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Brett McKay

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Joined September 2008

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Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, is the voice of ACT club rugby, has commentated on Under-20s Championships, Women's Uni Sevens and National Rugby Championship coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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It’s a valid question, Paul – and I’m immediately drawn to the articles last season (or the season before) from the former NRC player who outlined why it was becoming easier and easier for senior players to just not bother with the NRC, and that the incentives just weren’t there in terms of payment and expenses..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Sorry Joe, that was unintentional.

That kind of ‘champions comp’ I’m sure will be one of the 17 options, there might even be multiple variations of it presented.

Personally, I’ve got concerns about this format as I’ve outlined in other comments – I think it very likely creates a bigger gulf between the clubs that do and don’t qualify.

And it could also mean that some club players and contracted players who should be playing in a 3rd-tier comp of some sort could miss out if their clubs don’t qualify (and I’d be dead against short-term registrations with other clubs)..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Just to clarify Scott, what I’m talking about is not a national club comp as is being widely floated elsewhere, and talks of combining the Brisbane and Sydney comps into one massive thing (possibly with two divisions).

What I’m talking about is the concept of a national knockout Cup comp that supplements the existing clubs comps around the country..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Semi-pro at best Nic.

The NRC has fully pro players (those contracted to SR sides), but is still only semi-pro. And funnily enough, I think that’s partly what’s held it back – if it could be funded and run (and therefore trained and played) fully pro, then the standard certainly improve, and I’m pretty sure the following and support would improve too..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

No, it was always suggested that the NRC would be used to trial things like new laws and even refereeing interpretations, Max.

That said, last year was the first in several where LVs were trialled. The couple of seasons before that were played with the same Laws and points systems that we know – but resulted in faster play and more ball-in-play and more tries anyway..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Don’t rule out the same article going up again… 🙄

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Yes, DA..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Cheers EFF. Was this club comp in SA a knockout comp though, or just a single carnival-type comp?

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Not to mention many of the law variations first used soon filtered up to Super Rugby and International level..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Whatever, but that’s a different article you’re now pointing to.

And there’s no doubt the CRTV has played a role in the resurgence of club rugby in Sydney. It’s just that the resurgence is not as strong as is often made out.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

That ended abruptly, didn’t it… 🙄

#howgoodarefacts

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Feels like the right result in the end, even if SANZAAR’s 50% discount still feels way over the top in terms of generosity, in my mind.

I can see why Nic Berry didn’t get a clear view of it, I was looking at the same 15-year old scoreboard screen he was, but what I don’t understand is why Ian Smith in the TMO box didn’t tell Berry the contact was pretty clear.

Anyway, we got there..

Tomkinson handed three-week ban over Banks hit

Nah, they’re as reported by the SMH and sourced from OZTAM…

Last season attracted an average audience of 13,000 people on the free-to-air network’s digital channel, down from 40,000 in the final year of the ABC’s long-running broadcast.

According to figures given to the Herald and sourced from OzTAM, the competition’s television audience dropped year on year over its five years on Seven, apart from a small spike in 2016 – the year Northern Suburbs broke a 41-year hoodoo to claim the title.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Doesn’t the near-100 NRC graduates into Super Rugby provide the evidence to point to, Tom?

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

I do applaud his ability to stick to one message, though.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

They use it as a heritage thing currently, TWAS..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

1. I have no jealously of the Shute Shield, you’re making that up for reasons unknown, and which I couldn’t care less about anyway.
2. You posting this article (for the umpteenth time) about one game three seasons ago doesn’t change my points above one iota.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

I don’t know for sure, but I *think* it’s because the private involvement might contradict the NSWCRU consitution, and therefore requires a separate entity.

That’s my understanding over the years, but I’ll happily stand corrected.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

And look who’s arrived to spectacularly miss the point yet again… 🙄

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Sheek, TWAS has actually explained this perfectly.

And for what it’s worth, the Vikings Group also funded the Canberra Kookaburras back in the day. It was only when they took over the funding completely (which was 1996, when the ACTRU had it’s hands full hurriedly creating the Brumbies!), did the renaming to the Canberra Vikings happen.

(As an aside, I only learned late last year the Vikings did play in Sydney. My memory was that they didn’t play as the Vikings until they went to Brisbane for a few years..)

(And Tuggeranong are far from the superpower down here: last year the top three of Royals, Tuggeranong, and Gungahlin were separated by a point going into the finals, and all three led the comp at different stages. Gunghalin lost their semi to Uni-North by less than a try, and Royals beat Tuggies in the GF by 1. For info.)

re NSW Country, every-Waratahs contracted player of country extraction (incl. country Qld in some cases) was aligned with the Eagles, ditto the NSW members of the Junior Wallabies, along with ex-country 1st Graders in Sydney. Not everyone who played for them had country lines, but I believe it was more than half the squad..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

So….. most sane people realise SR and the NRC will fall over, but like a Phoenix some other pro comp will be miraculously formed by bigger clubs who battle currently, and would then expand to the point of inviting teams from NZ and the PIs.

Sane people realise this?!? 😮

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Andy, that’s exactly what was offered to the Brisbane and Sydney clubs when the NRC was constructed, though.

The Brisbane clubs couldn’t see a way that allowed their involvement to be financially feasible, and so the QRU quickly created Brisbane City and Qld Country under the Reds fold. Three titles in six seasons suggests this was a good call.

In Sydney, Gordon/Manly/Warringah/Norths formed a JV to create the North Harbour Rays (which became the Sydney Rays). That JV entity lasted five seasons with backing from Macquarie University, before the Waratahs resumed control just last year and simply named them, ‘Sydney’ (playing in the old SRU rep strip)

The Greater Sydney Rams had buy-in from Souths, West Harbour, Parramatta, Penrith and Eastwood, as well as majority private investment. That all slowly dwindled down, Eastwood took it over for a season, then they were wound up when NSW cut back to two teams.

Sydney Uni created the Sydney Stars with Balmain (of all clubs), but it only last two seasons (made the finals the second year). Uni then got involved with NSW Country.

And Country was initially a part-private, part NSW Country Rugby amalgam with token input from Easts and Randwick (who sort of found themselves let out), but with Uni then coming in with (I think) about a 20% stake. I believe that relationship still exists, thought the team is now also run by the Waratahs.

So the NSW sides were set up as you suggest they should have been, but it simply didn’t last..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Great point Jez. I’ve certainly had conversations that indicate there are very similar motives/drivers up in Brisbane, but I don’t believe they’re as supported or encouraged to ‘speak up’ as in Sydney..

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

All very true Soapy, but at least by running the first few rounds locally might minimise that travel requirement, which in turn might make it easier on players. Valid concerns, though.

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring

Yeah, no doubt it’s been driven from that level Andy, I just question how big the actual movement doing the driving is.

We have to remember, that for all the talk about what the SRU/Club Rugby TV deal with Ch.7 has done to revitalise the game, the details often overlooked but slowly emerging show that:

– the deal the SRU (the body representing the SS clubs, remember) signed the clubs up for had to be bailed out by RA/NSWRU in 2015 and 2016, and again 2019. They signed a deal that had the paying $300K a year for the airtime and production costs, and couldn’t pay it three out of five years.
– That deal had another five years to run.
– The ratings haven’t been great at all. The figure reported was an average of 13,000 viewers per game last season on 7TWO – which is I believe pretty much the same as what NRC games were getting on Fox Sports.
– RA buying out the remaining rights has resulted in a nice little profit for the CRTV guys, while as part of the deal, the SRU will get a nice little cash injection over the next few seasons that wasn’t on the table previously.

The health of the club game in Sydney has been way overstated. Way overstated.

Meanwhile, in the other cities, they operate within their means, doing what they can to grow the game through local live streams, etc…

A national cup competition is an idea worth exploring