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The Roar

Luis Charalambous

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Joined November 2017

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A news editor with an acquired taste for rugby league, football and cricket. Twitter: @journaluis

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He had a great run with Lebanon in the World Cup and he looked after he settled in with Parramatta. Very interested to see how he goes this year. It will be a much closer race than in previous years.

A tale of two halves: Has Maloney’s move dealt a blow to Pearce’s Origin hopes?

I’m actually a Roosters fan. I do agree with Pearce being more consistent – he has the experience. I think though if Cleary and Maloney prove effective at club level, then it creates a threat to his spot that he probably wouldn’t have had before Maloney’s move – particularly when you take into account the talk of injecting youth into the team. If he rises to challenge he’s got with Newcastle, and he’s the best option, he should be picked. That’s what makes Pearce and Maloney’s club switches even more intriguing.

A tale of two halves: Has Maloney’s move dealt a blow to Pearce’s Origin hopes?

You make an overall good argument here.

Australia’s premier football competition is only a decade old, and while it won’t be on par with European football overnight, it has definitely improved exponentially.

The clubs are now attracting better players from around the globe and our home grown talent are getting better.

Encouraging more community involvement is key.

On top of your points raised, there needs to be more marketing by the FFA. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any free-to-air ads for any Sydney or Wanderers games on TV.

What about more free tickets for local juniors? I spent most of 2001-2002 heading to Nth Syd Oval to see Northern Spirit because I got free season entry for winning an U10 final.

And I think the other factor is the neutrals – or non-fans. Attend a Socceroos game and you will hear chatter from the seats in front or behind you suggesting some of those speaking haven’t watched the local league, but they are there because its an “event”.

Pounce on that. Plug the a-league at those games through ads on screen, schedules on screen, and marketing material. if they’ve enjoyed the Socceroos they might be encouraged to jump on board with their local team.

How to stop the Eurosnob

I’ll admit, I had the blinkers on when writing this, thinking mainly about the benefit this would have to rugby league fans in the southern hemisphere.

But as QConners suggested above, a concurrent European Cup could work, and increase the number of Test matches up there.

The RLIF is running a World Cup for emerging nations* in 2018 for Tier 2 and Tier 3 nations, compiled of Asian and European teams, which is a positive move.

It will naturally take longer for the northern hemisphere to catch up to the level the southern hemisphere teams are at. So in the meantime, why not showcase the southern hemisphere in a Pacific Cup? If it’s successful, and becomes a prominent showpiece, it will only prompt development in the Northern hemisphere to move even faster.

* http://www.theroar.com.au/2017/03/30/rlif-confirms-2018-emerging-nations-world-cup/

We must patch the Pacific-sized hole in international rugby league

Yes, the mid year Tests have included those Pacific nations, but they’ll each play just one match. Next year’s Pacific Test day on June 23 sees Samoa v Tonga, which is great for obvious rivalry reasons, and PNG v Lebanon, which has intrigue given both their recent achievements in the World Cup. And, as you said, New Zealand might be added to the card given England played last year.

But what about a rematch between Fiji and New Zealand after that tryless Quarter Final? When’s New Zealand’s next opportunity to get revenge on Tonga after that group match upset? PNG, who were on fire in the group stages, exited the World Cup without even facing another Pacific team, and they won’t face one on June 23.

How can you build these rivalries if without games to play? The Pacific Test day is a great start, but one day a year shouldn’t be all that’s on offer if rugby league fans want to see quality matches within our region.

We must patch the Pacific-sized hole in international rugby league

It’s certainly been an intriguing tournament. Tonga went from causing a great upset to almost being on the other end from Lebanon. And what about Fiji knocking out New Zealand? When’s the rematch?

Tonga is taking on Samoa, and PNG are taking on Lebanon on June 23 next year, the day before the stand-alone Origin match. Maybe add Fiji v NZ to the bill. International and Origin footy co-existing on that weekend should keep everyone happy.

We must patch the Pacific-sized hole in international rugby league

A European Cup played at or around the same time would be great in developing the quality of competition in the Northern Hemisphere. I think the more International rugby league, the better.

Another factor is the coaches. We saw with Lebanon what a coach like Brad Fittler, who has improved greatly since his 2009 season with the Roosters, can do for a minnow. A trophy, whether it’s a Pacific Cup or a European Cup could be the path for more long-term coaches for these teams.

We must patch the Pacific-sized hole in international rugby league