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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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It’s interesting how you’ve taken that paragraph to make a totally different point, James.

For what it’s worth I agree, and have written consistently about the need for Australian rugby to solve its problems by simply getting better, not stepping around things by focusing on law changes, or even wanting to go all domestic, just to avoid losing so often.

But this issue is different. We are in very unusual circumstances, which require Aus and NZ to come together and make a combined competition, because there aren’t really any other options.
And it’s perfectly valid for RA to try to negotiate the best outcome for itself in doing so – just as it is for NZ Rugby.

The issue about trying to optimise the player pool and compete against the best, applies to all nations, not just Australia. It also applies to NZ, it’s why they want to keep playing against South Africa. Again, it’s really a different point altogether.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Hi Carlin

I’d say there is zero chance of Australia agreeing to have only 2 teams in a combined competition. And only a very small chance that they’s agree to having anything less that all 5 teams.

That might not please NZ, and may even kill off the competition, but, as Rob Penny says, so be it.

But let’s see what NZ Rugby’s report actually says, and where the negotiations end up. Still a bit to go on this one, I’d say.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Thanks Jezza, good post.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

“They have less to lose than NZ so if they have to go alone, then so be it.”

Correct, MW7. RA doesn’t want to go it alone, but because the game is so shot to bits already, it’s not such a risk for them, if they can’t negotiate their preferred position.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

“Given the second best TH prop in the Reds cannot even get 1 minute in a 90 minute game, I’d wager not.”

Spot on, Paul. Risky strategy.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

That’s a perfectly understandable position, JDK.

And I’ve written plenty of times opposing people who think the solution for Australia is to change the laws or just play amongst themselves, because losing all the time is bad for the game here, instead of everyone knuckling down and getting better.

But the thing is, these aren’t normal times. New Zealand and Australia have been forced together by very unusual circumstances, and need to engineer a solution that benefits both countries. It may only need to be a short-term solution, nobody knows.

With their different domestic circumstances, it seems plain that the solution isn’t going to be perfect. But even an imperfect joint competition is likely to be better for New Zealand than just going it alone.

For Australia, the risk of going it alone isn’t so acute, because they don’t have so much to lose, the game here is already shot to bits. But the risk of cutting one or two franchises, just to make a better competition for NZ, for maybe only one year…? That simply doesn’t add up.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

“Three or even two Super level teams is the right path forward for Australia because it forces us to get the national competition right, which would make it the engine room of grassroots players identification and development.”

Happy to buy this Luke, if someone can show us what that national competition looks like, and if it will generate enough revenue to retain Australia’s leading players.

Until then I think it would be very dangerous to start tearing down the professional presence in Perth, Melbourne and Canberra. It’s been tried already, it was a very poor outcome for rugby in WA, rescued only because there happened to be a person there who has a lot of money.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

It’s really just a counter to any argument that Australian franchises aren’t strong enough for a compelling 5 v 5 competition, Nick. If so, then why not help even it up a bit?

I’m not proposing any arrangement where Aus franchises could take whoever they like, NZ Rugby will never agree to that. But if there are players on the fringes of SR squads who aren’t getting games, then why not? It happens now anyway, hooker Steve Misa came over to play with the Rebels earlier this year, Jackson Garden-Bachop was here a couple of years ago.

They might lose a bit of control over their development for a few months, but on the other hand, the players would be getting SR matches they wouldn’t get in NZ, Australia would be paying for it, and they’d go straight back afterwards into the M10.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

I’ll buy you a slab mate, if it says ‘we propose a professional comp next year comprising 5 teams from each country, and we’re delighted to welcome the Western Force back into it’ 😂

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

“now you want us gone”

Mike, people on here are being patient with you.
Who is the “you” you are talking about?
If it’s Alan Jones or Phil Kearns just say so. Understanding that they represent themselves, not all Australian and New Zealand rugby people.

Nobody’s stolen ‘your’ money mate. The SARU, NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia are quite capable of sorting out their own relationship, equitably and collegially.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Piru, if I’m still locked down inside my office, let out only to make cups of tea for my better half, until next February, there are going to be way more serious issues in Melbourne than the Rebels playing! 😂

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Max, check out the book, ‘The Game of our Lives’ by David Goldblatt.
Seriously, it’s a brilliant piece of work.

And then let me know if you think the EPL has been good for the game of football in Britain.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Good post Drew. Hansen and Jones are really answering a different question.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Let’s hold off on the Wallabies stuff until we’ve seen how he goes in the next few weeks, pm! 😂

Rebels forwards coach is Geoff Parling, ex British Lions lock. They also have Nic Henderson who works with the scrum, so some good experience there. What Pone really needs right now is a solid run of matches under his belt.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

You’ll have to wait for the Aratipu report, Max. If that’s what they’re recommending, they’ll have reasons for it.

That said, it’s not hard to figure out. They have five professional franchises already, this way they don’t have to add or delete any. They don’t think Australia is strong enough to have five franchises.

Don’t forget, at this stage everyone is focused on 2021 only. SANZAAR is still a thing, at least officially. So it makes no sense to go about a massive re-engineering with more teams, just for one year, assuming that COVID-19 will have passed by then.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Hi CR,

The original reports came from two well connected and respected journos in the UK.

I agree that all nations are keeping their options open, and so they should. What’s changed is that if there was a serious push to put more SA teams into the UK, COVID-19 has slammed that door shut for now. Hence we’re all being reminded that SANZAAR is a real thing, with real contracts.

I’m sure the nations will sort it out, they are a strong, respectful alliance. But if their individuals needs and circumstances change over time, then obviously that needs to be taken into account as well.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

It’s very unfortunate mate, but it seems that’s the case.

If they are able to get the Boks into a hub in Aus or NZ for some Tests later in the year, that will be a major achievement in itself. But as it stands today, a big ask.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

If they didn’t back themselves to hold the ball, the least Toomua could have done was to kick it out around halfway.

The way the line outs were going, the non-throwing team were 60-40 to win the line out anyway!

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Don’t hold your breath, Muglair.

The sustained excellence of NZ’s professional rugby masks a number of serious challenges and concerns for the game underneath that. Challenges that NZ Rugby is well aware of, even if some of the fans aren’t.

They’ve got plenty to go on with themselves without having to fix up Australia too.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

If you missed it, consider yourself fortunate, robbo.

It was a difficult watch all the way through, but gee weren’t there were some bad decisions made in those last few minutes by the Rebels?

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Stu, I nearly fell off the sofa on Friday night when Kearns made a comment about Pone Fa’aumasili not being familiar with the laws of the game! 😂 😂

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Yes Ross. Fans who decree that RA can simply cut teams at will, don’t have the responsibility of wearing all that goes with that.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Interesting point about the props, Peter. I think the fact we’re seeing some starting props play long minutes probably answers your question.

As for the ‘how long?’ question, I think that recent results demonstrate improvement over 2-3 years ago, so at least we know things are heading in the right direction. But if we accept that there is a whole cohort/generation of Australian players who haven’t been able to match it, then I guess we have to accept that outcomes aren’t going to be turned around in just one or two years.

The question then is, have the necessary improvements been made in coaching and talent identification at lower levels, to ensure that there is a new wave of talented players coming through? I think the honest answer to that question is that there has been improvement, and there are some good new players emerging, but there’s no evidence yet of a wholesale, fundamental change that guarantees a whole bunch of new players better than the previous lot.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

Nice rant abf!
Even if it was made with black sunglasses on, from inside a black tent! 😂

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web

One thing about the Reds under Thorn, Adsa, is that I’ve watched plenty of matches when it looked like they could have been blown away, but they’ve almost always found a way to fight back.

And while they had a dominant scrum on Friday night, and were never out of the game, at ten points down with a few minutes left, they really should have been out of business.

That’s a great quality for any team to have.

The Wrap: Rugby Australia must resist being drawn into New Zealand’s spider web