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Rugby league is snubbing the entrepreneurs and chancers who created it

Steve Mascord Columnist

By Steve Mascord, Steve Mascord is a Roar Expert

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    New Zealand and Wales played the very first rugby league international on Aberdare Athletic Ground on January 1, 1908.

    Both of them are in the sport 110 years later but face massive challenges, even though the Dragons played in the 1995 and 2000 World Cup semi-finals and the Kiwis were ranked first in the world for a couple of years very recently.

    Their situations are very different but their problem is the same – a lack of money.

    In 1907-08, international competition seemed to be the way forward for the 13-year-old Northern Union. They had been isolated for so long and now they had a foreign team to play against, the sky seemed to be the limit.

    But the ‘All Golds’ seeded the game in Australia on their way to and from Britain and Sydney soon became the game’s mecca. Australia and Britain, who had robust club competitions supported by a rebellious working class, ensured the sport became club-focused.

    The Welsh and the Kiwis always seemed to be on the outside looking in.

    It’s worth remembering that Albert Baskerville was a post-office clerk who clandestinely signed up All Blacks for a professional tour before we pass judgement on the Kiwis’ next big match, against England at Denver’s Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High in just under two weeks.

    At the heart of NRL clubs’ resentment of the fixture is that a private promoter, Jason Moore, is getting access to players they consider to be theirs, even when on international duty. Yet rugby league largely owes its existence in Australia to one such man.

    Rugby league is a sport of ‘chancers’ – and the chancers currently control the loot don’t want any new chancers to buy their way in through the cut-price back door of international competition. It’s perceived as sneaky; rugby league was built on sneakiness.

    This is pivotal moment for the Kiwis.

    As colleague Brad Walter points out on NRL.com, while England players have been vocal in their support of this match, the Kiwis have been strangely muted.

    Their captain was filmed using cocaine a year ago, they lost to a second tier nation for the first and – straight away – second times in their history during last year’s World Cup and they have a new coach trying to install what must be, at least partially, a new culture.

    There’s a new CEO, too and players who are eligible for other Pacific countries seem to prefer playing for those countries.

    At the time of writing New Zealand had not named a team for the trip to Colorado while England’s squad is strong. It’s going to be an intriguing Kiwi list; over the past 15 years the players have seemed to have way more influence over what happens in black than they do in green, gold, red, white or blue.

    Wales is an even sadder fall from grace – last year they beat England at Under 16s level but according to WRL chairman Brian Juliff, the Rugby Football League – charged with running rugby league in the entire United Kingdom – gives them just Stg25,000 a year.

    No, I did not leave a zero off.

    The England team in camp would chew through Stg25,000 in two nights, if not one.

    This is the point the NRL clubs need to appreciate before they castigate national teams for jumping at the offers of private promoters – a country which played in the very first Test match gets total funding for a year that wouldn’t play your gear steward.

    International rugby league needs to be ‘open for business’ to entrepreneurs just to survive – the last thing it needs is powerful, wealthy clubs not only hoarding the cash but then trying to block it from earning a few pennies of its own.

    Peta Hiku New Zealand Rugby League World Cup 2017

    Peta Hiku in the haka for New Zealand. (NRLPhotos/Nathan Hopkins)

    International rugby league is only the cut-price back door into ownership of rugby league’s IP because you have neglected it for so long. It’s your fault they’re poor and will go to America for $500,000, a price that you would laugh at. You held them back.

    “Sometimes you think you’re banging your head against a brick wall because people aren’t looking at the big picture,” says Juliff, who played twice against the 1982 Kangaroos.

    “They’re looking at themselves.

    “What I’m trying to say to people is … unless they put more money in, we’re going to lose 100 years of history.”

    Steve Mascord
    Steve Mascord

    Steve Mascord has covered rugby league in 15 countries and worked for most media organisations that regularly feature the sport, on both sides of the globe. He started off as an 18-year-old cadet at Australian Associated Press, transferring to the Sydney Morning Herald just in time to go on the last full Kangaroos Tour in 1994. He spent three years at Sydney's Daily Telegraph from 2006 before going freelance at the conclusion of the 2008 World Cup. Steve is the author of the book Touchstones, host of the White Line Fever podcast, partner in international rugby league merchandise start-up Mascord Brownz, and proprietor of rugbyleaguehub.com, hardrockhub.com and hotmetalonline.com. He is married to Sarah and splits his time between London and Sydney.

    State of Origin 2 is here, with the Blues looking to wrap the 2018 series up and the Maroons hoping to keep it alive and force a decider. Follow along with our NSW vs QLD Origin 2 live scores and blog.

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    The Crowd Says (77)

    • June 12th 2018 @ 7:47am
      Noel said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Again, great read, Steve. For my own 2 cents, I can’t believe that players in the World Cup aren’t aid uniformly. If that means Aussie/Kiwi/English superstars would prefer not to participate, that’s their prerogative. But I can’t fathom some of the stories that came out of the tournament concerning players paying their own way to play. If International Rugby League set a standard price for players in international fixtures, I think it would go a long way to developing the international game. Interest in the international game can only have a positive flow-on effect to club football.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 12:07pm
        peeko said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        so equal pay is more important than having a true world cup with the best players?

        • June 12th 2018 @ 12:29pm
          Mumbles said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          If they were all paid the same there would be mass defections from the Tier 1 countries because of the loose RL eligibility rules

    • June 12th 2018 @ 7:59am
      Georgina Brown said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      More Propaganda. …..on the same day as Denver one of the great Annual Grudge matches in Sydney A Test between Tonga v Samoa …many New Zealand players prefer to play in this…together with many of NZ stars are injured playing in NRL….no wonder their quite and cant announce a team..your Denver promoter has really done a poor job timing his Denver event…Lucky the Aussie promoters once again are the backbone of Rugby League.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 12:09pm
        no one in particular said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        The Denver test is scheduled on a weekend with no NRL, the same reason the Samoa vs Tonga test is the same weekend

    • June 12th 2018 @ 8:46am
      Paul said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Steve, your suggestion would stack up if it weren’t for the money Clubs have invested in players. These days, as you’re well aware, juniors are being signed to play for NRL development sides and no doubt the same thing happens in England. In each case, a significant amount of time, personnel and money is being put into develop the player. How much of this is being put in by the chancer? Not one cent.

      The players need even more time, money and support when they get to grade and continue to develop. Again, this is all paid for by the Club, not the NRL and not the chancer. You’re now saying when the reach the ability to play rep footy, then anyone should be allowed to exploit their talents after everything the Clubs have done?

      • Columnist

        June 12th 2018 @ 8:54am
        Steve Mascord said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        When a Premier League player represents his country during a Fifa window, do premier league clubs have a say in who is paying for the hire of the stadium or what the TV deal is? No. Releasing a player for international duty is a requirement of being a club in an international sport.

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 9:12am
          The Barry said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Apples and oranges.

          Soccer has a structured, international program. This is a bloke in America trying to make a few bob with a poorly scheduled fixture.

          League isn’t soccer. Comparing the two codes at international level is embarrassing.

          If league’s international game is to succeed the clubs have to have a voice. If they’re not consulted of course they’re going to white ant it.

          Whether we like it or not there is an imbalance of power with the clubs. If we blunder ahead ignoring that it will be nothing but confrontational and a disaster.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 9:21am
            Georgina Brown said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

            Spot on …you have summarized in one…hope steve is listening

          • June 12th 2018 @ 9:28am
            Paul said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

            You once again put it exactly right, TB.

            The other point left out by Steve is, how long did it take before the Soccer Clubs overseas agreed to release players for internationals? It’s only been in the past 10 or 15 years Clubs have released players to play for Australia, for example, in World Cup qualifiers.

            League Clubs will come to the party as long as they are involved in the process and there’s a return for them. It’s just a matter of getting a united approach to this issue by all concerned groups.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 9:34am
            Tingo Tango said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

            The Barry – good research mate but the guy is an Aussie. He bought MLB opening game to Australia some years ago.

            He also has the rights to the 2025 RLWC in USA and Canada and this part of the strategy to get people behind it.

            There is no other reasonable time to play this game as it will either be too cold or try to compete with the NFL team which is not going to happen.

            The clubs will always put themselves first. That is why we now have an independent commission as the game was beset with infighting based on “what is good for me”. The AFL got in first 20+ years ago and they have gone so far in front of the NRL due this.

            The facts remain RL is a small sport and it needs to expand into larger markets to make the game better for all. The clubs need to support any expansion as in the long term they may find it benefits their bottom line.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 9:49am
              Justin Kearney said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

              Spot on TT.
              The clubs need to look well beyond their own backyard for the game to grow.
              As much as I respect the Barry’s opinion on most things, here I disagree with him.
              There is always an excuse to do nothing.
              We need to build momentum for the World Cup in North America in 2015 and nrl clubs need to collaborate with those promoters to ensure its success.
              There is momentum for growth in that market yet our inward looking nrl clubs as usual are only in the game for short term success and they seriously lack vision.
              Same as it ever was I’m afraid.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 12:27pm
                The Barry said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

                Hi JK

                Not being a cheerleader for this poorly timed fixture is not the same as being an advocate for “do nothing”.

                “There is momentum for growth in that market”

                What momentum is there? I agree it needs to be created towards the World Cup but that needs to be done as part of a broader strategy than just a “let’s give it a go and see how it works out”

                There’s obvious risks in this approach. Without a broader strategy if this game flops for whatever reason what’s the next phase? Wait until another promoter decides its worth a crack?

              • June 12th 2018 @ 12:45pm
                Justin Kearney said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

                Gday TB.
                There is momentum in North America via the pending World Cup, the Wolfpack and several other super league bids in the USA.
                League needs an expanded identity and it’s the chancers Steve refers to who are doing all the work.
                My experience with the ARL/NRL leaves me with little faith in their sincerity for the international game so growth will only happen if risks are taken by others.
                If that’s not a coordinated approach from a strategic point of view so be it.
                Failing Sydney clubs can’t even manage their small backyard let alone envisage an expanded landscape and they are the last ones I’d be letting determine the future of the game,

              • June 13th 2018 @ 1:26am
                tim said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:26am | ! Report

                When would be better timing? Serious question.

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 10:10am
                The Barry said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

                What about playing the world club challenge in the US?

                Have three teams from Aus/NZ vs three from UK billed as “World Series” type event.

                Give players sufficient time to train, prepare, acclimatise and market the game, do media. Time to fly in and out with adequate recovery time either side of the game.

                Doesn’t interrupt the NRL season.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 10:04am
              Georgina Brown said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

              AFL is not an international sport and probably never will be….so to bring it into the this debate is not relevant. ..and independent commissions in name only…the clubs still hold the bottom line power

              • June 12th 2018 @ 10:10am
                Justin Kearney said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

                The afl is entirely relevant as it is a successful major competitor and rugby league needs to muscle in on its own competitive advantages which included growing its international game.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 10:19am
                Fred said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

                Exactly Justin. At the very least, NZ featuring strongly in a healthy international game helps keep the enormous Kiwi diaspora in Australia interested in league. This is an advantage league has over the AFL.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 10:19am
              Georgina Brown said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

              NRL having 1st round game of 2019 season in USA…NFL season over….amd southern California not cold in winter or many other states not cold….i lived there for 4 years…so February or march test good time after all world club challenge has worked in UK then

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 11:39am
              The Barry said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

              Although I said “some bloke in America” without mentioning where he was from, it doesn’t really matter if he’s Australian, American or from outer Mongolia.

              He’s still just trying to make a buck off the back of the game. This “grow the international game” line is a furphy.

              I’d love to see international league increase it’s profile but like it or not, clubs are important stakeholders in this as they “control” the resource. Any strategy that doesn’t include the clubs is doomed.

              That doesn’t mean bending over for the clubs but they need to be consulted.

              It amazes me how quickly people have swallowed the idea that a one off is somehow a strategy to “expand into larger markets”

              • June 12th 2018 @ 12:13pm
                Tingo Tango said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                Barry,

                Again please do some research as this is not a one off.

                They are looking to play these games again plus he wants to have another tournament before the World Cup. As part of awarding the cup is that he must set up clubs in the country.

                What is the issue if he makes money? Do you expect people to be a charity or just take all the risk for no reward?

                There are various reasons why RL has not grown significantly out of its base and looking at the comments here it is no wonder

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 12:52pm
                The Barry said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                I don’t expect anyone to be a charity. Why do you expect the NRL clubs to be a charity?

                It is a one off. There are no other games or tournaments scheduled. The promoter has suggested he’d like to do it again if this game is a success. You’re very generous if you consider that a strategy or any more than a one-off at the moment.

                Either way I want to see the international game grow…but to not give the clubs a voice is a recipe for disaster.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 6:44pm
                Jacko said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

                Barry what has it got to do with the clubs?. Do you advocate the clubs banning SOO on the same premise? SOO robs players from clubs every year and has been doing it since SOO began so now some others are taking advantage…just like SOO…then you get all upset and say its all about the clubs!!! I dont buy it…45% of the NRL players are not elligeble to play SOO so SOO gets weaker every year and the other nations arnt allowed to use their players like Aus uses theirs???/ Sorry but its Aus wanting to control everything as per usual. The NRL/ARL has basically allowed NZRL to go broke because they wont take games to NZ yet constantly want to play NZ in AUS so they get the cash from the takings and TV rights…Then its never returned….Time NZ said go jump

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 7:19pm
                The Barry said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

                Grow up Jacko.

                I’m not getting all upset and I’m not saying it’s all about the clubs.

                Facts are facts. Clubs are massive stakeholders in this. They control the most important resource for the international game. If the idea is to make demands of them in terms of releasing players and inconvenient scheduling the clubs will eventually arc up and the international game will end up losing out.

                All I’m suggesting is a more collaborative approach with the clubs as key stakeholders to come up with an international program that’s mutually satisfactory.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:05pm
                Georgina Brown said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

                Again well said….and says it all…people out there are very gullible

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:11pm
                Justin Kearney said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

                Having a different point of view doesn’t mean people are gullible.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:26pm
                Georgina Brown said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

                Oh really….true …but most are!… just ask Salespeople and Politicians….and look at their results…..most people on this site and issue have never been to Denver….never studied American sport demographics or marketing …understand very little about american culture or lived there….and probably have little uderstanding of OZ or international rugby league policies and strategy. …..yes anyone can have an opinion but like in politics everyone can vote but have very little understanding of the participants and their agenda …most are gullible and or speaking out of self interest. …..Steve Mascord is the later….not an objective journo at all

            • June 12th 2018 @ 11:42am
              Paul said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

              TT I think you have it wrong. The Barry isn’t saying the Clubs won’t support international football, he’s said “they need to have a voice. If they’re not consulted, of course they’re going to white ant it”.

              The Clubs will not always put themselves first as can been seen by their commitment to SOO. That only came about because they were consulted. The same has to apply with future internationals and other games that might take players away from Clubs.

              It’s safe to say there will be more internationals like the game in Denver, assuming it’s a success. If that’s going to happen, the Clubs need to be involved in decisions about when the game will be played, etc so they can plan accordingly. There are plenty of times available if enough notice is given.

              People think the Clubs are self-interested and maybe they are, but no-one else has a more vested interest in the players than the Clubs. Without them, the Club and game cease to exist, so why shouldn’t the Clubs be protective?

              • June 12th 2018 @ 12:23pm
                Tingo Tango said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                Paul,

                Yes they should – no one is saying any different.

                The issue of SOO is an easier one as without it the TV deal would be significant less and therefore it is in the best interest of clubs to support it. Not doing so would mean less money for them.

                In regards to the international game we either support it or we do not. This test is being played at the same time the SOO is on along with the Pacific Tests so I understand the distance issue but let’s see how it goes and work from there.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 9:55am
                Jacko said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

                Barry why the insults? A comment disagrees with you and all you have is “grow up”? Is growing up giving control to the clubs over NZ or any other nations players but allowing Aus to play SOO any time they want is it? Grow up Barry and look at the whole picture

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 10:16am
                The Barry said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

                It’s not that you disagree with me that I told you to grow up.

                It’s that you create your own statement, attribute it to me and then argue with it.

                Because we have different opinions you’re assuming I’m saying the exact opposite to you which isn’t true.

                It’s quite literally the debating technique of a six year old.

                You’ve done it here again.

                Try reading what I’ve written and responding to that instead of inventing your own comments, attributing them to me and arguing with yourself.

                In other words, grow up.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 4:39pm
                Jacko said | June 13th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

                Thanks for the personal insults THE BARRY

                Next time us 6yo children will have to think exactly like you do or grow up….Humble apologies….

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 5:30pm
                The Barry said | June 13th 2018 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

                You’ve done it again 🤣

            • June 12th 2018 @ 11:56am
              Chris Wright said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

              I would actually like to challenge the notion that Rugby League is a small sport. Attendances, player numbers, Television contracts, World Cups, number of nations that play the game would have to rank League as in the top 12 of team sports around the world.

              Football (Soccer) is obviously #1
              Cricket #2 ??? – Union #3 ??? – Basketball #4??

              We think of NFL and Baseball as big sports. NFL yes but Baseball is really only popular in the US, Mexico and Japan. Is it bigger than League probably but not too much I would say?

              I look at Handball and suggest it is probably not as big as League yet it is an Olympic sport because a number of smaller European nations play it. Volleyball likewise. Watch their World Cups and they have about 1,000 people watching it. And they get 5/6 games, not just one.

              So League, sure it is not on top of the list but I would hardly call it a small sport.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 12:12pm
                peeko said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                union is nowhere near 3. much lower. baseball is popular in most of latin america
                tennis is big, motor racing, volleyball, handball, golf, hockey and ice hockey

              • June 12th 2018 @ 12:30pm
                no one in particular said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                MLB tv revenue (Dodgers alone $8.5 billion over 25 years), overall attendance (2017 total attendance over 72.5 million or 30,000 per game) and World Baseball Classic dwarf the NRL

                other sports bigger then league are Ice Hockey, F1, cycling and Volleyball. Laugh at Volleyball but FIVB has over 200 member nations

              • June 12th 2018 @ 1:57pm
                clipper said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

                peeko – chris did say team sports, and although tennis, FI, golf, boxing, sycling. etc are bigger, they are not team sports.
                Football (obviously) Baseball, Cricket, Basketball, Rugby, Handball, lacrosse, Volleyball, Bowling (although debatable it’s a team sport), Hockey, Ice Hockey, water polo, Kabaddi, American Football (and probably many more) are all more popular.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 5:03pm
                Justin Kearney said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                Always focus on the negative when it comes to rugby league clump. It is all you know.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 8:11am
                Crosscoder said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

                In terms of what Chris said including repeat including TV contracts, world cups and number of countries playing ,he is close to the mark.Although my view would be around no 20.
                Some of those countries, our regular negative league hater Clip stated ,do not have such
                attributes.I understand ,why his sport failed to get a mention.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 9:45am
                Justin Kearney said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

                You have to forgive clumper CC. He’s only just realised people live in regional Australia let alone in other countries!

              • June 13th 2018 @ 10:16am
                clipper said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

                What’s negative – I give a list of sports with a higher profile and you’re welcome to disagree – whether you’re right according to your metrics is another story. Most of those sports mentioned are played in many countries, those that aren’t like American Football, have huge TV contracts. Many are played at the Olympics, league isn’t even listed as an Olympic sport.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 11:46am
                Justin Kearney said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                And you’re at it again crump! You sad negative little man.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 12:00pm
                Crosscoder said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

                It’s pretty obvious, via the historical negativity toward rl , when you post.You just need the opportunity and it tends to revolve around rl Internationally.

                Rugby league doesn’t have to be included as an Olympic sport, to have popularity.
                TV deals/and semi pro or pro teams playing in different countries have some bearing.

                Netball is not listed as an OP sport and it’s very popular.Neither is American Football FHS.

                I repeat one more time ,its the total package, of TV deals, semi pro and pro teams,World cups and spread of countries,that has to be considered.Even allowing for situations where the sport is struggling in a couple of countries.
                Even U19 rl Internationals now being played in Europe all impact.The European union Sport’s Commission seem to agree ,the code is making some inroads.Else they wouldn’t be handing out grants.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 1:20pm
                clipper said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

                Sorry, Crosscoder – forgot Netball, that would be another ahead, and important in terms of Women’s sport.
                Different metrics support different peoples arguments – is TV money more important than attendance or participation for example – would walking be classed under most other sports as it gets very little TV income? – who sets the weight of each of these characteristics?

              • June 13th 2018 @ 3:25pm
                Crosscoder said | June 13th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

                That’s why i suggested rl in the top 20.Don’t; know whether netball gets a TV deal like the ESL in the UK.Or has semi pro teams in France/PNG/Wales.Or gets decent grants from the European commission.
                Nice try though Clip,keep working at it.

                I stated it’s a combination of TV deals/crowds/Foreign Govts’ recognition and providing grants,pariticipating countries,.World Cups and income and Govt monies supporting such events.On that basis rugby league has some traction Internationally within the top 20.
                .
                Your analogy by comparison with walking ,an individual pastime or indeed including fishing is ludicrous..Only serves to prove the point, you continually look for negatives in rugby league and for no other reason.

                The day I see you contribute to general discussions on the NRL,may well change my view.Until then………

              • June 13th 2018 @ 3:28pm
                Justin Kearney said | June 13th 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Clumps still getting over the 13.5% drop in afl viewers this year cc.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 5:46pm
                Alfred said | June 13th 2018 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

                JK,

                If you are going to quote quote accurately. 13 % drop in AFL TV ratings is Melbourne only but doesn’t take into account app watching. The AFL have not had many blockbusters whereas NRL has used up all theirs (pre SOO) and have additional Thursday night games. Lets see where we are in September. Any betting Qld win SOO2 although Channel Nine win either way as a NSW 2-0 win would be good for ratings. Amazing how its NSW turn for 2 games and yet they get game 2

              • June 14th 2018 @ 8:54am
                Justin Kearney said | June 14th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                Thanks for that elaboration Alfred. Yes I was wrong. I admit it. After round 9 afl ratings had dropped 13.9% nationally. My humble apologies.
                As for watching footy on apps you may be surprised to know people who follow other codes than afl do that as well! Whodathunk?
                As for the rest of your post – pure speculation.

              • June 14th 2018 @ 8:08am
                duecer said | June 14th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

                It’s an interesting discussion, the popularity of sport around the world. One tends to focus on western sports and less so on Asia and other developing countries who don’t have the big money tv rights and who have many other concerns and therefore limited grant money.
                Is a world cup worth more than the Olympics or Commonwealth games?
                Would you place a higher emphasis on attendance and participation or on viewing and dollars made, when, as mentioned one favours the west.

              • June 14th 2018 @ 1:58pm
                Crosscoder said | June 14th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

                Alfred appears oblivious to the fact, NRL fans actually watch the NRL and SOO on aops.
                The SOO1 was also win for Nine’s 9Now streaming service,with the total 6.6million viewing minutes ,making it 9Now’s biggest ever live streaming event.

                Origin dominated on social media on Wednesday night, becoming a trending topic on twitter in 8 countries and 46 cities ,and trending at No2 worldwide.

                The SOO1 was the no 1 program in the 5 major cities not just in the traditional rl markets of Sydney and Brisbane.It resulted in a 15% increase in TV viewership compared to gam one last year.

                His last para unsurprisingly ignores the fact, there have been clean sweeps and dead rubber games in SOO.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 1:10pm
            John said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

            “Whether we like it or not there is an imbalance of power with the clubs. If we blunder ahead ignoring that it will be nothing but confrontational and a disaster.”

            I think this is the important point.

            Clubs these days have too much power. A club oligopoly is what we end up for not have relegation and promotion in the NRL.

            I think until NRL and the clubs address this power imbalance, the international game will be held to ransom.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 9:25am
      rugby365 said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      current ticket sales are just over 12k, they may get up to 15-18k by kick off, won’t look good in a 70k stadium and this will give the NRL more ammo to discredit this match. I can’t see this have a year 2 let alone a year 3 as they have planned.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 11:08am
        Fred said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        To have sold 12k in Denver, still weeks out, seems great to me. 30-40k seems far more likely than 15k. And for Denver, which has to my knowledge little league presence, this is fantastic. A city like Jacksonville, (go the Axemen!) with more of a league pedigree, or Philly, New York, or north of the border in Toronto would have no trouble selling out a stadium.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 11:27am
          rugby365 said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

          I doubt they will double their sales in the space of 2 weeks unless they give away free tickets, actually i think thats what they will be doing

          • June 12th 2018 @ 2:04pm
            Fred said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

            I’ve never bought a ticket more than 2 weeks out in my life

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 1:36pm
          Matt H said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

          Fred, this is the problem with this match. Given that League in the US is stronger on the East Coast – with the Wolfpack and the other upcoming super league bids all coming from there, why on earth are we playing this game in Denver?

          • June 12th 2018 @ 2:07pm
            Fred said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

            Yeah I don’t follow the reasoning in choosing Denver. But if the organisers can make it a success there then it augers very well for future tests in places like Toronto or Jacksonville.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm
        no one in particular said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        18k is very good, considering it’s not in a league city and between 2 foreign countries, and is good compared to non-All Black union internationals held in the US

    • June 12th 2018 @ 9:25am
      Georgina Brown said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Spot on ….Steve is not listening ….pitty he is so anti NRL because without the NRL the game would look pretty bleak

      • June 12th 2018 @ 10:59am
        Marty said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        I once heard Steve say on a podcast that ‘the NRL and Super League are the anomalies’, and its true. Rugby League isn’t the NRL and Super League, they are the success stories. Latvia v Spain in a RLEF test is real rugby league – ‘professionals’ taking a small pay packet to play the game they love without the help of the ARLC/NRL or RLF/ESL. The start up USARL is real rugby league – men playing because they love the game and are prepared to take it to new frontiers, again without the help of the ‘anomalies’. Rugby league would survive without the premier competitions because these men don’t play to make it to the NRL/ESL one day…

        • June 12th 2018 @ 12:14pm
          peeko said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          nrl is not real rugby league?

          • June 12th 2018 @ 1:53pm
            Marty said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

            Pure is probably a better word than real.

      • June 13th 2018 @ 11:27am
        woodart said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        perhaps you should get out more. due to the self-interest and inward looking efforts of sydney league, sorry nrl, the game of league IS looking pretty bleak. it is dying here in New Zealand, and since the warriors have been in existance, provincial league has gone backwards at an alarming rate. this bi*ching about a test match reminds me of the nonsence over last years league world cup . the future of league(if it does have a future) lies in the international game, not meaningless games between campbelltown and wollongong. league is losing many of its top players to rugby, and one of the main reasons is the inability to progress. trips to newcastle and canberra, or trips to capetown and buenos aires. sbw walks down a street in tokyo or paris and is recognized, and it sure isnt because he played for the roosters.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 9:38am
      Fred said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      Toronto shows what a little bit of money and effort can achieve.

      About as many people turned up to see Toronto Wolfpack on the weekend (in Toronto) as turned up in Canberra to watch the Raiders. Their place in Super League next year looks assured. Likewise Toulouse is going from strength to strength.

      Meanwhile the early stages of 2021 World Cup qualifiers have already kicked off, with Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic battling it out for North European spot, and Malta, Greece and Ukraine for a southern Europe spot.

      And in the US, their championship kicked off:

      Tampa Mayhem Rugby League 24 lost to Jacksonville Axemen 38
      Brooklyn Kings 34 defeated New York Knights Rugby League 14
      Philadelphia Fight 32 defeated White Plains Wombats XIII 24
      Delaware Black Foxes 70 defeated North Virginia Eagles 6

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