The Roar
The Roar

Steve Mascord

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Joined October 2009

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Steve Mascord has covered rugby league in 15 countries and worked for most media organisations that regularly feature the sport, on both sides of the globe. He started off as an 18-year-old cadet at Australian Associated Press, transferring to the Sydney Morning Herald just in time to go on the last full Kangaroos Tour in 1994. He spent three years at Sydney's Daily Telegraph from 2006 before going freelance at the conclusion of the 2008 World Cup. Steve is the author of the book Touchstones, host of the White Line Fever podcast, partner in international rugby league merchandise start-up Mascord Brownz and proprietor of rugbyleaguehub.com and hotmetalonline.com. He is married to Sarah and spends most of his time in London.

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Your comments are, with respect, entirely Australia-centric. Rugby league’s relevance and popularity are under extreme threat in the UK. And it’s a very marginal thing to try and sell people somewhere new when rugby union has usurped the game’s USP by going professional and reducing the number of players. Why, in 2021, does rugby league exist except to service its existing audience? What is its point of difference to new customers?

Rugby union with 12 players? Whoever's writing these jokes has perfect comic timing

Nothing. It is merely an attempt to place events in an historical perspective, highlighting some of the weird co-incidences regarding time frames, and illustrate to an audience steeped in the sport that it is actually becoming irrelevant outside a very small geographic area. If the sport disappeared now in the north of England there would be a terrible pain and uproar but in a generation it would be largely forgotten, particularly if the teams were playing 12-a-aide rugby union.

Rugby union with 12 players? Whoever's writing these jokes has perfect comic timing

Rugby union with 12 players? Whoever's writing these jokes has perfect comic timing

I don’t mind that he got fined necessarily. Thurston and Henry pointed to a conspiracy from the top to deny them a spot in the grand final. The furthest Robinson went in that direction was to say they were the most penalised team in the competition. He didn’t say the referees wanted them to lose. As for not naming officials … I don’t see the distinction. You’ve only got to look in the program to see who the “match officials” were. Oh, that’s right … we don’t have programs anymore!

The 2013 precedent NRL should have used to let Robbo off the hook after Abdo's intervention

Again, my point in the column was not about the issues you raise. It was showing restraint as an administration if you expect the people you police to show restraint.

The 2013 precedent NRL should have used to let Robbo off the hook after Abdo's intervention

As a reporter, we are in business of ‘news’. Teams get thrashed all the time. It’s not ‘news’. A bloke clobbering a friend and former team-mate and ending his season by breaking his face does not happen every week. That, therefore, is news. That’s why Trent was asked about it and that’s why he spoke about it. I you go through the column again, you will see I reach a fork in the narrative where I say I ‘could’ point out the discrepancy between 2013 and 2021 – but I don’t. Instead, my argument is that if the administration don’t want knee-jerk reactions from coaches, they should avoid knee-jerk reactions themselves.

The 2013 precedent NRL should have used to let Robbo off the hook after Abdo's intervention

I am in favour, as a fan rather than a journalist, of rules that keep the game out of defamation court.

The 2013 precedent NRL should have used to let Robbo off the hook after Abdo's intervention

Agree completely.

The 2013 precedent NRL should have used to let Robbo off the hook after Abdo's intervention

Businesses exploit markets. That’s exactly what you’re describing – and what I’m describing too.

Why the NRL's plan for a 17th team looks more like exploitation than expansion

It’s still not expansion. It’s marketing!

Why the NRL's plan for a 17th team looks more like exploitation than expansion

Most people don’t watch levels below the NRL.

Why the NRL's plan for a 17th team looks more like exploitation than expansion

See my comment above about standard. I don’t really care about it. If it drops … there’s nothing to compare it to. People who only watch Super League don’t know it’s low standard because they’ve got nothing to compare it to. I think the standard can afford to fall a fair way in the NRL before it kills the business. Some sports are very boring to outsiders but they still do very well commercially thank you very much.

Why the NRL's plan for a 17th team looks more like exploitation than expansion

I don’t think standard frankly matters. Let the standard fall. Only rusted-on fans care about standard. Pro sport is business. Move into new markets so more people watch and play. If the standard is diluted by 12 per cent because of more teams, fewer than 12 per cent of those watching will notice.

Why the NRL's plan for a 17th team looks more like exploitation than expansion

see above … and below. Sure Brisbane can sustain another team. But it’s not expansion. At best its reclamation – at best. And it will be tough in an age where IP and branding has become so huge and long-term history and nostalgia are so powerful.

Why the NRL's plan for a 17th team looks more like exploitation than expansion

The point is that it will be a battle given how enshrined the Broncos are and it is exploitation because they were just trying to squeeze more juice out of the orange. That does not mean it shouldn’t happen. But those points remain.

Why the NRL's plan for a 17th team looks more like exploitation than expansion

Yet here you are, reading the story and commenting, thus keeping both of us in a job.

If Jack de Belin is considered captaincy material, has the job lost all meaning?

I’m a journalist. I have respect for Michael Chammas. I believe the story has credence. I based the column on that. If you didn’t believe the story then there was really no point in wading through a reaction to it. The equivalent would be a column called “where water goes when it falls of the end of the world”. Would you read that? Maybe for a giggle.

If Jack de Belin is considered captaincy material, has the job lost all meaning?

I would ask why you are reading and commenting upon a story by a journalist, in that case! 🙂

If Jack de Belin is considered captaincy material, has the job lost all meaning?

That’s pretty much what I was getting at.

If Jack de Belin is considered captaincy material, has the job lost all meaning?

For me, nothing is a given. I wake up each day and assess everything I see and do and feel as if it’s brand new. I know that’s strange. But that’s just the way I am.

How hard is it for us to go cold turkey on our favourite sport?

All true. That’s exactly what the column is about.

How hard is it for us to go cold turkey on our favourite sport?

The first sentence is the nicest thing you could say to me. Of course I’m strange!

How hard is it for us to go cold turkey on our favourite sport?

I don’t like the stuff most people like Jamie. Never have.

It gets some fans frothing, but NRL transfer speculation bores me to tears

Hey all. I’m not interacting with people on Twitter until my book is off to the printers because it was taking up most of my day. But I’m here. And I’d like you to see this amazing LinkedIn post by Robert Burgin, who started rugby league in a host of South American countries. It’s very powerful https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robert-burgin-7a109141_nrl-rugbyleague-activity-6826985279161819136-F2Ng

It gets some fans frothing, but NRL transfer speculation bores me to tears

I agree actually. I prefer Sabbath with Ronnie. \m/

It gets some fans frothing, but NRL transfer speculation bores me to tears

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