Respectfully Jimbo, money is not the only currency. When it comes to sports, I feel passion is the most valuable commodity. It’s not money that makes people fall in love with a sport (I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger). It’s the intangibles of pride, sense of belonging and a common purpose that makes fans love and commit to a sport or team. If we engage the general public with the game itself, not just the wallabies but rugby in a broader sense, we can then expect to reap the financial returns. The great volunteers that manage and officiate grassroots rugby are a smart bunch. They don’t need a financial incentive or government grant to do a better job. They just need their national governing body and team to be on the same page. Something or someone to believe in. It’s a PR exercise. Bring the rugby community back together and the game will move upwards and onwards together
I wouldn’t consider BBL an example of a bottom up, grassroots competition. It’s a semi (or fully, dependant on your wage expectations) professional environment. When talking of the grassroots, we’re talking kids who play for the sheer joy. We’re talking young adults in rural Australia who are incredibly talented but not necessarily born into the correct Rugby “pathways”. We’re talking sportspeople who end up playing league, soccer, AFL or any other sport that offers them the chances for progression that rugby does not. Get these guys and girls playing and we’re back
Surely a 15,000 thousand strong, capacity, heaving fan base at apex oval in Dubbo is more conducive to a victory than a semi filled stadium elsewhere. Let’s start again, reinvigorate Australia’s love of rugby and get back to a point where we can fill the major city based venues. Re-engage with the rugby purists and build back up to the spectators that were a rugby test in the 90’s and 00’s.