The Roar
The Roar

Sam Drew

Roar Guru

Joined February 2016







Resident 'English rugby league correspondent'. Also write for LastWordOnSports and FortyTwenty magazine. For enquires, contact me at For irrelevant tweets, follow @sceptical_bunny



As an Englishman, I agree with much of the prognosis. The administration needs a serious kick up the jacksie.

As to what Australia can do, I’m afraid that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Any talk of the NRL ‘taking over’ is a non-starter. Even if they had the inclination, it would be widely rejected. Mergers, franchising etc are a nonstarter.

The only thing Australia can do is meet its expectations. Turn up to internationals, don’t obstruct rep players, and agree to a World Club Challenge. Although that appears to be too hard for the selfish, parochial and cowardly V’landys.

Unfortunately, the current predicament is one that we’re going to have to get out of ourselves.

Cooperation with France would yield far better results than reliance on an unreliable NRL

Is there hope for English rugby league?

On paper – where else is international league played these days? Très Drôle

The game in France is certainly in ruder health than it has been in a long-time. Just a shame it coincides with a relative decline of English fortunes.
I’ll be at Old Trafford cheering them on this Saturday, and just hope to God our English authorities can capitalise – more internationals, easier pathways for player, referee and staff swaps, etc
But what’s the saying? RL never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity

Dragons, spacemen and the boy wonder: Is rugby league rising again in France?

Grand Final this weekend between Saints and Dragons. Cue confused Kogarah onlookers.

Dragons, spacemen and the boy wonder: Is rugby league rising again in France?

I do think you’re right with having two sides. After all, if cash-strapped England can manage it, why not the well-heeled NRL?
But NZ2 is far down the ladder of expansion: Brisbane 2, then Perth is probably the thinking. So you’d need a 20 team league. I’m happy with that, but I don’t think the powers that be would accept that.
Also worth thinking about where to locate NZ2? Would it be a South Island team out of Christchurch? Jury still out about Wellington, they’ve never really taken to the code. Hamilton could engender a local derby, but might dilute the Warriors fan base.

Have the New Zealand Warriors been a failure?

The Moanna Pasifika side might not be the unqualified success its proponents purport, and runs the risk of exuding tokenism.
With the rise of Tonga and the potential of Samoa, the best chance of further enhancing participation and development is with the international game – the Warriors then become these new fans’ domestic side.
2022 is already bookmarked for the World Cup (should this year’s miscreants turn up), so a mini-tour looks out of the question

Have the New Zealand Warriors been a failure?

The question around ‘piggy backing’ is legitimate, especially if there’s the perception of stealing ‘your’ national resources.
Imho, the ultimate ambition for France has to be the establishment of their own league. The 2025 WC provides the perfect springboard.
With NZ, such a scenario may prove difficult. A small population makes that difficult – would NZ leaguies be happy with more clubs, but with inferior resources to Australia? 3 Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, New Plymouth, and Palmerston North could, potentially, maybe, in the future, work – with proper money and good NZRL governance. But past administrative mishaps breed understandable scepticism.

Have the New Zealand Warriors been a failure?

As an outsider Pom, this is the thing about Brisbane expansion that I don’t understand. Fair enough another team in SEQ. But considering the Broncos can’t sell out Suncorp, why base another team there? All it does is risk dividing current support.

If the Firehawks (with support of Easts Tigers) want to create that North-South rivalry, why not play out of the QEII stadium in Nathan?
Redcliffe is far enough from the CBD to be distinct. Just use their huge reserves to get their own stadium up to scratch.
Same goes for Ipswich, with the promises of local gov. money.

'This isn’t a COVID thing': Atmosphere is the missing component of the NRL

Er, I’m Southern.

And like I said, there’s no problems with players who don’t want to play. But 75% do want to play.

An open letter to World Cup players: Stand up and be heard

Er, don’t feel very stuffed here. Gonna go to a packed Headingley tonight, then onto a nightclub.

We’re reaching the peak of our (inevitable) exit wave, our current situation isn’t unexpected

International Rugby League's glorious and defiant future without NRL stars starts now

That figure will go up to 100,000 in the next 10 days to 2 weeks, possibly up to 250,000 per day at the peak. But those numbers are now disassociated from hospitalisations and deaths, the key metric.

Players have the chance to be vaccinated now if they’re worried about health, as well as requests for charter flights and bubble protocols.

There’s no issues with individual players choosing not to go, nobody begrudges that. But there’s enough players willing to go. It’s wrong of the clubs to force their hand

Should the Rugby League World Cup go ahead?

English here, great article. Obviously massive differences in attitude to Covid between hemispheres, but there’s no hint of any problems on our side.

The problems are all emanating from Australia, and on principle alone, the international game shouldn’t be beholden to one country, no matter how dominant.

I’ve every sympathy for players that don’t want to come. But I’m sure that so many, the majority, do, and it’s morally duplicitous of clubs to use the smokescreen of Covid to mask their selfish concerns about pre-season availability.

Should the Rugby League World Cup go ahead?

I think PNG and Fiji can go with teams made up of PNG Hunters, Kaiviti Silktails & some UK based lads. After all, they’re meant to be returning to their countries at the end of the year anyway, far outside the remit of PVL and ScoMo.

Enough players here to make Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga teams. Only question mark would be Cook Islands – may need to replace with US

Should the Rugby League World Cup go ahead?

The concept failed (rightfully so) because the fans didn’t want it. Simply introducing a pyramid structure to pan-continental leagues would still illicit such a response.

If a club reaches the UCL final, they’ll play seven games away from home, and is usually much less. This involves costly travel, hotels, time off work, etc. With this league, you’re travelling around Europe more than 15 times a season, and it’s simply not sustainable for fans.

And your point about play-offs to decide the ultimate winner, after a league campaign, is anaemic to such values, and a very ‘American’ concept in the aftermath of protests that focused on the American nature of the Super League.

Who and how would you decide which teams make up the three tiers? Why should Tottenham (my team), go in ahead of Red Star Belgrade, Feyenoord or PSV, all previous European Cup winners? Or ahead of Portuguese champions Sporting, or Russian league winners Zenit?

Creating a fair and competitive European Super League

Now all they have to do is put their foot down with the clubs and make sure they can make the trip over to England later this year.

If they really pull their act together, get a proper decent coach, maximise their eligibility potential and have some quality warm up games to gel together, they could go far.

After watching the England game last week, a full strength Samoa could very easily beat the hosts, and even make the final

'Absolutely lethal': The Samoan 17 that could shake up the World Cup

Agreed we can’t just bin out w/out thinking. Maybe reserving its use for very limited occasions? But I can’t see it going forward in its current guise

I was wrong about the six-again rule change

I think purely from a practical point of view, this year was a non starter. The Tonga manager & their halves are in England, as is the Fiji captain, and so many others.

We’re seeing in England with a fixture against a hotchpotch “Combined Nations All Stars” that internationals done half-arsed can be detrimental to the game.

It would’ve been far better to have 3 mid-week Origins like they’re planning from next season.

Lack of international rugby league a missed opportunity

I get that. I’m just surprised it’s gone so south, so quickly. Looking back, it’s likely 2020’s play-off run masked a lot of underlying issues.

What on earth is going on at the Raiders?

Again, UK and Australia aren’t pursuing the same goals. It doesn’t matter if it’s circulating. It doesn’t matter if 3/4 are B.1.617. There is no evidence to suggest that it sidesteps vaccines.
There are only 954 people with Covid in hospital today. The NHS is not ‘teetering on the verge’ now, any more than it has for the last 10 years.

There is no excuse to cancel the World Cup

The Chief Medical Officer has said that B.1.617 will become the dominant strain in the UK, it’s not cause for alarm. It is not vaccine resistant – data from England suggests it is mainly hospitalising those eligible for vaccines that have refused, whilst any increased transmissibility is manageable enough for the health service to cope with.

There is no excuse to cancel the World Cup

We’ll give the teams vaccines before we play them and hope they feel under the weather

There is no excuse to cancel the World Cup

Like you said, there’s a long way to go. Everyone will have been vaccinated by then, possibly even onto boosters.

We’re not aiming on Zero Covid, so it’s not as simple as saying x number of cases is good, y is too many.
If you charged every ticket an extra £1, covering the costs of returning quarantine, fans would be more than happy with that.

There is no excuse to cancel the World Cup

But we’re moving, or should be, into a post-Covid world, where vaccines do the heavy lifting. Restrictions into ’22 understandable for Oz, but not for UK where everyone should be double jabbed well before then.

That’s how it should be. What the UK gov. decide in their ‘infinite wisdom’ is quite often beyond the realms of comprehension.

There is no excuse to cancel the World Cup

But not all 16 would be coming from Oz, and may of the Pacific nations will have players and staff already in UK. That 1,000 would be significantly less, and also, not all coming back at the same time.

There is no excuse to cancel the World Cup

The feelings are visceral. There were sizeable protests all last week, and even Prince William felt the need to interject. The whole fiasco has made me question whether or not to renew my season ticket.

Lessons for Australian sport from the Super League debacle

Agreed. I’m not forking out for a membership when I can’t even attend until borders reopen, but if it meant I got a deciding vote on fundamental issues (see proposed new NRL structure) then I’d be happy to oblige

Lessons for Australian sport from the Super League debacle