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Sam Drew

Roar Guru

Joined February 2016

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Covid dispensation makes sense if not for the fact that we already have Catalans Dragons in Super League, and Toulouse’s elevation would’ve made the situation more manageable.
The latest UK border rules means that players returning from France have to isolate unless they’re elite athletes, in which case they can stay in their training bubble. But as most players in the Championship, where Toulouse are now stuck, are part-time, they cannot afford to take 5 days off, and will most likely have to refuse to play.

Zut alors! Trent Robinson's greatest challenge in 2021

Sacrilege! Not even a double?

Finally, a rugby league pre-season game to get excited about

Not quite sure the Roar higher-ups have bestowed that title on me quite yet, but if you say so 😊

Finally, a rugby league pre-season game to get excited about

Cheers mate, means a lot. Usually at this time I’d be standing in the chuffing cold in a rainy English stadium a few weeks into the season, so its good to have some decent action now to tie over until March

Finally, a rugby league pre-season game to get excited about

Depends what time the cricket starts. 😁 🏏

Finally, a rugby league pre-season game to get excited about

Oh don’t get me wrong, rl has done a lot, led the way many times in this sort of thing. Would’ve expanded, but word limits.

I think it’s happened more by accident than design, but they’ve seemingly hit upon a formula that works now. Definitely one to stick with over the years

Finally, a rugby league pre-season game to get excited about

I think it’s the third iteration under this format. Usually went under the radar for me, as the season in England is normally up and running by now

Finally, a rugby league pre-season game to get excited about

Personally I’d love to see a Christchurch team – they have a better community/youth structure than Wellington, certainly as good as anywhere outside of Auckland/Counties Manukau, as well as an appropriate stadium. Could create a North-South Island rivalry.

But we won’t see expansion for years, and even then there’s plenty of Australian options laying claim before the NRL will consider another overseas addition.

The lessons NZ rugby league should draw from Tuivasa-Sheck's departure

No that’s more than fine, a bit of normal online criticism, so long as it’s in good faith and respectful, should be taken in good stead. And I do actually agree with your idea that we need to get back to ‘normal’ ASAP, and hope that rollout gathers enough pace that talk of prioritisation becomes moot. I’m just imbued with cynicism that my government (not necessarily the Australian gov.) will cock it up that we eventually need these unnecessary conversations about rankings and jab queues.

The case for offering COVID-19 vaccines to athletes

Hi Mushi, thank you for sharing, and although they’re just words, I truly am sorry for your loss and the circumstances you found/find yourself in. As much as I try to keep up with SMH and 9 News, I know the situations in our respective countries makes it hard for me to truly understand the situation on the ground and local context. I am sorry if my suggestion is a bit on the nose.

The case for offering COVID-19 vaccines to athletes

Sorry if didn’t come across as the clearest.

I agree that for most people sports players wouldn’t deserve bumping up the ladder above everyone. But once the most clinically vulnerable, elderly and health care workers are vaccinated, and the absolute risk of hospital pressure and mortality is minimised, then different cohorts (more by employment than age) make their case for favouritism (at least over here). I appreciate its a minority view, but I would have no qualms with elite athletes going ahead of me.

In no way would I want to cast into doubt the federal government’s vaccine strategy. This would be a couple hundred of exemptions that could assist in creating additional facilities for wider population immunisation (see using St Helens’ stadium) – athletes have already been exempted from other aspects of government planning like border restrictions and quarantine.

As nice as it is to dream, I don’t think a poxy weekly article on a sports website can change Australian government policy. I’ve written before, but if I could change one thing about Canberra’s policy it would be to allow my brother to enter and reunite with his girlfriend.

The case for offering COVID-19 vaccines to athletes

Hi Nat, thank you very much for your concern, really means a lot.

Unfortunately, there will be fiendish issues with supply and distribution, with no easy answers. Once the UK jabs the over 70s, health workers and the clinically vulnerable (and thus 88% of mortality risk) there are debates about who comes next. Teachers, supermarket workers, uni students have all had compelling cases to be ‘next in the queue’. Considering elite athletes are some of the few people exempted from lockdown (at least in the UK), and how sports organisations are volunteering their large stadiums and resources to the health services, surely there at least exists a case to think about their case.

If there exists avenues for private procurement that can assist with infrastructure to help the national programme going forward, then it would be imprudent not to at least investigate all possible avenues.

The case for offering COVID-19 vaccines to athletes

Would be more than happy for that to happen. But time restraints and logistics makes it very difficult.

Worst comes to worst, could have Melbourne, St Helens and the two comp winners of 2021 in a round robin at the start of 2022. Surely the world has to be normal by then? Or what’s the point anymore

Can we at least try to get the World Club Challenge on this year?

Agreed that it’s hardly the biggest priority in the world right now, and of course wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. But the Australian Open shows it is possible if the desire and planning is there (both of which I admit are many stratospheres above the WCC).

On a slightly more realistic note, this would probably have to take place later in the season, during an NRL bye round.

Can we at least try to get the World Club Challenge on this year?

I think Nines can appeal to a new audience – but it has to be NEW (so no tournaments in Sydney or Auckland), and also need to acknowledge its limitations.
Should not be used as an excuse to diminish genuine efforts to help the game, in its full 13-a-side form, in the South Pacific and France.
As great as it would be to have 9s at the Paris Olympics ’24 or a World Cup in Toronto, it will all be for nowt if it’s not followed up by genuine boots-on-the-ground efforts. But resources are of course limited, hence the difficulty in using Nines to grow the game.

Nines as T20: Is it wise to bastardise rugby league?

Can’t even get pub takeaways now thanks to Boris!
Agreed: shorter formats do tend to dilute some of the skills required for the long format (I’ll be using that excuse when we inevitably succumb at the Gabba later this year) 🏏

Nines as T20: Is it wise to bastardise rugby league?

Sorry for late reply, been busy. I’m working on the idea of invest now for future returns, as I believe the NRL do have some financial reserves (they made noises about investing in the UK Super League).
I think the tribal nature of rugby league, football/soccer means that such relocation is that much harder. My team, Tottenham, still sing about our North London rivals Arsenal moving back to Woolwich (in rather ruder terms), despite the 11.3 mile migration happening over a century ago. The magazine WSC refuses to publish MK Dons pre-season predictions because of the role in ‘stealing’ the club from Wimbledon and “buying a franchise.”
I know the AFL has cultivated strong fan bases in new areas, but it has taken a generation which, despite NRL reserves, the game may not have. I think eventually, the relocated NRL clubs would be adopted as their own. I just happen to think it would make far more sense to make an authentically local new team from the off rather than have an identity imposed.
Made my points about player depth here (https://www.theroar.com.au/2020/09/08/for-all-the-problems-of-expansion-player-quality-is-not-one-of-them/), but understand the reluctance, given the gap from 1st to 16th and the effect of lockdowns and such on finances

'Tis the season to be silly: Let's talk NRL expansion

Sorry, I meant raw and basest emotions on the side of the perpetually outraged TV commentators – those critical of the decision to boycott, not those who are boycotting

And emotion is good, it gets people involved in debate that needs to happen. My biggest concern was when the spills over into outright hatred for the other, internet death threats and the like – that’s all I was trying to disarm, not the right to discuss passionately.

Let the anthem play, let the players protest

Controversial comment incoming: as a Tottenham fan that’s been to Liverpool away – the Anfield atmosphere is overrated. It’s good, but nothing special in the footballing world. Didn’t even get glassed walking out of the ground

Let the anthem play, let the players protest

Can rustle up a bit of cash, but more importantly, I do make a brilliant roast dinner.

As for male or female, some things are better left for the honeymoon! 😂

Let the anthem play, let the players protest

Definitely with you on that last point. That Yankee over-the-top hoo-ha is certainly a turn-off.

There’s a distinction between patriotism and nationalism: where one denotes love for homeland, the other signals hatred of others, and I feel that some of the anthem debate and criticism of dissenting players definitely leans towards the latter

Let the anthem play, let the players protest

Did either Oz or the Argies reach the World Cup Final? Like England? 😁

(Not really into Union, just a joke to try and lighten these comments from the inevitable cesspit they’ve become)

Let the anthem play, let the players protest

OK, it’s fair to say the comments have got a bit ‘lively’. Let’s all take a deep breath, and clear a few things up:
– What happened in the past is undoubtedly horrible. The fact that it is not the *absolute* worst thing to happen in history, nor the fact that other European powers would have done the same or worse, is not a mitigating factor.
– First Peoples Australians remain one of the most disadvantaged groups in the country. This is largely a result of the historical legacies and problems that continue to this day, and they go above and beyond the standard issues related to typical migratory “ethnic minorities”
– No one should feel individual guilt for atrocities their forefathers committed. ‘White guilt’ or bearing the sins of your family or country on an *individual* level is a non-starter. On a personal note, my mum’s ancestors weren’t involved in Australian nationhood because they got away with their crimes (sorry, couldn’t resist), whilst family on my dad’s side were in Malaya making money
– Change needs to happen. It needn’t be radical, or revolutionary, or some wild left-wing conspiracy, but the First Peoples and Indigenous populations need to have a voice in affecting change to their lives, rather than the all too familiar pattern of having policy inflicted upon them.
– Rugby league cannot solve all this overnight, but can at least set an example and start a conversation. The fact that V’landys was willing to bin the anthem out of cultural insensitivity, however misplaced, speaks volumes to the NRL’s commitment. If that can be channelled productively, with Indigenous voices informing decisions, then and only then can the game can be an example the rest of the country

OK, good. I’m all for reasoned debate, but let’s not have people accuse others of racism, lefty anarcho-communism or socio-political slurs. If something’s that bad, the monitors will censor it. Spirited chat, not vitriol.

Let the anthem play, let the players protest

That’s a good point, but I would like to add a few issues:
– National anthem should not just be played for national sides: it’s played before Grand Finals, and whilst no one wants an Americanisation that it becomes played before every game, it is important to acknowledge significant national moments (we play God Save the Queen before the Challenge Cup Final between club sides, in spite of the fact that she hasn’t been there in my lifetime)
– Even if it were played before internationals, the fundamental problem still remains. Concerns about lyrics and societal problems remain, whether or not players put on Blue, Maroon or that weird Kangaroo-Greenish colour

Let the anthem play, let the players protest

I agree with that, and I’m more than happy to criticise our governing body for not doing so. An annual test against France is a minimum.

2020 is a lost year, in so many ways. But 2021 may possibly be much better for you guys – it certainly won’t be for us. There’s the possibility of international games if trans-Tasman bubbles are opened

Rugby league internationalists need to accept that Origin is the best