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Opinion

Why club rugby is about to bloom

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Roar Rookie
19th March, 2021
35
2082 Reads

It’s Tuesday night, the girlfriend is out, I put my dinner on the coffee table, pick up the remote, and search for something amongst the litany of screening services that will allow me to sufficiently unwind from the day at work.

It was at this point, as I scrolled through the Stan home screen, that I made the decision to choose an arbitrary Japanese Top League game that would be my introduction to a competition I had heard much about, but had never actually watched.

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It is through this same process, or scenarios similar to this, that it possible to foresee a whole new kind of club rugby supporter being introduced to the competitions that form the heart and soul of Australian rugby.

The availability of Shute Shield and Hospital Cup rugby on demand and on a highly accessible platform has the potential to not only change the way their traditional fans follow the competition, but also the way new fans are introduced to it.

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Sydney Uni Shute Shield

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Apart from the committed club rugby tragic, the reality is that 3pm on a Saturday is not a time where most people have two hours spare to sit in front of the TV, especially not multiple weekends in a row.

Additionally, it has long been an awkward but unavoidable fact that thousands of the most committed rugby supporters our nation boasts are, at that time, either playing themselves or watching rugby in person well away from their screens.

I understand that many club games have been available to screen through a number of websites recently, but the level of accessibility is incomparable to the Stan platform that in many instances is only a remote control button away.

It means that any rugby fan in Australia with a Stan subscription can put their feet up on the coffee table and watch the match of the round when they have the time to do so.

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It means fans who haven’t watched their local club play in years due to busy Saturday schedules can re-engage with their club when their schedule permits.

rugby generic

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

I expect viewership will rise, I expect young kids will get a greater opportunity to watch their local club on TV and dream of playing in their colours, and I expect the club competitions across the country will soon be creating additional content for subscribers.

There is a lot of positivity in Australian rugby right now thanks to the Nine/Stan deal.

A lot of people in club land have been apprehensive to learn how their favourite competition will fit in. To them, I say watch this space. The best is yet to come.

And no, I don’t work for Stan. If they want to give me a free subscription, I’ll accept.

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