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@Jeremy.Atkin

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Joined June 2012

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Sorry – I didn’t mean to be rude about it. I just don’t think going back and forth in the comments is the most productive approach. To be honest, not being someone who typically engages in these sorts of forums, I probably take it all a bit too personally and just get aggravated. Once it’s all published I’m going to attempt to write a response to the various critiques yourself and others have raised. I guess what I would prefer, is yourself and others who obviously care a lot about this stuff (like I do) to consider other parts of what I’m suggesting, like what I would do with the international calendar, or with ANZAC day, or with the media portrayal (tomorrow), or with the governance (the day after), rather than focusing solely on this player contracting bit.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 6: Fixing the game itself

I get it mate – you don’t think this works – I feel like you’ve made that point pretty clear.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 6: Fixing the game itself

I agree that it’s not just a money problem. This is a big part of my logic for returning the Wallabies back to their clubs (for at least part of the year). Australian Rugby has a real accessibility and connection problem and I think making the players more visible at a local level would help close the gap. Other than that though I don’t have great answers.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 6: Fixing the game itself

This is absolutely fair criticism. The reason I haven’t gone to any greater depth is I don’t have good ideas. Unlike most of the other stuff I’ve written (which I have some personal, academic or professional experience in), this is not a space I am familiar with really at all. I would love yourself and others to fill this gap in my plan!

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 6: Fixing the game itself

Good question. Has anyone ever tried? i.e. a discounted salary for a month off at the start of the off-season? Has anyone ever had the incentive to try before? I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions. Do you think the issue is the players not going for it or the clubs not going for it or both?

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 4: Fixing the calendar

The whole thing is predicated on the idea that playing for the Wallabies is still an aspiration for these guys. If that’s not the case at all then we might as well all go home…
Players currently don’t the option to pay for their overseas clubs and compete for Wallabies jerseys because the Giteau rule requires them to be contracted by Super Rugby teams which can’t happen while they’re contracted with the European Clubs.
At the moment it’s a black and white choice – cash or possible Wallabies jersey. There’s no in between. What I’m proposing is just a third option.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 4: Fixing the calendar

I guess we have to agree to disagree – neither of us can say definitively for sure…

It’s never a decision I had to make either but I would bet a lot of money that most first-graders in Sydney ‘ Brisbane / Canberra / Melbourne / Perth would do this in a heartbeat. And most employers would let them without much hesitation.

Relationships between employers and employees regarding flexible working hours / availability of unpaid leave etc have changed enormously in the past 25 years…

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 4: Fixing the calendar

Would a player take a 10-20% pay cut if it meant they could play for the Wallabies (and earn match payments)? Would a club be happy to miss some of their offseason if it meant paying them 10-20% less? I don’t know for sure but I don’t think it’s such a crazy idea that it should be rejected out of hand.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 4: Fixing the calendar

Ok then – answer your own question – right now, what is making money and what is engaging people? I would argue that the most engaging rugby is club rugby and the most profitable rugby is test rugby. And yet the calendar is dominated by Super Rugby. Which does neither.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 4: Fixing the calendar

I agree to an extent regarding the participation point though I don’t think it’s an unsolvable problem. I can tell you from my own personal experience that for a lot of rugby players, a shorter season would be welcome. For those who did want more, it wouldn’t be hard to organise a travelling ‘carnival’ model played every fortnight in regional areas? Less intense that the club season but still footy for those who want it in a good atmosphere?

With regards the organisation, I think there is already way too much administration and bureaucracy in Australian Rugby. I worry that splitting things up as you suggest (while good in theory) will only make this worse.

With regards foreign players coming back, I agree what I’m proposing is at best optimistic and at worst unrealistic but if the trade-off was a significant increase in available Australian talent I think it’s a trade-off that could be managed – especially as the players will all be available for the European clubs for the most important 8.5 months of the year – from mid-October through til June.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 4: Fixing the calendar

That’s exactly my point. Club rugby should be a local experience. Less about ‘quality’ and more about connection

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

There’s a whole post on this coming

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

The bullet points in the first post correlate directly with the posts that are coming.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

If you did a strawpoll of first grade rugby players around the country how many of them would take a month out of work to be paid $25k to play for their state for and against a bunch of Wallabies do you seriously think the majority would say no?

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

I get that it’s frustrating / disjointed reading it piecemeal but it would be nice if there was at least some benefit of the doubt before everyone jumps to “well you haven’t thought about this have you!?!”

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

It seems to just about everyone reading these posts to be honest. I’m happy to take criticisms on specific points (and I have tried to respond to them where I think they’re valid) but people writing off the whole thing as too club-centric or too NSW-centric or not professional etc. is frustrating because many of these things are covered in a lot of detail in coming posts…

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

With all due respect I reckon you’re judging my plan before having read it all.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

Not sure why you think you need 35 guys per team for a 5 week competition and the barbarians would largely be chosen from the o/s based guys so the #s are bit skewed but you’re essentially right wrt to ppl taking time off work. If you paid match fees of $5k per game then it would be worth it for them to participate.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

Sorry – I didn’t see it explicitly asked. NSW / QLD / ACT / VIC / WA / Barbarians – single round robin. 3 games each week over 5 weeks.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

I published the whole thing on medium a couple of weeks ago – there are links in the articles.
Also, yesterday’s post includes both $3m in match fees and $5m worth of player-related operating costs so I think I’m covered there?

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

There’s 7 more posts coming. And it’s not necessarily just new customers. It’s equally about getting more money out of your existing customers.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

Not really – the point is more to show that you can cut those costs massively and maintain your revenue at something close to what it is now. The post very explicitly says that broadcast revenue will go down…

With regards to your other points about split among states. I’m happy for the players to play wherever they are. There will still be a domestic provincial competition. It just won’t be the main focus of the whole season (as it is now) – it will be a stepping stone between club and international rugby.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

I feel like I have written this 15 times but it’s obviously not resonating – I don’t think club rugby as a standalone entity will pay for professional rugby in Australia.

No-one thinks that.

I think club rugby is part of the solution – a bigger part than it currently is. It’s not the whole answer.

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

I am not sure where you get the notion I want to return to NSW + QLD only – all I said is that is where the majority of professional players currently come from (as your numbers indicate). The whole point of what I am suggesting is finding ways to spend less money on professional rugby (less professional players and less professional teams) so we can spend more on increasing participation. The question to answer is how to spend less on professional rugby while keeping the Wallabies competitive

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue

Again – the Shute Shield as currently constituted is crippled by the fact that (1) the best players never play (2) it’s on at the same time as super rugby so it gets zero coverage in the media leading to (3) it’s hard to find unless you know where to look. Of course the broadcast numbers are bad. Fix those three problems and I would argue that the viewing #s likely improve. But that is kinda besides the point – in my model club rugby is intended to be a product for keen rugby fans + engaging with grassroots. The goal is not broadcast ratings. The goal is satisfying the base who are willing to pay for niche offering.

With regards the rest of your points, you’re making a lot of assumptions about my model which aren’t right and I would ask if you could please reserve judgement until you’ve read the rest of the posts…

How to fix Australian rugby, Part 3: Protecting and growing revenue