It would be a line stretching from south of Wagga down toward near Bermagui or something like that

      • Roar Guru

        March 5th 2018 @ 11:10am
        Redb said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        Soccer is irrelevant to the Barassi line as is cricket.

        This was a line of demarcation based on Aussie Rules football clubs and rugby code clubs. It shows the sphere of influence in territorial terms each sport traditionally held.

        My view is that whilst there has been an erosion on either side with AFL clearly in front in terms of grass roots in ‘enemy’ territory, it still holds to be true. Generational support takes generations to change.

        Beer is an interesting example. Its now a very fragmented market, but you would have to argue that Vic Bitter seems to have made more inroads than say Tooheys or XXXX respectively. XXXX is virtually non existent in Melb pubs.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:17am
          Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

          Haha, yes, i do remember being a regular at a club that had a huge bar with probably upwards of 20 taps, all you could get was VB or Carlton on tap, that was it, but no one complained, that was the way it was.

          Fast forward to today and if you walk into a pub that does not have 20 different sort of beers you feel ripped off.

          • Roar Guru

            March 5th 2018 @ 11:34am
            Redb said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            I’m biased, but Carlton Draught on tap is the best beer in the known universe. This is in no way an endorsement of Carlton generally.

            • March 5th 2018 @ 11:41am
              Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

              I am all over the shop these days, spent a few afternoons at the Yorkshire Hotel in Collingwood drinking Collingwood Draught – and there is no truth to the rumour they are thinking of renaming it Collinwood Bitter!

              • March 5th 2018 @ 11:56am
                Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

                Ah the Stingo Aligee.

                Nothing like the vibe in some inner city Melbourne pubs in Collingwood (incl Abbotsford where the Stingo is), Richmond and Fitzroy.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 12:00pm
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

                Abbotsford/Collingwood – whats the difference?, bit of poetic license thrown in, but you are right, nothing beats them.

                I have always wondered why the name “stingo” what does it mean, so i googled it and apparently it relates to a certain taste of beer as in stinging or well matured and goes back to an English pub from London (of course) and not Yorkshire.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 1:41pm
                Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                Never knew that about Stingo, but thought it was a bit of a weird name.

                I do include Abbotsford as the other decent joint i used to frequent there is the Sullivans’ pub, The Retreat.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 2:33pm
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                Oh mate, a man after my own heart, the Retreat should not be missed by anyone visiting Melbourne IMHO, it really is a one off, hidden gem.

                If the Yarra Hotel around the corner is a Peter Daicos torpie from Vic Park, then the Retreat is a Barry Price stab kick to the Yarra.

                I think there is another Retreat Hotel in North Melbourne, never been there but i doubt it has a patch on the Abbotsford one.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 2:53pm
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                Retreat up for sale, i hope they dont have ideas of knocking it down for units etc – surely must be heritage listed.


                photos make it look far bigger than what it actually is, tiny pub

              • March 5th 2018 @ 3:12pm
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

                Funny story actually, well i thought so, if anyone looks at the first photo of the hotel in the link, you can see how close the house next door ( small truck in front) is to the Pub, it is pretty well joined, i was standing out the front with a mate who was having a smoke and he said to me,” you know what i would do if i bought this house” ?, i said, “no, no idea” , he said “well, i would move the gate closer to the pub”, by this time we had had quite a few and i thought it was the funniest thing i had heard for a while, i think at the time he was actually deadly serious.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 3:23pm
                Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

                Classic story Aligee. Very funny and typical arid Aussie humour.

                The only knock on The Retreat I had was when i took my vegan partner there and they pretty much refused to do anything for her for dinner even when we suggested a couple of very simple things. And if you know the area, that’s incredible. Pity cos up until then it was a great place to go and only five mins walk from my place.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 3:33pm
                valhalla said | March 5th 2018 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

                the empress in north fitzroy was a decent ‘ol boozer to …. relaxed, bohemian with a decent curry laksa on the menu back in the early 90s

              • Roar Guru

                March 5th 2018 @ 5:31pm
                Col from Brissie said | March 5th 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

                Lots of great pubs around in the inner suburbs back in the 70’s and all served great meals. Being a Carlton supporter it was always Naughtons or the Sarah Sands after a game at Princes Park and being a Pascoe Vale local it was any of Drum’s, Brown’s or Foley’s pubs in Coburg.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 6:12pm
                valhalla said | March 5th 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

                saw young gods and a scorching cosmic psychos gig at the sarah sands one new years eve many moons ago – great boozer with a storied band history ….. now its a gawdforsaken pokies venue of all things (well, it was a couple of years ago at least – what manner of evil its morphed into recently is anyones guess)

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:28am
          concerned supporter said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          “Mr RedB,
          Beer is an interesting example.
          Rubbish, a very bad comparison.
          Can you explain why imported beers are cheaper than Australian beers.There are Freight coats + import duty.
          Yet yesterday at Liquorland, a case of Coopers green was $55, versus Stella Artois $47?

          • March 5th 2018 @ 2:10pm
            Tom Alexander said | March 5th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

            Most Stella is brewed under license here.

          • March 6th 2018 @ 11:30am
            Kris said | March 6th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

            95% of beer sold in Australia is made here – including the ‘imports’.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:29am
          RandyM said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

          XXXX and VB are the two highest selling beers in the country and usually swap positions, though I think VB has been on top for a few years now.

          • Roar Guru

            March 5th 2018 @ 11:36am
            Redb said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            Top selling in which States?

            In relation to this article on territory, is XXXX market share in VIC/SA/WA comparable to Vic Bitter in QLD/NSW ?

            • March 5th 2018 @ 1:43pm
              Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

              As that yellow cartoon oracle of modern culture so wisely put it: “mmmm beer”

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:49am
          Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

          I cant remember going to a Sydney pub and not seeing VB and Carlton on tap. Whereas go to Melbourne pubs and you wouldn’t see Tooheys or XXXX. Im talking city here tho as I don’t get to the Sydney burbs very often. There are often reasons where the brewery owns the pub, but regardless Carlton Draught is simply a better beer than Tooheys or XXXX or WestEnd for that matter. You wont get many beer aficionados disagreeing with that either.

          Aside, I think someone on Roar should write an analysis on frofffees one day. Given the interlinking culture (good or bad) of Aussie sport and cold froffees its a wonder its not been writ yet.

          • March 5th 2018 @ 12:57pm
            RandyM said | March 5th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

            Carlton Draught is awful and I don’t think its that popular in QLD. Tooheys Extra Dry is the absolute worst though.

            I drink mostly craft beers now anyway but the Tassie beers (Boags, Cascade) are the best of the mainstream ones.

            • Roar Guru

              March 5th 2018 @ 1:00pm
              Paul Dawson said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              Everyone goes through a TED’s phase at some point in their life. I had mine for about 6 months around 2003-04. Never again

              Boag’s is the best local beer you can get a carton of for under $50 IMO.

            • Roar Guru

              March 5th 2018 @ 1:10pm
              Redb said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

              Some beers are better than others, but Carton Draught on tap in a good pub (that regularly cleans its lines) is the best by far.

              Like Tooheys red , think XXXX is goat’s pee. Don’t think much of VB, haven’t drunk it for years.

              Like Boags, Fat yak, Kirin, etc.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                Milo said | March 5th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Cascade Premium used to be better in the early 2000s but they changed the recipe and its never been quite the same.

                I love Boags (Lager) as well. And even in a can. However i wonder if they ever sell the cans retail? Cos only ever had it on a Qantas flight, but gees it (or they they sometimes) goes down well after a long day in Sydney…

              • March 5th 2018 @ 3:18pm
                Canowindra Kid said | March 5th 2018 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                A New South Welshman visiting Melbourne tired of the VB vs Carlton argument sent samples off for testing. The report came back with the opinion: “Both your horses have jaundice”.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 3:28pm
                Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Beer was pretty well split along football lines just as much as state ones i reckon when you line up Tooheys and Carlton, my father though a Victorian by birth started drinking Reschs in the 1970 ‘s but we lived in Canberra around then.

              • Roar Guru

                March 5th 2018 @ 5:35pm
                Grobbelaar said | March 5th 2018 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

                Did he come from Dandenong?

          • March 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm
            Pope Paul VII said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

            The “Beer Line” was definately a thing. CUB beers on tap in Sydney in the mid 80s were rare. VB on tap preceded Carlton draught (the Riverina favourite) on tap by my recollection and Fosters on tap would have been first.

            Now with Craft beer overkill your lucky to find VB or even Toohey’s New in Sydney. Just for the fun of it I’ve got into the NSW stalwart Resches Draught when lucky enough to spot it amongst all the overrated craft. The “craft” seems to be in the naming.

            • Roar Guru

              March 5th 2018 @ 1:20pm
              Paul Dawson said | March 5th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

              The name is half the beer, I agree. I usually go for a beer with some of the peeps from my orchestra thursday evenings – musicians are the only people I have met who love alcohol as much as cricket/footy players – and we used to go this place called Scratch in at Milton that always had a new lineup on the taps every week or two

              Recently we’ve been giving Newstead beers a go, a local Brisbane brewery that’s opened a bar right across the road from Suncorp stadium, damn nice. Their mid-strength session ale is a beaut.

              • March 5th 2018 @ 2:32pm
                Pope Paul VII said | March 5th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                Gotta love the arts and ales

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:54am
          Reservoir Animal said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          It’s a climate thing. I live in Melbourne and I will drink XXXX or Great Northern only on stinking hot days when you want to hydrate quickly. Leave the can/bottle open for 15 minutes and it’s no longer beer.

          Tooheys is less of a climate-oriented beer and TBH I’d like to see more of it in Melbs. Beats VB IMO.

          • Roar Guru

            March 5th 2018 @ 11:55am
            Paul Dawson said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

            I quite like Toohey’s New. Good drop

          • March 5th 2018 @ 12:11pm
            Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

            Sorry cant stand Great Northern, great backdrop to their ads though, very basic these days but a Corona with plenty of lime or lemon pushed inside does me, then eat it when finished drinking.

    • March 5th 2018 @ 11:13am
      Nick Symonds said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

      “Does the Barassi line mean anything anymore?”

      Yes. It means that there are over 13 million people in NSW, ACT and Queensland vs only 520,000 in Tasmania.

      Then again why target NSW, ACT and Queensland when you can take on the whole world?

      The Herald Sun article sounds surprisingly like a couple of things I’ve written…

      • Roar Guru

        March 5th 2018 @ 11:21am
        Redb said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        That Herald Sun article is ridiculous.

        • March 5th 2018 @ 11:35am
          Aligee said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          And here i am just talking about the Barassi line!! 🙂

          I know i will be hounded, but we as football followers don’t view a game like AFLX the same as people who have never seen the game before.

          What we consider as non competitive, untraditional, bruise free and boring would not mean anything to someone new to the game.

    • Roar Guru

      March 5th 2018 @ 11:35am
      Paul Dawson said | March 5th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

      The Barassi line was coined when sporting competitions were predominantly state based – the NSWRL, the VFL, the QRL etc – the Brisbane Broncos didn’t exist, the AFL/NRL hadn’t come into being, so I don’t see it as being a particularly relevant yardstick in today’s day and age

      Moreover it’s not really intended to quantify the impact of sporting teams at the elite level, but rather looking at which is the most popular sport in a particular region.

      I think the import of this is overstated in today’s day and age – the advent of national sporting competitions means anyone anywhere can watch whatever code they want if they have the money to pay for what is not on FTA – they have the option at least, whereas previously in the days of the Barassi Line you were dependent on what FTA offered on one of the 4 or 5 channels max that you had available to watch.
      Speaking for queensland I’d be very comfortable putting league first, soccer/AFL both in second place, and rugby union a distant 3rd. Union I think is going to exist in a sort of vegetative state for the next few decades – not dying, but not improving either. League is still by far and away the pre-eminent sport here in terms of capturing the public’s attention but I’m not sure that situation will still persist in the next few decades, I rather suspect league may lose the grassroots battle, admittedly that’s just based on gut feel.

      League’s current issue is that they’re still working on evolving a different style of play and game that can be entertaining without having to rely on some of the now banned physicality in proceedings – I know it seems a bit trite but I think the absence of shoulder charges and some of the heavier hits has had a guerrilla impact on the NRL – it wasn’t something that happened all the time but the thought a massive hit could happen any moment I think has been understated in its appeal. When the game instead is 80 mins of slightly differing levels of wrestling engagement there occurs a certain amount of predictability after a while, not dissimilar to BBL fatigue.

      I maintain League will never be able to make major gains while State of Origin cannabalises their regular season each year. SOO knocks the guts out of the integrity of the comp by stripping out all the best players for about 6 weeks, and also has the added benefit of relegating club footy to a sideshow. By the time it starts up again two months later loads of people have stopped caring about the outcome of the season. I think there’s an SOO game being played on a Sunday night this year as a standalone fixture which I think is long overdue.

      Origin is of course something Soccer & AFL don’t have to deal with. Soccer is similar to Queensland AFL – dreadful at the elite level in this country, but very strong at grassroots level. Soccer is everywhere in this country, AFL is doing very well as well. Additionally, soccer/AFL have the handy advantage of rarely crossing paths with each other. Different grounds, different fields, and generally speaking, different players. On the strength of the evidence available, I would back these two sports to be the mainstays of Australian ball sports at grassroots level over the next 40-50 years.

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