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The Roar

Allan Eskdale

Roar Rookie

Joined December 2021

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Strategy?

The only way this could ever be successful is getting a pot load of money from somewhere and paying even higher salaries to more players. Notwithstanding that we are already paying above what is affordable, or even represents value for the number of spectators and viewers paying to watch those same players.

This is the same problem that has plagued Australian rugby since 1995. All wisdom and knowledge is centralised at Moore Park and everything must be controlled by them.

A change in circumstances was forced upon them, yes. The response that this means the rules shelved, need to be reinstituted and then reviewed by our “high performance panel” (Marinos, Waugh and Herbert; the most qualified and independent three people in Australia, really?).

I have long held the similar view that we need to keep our best players in the country, albeit with a proviso that younger emerging players might benefit from playing overseas. 2021 changed my mind and confirmed the following:

– we don’t have enough players taking up the sport
– we don’t have systems and coaches to teach skills and develop junior players
– we don’t have systems and coaches to teach skills and develop adult players so they are ready to play at the lowest professional level
– we pick players at the next professional level with potential, and then try and teach them skills and get them fit so they can learn to play and compete at that level
– we don’t have enough good players to play at a professional level to standards that will generate enough income to pay them

From an Australian rugby perspective:
– we can pick players from overseas and they will perform, if there is sufficient opportunity for team preparation
– the player drain will increase unless we increase player salaries significantly
– open slather on selections might work in a RWC year but that totally eliminates the disincentive to moving overseas
– we probably cannot afford a Wallaby team which wins only at the RWC but is ordinary for the rest of the time

What is hilarious is that we stripped rugby knowledge out of the board and management of RA. We compensate by having a side agreement with RUPA, not part of the constitution, that insists that there will be two professional era Wallabies on the RA board. Apart from the fact that RUPA is already a strong negotiating stakeholder for players, it is not clear whether the ex-Wallabies are nominated by RUPA, or there must be enough of them encouraged (by who?) to apply.

Either way it is hard to see their role as being independent. With two members of the high performance panel being ex professional Wallabies, and the third being a globe trotting professional, an outcome leading to higher salaries for players cannot be unexpected.

The NZ PE deal ended up being one the players could not refuse. The original proposal did preserve the position of players. The revenue % share will be linked to the gross commercial revenues, not the net share received by NZRU. It was still rejected by players, although I did prefer their model of offering the deal by the public market to investors.

Now, NZRU has clearly flagged that PE monies will be applied to elite players to keep them in NZ. At the least it will mean some sort of ‘marquee top-up’ over and above the current % share, and I would not be surprised if there is some compensation for any COVID pay cuts. All of this would be by side agreement and discussion, and it is not feasible to reallocate the current % share towards elite players.

In addition under the new proposal, NZRU and NZRPA will get 7.5% each of future income earned by the Silverlake future global opportunities venture. That is the real killer for me. Just like the English Premiership the upfront greed delivers a nasty back end surprise.

Silverlake will have 85% of future global and technology investment opportunities with NZR getting 15% for their rugby and sporting input. Sorry, but I do not see how that is not selling all of your blue sky.

I recently proposed one way forward as a competition focussing on the Pacific Rim where significant economic potential for rugby lies, and NZ and Australia are at the centre. Does Silverlake automatically become the automatic 85% owner of the NZ share?

It is about the dumbest deal anyone could make, and they promised community rugby $30m for selling its assets built over 150 years. I would laugh, but I know who is next.

RA's strategy to replace Giteau Law for eligibility puts pressure on Rennie, RWC hopefuls

I agree with the first two sentences but note that with a strategy that allows for proper preparation and integration (2) falls away.

I think any endorsement of “RA weighing things up” being evidence of sound decision making is your weak point.

RA's strategy to replace Giteau Law for eligibility puts pressure on Rennie, RWC hopefuls

That is the problem I think TWAS, international windows are more of a European solution. They play in the same competitions and there is continuity in the international team. The lesson from 2021 was that the optimum solution is preparation like Cooper and Kerevi, not 2 tests to settle in so that you can play OK in the third.

Beale gets it, barring the stellar handful, as things stand, local players will still have an edge over those ones overseas.

RA's strategy to replace Giteau Law for eligibility puts pressure on Rennie, RWC hopefuls

That is part of the problem TWAS, decisive action is needed to tailor and negotiate solutions as part of a strategy. The use of “strategy” in the headline is fake news of the most cynical kind.

RA's strategy to replace Giteau Law for eligibility puts pressure on Rennie, RWC hopefuls

They will be a lot better than 2021 Nick. In the TT there was a big improvement in defence and I certainly thought they were very threatening with the ball in hand. Plus the returning players, although it is a shame some good quality players like Rodda shied away.

Given the conditions last night’s performance was outstanding. Since 2016 they could not have played so much rugby without dropping the ball every fifth movement, no matter how dry the ground. I think there is a lot of improvement to come this season although tight five depth may sink us in the end.

I am looking forward to today’s game and think Fiji should lose, for much the same reason as you identify I guess. I am still interested in whether they reduce their mistakes and the Brumbies absorb the physical test.

Are the Waratahs the real deal in 2022?

If there has been one repetitive lesson over the last ten years, it is that we have never been better conditioned as the Kiwis, at either Super or Test level. My first thought was that the players don’t have what it takes.

My second thought at half time was “how may of them are glad of the hard work now”.

My third thought was unprintable but was reflective of the gratitude the Reds should be feeling for BT.

My 4th thought; there is a lot of improvement left in the Waratahs, fulfilling the promise showed in the 2021TT. Depth in the tight five will be an issue, although good prospects should be keener to sign up in the next few years. We will see tonight whether Rodda will have any regrets.

The battle of brawn and brains between Tongan Thor and young bull Bell shapes as one for the ages

😂 I was going to say something similar about the docks in Marseille.

The battle of brawn and brains between Tongan Thor and young bull Bell shapes as one for the ages

It is tough to evaluate last week’s game given the Drua are new to the competition etc.

Many were disappointed by the lack of razzle dazzle but the substitute of just attempting to run over the top of the Waratahs was a test for the home side.

I was impressed that they played to a standstill meeting the physical challenge and still repelled a lot of the Drua attack in the closing stages.

If the Waratahs show up well tonight against the Reds I would suggest the Drua are going to make life uncomfortable for the Australian sides if they get some parity in the set piece.

Are the Waratahs the real deal in 2022?

Dempsey gone, and last week that attitude appears to have disappeared too. With the reports of Reds players unhappy with being trained too hard you might find the problem followed you over the border. Should be an awesome match.

‘The stench will wash away’: Waratahs hope fairweather fans show up

Sorry Brett, for the late response.

“Laying out the product” would be “we think this competition is worth $X because these are the expected viewer numbers, they represent this sort of market segment etc, and here is our detailed plan around how we will increase the viewer numbers over the life of the contract.”

That is a thousand miles from “pick a competition and tell us what you think it is worth”. Castle was just desperate because RA had overseen the implosion of the value of its offerings since 2015 while needing an increase in revenue to cover its blown out costs.

I agree on the collaboration issue. As I have repeatedly written recently the broadcaster and RA are joined at the hip. TV numbers will drive match attendance and match attendance will drive TV viewers. I have seen nothing in memory indicating that either are working together to advance their mutual goals.

That will be driven by the original negotiations and clearly RA are not smart administrators identifying the value and how it can be increased. AFL and NRL are much more in sync with the broadcasters’ needs and how their game serves them. In soccer there is some sort of collaborative benchmarking where the value of the broadcast contract increases.

There is huge upside in revenues just by doing the basics better.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

😂 he won’t even have to feed the horse.

I think he is a great player, but my thoughts on his contract are along the lines of the second paragraph.

The staggering part was the last paragraph. What an epic fail for professional rugby administration in Australia.

'That would be massive': Slipper sets sights on fourth World Cup, and Wallabies caps record, after new deal

JP is one, Joey Walton is the one who is top of mind.

It is also a problem in NRL with players going into the 20s from school, and then into senior grade.

There may not be much you can do about it either, the resilience of cartilage and bone may be an individual by individual factor. We used to say you can’t put in, what God left out.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

Sounds religious Brett, you may have been elevated.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

Maybe that is what they are doing. But that is like Castle asking the broadcasters what they would like to broadcast, and how much they will pay. The RA Board should be the experts on rugby and the market for rugby in Australia. If they do not know, then who does?

My biggest fear is that we come up with the best possible plan and it is rejected. What then?

They will do what the English clubs did, and massively backload the deal so that a higher revenue share (increase 27% to 45% when a revenue threshold is reached) is paid to PE down the track.

That might be OK in a competition, you just lower the player costs in that competition. I am very sceptical about that where we are talking about funding the whole sport in the entire country.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

It is the long hard graft of understanding the audience and marketing the game. The cost is in inspiration and perspiration, not throwing money at it.

We have had 27 years where the solution is more money. 27 years of asking the wrong questions?

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

Hooper did not have plans to go overseas. What do you do when you are offered that sort of contract?

Tell the person offering it that they are a clown for creating this situation, and it is a really dumb idea anyway?

I can’t recall Cheika’s situation, while they prematurely extended, I doubt if the WR Coach of the Year in 2015 would not have got a new 4 year contract. One instance of RA getting it right, maybe?

The big problem is the lack of development plan for coaches. Eddie just rode along on Macqueen’s coat tails, Connolly was a safe pair of hands at the end of his career to take us to 2007, no Australian coach available in 2008, one available in 2013, one available in 2014, none available in 2019.

'That would be massive': Slipper sets sights on fourth World Cup, and Wallabies caps record, after new deal

You know you want to Ken.

All paths are leading to a Roar Rugby Reincarnation.

I look forward to front row recollections from Buddha’s Other Stomach.

'That would be massive': Slipper sets sights on fourth World Cup, and Wallabies caps record, after new deal

An influx of cash is required Brett, but putting that to the side, it is just not acceptable to accept money from a borrower or investor without concrete plans. Vague plans about competitions they might run should not cut it. Especially where it is a vital competition for the future of the game, but the returns are down the track.

I am very tired of listening to RA bleat on about not being able to do something until they get PE money in. They should not have to make plans or have visions until COVID is over? There is a heap of stuff they could do for nothing or at low cost.

If they were to issue debentures to the public or borrow for the bank they would have to have a convincing story on what they are going to do with the money, and how it was to be repaid. It would be scary that the PE deal is such a rolled gold money spinner, that they could not care less what RA do.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

Probably not Carlos, but it would depend on how many games are required on rotation and how many bench minutes.

Our schoolboys definitely do not play enough, and then they mostly miss grade, which are games at a lower intensity. Side question: is it a good thing for players, no matter how good, to go straight to super rugby before fully physically developed?

According to Wikipedia, Mack Hansen has played 42 games in four years in Australia, and already 9 for Connaught. We should probably play less in the SH, ground hardness is an issue, but we still need a lot more games.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

Players don’t see it as a big deal because I think most would like to have a go at the other code.

There are not that many who switch codes for the money, the differences for the players are not usually that great. My hats go off to those that have a go, risking their reputations and egos, to play a game that is very different from the one they play now.

Rugby is a massive global opportunity for fringe players who won’t be able to crack it for the NRL and AFL. Rugby is the code failing to promote and develop the game at the junior level, we need to start to become very good at welcoming and nurturing athletes from another code looking for an opportunity.

As several have commented, I think the anti-league section is a pretty small minority.

League and rugby will always hate each other but code-hopping anger dying out

Great article Brett. There are a lot of reasons we need to have more games, for player development and revenues.

Finding the way to achieve that for 2024 onwards is the main challenge for RA. I will be an unhappy chap if they announce a PE deal without those plans in place.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

I agree scrum, for 2022 and 2023 SR Pacific is a sensible way forward, lets hope it works for everyone.

2024 has to be the year we reinvent professional rugby. We need more games, for both the players, and revenues. That needs to accommodate the fact that five Australian sides cannot be competitive with five NZ sides.

We have had 30 years to figure it out …

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

I really think it is time, after almost 40 years, to admit that neither union or league can replicate the emotion and excitement of the Tina Turner campaigns.

I don’t have the answer, but the job of RA is to figure out how branding, marketing and advertising work to promote watching rugby games. They can triple the ad spend, but they won’t add one bum to a seat.

The answer is probably not more bone crunching tackles or swooping try line dives.

The great unknown: Will Super Rugby Pacific give the game the stability it craves?

Beale will select himself if he plays well enough, and vice versa.

Far more interesting is DR saying he is happy with the conditioning level and skills focus of the SR teams. Cheika got serious about this in 2015 so it will be interesting to see if, after 8 years, we have nailed it. DR was apparently less than impressed before the French tests last year.

The significant difference in the two competitions was obvious last year, so here is hoping for some real excitement in round 1.

Rennie reveals biggest challenge facing Kurtley Beale if he's to make a fourth World Cup

On the other hand, do you want to deprive Fijians of being able to earn the sort of income that makes a massive difference to their families in Fiji?

Hopefully the new Pacific SR enables both, and World Rugby start giving Tier 2 teams a lot more test match exposure so they can become Tier 1 as well.

Players will do what they need to do, and play for whom they want. I think LL wants to play for England, and this is just media hype.

Has England won the international bidding war for the son of Wallabies legend?

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