Force are better off without Rugby Australia

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By Shop, Shop is a Roar Guru

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    In what was a terrible year for Australian rugby, the lowest point of 2017 was the Western Force being cut.

    I’m from Sydney, have never been to Perth, and don’t know too much about the rugby culture there, but from the reaction of most fans, players and billionaires, there is clearly a passion that isn’t nationwide.

    I can’t imagine the reaction from the Melbourne fans being anywhere near as emotional had it been the Rebels getting the chop. In fact, as a long-time NSW supporter, I would have welcomed cutting the Tahs as a mercy killing!

    But there was genuine, heartfelt disappointment out of the West.

    Rugby in Western Australia clearly forged ahead under the banner of the Force, giving youngsters a genuine pathway that didn’t exist previously. By ripping this away, Rugby Australia have left a deep scar.

    However, with Super Rugby in Australia dipping to new lows, maybe the best place for the Force to be is out of the comp, so they can concentrate on developing the game by their own means.

    As the professional rugby structure withers under the current administration, traditional competitions such as the Shute Shield are finding a new lease on life. Hardcore fans are finding better avenues to follow the game they love and it doesn’t involve the professional game, which has disconnected itself from the amateur game.

    Rugby WA has the perfect opportunity to build a strong structure that (with the help of a certain billionaire’s bank account) can create a pathway to a professional career.

    They can break the ball and chain of the RA management that is dragging the game down in the rest of the country.

    Even with a new CEO since the decision to cut the Force, there is a stigma attached to the current administration. To operate with a degree of independence could bring more benefits to rugby in the west. So while cutting the Force was disastrous in the short-term, perhaps it has provided the perfect opportunity for the game there to thrive.

    This is their time to plough resources into the local game, from juniors all the way up to the Pindan Premier Grade. What better way to respond than to build a structure to rival that of Brisbane and Sydney?

    I follow the Force with a passing interest on some social media sites and from what I have seen there is a positive feeling about the upcoming World Series Rugby.

    There have also been development and grassroots programs being rolled out that appear well sponsored, which for a team without a regular competition to play in is impressive.

    Compare this with the daily, depressing news coming out of Super Rugby in Australia – poor ratings, attendances and results (although admittedly slightly less so than last year).

    If South Africa decide to pull out of Super Rugby, what will happen to the remaining teams? This is speculation, however, if big TV dollars dry up, could RA be looking at insolvency?

    If I was a sponsor considering buying rights to the Australian market, I’d be looking for bargain prices considering how poor the product is performing.

    As long as the current administration haven’t completely ruined the sport by 2020, maybe going broke might be the best thing that could happen. This would force the old guard to relinquish control and make way for a completely fresh start.

    Similar to football in the early 2000s, who had Frank Lowy behind the renaissance, Andrew Forrest could well be the saviour for Australian rugby.

    Key to the successful transformation of football was finding a compromise between national, state and club interests and blending these into a sustainable national competition. By its very nature, this is not possible under SANZAAR. Could Twiggy pull it off?

    This year’s World Series Rugby is only designed to get the Force onto the field and next year a complete competition is planned. I don’t see any future to the comp if it is to run concurrently with Super Rugby, but if sponsors are sick of the current governance and decide not to invest any further, maybe the only option for Australasian professional rugby will be down a new path.

    Rebuild announcement

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    The Crowd Says (124)

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:22am
      tc said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      God bless the Force, from Christchurch.

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 4:27pm
        Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

        Which God?
        Much like TJ and Webber, many of us aren’t big fans of the vengeful one.
        The tolerant one that prophesies tolerance and goodwill to all mankind is more than welcome.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 4th 2018 @ 10:44am
          piru said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          The Rugby God, obviously Timbo

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:51am
      lobby said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

      Advertising in the West Australian newspaper today claims the game against Fiji is a sell out!

      • Roar Rookie

        May 3rd 2018 @ 10:58am
        piru said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Can confirm having left it too late to buy tix 🙁

        • Roar Guru

          May 3rd 2018 @ 11:02am
          Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          Piru,
          I might be able to get you one if you are mad keen, there will be a lot of moving parts to get it to you though.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 3rd 2018 @ 11:09am
            piru said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

            Thanks mate, but I’ve booked the evening in front of the telly with the boy, I actually have a bucks event starting early the next day so it was always going to be tight (not to mention unpopular in the extended Piru family)

            The upside is the brownie points I’ve earned in ‘choosing’ not to go should mean no friction for the rest of the series!

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 5:20pm
              riddler said | May 3rd 2018 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

              well done piru on the brownie points… well ‘earnt’ mate… love it!!

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 8:59pm
              Zulu said | May 3rd 2018 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

              Not all bad Piru, I did the same and I’m getting blasted by the missus. A bit of sunshine tho as its been shown on FTA 72 from 1830 and one of the Foxtel channels live as well.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:48pm
                Ruggamuffin said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

                Great stuff Piru
                Would rather be babysitting a kid over watching such a dour spectacle.
                Have you seen the lineup ? Prior, Leon Power, Longbottom. A bunch of 2nd rate players, half of who are geriatrics.
                God help us

              • May 4th 2018 @ 7:49am
                Bakkies said | May 4th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

                How many logins do you need Realist?

              • Roar Rookie

                May 4th 2018 @ 10:45am
                piru said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

                Ruggamuffin I feel you’ve misunderstood my feelings on the matter

        • Roar Guru

          May 3rd 2018 @ 11:23am
          Shop said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

          My sister is a keen rugby fan and just moved to WA. I told her to get tickets last week, I hope she listened.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 8:06pm
            Rugger said | May 3rd 2018 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

            They sold out a game with the Farce??

            Goes to show cutting them was a financial master stroke..”Hats off RA” !!

            I think i’d rather watch the Syrian Swimming team compete in a Somali ocean race than watch a bunch of no-names fumbling a Gilbert on the other side of the Indian Ocean. Who is their coach now ???

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:16pm
              Ex force fan said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

              No-one will Force you to watch. Enjoy your swimming, whetever stroke you prefer.

              I will watch our team play and hope the rugby will be entertaining in a full stadium with other fanatical fans. Superugby spectators on TV looks like they are at a funeral, maybe they are.

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:16pm
              Bakkies said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

              Realist go watch the Rebels play in front of an empty stadium.

            • May 4th 2018 @ 12:11am
              Force4Good said | May 4th 2018 @ 12:11am | ! Report

              OMG, someone actually supporting RA!!!

              Comedy gold 🙂

              Go you!

              Enjoy the swimming dude…

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 10:59am
        Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        You can’t get tickets from the normal sources but I am sure the scalpers will be having a field day.

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 11:31am
        Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:31am | ! Report

        I am not going to sugar coat it, a lot of the tickets were free to grass roots families or heavily discounted, I am sure that many haters will respond that these figures aren’t realistic and that the stats have been tweaked to make it look good.

        I don’t really care, I think it is clever marketing and with no RA to answer to, growing a fan and participation base should be high on the list of priorities. The Rebels have done a bit of this themselves, I am not sure they are filling stadiums though.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 3rd 2018 @ 11:36am
          piru said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

          As you said – better to have a full stadium of people buying beer and hotdogs than half a one paying a bit more for their tickets

          • Roar Guru

            May 3rd 2018 @ 11:53am
            Train Without A Station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            Not necessarily though.

            Clive Palmer when he owned GC United (I think they were called) capped attendance at 5,000. Because if it went over it triggered additional costs, but they didn’t get enough additional attendance to cover that cost.

            It’s a complex consideration that can change depending on the lease agreement.

          • Roar Guru

            May 3rd 2018 @ 12:16pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            Oh yes. And full stadiums are great for the TV product also.

            • May 4th 2018 @ 6:27am
              Ex force fan said | May 4th 2018 @ 6:27am | ! Report

              And also improve the spectator experience and entertainment value.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 12:30pm
            Barry Crocker said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

            Not sure about the forthcoming games, however the Force got 2/5ths of bugger all from any beer/pie sales at NIB due to a long standing deal that they were stuck with & had no real alternative to bargain against in any case. Long story that one…

            • Roar Guru

              May 3rd 2018 @ 12:34pm
              Train Without A Station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              What sporting team in Australia gets a cut of food and beverage sales?

              None own their ground. None own the companies who manage them.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 1:35pm
                Barry Crocker said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                Nearly every single local Club across most sports in my experience. This is their major source of income.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 1:39pm
                Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                We aren’t talking about local clubs. Stadium catering is run by separate companies to the stadium and the tenant in Australia.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:25pm
                Old Greg said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                Cronulla owns their own ground, I think they might be the only professional team that does.

              • Roar Guru

                May 3rd 2018 @ 3:18pm
                rebel said | May 3rd 2018 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                Cronulla Sharks do.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 3:29pm
                Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                Do they run the stadium catering though?

              • Roar Guru

                May 3rd 2018 @ 4:22pm
                rebel said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                No idea, just replying to your definitive statement ‘None own their own ground”.
                Pretty sure at a minimum they would be getting rent as opposed to other clubs.
                When I was there last week there was plenty of food, alcohol and merchandice stalls, no uniforms to suggest it was run by a certain company.
                There is also the corporate catering and the restaurant.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:35pm
                Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

                Indeed. In that rare case of 1 out of 21 professional football teams they would receive rent.

                Which would not fluctuate (other than values increase in future leases if sales are strong).

              • Roar Rookie

                May 3rd 2018 @ 4:22pm
                piru said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                French mate of mine was laughing that advertising made mention of “full strength beer” at NIB.

                Controversially the new stadium serves mid strength, he reckoned they’d be tipping over cars and burning Paris to the ground if they tried that in France

              • Roar Guru

                May 3rd 2018 @ 5:06pm
                rebel said | May 3rd 2018 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                Well done Fonzy. People are allowed to admit they are wrong on this site. There’s no rule saying you can’t.

              • May 4th 2018 @ 3:10pm
                Train without a station said | May 4th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                The entire discussion was about F&B sales being income to teams.

                And whether 1 of 21+ Owns their ground doesn’t really change the entire point.

                0 people at a game or a sell out purchasing copious amounts of food makes no difference in F&B income to teams, as they have none.

              • May 4th 2018 @ 4:18pm
                rebel said | May 4th 2018 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

                Great, so you were wrong.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 7:19pm
                ScottD said | May 3rd 2018 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

                Piru,
                I went to Stade de France (Paris) for the two RWC semis (England/France & SA/Argis) a few (many) years ago and can confirm that they didn’t sell full strength beer at all. In fact they sold something that was less alcohol than the low strength beer that you & I don’t drink.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 7:24pm
                cuw said | May 3rd 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                RFU plan to introduce alcohol ban at Twickenham after fans complain about supporters heading to bars during play

                http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-5669695/England-plan-introduce-alcohol-ban-matchdays-Twickenham.html

              • May 4th 2018 @ 7:57am
                Bakkies said | May 4th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

                People walking in front of actual fans back and forth to the bar while the game is going on to get watered down over priced p..s is one of my pet hates.

                I attended a match at Twickenham once and a group of louts were so paralytic they vommited up at the top of the stand ruined the game for the people sitting in their vicinity.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 4th 2018 @ 10:46am
                piru said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

                ScottD – I’m getting onto my mate now to give him a bollocking

                Never trust a Frenchman

              • Roar Rookie

                May 4th 2018 @ 1:38pm
                piru said | May 4th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                Ok word from France is “alcohol is banned in sport, unless you have a dérogation – and there is a dérogation every week”

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:57pm
              Bakkies said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

              In France they are only allowed to sell non alcohol content beer at stadia.

        • Roar Guru

          May 3rd 2018 @ 11:48am
          Train Without A Station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          I’d only personally respond that to people championing the numbers and using them to drive an agenda.

          Other teams would do this, but don’t have somebody picking up the tab (Forrest). Nothing wrong with using his funds though.

          • Roar Guru

            May 3rd 2018 @ 3:47pm
            Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

            With NIB Full (ish), I can’t see Forrest being out of pocket. I can’t speak to match fees for Fiji and contract costs at the Force, but I suspect Toyota and Fox will be picking up the tab for a decent portion of it.

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:41pm
              Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

              I’d say revenue will be limited to sponsorship and gate takings.

              Which is fine. But I doubt fox or FTA are actually paying for the broadcast.

              • Roar Guru

                May 4th 2018 @ 12:06pm
                Timbo (L) said | May 4th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                FTA, no, Fox Yes, otherwise they wouldn’t have got a delayed FTA telecast over east.

              • May 4th 2018 @ 3:12pm
                Train without a station said | May 4th 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

                Why would Fox have paid for it?

                It’s a low value time slot.

                It’s likely like the Shute Shield. Free content. Them showing it is good for the owner, and it doesn’t need to be shown in place of higher value (ratings) product.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 6:05pm
          John Ryan said | May 4th 2018 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

          Dont worry GWS have raised free ticket giveaways to an artform most of there overstated crowds are free loaders

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 12:29pm
        Marty said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

        I purchased 4 ticks about 10 minutes ago. Go to the Force website.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 3rd 2018 @ 12:33pm
          piru said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

          They apparently released another 500 this morning

          • Roar Guru

            May 3rd 2018 @ 12:35pm
            Train Without A Station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

            So it wasn’t sold out? When will the lies stop Piru?

            • Roar Rookie

              May 3rd 2018 @ 12:50pm
              piru said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

              I don’t know what to think anymore

              Next they’ll be announcing it’s 48 – 72 hrs away

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 1:40pm
                Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

                Touché

            • May 4th 2018 @ 7:58am
              Bakkies said | May 4th 2018 @ 7:58am | ! Report

              That’s rich Cameron.

    • Roar Guru

      May 3rd 2018 @ 11:23am
      Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      Good article, thanks for posting.

      As far as I’m concerned, the WA 2017 Grass roots program was near perfect. Juniors through to SR. Limited prospects to become a Wallaby, but that is a different gripe for a different reason for a different day.

      With the Force Axed, we lost a bit of talent from the comp, with game quality dipping a little, familiar names have been popping up in Brisbane and Melbourne suburban comps, with players packing up their Perth campsites and pitching their tents in the east.

      The junior group numbers have taken a hit post apocalypse but with Twiggy and the Hodgeson Royal family getting involved, the junior groups seem to be energized with a trickle of kids new to the game signing up. This is what I call “New Growth” not just kids with ex-pat parents singed up at Under 6. We are seeing new 9-12’s.

      I am optimistic with a hint of freudenschade.
      SR in Australia is losing it’s shine. With losses to the SA conference, it is a competition to see who is head of the kiddies table.

      The exhibition series this year will be just enough to keep the Rabid fans fed and to give Twiggy an insight into his revenue base. It it passes the sniff test, and the 2019 IRPC comp succeeds, I can foresee SR dying a slow, painful death with to 2020 broadcast renegotiation not going well for the Brumbies, Rebels and Sunwolves. The Rebels and surprisingly the Crusaders are already playing nice and coming over this year, other teams might take a leaf out of their book.

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 11:29am
        Shop said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        Thanks for a better insight into the rugby scene there. Like I state above, I’ve never been to WA but going by the passionate pleas to survive it was the saddest moment in what was already a very sad year for Australian rugby. I genuinely hope the Phoenix rises from the ashes.

        • Roar Guru

          May 3rd 2018 @ 11:40am
          Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          I played my first game of Rugby as a 6 year old in Brizvegas, my parents migrants from Sydney, so I still have a soft spot for east coast Rugby but while it is being strangled by not so Super Rugby and Fox broadcasting it is going to be a tough slog.
          As you suggest, the grass roots attitude over there is already seeing some rejuvenation and enthusiasm, in spite of SR.
          It isn’t rocket surgery, the NRL and AFL have had sustained success for many years, it is a model worth copying, or at least evaluating.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 11:34am
        ScottD said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

        A certain WA, Premier team Club President has stated publicly that their senior side had 12 of their best players leave the club and relocate to the eastern states late in 2017 in order to further their chances of playing professional rugby. For the record this happened between the Force being axed and the confirmation of the WSR. This was in addition to those players that moved to SR teams in the east.

        This statistic is mirrored more or less across every Premier Club/Team in Perth. It is exactly what used to happen before the Force came into existence. This is the hidden cost of what RA did to Western Australia rugby. It will take years to recover from that.

        We can’t fix what happened before the WSR but we desperately need it to be successful or the bleeding will continue.

        • Roar Guru

          May 3rd 2018 @ 11:48am
          Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          Stats are skewed slightly, some of the guys mentioned aren’t homegrown talent, they moved from East, NZ and PI to tap into the opportunities available at the Western Force elite development programs.

          I don’t think I care where they came from though, more breeding grounds with stronger comps has got to be be better for the overall strength of Australian rugby.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 6:43am
          Ex force fan said | May 4th 2018 @ 6:43am | ! Report

          I doubt that this “cost” was ever hidden as WA advocates have stated the importance of thr Force to WA Rufby with Nathan Sharpe even using a releasing a bomb argument. Anyone in WA realised how important the Force is to drive the growth in numbers and quality in WA. The small monetary saving from axing the Force for a very short period of time while retaining the money drain (Rebels) and the rebuff of a $50 million offer from Forrest makes me think that this “hidden” cost or windfall of players moving predominantly to the Sydney clubs may have been the real reason to axe the Force. Rugby Australia got this call wrong, the wrong team was axed for the wrong reasons – they put WA Rugby at least 5 years back. A lot of pain for a not much gain and as Chairman that lead this decision Clyne should take responsibility and resign.

          • May 4th 2018 @ 6:47am
            Ex force fan said | May 4th 2018 @ 6:47am | ! Report

            I have always promoted a merger even between the Rebels and Force as the better outcome if a team had to be axed. This loose-loose situation was setup by the ARU from the beginning when they discounted a merger as an alternative. The Rebels-Force could have been fully funded by Twiggy and their coild be duel pathways in Victoria and Perth feeding players to these franchises and a much larger fan and support base.

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 11:49am
        Train Without A Station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        There’s always been losses to the SA conference. Much like this year, we win some, we lose some.

        • Roar Guru

          May 3rd 2018 @ 3:52pm
          Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

          Win some/Less, Lose some/More, No kings No Cheetahs to pad the points this year.
          The Reds win over the Lions was an outlier.
          The sharks seem to have finaly got their stuff together.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:46pm
            Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

            Reds over Lions and Bulls.

            Rebels over Sharks.

            Brumbies over the Sharks.

            Waratahs over the Stormers.

            I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure the Lions over the Waratahs has been the only SA win in Australia.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 12:15pm
        Barry Crocker said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        Thanks for article Shop, good summation from afar…

        As Timbo touched on, Club Rugby & PSA schoolboys have been hit significantly with numbers down across the board as a result of the RA “initiatives”.
        13 less Senior Club mens teams this year, down from 75 or so in 2017 (more previous years) though the womens comp looks good & still growing.
        The worst part is the collapse of the Colts competition with only 6 teams now. Few years back we had 2 Divisions & 19 teams. Last year 12 or so sides I think…
        PSA schoolboy numbers are down also, with more schools running combined Barbarians sides for their 2nds this year. Some younger years will play 10-13-a-side also which isn’t ideal.

        The RA 2017 fallout/abandonment of WA will impact local playing numbers for years to come as some of the better school age athletes have switched across to AFL. Those average Rugby players in the 17-20 bracket who are just out of school or at Uni have dropped off too. As have Coaches/Refs etc who just got sick of the RA stench…

        Twiggy/Hodgo are right to just press on with their plan as best able. It may not be sustainable in its current form, but sure beats more of the same from SR… I actually haven’t spoken to one local Rugby person this season who is even following/watching SR. I’m sure they are out there, just not in the Western Suburbs of Perth!

        Forget Foxtel, must get FTA game coverage & as importantly news coverage on both ABC/commercial stations plus news websites. E.g. WAToday.com.au sports section will generally have circa 8 stories on its masthead, 6 AFL, 1 Soccer, 1 NRL/cricket/other…

        • Roar Guru

          May 3rd 2018 @ 12:24pm
          Train Without A Station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          Your own comments show that the decline was in place before last year.

          If people enjoy playing rugby socially, what the national governing body is doing about a professional team won’t stop them from playing. Not enjoying playing, commitments getting in the way, friends no longer player, etc. will though.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 1:31pm
            Barry Crocker said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

            Numbers were higher around 2010 or so, then came back to be fairly static in Club land in recent years. The latest significant drop is directly linked to what has happened, with the general public perception of Rugby being negative as a result. RA just need to man up & own that I’m afraid.
            Grass roots resources from RA are still close to non-existent so thankfully this time no-one is disappointed with the rhetoric. Knock yourself out & make excuses for RA, no-one buys it I’m afraid…

            There is still a huge potential fan base here (if not ageing/greying) that if cultivated will buy into something worthwhile. Majority of the early Members (32,000+ in early years!) are still here, but they have drifted for variety of reasons we know about.

            The current ‘sub-culture’ “call to arms” is pleasantly surprising given the quality on offer, though again is it sustainable without a genuine objective at the end.

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 1:47pm
              Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

              How is a fro that is a continuation of existing trends directly attributed?

              You said the colts competition had dropped from 19 teams to 12.

              There were not 32,000 members.

              There was a peak crowd of around that time likely out of novelty. But it was never sustained and in fact dropped even when participation grew (not a unique problem there).

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:27pm
                Barry Crocker said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

                Your trolling & convenient misquoting/lack of understanding is tiresome.
                Why not try to devise some positive solutions to the current dilemmas facing Rugby on both sides of the continent…

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:48pm
                Train without a station said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                You’re not devising solutions.

                You’re just saying it’s everybody else’s fault.

              • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:57pm
                ScottD said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

                Well it was sustained for the first 2 years and into the third at least TWAS. From memory that is about 15-24 games. I wouldn’t have thought that could be dismissed as a “novelty”?

                My recollection is that in year four and five there were internal issues (Firestorm/Mitchel dispute) followed by the Richard Graham debacle and that around the same time everyone got jack of the rubbish oval stadium and got tired of waiting for the upgrade at NIB that had been promised 4 years before.

                Unless you were here you can’t speak authoritatively on the topic really.

                On member numbers I don’t recall that we got above 20,000 but we did have more members than any other franchise in years 1 and 2.

            • May 3rd 2018 @ 5:07pm
              Bakkies said | May 3rd 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

              Lets not forget Barry that the RA sent Rugby WA in to Voluntary Administration by cutting off their main revenue stream and winding down operations. Without the work and funding from John Edwards and Twiggy there would be no state governing body and sanctioned/locally administered club competition. The parasites in Sydney never thought about that when they behaved the way they did.

              Twiggy has taken over the major sponsorship of the club comp for the next three seasons.

          • Roar Guru

            May 3rd 2018 @ 3:54pm
            Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

            The decline was at the same rate as the rest of Australia, until….
            Context is important.

          • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:31pm
            Ex force fan said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

            The pain was never worth the gain and the ARU and specific Cameron Clyne must hang their heads in shame for the dumbest decision in rugby union in a decade. The damage caused is real and it is an indictment against the ARU that they continue to oppose the IPRC.

            There is no stronger FUARU that a sold out stadium when the ARU cannot get spectators to attend games elsewhere in the country. Twiggy is miking it happen and showing how rugby should be administrated!

            Pulver and Eales resigned, Clyne needs to go now!

            • May 4th 2018 @ 8:00am
              Bakkies said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

              Hear Hear.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 6:55am
          Ex force fan said | May 4th 2018 @ 6:55am | ! Report

          Barry Crocker Thank you for highlighting the devastated impact to WA Rugby that people in the Eastern States just do not get. The question every rugby fan should ask is if what was gained by axing the Force really worth the devastation caused? In my view it clearly was not and that those that got this call so wrong should be held accountable for overestimating the benefits, and ignoring the associated impacts. Their unsymphathetic behaviour, incompetence and arrogance is the reason this damage are far more than it could have been if it was handled professionally.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:23pm
        woodart said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

        dont be surprised about the crusaders playing in this new comp/ hamish riach(crusaders ceo) is a very sharp cookie and the whole crusaders setup is very outward and forward looking.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:59pm
          ScottD said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

          Yes, they are an impressive organisation. Easy to see why they are so successful on the field.

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 1:42pm
      Johnno said | May 3rd 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

      Rugby in Perth is more important financially than melbourne, and spritually and morally to Australian rugby. But rugby australia wrongly disagrees and thinks east coast australian rugby is more important.. Fans in perth are more passionate and care more about rugby than people in Melbourne who are all just AFL centric…

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 4:20pm
        Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

        I think there are some Vic Rugby fans that would disagree with you.
        And a lot of Dockers or Eagles members that think Rugby is Stupid.

        I am Force through and through but still can recognize the value of maintaining interest across Australia, yes, even in Victoria.
        I would have been happy to share a team. I think we should keep an open mind, show some empathy and consider what is best for the sport in Australia.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 5:10pm
          Bakkies said | May 3rd 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

          Timbo that would have been fine had certain individuals in Victoria and the Sydney Ivory Tower not drained the swamp which is now costing the game in the rest of Australia.

      • May 4th 2018 @ 12:30am
        JoeBarker said | May 4th 2018 @ 12:30am | ! Report

        LOL Melb has a bigger population and is financially more important. Don’t kid yourself. Nothing more than a Micky Mouse competition no way it will ever be Super Rugby standard.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 8:01am
          Bakkies said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

          Enjoy the Rabble’s match in front of 6,000 Imperium unit holders Josephine.

    • Roar Guru

      May 3rd 2018 @ 2:03pm
      jeznez said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

      Cheers for the article Shop. And the great insights from some of our correspondents in the west.

      Go the Force!

    • May 3rd 2018 @ 2:22pm
      Drongo said | May 3rd 2018 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

      I posted last year that the Force should play a series of exhibition games like the Harlem Globetrotters. With this, looks like Ziggy has taken my advice. It’s a complete circus, the full commercialisation of the game of rugby, designed to achieve a full stadium (give away and subsidise the tickets), create interest (change the rules of the game) and conjour the appearance of success (when there is absolutely no long term viability in such a model).
      What a mess.

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 3:01pm
        Hog said | May 3rd 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

        Talking about Super rugby again 😬

      • Roar Rookie

        May 3rd 2018 @ 3:46pm
        piru said | May 3rd 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        So did he take your advice or is it a mess?

        Are you saying your idea was stupid?

      • Roar Guru

        May 3rd 2018 @ 4:10pm
        Timbo (L) said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

        Sounds like you are a bit jealous,

        I am always curious about what drives Tr0115.

        Why would anyone h@te on A comp that has nothing to do with them in a state that has a Rugby Vacuum?

        Are you afraid of it succeeding and overrunning SR with a format that is actually popular.?
        Or just resistant to change?

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:27pm
          woodart said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

          good post timbo. whatever happens in perth, its better than nothing, so ,good luck to all involved.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 6:41am
          Drongo said | May 4th 2018 @ 6:41am | ! Report

          It has no long term viability whatsoever and is only going ahead because a very rich man is footing the bill. It is a mess, a grown man spending millions to spite RA. And that is also what is motivating many of you to blindly support this rubbish. The players are third rate and so is the whole thing.

          • Roar Guru

            May 4th 2018 @ 7:47am
            rebel said | May 4th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

            Invitational matches are this year only, put together at pretty short notice really.
            If this is a mess, then what others did last year leading to this is an absolute disaster.
            It’s great that people still have a team to support, anyone not involved who rubbish it must lead a pretty pathetic life.

          • May 4th 2018 @ 9:30am
            AndyS said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

            I imagine what is motivating most to support it is the total lack of any alternative put up by RA. Lots of fine words about continued support and commitment when they were cut, but as far as I can tell absolutely nothing actually done in practice. Although I suppose some might argue that was indeed a true continuation of the support provided to that point…

            So as I see it, they are in the position of taking what they can get and hopefully being able to build from there. Better than all the nothing they were getting otherwise.

          • Roar Guru

            May 4th 2018 @ 12:08pm
            Timbo (L) said | May 4th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

            So why do you care?

            • Roar Guru

              May 4th 2018 @ 5:37pm
              John R said | May 4th 2018 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

              Timbo = Perth Girl on GAGR?

          • May 4th 2018 @ 1:12pm
            ScottD said | May 4th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

            Drongo
            That same guy offered everything he is spending in WA and more to your precious RA and they stupidly turned him down!
            There’s no point in having a go at him now because he was serious in wanting to spend his money on Rugby. You’d be better off sending a letter to RA asking why they didn’t take his money when he offered it.

            GO TWIGGY!

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 4:49pm
        ScottD said | May 3rd 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

        What a mess indeed. 20,000 tickets sold to the first game. Total debacle!

      • May 3rd 2018 @ 9:58pm
        Marty said | May 3rd 2018 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

        They said the same about 20:20 cricket. The novelty apparently just wouldn’t last.

        • May 3rd 2018 @ 10:10pm
          ScottD said | May 3rd 2018 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

          its going to implode any minute mate 🙂

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