The Roar
The Roar

Geoff Parkes

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Joined October 2012

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Geoff is a Melbourne based sports fanatic and writer, who started contributing to The Roar in 2012, originally under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Conflict; the Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy was released in Dec 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit www.geoffparkes.com Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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I think there’s a difference between what happened to the Force (setting up a franchise, getting people to commit to it, then cutting it, and all of the angst and hurt attached to that), and what you’re talking about, which is the missed opportunity to have done something different to setting up the Force and the Rebels in the first place.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

People in Fiji must be shaking their heads, TJ. They’re over the moon with excitement about being included in SR, and have obviously added heaps to the competition… all at the same time Australia is talking about canning it!

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Thanks Lukas, lots of really good thinking and commentary in there.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Nice post, BF!

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

The Silver Lake deal is mostly about the AB’s, Tim.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

I like that it’s emotional and that people care, Paulo.
But yes, at some point, rationality and pragmatism need to kick in.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Thanks for taking the time to reply, Micko.

I like the logic behind discontinuing the Waratahs and Reds in order to construct a national competition. Because there aren’t enough states and enough talent elsewhere to have a national comp with them retained. That’s a better solution than McLennan talking about adding to the existing 5 franchises.

Against that, I think the cost of what you propose (not enough playing, coaching and admin talent/experience to keep Australia competitive at the top level, plus $ required) is too high a price to pay.

But that’s just our difference of opinion – I appreciate you mapping it out and I understand where it comes from. Cheers.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Rebels U18 played Reds on the weekend.

The individual franchise Facebook pages advertised it but you’re right Andy, there’s no sense from RA of any overall promotion.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

It’s a fair concern, baz.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Good point.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Yes, I agree that makes for a more interesting and equitable competition, BF. It’s my understanding that the franchises prefer this too.

But I also understand that 1) for many, SR is now already dead to them so it doesn’t matter, and 2) for others, they’re happy to stay in with NZ, but believe a distinct Aus competition before a crossover, is better.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Don’t ask me for the detail mate because I don’t know it, but there’s a handful of them that have been kept together. Everyone up there might not all be playing for the same club on the Saturdays.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

“until the competition itself is overhauled completely”

So what is this overhaul, Micko? Given the constraints and environmental factors raised in the article, what is the vehicle that will provide Australia with a sustainable, successful domestic rugby solution, and maintain the Wallabies as a leading rugby team?

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

I don’t think Hamish McLennan is an idiot at all, LBJ. Further, I respect his position as chairman and respect his charter to act in the best interests of Australian rugby.

I do raise as a criticism the concern that he is talking down Super Rugby, and if this all happens to blow over and SR continues, it is surely problematic if RA is expecting fans to stay on board with the competition?

I also think there is massive risk in Australia walking away, particularly if there is no alternative that has been articulated. The potential for that to be seen as the skipper scuttling the ship is just a metaphor. I think the article is clear in its tone and use of terms like “risk” and “potential for” rather than making any outright claims against McLennan or anyone.

Yes I’m from New Zealand but have lived in Australia for longer than in NZ. There are many New Zealanders who are involved in Australian rugby in various capacities. In my view there are a small minority who fit your description of being smug and superior. The vast majority – including myself – just want to see the game thrive and enjoy their involvement in it, and are well above and beyond that kind of thing.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Had some great recent chats Started with senior people in the game here who also believe we can do so much more with coverage and analysis. Not just looking to Stan’s coverage, but in the way rugby overall deals with ‘dead spots’ during the match.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

I agree Roberto, that the moment to do this was in the early 1990’s.

What’s happened now is that the professional game requires certain inputs around players and coaching, strength and conditioning, administration, facilities and so on, that have galloped ahead of the ability of existing clubs to provide them.

And if the answer to that is to set up new clubs, the issues then become more around cost, and the absence of tribalism.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

The emphasis and driving force behind Silver Lake’s deal with NZ Rugby is on the All Blacks, Chronicle. That brand is the cash cow, and that is where the potential is to deliver a financial return for the investor, and to fund lower levels of the game for the national union.

How the nations spend the cash they receive is obviously crucially important, and yes, there is clearly influence on wider matters, including the franchise competition.

But whoever Australia’s PE partner eventually is, I don’t think they will be driven by the promise of rivers of gold flowing from a domestic rugby competition.

I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, btw…

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Very well put, Ken.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Definitely need to find a way to get all of those SR squad members playing more rugby, robbo. Their NZ equivalents now go straight into a high quality competition, whereas the Aus guys are spread around various clubs.

The Rebels have at least tried to keep a bunch of their guys together in Brisbane, and the coaches are spending time up there to, to try to ensure a degree of cohesion with those players. But that’s really only a piecemeal solution.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

So just because someone happens to have been born in New Zealand, that automatically makes their viewpoint “condescending”? Yeah, righto LBJ.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Interesting you should say that, Bear. I actually had a paragraph in there about participation levels and the challenges around this (including the increasing threat of parents reacting against fear of brain injury), but in the end the piece was already too long and I had to chop out a couple of sections that can be better covered in a different article.

But yes, things need to be working in alignment at all levels, top to bottom, bottom to top.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Stuck your neck out a bit there Terrence, having the Reds as high as 7th!

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

“We must allow players to make money in Japan and be available for selection here. The market in Japan will control the number they hire.”

This feels like the way things are heading, Tooly.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

If the competition is to continue, and/or the timing of the Test window doesn’t align, then that’s definitely preferable to stopping the comp altogether for a few weeks, Nicko.

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

DA… in a deep, southern voice… “Thank you very much.”

The Wrap: Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

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