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Joe King

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Joined November 2013

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I think it’s fine as opinion piece, Geoff, and I thought you made some good points and raised some very important questions. But I think it’s important when presenting the arguments and opinions of those with whom you disagree, to present them in such a way that makes them say, “Yes, that’s exactly what I think. In fact, you said it better than I could!”

I’m not very good at that myself, but I find when I don’t do it, those with whom I disagree are quick to dismiss me rather than engage with my opinion.

Anyway, I’m not convinced by the domestic only camp, but I have confidence in McLennan. I don’t get the impression he’s bluffing, but nor do I think he’s saying this is the path Oz rugby is definitely going to take. His timing and manner are curious, but he’s got a good tack record, and so I’m prepared to give him the benefit of doubt until I know more about what’s really going on.

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

18 week window before July Internationals.

Home and Away SR AU and SR Aotearoa run in parallel = 12 weeks + week off leaves 5 weeks.

Then all 12 teams + top 4 Japanese teams: 4 pools of 4 teams each. Play all teams in your pool once, top teams go through for cross-over semis and final = 5 weeks.

Why Super Rugby Pacific is a failure when it comes to selecting match-ready Test teams

Should be a great series. Ireland v NZ as the curtain raiser will be great too. Will both games be on FTA TV in Oz, does anybody know?

England are coming and maybe only Jones knows what he’s sending our way

Dear Geoff, I really love and appreciate your work, but capturing the issue as RA failing to embrace excellence, is overly simplistic and below your usual high standard. The 3 categories of Oz fans also doesn’t account for those who watched and thoroughly enjoyed the SRP final, but would also love a domestic comp, or a mixture of a domestic comp and some sort of TT crossover. The 2014 final can also be used as an example of how an Oz team making the final every now and then doesn’t really do a lot for the code in Oz. Further, a domestic comp would not mean the Brumbies and Reds would play each other 3 times in regular season. There is only an 18 week window. And finally, netball is not a good apples-to-apples comparison, because it has never shown the potential that rugby in Oz has at that level.

Having said all that, I am not firmly in the domestic only comp camp because I can see some disadvantages with such a proposal, and also certain advantages with maintaining some sort of link with NZ teams.

But there really needs to be a balanced view of this issue. There *are* some advantages to a domestic comp, which SRP can’t deliver. It’s not about Aussies having an inferiority complex and always needing to win. It’s about growing the code in Oz against one of the most competitive sports markets in the world.

The big issue for kiwis is the ABs. With rugby as the national sport, and teams regularly in SR finals, the SR system works really well. And so whenever I hear kiwis try and convince Aussies to stay in SR with NZ by telling Aussies that it won’t be good for rugby in Oz, or how much OZ rugby needs NZ, or even using reverse psychology “Fine! Leave then. See if we care. We don’t want you anyway”, I can’t help but think Kiwis don’t quite get the issue for Oz rugby, and that deep down (even sub-consciously), kiwis are actually concerned about the ABs and NZ rugby. Kiwis are only concerned about a strong Oz rugby as long as it serves NZ interests. And that’s fine and understandable. That’s the way it should be. But let’s be aware of it and open about it.

The big issue for rugby in Australia is competing against other codes. This is one of the main barriers to the Wallabies reaching their potential. With all due respect to Kiwis, that is not a major battle for NZR. Yes, league raids the junior ranks in NZ, but it is a lot easier for NZR to secure their best junior rugby athletes than it is for RA. And that’s before we get to AFL or even basketball.

As I say, there are some disadvantages to simply going domestic, and it may not actually solve the issue, but there are also some disadvantages to SRP as it is. All sides of the debate need to feel the weight of this dilemma.

McLennan reported to the press what he had already told Mitchell in person. So I think others who phrase it as a ‘stab in the back’ or ‘hand grenade’ are not describing it accurately. My guess is this was calculated, and what he thought was necessary after previous long negotiations before the format and revenue sharing was agreed upon for 2022-2023. The timing was not pleasant, but RA have flagged this previously, and McLennan simply has to fight for rugby in Oz. If Australia can’t hold onto its top talent, let alone depth, the way NZ can, then SRP is not going to go from strength to strength anyway.

Is there a place to have a short domestic, and a shorter cross-over comp, though not the format of 2021?

The Wrap: Crusaders send a message to Rugby Australia to embrace excellence, not turn away from it

There’s no hatred from Australia towards NZ for losing. You’re not listening. The big deal for many Oz fans is the code being able to compete with other codes within Oz. A domestic comp ticks that box for a few reasons. Having an Oz winner is about building the code within Oz, it’s got nothing to do with being a sore loser.

'Hamish has thrown a hand grenade' - Turinui backs RA 'tribalism' but Horan fears impact of cutting ties with NZ

Surely, his comments couldn’t have upset you that much, Trytime?!

'Hamish has thrown a hand grenade' - Turinui backs RA 'tribalism' but Horan fears impact of cutting ties with NZ

Yeah, that’s it exactly.

'Hamish has thrown a hand grenade' - Turinui backs RA 'tribalism' but Horan fears impact of cutting ties with NZ

Which Australian fans want to hold hands with them? RA have made a comment. No one really knows what they mean by it yet.

'Hamish has thrown a hand grenade' - Turinui backs RA 'tribalism' but Horan fears impact of cutting ties with NZ

No one’s throwing toys. You’re just trying to shame them into not talking about it. NZR won’t say see ya. Anyone can see how desperate they are to stick with Oz.

But I agree, it might be best to stick together. But also worth asking the question.

'Hamish has thrown a hand grenade' - Turinui backs RA 'tribalism' but Horan fears impact of cutting ties with NZ

Kiwis defend the Blues, Aussies defend the Brumbies. But none of us are biased. We all see perfectly clear. ????

The more sophisticated of us throw a credit to the opposition before defending our own side again.

I love reading the comments of people who don’t fit this mould.

The Wrap: Did Super Rugby end up with the right teams in the final?

Your post is almost as bad as the ones you complain about.

The Wrap: Did Super Rugby end up with the right teams in the final?

That’s true JD, but it’s also not as simple as that.

The Wrap: Did Super Rugby end up with the right teams in the final?

While I am looking forward to the Barrett versus Mo’unga showdown, either of the Blues or Brumbies would have been worthy of the final against the Crusaders. Maybe the Blues slightly more because of their form all season. But the Brumbies definitely get the prize for the come-from-behind kings, not just in individual games, but as a team peaking in form.

Before the game, I don’t think many people would have predicted the Brumbies ability and toughness to come back and win the second half so well. Brumbies fans should feel really proud of their powerful never-give-up team. It was a moral victory of sorts. I certainly didn’t expect the Brumbies to get so close, and even win the try count 3-2, like they did last time they played the Blues.

However, while I think Brumbies fans can understandably feel a bit unlucky, it’s also good not to go on with it. The same could be said to Crusaders fans after a couple of notable finals they lost in years past. It’s better to just take your loses on the chin and accept it, and focus on next time.

The Wrap: Did Super Rugby end up with the right teams in the final?

It’s an interesting idea Nicholas. Is it your own, or have you heard any talk about this elsewhere?

Yes we Canberra! How the Brumbies stopped a New Zealand Super Rugby domination

Just anecdotally, but I remember some Bledisloe games in the 90’s when the Wallabies would win a game in the series, and the AB’s would play a completely different game plan the following week (similar to the Brumbies). The AB’s only brought out that game plan every now and then when they were desperate to win against a team that was attacking better than them. They would play a kicking game to turn the Wallabies around and pin them back in the red zone and pressure them into mistakes.

Yes we Canberra! How the Brumbies stopped a New Zealand Super Rugby domination

I think the Brumbies scored more tries than the Blues last time they played, but I agree, The Blues will be a lot harder to beat than the Canes.

Yes we Canberra! How the Brumbies stopped a New Zealand Super Rugby domination

Results are not the only factor to account for in determining how many teams to have, though they’re certainly important. I’ve heard Ben Darwin say that for RA to get rid of a SR team would be like deciding to get rid of one of your own children. It would do more damage now than good.

I agree that Oz expanded before they’d earned the right through an established ARC/NRC. But that ship has sailed now. We have to learn to live with 5, or at least, radically/creatively rework the system.

Yes we Canberra! How the Brumbies stopped a New Zealand Super Rugby domination

Dan, I remember you saying it elsewhere, and I admit, I thought you were way off. I thought the results would be similar to last year for TT games. I also thought Geoff Parkes was wrong on this point. However, I was incorrect.

I still think, unfortunately, some Oz teams will need to be weaker than they should be for other Oz teams to be strong. But there’s probably enough evidence of competitiveness to persevere with SRP beyond 2023. This will be even more so if RA relaunch something like the old Australian Provincial Championship from 2006, to be played in the third tier space.

The key to cohesion is to build players through your own system rather than buying them from another system. It disrupts cohesion for all the Oz teams when one or two Oz teams need to (understandably) ‘poach’ players from the other Oz teams. The key for the Force and Rebels is to build players through their own system as much as possible. It might disadvantage them in the short-term, but it’s better for Oz rugby in the long term. Maybe a temporary solution is to allow the Force and Rebels to have extra overseas players in their teams.

Yes we Canberra! How the Brumbies stopped a New Zealand Super Rugby domination

Two very exciting semi-finals to watch. No matter the outcome, SRP has been more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

Side issue, can you confirm that there will be no ‘third tier’ competition in the ‘NRC’ space later this year? I know you already said there wouldn’t be, but I keep hearing whispers.

Anatomy of a quarter final win and why the Brumbies can overcome a New Zealand finals hoodoo

Yep, absolutely.

The Wrap: Super Rugby seedings hold steady as final four confirmed

Ok, that adds an interesting perspective, AndyS. In essence, you’d have two comps. With 12 teams in a knock-out, would you give byes to the top 4 teams in week 1? Is there an opportunity to add the top 4 Japanese teams into this knock-out?

The Wrap: Super Rugby seedings hold steady as final four confirmed

You do need to put the cut off somewhere to keep the lower teams motivated through regular season. The top teams are motivated by a home final. Earlier, I would have said only up to half the teams should qualify for the finals, but now I think 8 is the limit, and works well for reasons I mentioned above.

The Wrap: Super Rugby seedings hold steady as final four confirmed

Although, it wouldn’t have been a (total) disaster for the TV guys if the Brumbies lost BECAUSE of the ¼ round.

The Wrap: Super Rugby seedings hold steady as final four confirmed

I expect the Blues to get the W after a hard fight against the Brumbies, but the best 4 teams are in the final 4. And it’s good for the comp to have an Oz team in there with a chance.

I must admit, I expected the Reds to do better than they did this year, but didn’t expect some of the other Oz teams to do as well as they did after last year.

I still feel there is a limit to how much the Oz teams can improve without a change to the Oz system (something between club and SR in the back end of the year), but I think the powers that be recognise this.

It’s not about having an Oz team able to win it with 5 teams (like the Waratahs did in 2014), but having the top 3-4 Oz teams sufficiently competitive each year, close to on-par with the top 3-4 NZ teams. That’s what will make for a great competition, where there’s more than 2-3 teams you think can genuinely win it. We already know the two PI teams have a lot of potential and improvement to come.

The Wrap: Super Rugby seedings hold steady as final four confirmed

Thanks for the wrap.

“A far more equitable solution is to retain full red cards for obvious, serious cases of foul play. But where there is any doubt, to apply a yellow card and have those cases sent to the judiciary for more sober, detailed analysis…”

This sounds like a sensible way forward.

The Wrap: Super Rugby seedings hold steady as final four confirmed

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