Lets Talk International Rugby League

By Daniel Andruczyk

A few days ago I had a rant about the treatment International Rugby League was getting from many of the commentators and even the players now that state of Origin is upon us. I mentioned at the end of that rant 3 points where the game needs to be fixed up. I had a flood of comments and email from people agreeing and disagreeing with me and also coming up with some suggestions – this is all fantastic this is exactly the type of discussion I wanted to generate. So this blog what I want to do is elaborate more on what I think needs to be done. I will use examples from other sports and hopefully show that with some simplicity we can have a great, meaningful international competition. This post may be a long one so please do bare with me.

Regular International Matches

Anyone that has been a regular reader of my blog posts and follows me on twitter an d also reads mu posts on various forum will know that for years now I have been calling for a regular set of international tournaments that all nations are involved in, not just mickey mouse ones. yes I do refer to the current 4 nations as a mickey mouse tournament simply it does not really do anything for the improvement of the International game.

Some of you may disagree with me in that now the European Cup, sorry Championships, and Pacific Cup are played and the winners get a chance to play in the 4 nations. This is true, its a good step in the right direction, but it still will limit the exposure of many nations top the top 3 nation. Seriously at the moment can anyone ever see Papua new Guinea or Wales NOT winning these tournaments.

Its a vicious catch 22 that the game sits in: People don’t take the International game seriously because of the lack on nations, so tournaments don’t involve the other nations which don’t get exposure to the major teams to help improve which means the game will get pt down because of lack of nations because they are not good enough so don’t get the games etc… you see where that cycle is going, yes? So how do we fix this, how do we break the cycle?

Enter Soccer.

Soccer is not my sport of choice to watch, I don’t have anything against it, but I don’t enjoy watching it that’s all. However they do have probably the best tournament structure. They have a good 4 year cycle of regional tournaments and international tournaments that culminate in the World Cup at the end of that cycle. This is something that we much do in Rugby League. So last year I did do a series of blog posts that went into some detail and also I showed a simulation on how a cycle would work. However in this post i will do a bullet summary of how it should work. So the earliest this could be implemented would be after the 2013 World Cup ion the UK

  • Year 0: World Cup.
  • Year 1: Regional Championships qualifiers. This is the first year in the 4 year cycle for nations to start playing tournaments. I see three regional tournaments at the moment, the Pacific Cup, European Cup and Atlantic Cup. These would come under the umbrella of the governing organisation like the RLEF, to promote and generate money for the region.
  • Year 2: Regional Championships. So teams that have qualified from the previous year play out this tournament. But the important thing is that nations like Australia and New Zealand and England ALSO play in these tournaments, that value is given to them with these top nation. This is where the other teams get their first exposure to playing the top team, and not just in a one off match but in a tournament where is means something. The semi finalists in these tournaments then go through to a 6 and 4 Nations tournaments in the next year. Some of the lower tier World Cup qualifying matches can start to be played as well in this year.
  • Year 3: RLIF Cup (6N) and Federation Shield (4N). The RLIF cup would have the top 2 teams from Europe and the Pacific in it with the 3rd placed teams and winner of the Atlantic Cup playing off in a small tournaments for the last two spots. The team that doesn’t qualify there then goes into the federation shield with the 4th placed Europe and Pacific team and 2nd places Atlantic Cup team. These two tournaments because they have the same number for games in the pool stages (6 each) can be played in the same place and so the Federation shield can be an opener to the RLIF cup. This way you can have the top 10 teams in the world playing and being exposed to the audiences. The teams in the RLIF cup and the finalists of the Federation shield get Automatic entry into the world cup. The last two Federation shield teams would go into a repechage play off for spots in the World Cup. Aside from these tournaments, other World Cup qualification matches would be happening as well.
  • Year 4: World Cup. This would be a 16 team tournaments now, previously I had 12w but the RLIF now has increased it to 14 (bizarre) this one would be 16. So 8 teams from the previous year get Automatic qualification and another 8 would have got spots through regular qualification tournaments. I would have 4 groups of 4 teams, no super group, but the 8 teams to come through the RLIF Cup and Federation Shield would get seeding and then the repechage and other qualifiers can be randomly drawn into the groups. I would then have Quarter finals (A1 v D2, B1 v C2, C1 v B2, D1 v A2) semi finals and Final. All up 35 matches, the group stages would be over 3 weekends and the finals also over 3 weekends, so only 5 weeks which is the same as the 2008 World Cup. I had previously outlined a lower tier International Cup to be played at the same time, I guess a “Emerging Nations World Cup” but with 16 teams and the qualifiers I don’t think this would be a viable option anymore.
Group A Group B Group C Group D
RLIF Cup 1 RLIF Cup 3 RLIF Cup 4 RLIF Cup 2
Fed Shield 2 RLIF Cup 6 RLIF Cup 5 Fed Shield 1
Repechage 1 Pacific Qual. Europe Qual. Repechage 2
Pacific Qual. Europe Qual. Europe Qual. Pacific Qual.

So there we have it, that is how I would set out the international tournament structure. In the next month or so I will run another simulation with this 16 team World Cup and see how it comes out.

Representative seasons

The next issue is when do we have the internationals played? There are two ways of looking at it. First don’t have any mid-year representative games, just have March-October as the domestic season and then have 8 weeks of internationals. The second is have a mid year gap for internationals as well as at the end of the year.

I myself am in favour of the second scenario. I’ll explain why. Basically in Europe and other places where Rugby League is played in the Summer the only international window for many of the nations is in the June-July period. A 5-6 week window where they can play internationals. So I know the biggest obstacle for this will be the NRL and them saying that by having a 5 week gap mid year they miss out on the TV ratings etc. Well lets be smart about this.

So yes NRL games would be stopped and rep games moved to the weekend, but I think many fans would be in favour with this as many around State of Origin time complain that the NRL teams loose many of their main players and the games are of less quality. So Yes lets have a mid year break from NRL. The Aussies can have their Country Origin, State of origin three weeks in a row and then finish off with the ANZAC Test? Makes sense no, have the reo games from the lowest tier to the highest. This put the value back on the Kangaroo Jersey that the State of Origin players play for a Kangaroo jersey.

But in this 5 week period we certainly can have many other games played. Why Can’t the Kiwis have maybe a Provincial game, lets have mid year tests between Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, PNG and Cook Islands? Even have the Kiwis play some more matches. And have all these games televised! You can also get the Europeans to play some mid year tests.

So imagine this on TV for a weekend:

  • Week 1: City v Country, New Zealand v Tonga, Samoa v Cook Islands, PNG v Fiji, Scotland v Wales, England v Ireland
  • Week 2: State of Origin 1, Tonga v Cook Islands,  Samoa v PNG, New Zealand v Fiji, France v Wales, England v Scotland
  • Week 3: State of Origin 2, New Zealand v PNG, Samoa v Cook Islands, Tonga v Fiji, England v Wales, Ireland v France
  • Week 4: State of Origin 3, New Zealand v Samoa, PNG v Tonga, Cook Islands v Fiji, Wales v Ireland, Scotland v France
  • Week 5: Australia v New Zealand, Tonga v Samoa, PNG v Fiji, England v France, Ireland v Scotland

Pretty juicy hey.

For the New World Nations like Germany, Russia etc… then this mid year period is important since this is when they can play their internationals like the European Shield and Bowl. By having this representative break, nation can call upon some of their heritage and professional players and make the value of their jerseys and representing the nation something to honour. If the 4 year cycle is implemented like above it gives options for tournaments to be played either mid year or end of year as well. Its not rocket science to figure this out.

Eligibility

The Eligibility rules for international teams have to be changed. At the moment its just such a farce the way players can swap and change nations at a whim, and the RLIF just does not seem to do anything to stop this. But there is a reason it like that, just look who is in the RLIF board: Collin Love (ARL), David Gallop (NRL), Richard Lewis (RFL) and Ray Heffenden (NZRL). Now if that is not a conflict of interest then I have no idea what is! How can you get the bosses of the two major competition in three countries run the international game. It seems in their interests that to have “the best three” teams then they control and lax the eligibility rules to suite themselves.

There are many players that have gone and swapped allegiances over the last few years, more than once. Jaryd Hayne (Australia, Fiji, Australia), Michael Jennings (Tonga, Australia), Fuifui Moimoi (Tonga, New Zealand, Tonga, New Zealand), Wille Tonga (Samoa, Australia), Danny Brough (Scotland, England) and there are many, many more. Its a slap in the face to all the New World Nations that they are treated with such disdain by their players.

Have a look at this silliness that the 2013 World Cup qualification is getting. Many have hailed that it great that we get 12 teams with Automatic Entry (something that should) into the tournament, but they fail to realise that because these nations now don’t have to qualify then players can swap and change nations as they please! But nations like Russia, Italy, Serbia, USA and Japan will not be subject to these nice eligibility rules since they have to qualify and so players wont be allowed to join them later! Stupid.

I realise that some players can qualify for many nations, but choose one and stick with it please. Don’t just swap and change. Its not fair on any of the nations.

The solution is very simple actually. So on top of providing the incentives for players to play for their nation now because

  • Parent and Grandparent rule: This is OK. I have no problems with this. Most sports have it actually. So a player qualifies for a nations through his heritage down to grandparents or if they have a passport.
  • Residency rule: This is a very dodgy rule but at the moment Rugby League does need it for nations and so am happy to leave it in there … for now.
  • Choose a country: Once a player plays an international – ANY International – then they are locked into that country. Let all the nations be able to field their best team. No swapping or changing nations.
  • Dual citizenship: If there is a player that wants to change for what ever reason then they need to not play for the first country for a period of 4 years. This means that they will miss out on a whole cycle of tournaments. So be it, you need to be committed to the change either way.
  • Enforcement: These eligibility rules have to, HAVE TO be enforced by the games governing body the RLIF.

A Professional Organisation

The various governing bodies have to be professionally and independently run. Well at least the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) needs to be. At the moment there is no independence in the RLIF, I mentioned earlier who is in there. Now I am not saying they are bad or anything, but there is a massive conflict of interest. The people that run the sport need to have no association with any other rugby league organisation and work towards the international sport growing.

But they need to be paid. No two ways about it. The $5 million (still haven’t seen any audit or anything released about this) should have gone to finally getting independent people to run the sport and pay them. Doesn’t it make sense that rather than have $5 million to spend over 5 years, pay someone to say bring in $5 million every Year! Then some of that money can go to forming independent and professionally run regional bodies like the RLEF. These bodies also do their own promotion and advertising to money in.

So with that, rather than one pay day for the sport, you can have many pay days. Each regional tournaments makes money that goes directly in the regional bodies and nations and their funding. You have the RLIF Cup and World cup that do the same for the international game. The game over a 4 year period can earn up to $100 million, its not out of the question.

The RLIF structure would be a bit different. So you would have  the Chairman, Vice-chairman, Treasurer, Board member and then a representative from each regional body. So there would be 7 members that would vote on things.

The various tournaments would be controlled by the different bodies that relate to them. For example the European Cup would be run and promotion and money made for the RLEF, similarly for the Pacific and Atlantic Cup’s. The RLIF Cup, federation Shield and World Cup would be controlled by the RLIF.

With these measures I am positive the sport can grow internationally and be significant on the world sporting stage.

Rule Unification

This is one of the biggest issues in Rugby League. Currently there are four sets of Rugby League laws around the world. The sport is schizophrenic in this way. The NRL has one set, The lower leagues in Australia another, England has another set and then there are international rules that everyone else uses. The RLIF needs to step in and finally make a decision on a unifies set of rules that everyone abides by.

Origin

This may probably be the most controversial part of this post. State of Origin in its current form has to go. Now I am not saying get rid of it altogether, but it needs to be changes somehow.

At the moment State of Origin is killing the game internationally, even within Australia! How I hear you say? Well for a Start outside of Queensland and New South Wales, what other state really cares about these two teams and the Tournament? Its one thing to say “Oh we can use it to promote the game in the other state” but lets do it then, lets take the game on the road. Have one of the games in Melbourne, New Zealand, Adelaide and Perth. Lets try and get a third team in one that starts to encompass players from outside these strong holds.

Secondly because State of Origin is valued more highly than the international game many players who would otherwise play for Tonga or Samoa or other nations choose not to just so they can play State of Origin. This is because no other games are regarded as highly as SoO.

As far as I am concerned State of Origin needs to be a selection criteria for the Australian team, its played before the ANZAC Test, it must have its place shown to be less than the International game. Internationals need to be the pinnacle of the sport, like in all other sports.

Tours

Here I think Soccer has it right once again. Tours, as far as I am concerned are a thing of the past. Tours were only afforded by the richest teams and were always played by two teams in a series. Only Australia, New Zealand, England and France for a time could do tours. But these left out all the other nations. They did absolutely nothing for other nations getting a chance to play the best teams.

Look at Rugby Union, in their whole history how many nations beyong the “Test Playing” ones have been brought aboard… Italy and no one else. Outside of England, France, Italy, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina no other nation gets a chance to play and expand the game in Union.

If we have tour then Rugby League will always be a 4 nation sport. PNG wont even get a chance to play end they have the Rugby League as the National Sport.

Like I said Soccer has it right. No tours, just regional and international tournaments where all nations need to qualify through to the finals. All the teams get a chance to play the best teams and in doing so it put a high value on the international game.

We stick with tour we stall and become stale like Union, we get rid of tour and have meaningful tournaments we grow like Soccer.

International Exposure

This may be the biggest issue. The media, even the so called “rugby league media”, treats the sport with disdain and place so little value on the international scene. the Phil Rothfield and Dean Ritchie comments the other day are just so typical of the media in Australia. Its bad enough that we have to put up with bigoted opinions from Rugby Union Journalists we certainly don’t need it in Rugby League.

The Footy Show is a plain embarrassment and the Sunday Roast also does nothing for talking about the sport.  I would rather see someone like Steve Mascord and people who know the International game have a TV show that is shown around the world like the Futbal Mundial show for soccer. This is what we need, we need to expose the game to as many people we can. Get matches and these TV shows on EuroSport and the like and repeated constantly.

24 hour News Services like CNN need to also carry results. they will show Super 14 Union and their international but never have I seen them show NRL or ESL results let alone our 45 Nations results. Its appalling. Again someone within the RLIF or the Regional Bodies needs to step up and start promoting the sport.

The New World

I hate the term minnow nations. I feel it is a degrading term. How about we just call them New World nations, but do we need to call them anything at all? Why not just call them Nations, they are nations that play rugby league.

And in doing so the tem “Test match” needs to go as well. It segregates teams and there is confusion out there weather a match is a Test Match or not. Lets just call them internationals, weather its Australia v New Zealand or Germany v Czech Republic, they are all internationals and should be treated equally, should be valued.

Summary

If all the measures above can be implemented I cannot see why Rugby League around the world can’t have a significant presence. Maybe not as nig as soccer but certainly a significant one.

 

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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40 Responses to “Lets Talk International Rugby League”

  1. Alex-P says:

    Great post dan, once again I cant help but agree.

  2. deluded pom ? says:

    I agree with most of what you say Daniel except the statement that “Seriously at the moment can anyone ever see Papua new Guinea or Wales NOT winning these tournaments”. I think France might have something to say about who can win the European Cup. Also, you criticise SoO for being the piannacle of the sport in Australia and suggest it prevents players from choosing another nation to play for because of the draw of SoO. You then say SoO should be a trial for the Kangaroos. Wouldn’t this also force dual qualified players to choose Australia over their other nation just to get a shot at SoO thus weakening the other nation? Wouldn’t it be better to have SoO as open house whereby any player can play and still be eligible for the country of their choice? So Benji Marshall, or whoever, could get to experience SoO but still be available for the Kiwis. The criteria for SoO selection could be changed to where the player first played football in Australia e.g. Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis could be available for NSW but Benji went to a school in QL (correct me if I’m wrong on that one) and would be eligible for QL. Maybe SoO is in need of a revamp ayway and bringing in other players might kick start it again. 68,000 in a stadium that holds 83,000 for game one suggests the NSW supporters aren’t as enamoured with SoO as they once were.

    • druzik says:

      1. Yeah true, France may have something to say about that I guess. Your right…

      2. Interesting point on SoO – But in most countries you have Championship that lead into origins that lead into national selection. The idea is that Origin stays for the Australian players and that players like Benji in place get to play 3-4 Internationals. There is nothing stopping the NZRL in doing an Origin style tournament as well… or why not bring in a third team that has these stars in it… there are probably a number of ways of doing things… but I think that we both agree changes need to be brought in.

      3. um Sydney crowds have always been around the 70k mark… there only has been a couple occasions that the Olympic Stadium has had over 80k.

  3. deluded pom ? says:

    They can break the SoO “unwritten rules” when it suits them e.g. Adrian Lam. they can also use players plying their trade overseas when it suits them e.g. Alan Langer.What other countries have origins that lead into national selection? I’m sure the NRL teams will love the idea of releasing NZ players for a Kiwi origin series. Not.

    • druzik says:

      Serbia, Tonga, Samoa, have origins, the South Africans have local provincial championships, that go into a super 8s which dtermind the best club in SA then they have a 6 team provincial championships then internationals with players selected from them.

      Samoa and Tonga have a residents v OS players game for national selection as does PNG.

      Its true in the past that the Origin rules have been bent… and I think that leads into your point from before nicely… so I think what we need at Origin level is consistency.

  4. deluded pom ? says:

    But are the examples you gave Origin series as we see them in Australia or just trial matches for upcoming internationals? i.e do they happen every year regardless of what international committments the country has?

    • druzik says:

      They are both. For example the Samoans and Tongans have an Island Origin, so the Island you come from you play for regardless which comp you play (each island has its own comp) from the origin the best local team is selected which plays a team of OS players to select the overall international team.

      Remember, Pre Super League, SoO was like this because the tours tended to happen mid year so origin was the selection trial for the touring teams.

      Its only in 1996 that England went to summer rugby and all the tours went end of year, so SoO ended up being the stand alone rep games mid season.

      • PNG says:

        how about players who have heritage from nations other than the top three (aus,nz,eng) are eligible to play origin aswell as for there own nations if not selected for australia ,that way we wont have the situation were neville costigan can’t play for png at the four nations at the end of year because he played for qld same with jennings and hayne for there respective nations. I think the only other way to have players choose there nation of heritage is to share the wealth all full member nations should recieve the same $$ bonus for there players regardless of who there international match is against and a set number of internationals to be played each year as well as tournaments, all internationals should be telivised

      • druzik says:

        how about players who have heritage from nations other than the top three (aus,nz,eng) are eligible to play origin aswell as for there own nations if not selected for australia,

        That can be a solution, but it takes away from the original spirit of Origin. Origin was a test selection originally, the best players from NSW and Queensland came together and from there the test teams were selected to go on the Kangaroo tours.

        that way we wont have the situation were neville costigan can’t play for png at the four nations at the end of year because he played for qld same with jennings and hayne for there respective nations. I think the only other way to have players choose there nation of heritage is to share the wealth all full member nations should recieve the same $$ bonus for there players regardless of who there international match is against and a set number of internationals to be played each year as well as tournaments, all internationals should be telivised

        Look during “Origin time” why cant we have test and other nations do things, that gives options for players to rep which country they want. I do realise that players can play for more than one country, but all I say is choose one and stick with it.

        This is where we need to have a professional and independent RLIF board, where payments for internationals come not from the nations but the RLIF. The RLIF needs to be able to generate money such that any player that plays an international will get paid, say across the board, International representation you get $10,000 per player. You would have roughly 30 nations playing “tests”, 17 players per nation, that comes out to roughly $5 million a year. Your telling me that we can’t generate that kind of money yearly with TV contracts and sponsorship etc…? If we had a dedicated RLIF board I think we could double or tripple that yearly.

      • PNG says:

        You make some good points i’m with you on playing everyone once only said 15 rounds due to the number of teams in the comp at the moment. I think then we can expand the comp with more teams easy in the nrl .Would love more international rugby league living in aus I support the aus team but png will always be my number 1 wish i could see them play more on tv wish i could see more of all the other countries rather then just eng,aus,nz cant wait for the four nations already got my tickets go the kumuls

      • druzik says:

        Yeah… fair enough on the 15 rounds thing, but that’s why I think we can go to 20 teams… there are that many teams claiming that they have the money to run etc then lets have them in. If it were up to me then the 4 extra teams I would bring in are: Central Queensland, Central Coast, Perth and either another QLD team or a second NZ team.

        So with 20 teams, there would be 19 rounds where they play each other once, and then I would have a Derby round where you get the local derby’s and rivalries going. So some of the match ups would be: Knights/CC, Dragons/ Sharks, Roosters/Bunnies, Tigers/Doggies, Parra/Penrith, Broncs/Titans, Nth QLD/CQ, Manly/Melbourne, Canberra/Perth, Warriors/NZ2 .

        I would not bring in team PNG because I would fear for the destruction of the local comp there. It takes at minimum about $16 million to run a NRL team. If the PNG group claim they have that kind of cash then isn’t it better spent on the local comp and players? Upgrade the facilities, pay the player there more, make it more professional.

        Agree on seeing more Kumuls matches on TV, despite having a nation with RL as the national sport on our door step we negelct them big time and its just not on. With New Zealand we should be playing more full tests with them one way or another. I am hoping to get to the PNG-Australia game… depends on where I will be though.

  5. kabla says:

    soo is part of the reason why australia had dominated the international game for so long. for a long time we were our only competition which i believe to be the main reason why soo has done so well. it is only when the international game becomes more competitive that it will devalue soo. more emphasis needs to be placed on each nations domestic competition. they need to develop interest in their own game and improve players abilities through an origin like contest(as we did), before they can bring anything to the international stage that would be worth watching. the rlif obviously wont do more,(although it should atleast do something)to help the developing nations so they will need to learn to rely on themselves to grow. to devalue soo now would only hurt australias domestic competition as the international game is not yet to a standard to take its place.

    • druzik says:

      You basically have gone and proved my points!

      “soo is part of the reason why australia had dominated the international game for so long.”

      You honestly believe that? Australia was dominating International Rugby league loooooong before Origin was on the scene. There is no evidence to show that is the case. In fact I would argue that Origin has depleted the international scene because it has started to poach players that otherwise would have been playing for other nations and made internationals more competitive and actually eaten into Australia’s dominance more. Anyway you look at results over the 80’s and 90’s Australia was losing many games as well, its just that they managed to win the crucial last games in series. Even the last 5 years, Australias record potentially could have been much worse. They lost a 3N final in 2005 and almost lost it in 2007, world cup loss in 2008… pushed all the way in the 4N last year, could have gone either way…

      In the 80’s tours like The Invincibles in 82 and 86 cant attribute their wins to Origin since in the first 2-3 years origin was a one off game and still in 86 it was a concept building up it intensity and reputation, it would not have had that big a influence on the national teams at that point.

      “for a long time we were our only competition which i believe to be the main reason why soo has done so well.

      Again i disagree here… have a really, really, really good look at SoO…. the actual quality of Rugby League is not that high, its no better than NRL and I would say sometimes it get to NSW/QLD cup level… its just this whole beat up ov QLD v NSW, mate vs mate, state against state thing that gets fans fired up, but the actual quality of Rugby League is not all that much better. The 4N last year I though was much better than the SoO series and Sunday nights ELITE 1 Grand Final I thought was much better quality Rugby League as well.

      “it is only when the international game becomes more competitive that it will devalue soo.”

      But that’s just it, the internationals are competitive, for some reason there si this myth that they are not, still it shouldn’t even matter if they are or are not, you should always value the National jumper above anything else.

      “more emphasis needs to be placed on each nations domestic competition. they need to develop interest in their own game and improve players abilities through an origin like contest(as we did), “

      They do, but the Aussie media dont give a stuff about the sport outside of QLD and NSW… and that is a sad issue. Look at Dean Ritchies and Phil Rothfields comments.

      “before they can bring anything to the international stage that would be worth watching.”

      But They do… look at all the variets of players the Pacific Islands have given us? Players that should be playing for their nations not being poached by Australia or New Zealand under technicalities. We saw in the world cup, that teams with full playing squads can add very colourful and competitive games. You seem to fall into the bucket of people worried about blow out scores… I don’t, no other sport in the world worries about them, Soccer, Union, Handball, Ice Hockey, they all get them. Yet do they reduce teams or make it harder for teams to play internationals no? There will always be blow out scores as there will always be very tight contests… it’s the beauty of sport, its unpredictable! By your line of thinking, with Parra being walloped 30-0 and New Zealand by 50 we should kick them out tomorrow, not have them in the NRL because the score blew out!… pft what a silly concept. Take the scores as they come, the idea of internationals is to 1. represent your country at the highest level against the best countries in the world of that spot and 2. Celebrate that sport on the world stage and show it off. One of the best international Rugby League games I ever saw was the Czechs trouncing Germany last year in Olomouc, because it was good quality game, had lots of passion and the Czechs finally were able to get one up on the Germans after 2 years of heavy defeats… the celebrations afterwards were awesome!

      “the rlif obviously wont do more,(although it should atleast do something)to help the developing nations so they will need to learn to rely on themselves to grow. to devalue soo now would only hurt australias domestic competition as the international game is not yet to a standard to take its place”

      The RLIF wont do anything because it has its hands tied behind its back. The guys running it have a conflict of interest by running the top 2 comps in the sport. The decisions they make tend to benefit the NRL and ESL heavily. We could easily have had a great international spectacle from 1995 onwards, instead nothing was done and we are back to where we are. Many so-called fans of the sport keep saying “Oh lets get the sport in this country lets do this and that”… but when it comes to actually getting out and supporting the games they wont do it, they then will change face and criticize the sport for having … too many blow out comps,, niot enough nations, oh there is no competitiveness etc…

  6. kabla says:

    up until the early 80’s both england and new zealand were still able to beat australia, score lines between these three nations were not regularly blow outs. it was within this decade that australia began to move away from the rest of the world, to a point where the only question was how much will australia win by? there were odd occasions where australia would lose a game or win by a close margin, but they were rare.
    you can’t seriously question the quality of soo footy. i’ll admit there have been boring blow outs but only when the winning team provides alot of players to the national side that year. it’s more a testament to the quality of that team. there were only 2 games of the 4N that could possibly be compared to soo aus v nzl and eng v aus (pre final). not so coincidently both games involved aus.
    non competitive internationals are not a myth, both eng and nzl shut down at around the 65th or 70th minutes that is where aus wins most of its games, it’s more an issue of fitness than skill. soo requires 80mins of high intensity footy which gives us 3 more games a year to practise for this.
    i dont know who Dean Ritchies and Phil Rothfields are but i agree completely about the media. i live in melbourne, victoria and although interest in rugby league has grown in the area, apart from on foxtel the game is barely shown. i believe that internationals not involving aus could be shown through abc or sbs and perhaps attract some ethnic communities to the game, but i doubt the rlif would consider that option.
    i agree with your opinion on islander’s playing for aus, however they dont have much choice with islander nations barely playing rep games you can’t blame the players for choosing aus.
    that bucket that you speek of is large most people get bored watching blowouts and so turn their tv’s off early. we are’nt exposed to as large a market as the other sports and so must keep the fans that we do have entertained. it may be unfortunate but necessary to turn a profit.
    after 1995 the arl had to compete with super league in australia, and we have only recently recovered from that, but not yet completely. there was no way aus could afford to do anything then, and there is still not enough money to do anything now. the nrl and esl are the only life source of the game, to not make decisions that favour either competition would be detrimental to the international game. rugby union has been poaching players in england since the 90’s and australia within this decade. the game is large enough in these markets to compete with more popular codes. in australia it is on the verge of becoming the dominant sport if it is not already there. i believe that securing better positions within these markets may improve the possibility of success everywhere else. which means good quality and competitive matches

    • druzik says:

      Ummm… the GB scores have always been competitive, there have been very few blow outs. There have been several World Cup finals where GB with some favourable 50-50 calls could have won. I don’t buy into that.

      Its true that Australia have developed a better big game attitude, and SoO may be partly due to that, but if the international game had been kept at and developed through the 90’s especially more teams would have had the big game experience and been more competitive.

      I do seriously question SoO footy… yeah it great to watch the passion and rivalry… but take the blinkers off for a second and have areally good hard look at the level of footy… its not anay better than NRL… you dont necessarily get “The best” players selected in teams. You get players that as Phil Gould calls them “Origin Player”. Some may not play that great for their clubs but seem to lift their passion for Origin and put on bigger hits and intimidate more, not necessarily play better though.

      Am not sure what 4N games you watches, but England NZ was a pretty tight tussle and good to watch/listen to (wasn’t on Oz TV so listened to the radio stream of it) It was a game that could go anywhere. France are getting there, they were in every match for 60 minutes but unfortunatley still fall away in the last 20. The big scores don’t truly reflect the early on tight tussles in their matches.

      Again, we need to provide more internationals for teams to get the fitness up… but I am sorry, 3 SoO don’t all of a sudden turn you into a super fit person… its the NRL and ESL comps that should be making you fit. If players aren’t fit for origin they wont get selected… Origin does not provide this. If what you say is true then the NZRL and RFL have to look at what the players are doing in the NRL and ESL not to last a full 80 minutes.

      lol we agree on something then. Yes RL in general gets hard done by all around the world. Look I dont think RL will take over AFL, but thats OK we just want our market with no interference, same with other states. Channel 9 has to take its punt on that. AFL does, they get very poor ratings in NSW and QLD but still persist in showing the games. Your SBS and ABC comment has merit, aprticularly the latter as they have and still do show RL in parts. SBS well we all know is stands for “Soccer Broadcasting Station”.

      We need to give the islander nations more opportunity to play and against the best teams in order for players to start choosing them… Actually the issue is not so much that they should play for say Tonga rather than Australia or NZ (most can play for both) its about them choosing one or the other and sticking with them. But the only way the Island nations can have a better chance at retaining the players is if they get regular matches at the highest levels and against the best teams.

      Agree the bucket is large… and it shouldn’t be. Fans should appreciate internationals for what they are. You can still have an exciting game with a blow out score. See the line of think those fans have that there is no point watching or going to internationls because Oz always wins… we should completely get rid of SoO now that QLD has dominated for 4/5 years and seems to be that way, isn’t it boring that they always win yadda, yadda, yadda…. so why apply one piece of logic to one set of matches and another to the other. Things happen in cycles, yes Australia has been dominant for a long time, but i think we have seen that England and NZ especially are catching up and there may be a changing fo the guard real soon. Does this mean that only then will we see the 70k crowds to internationals again??? Its a poor reflection on fans attitudes if that is the case – in my opinion.

      See again that is a bit of a myth I think. Yes the Super league war hit Australia hard… but not the RFL…. in fact the game in England hasn’t been stronger. I think long term England’s competition is in a much better position with club and player development and within the next 5 years we’ll see them become a force. Watch France and Wales also start to make inroads as well. the 1995 and 98 made very nice sums of money that should have been plowed back into the international game, forming a tournament structure. Instead they weren’t and we never left square one. Why should the international game be held to ransom and hostage to two competitions/nations. It should be run independently and make its own money so its not dependent…. the ARL and NRL should be coming to the RLIF for funding not the other way around!

      Leagie and Union ahve been poaching their own players for years and years. Its funny League complains about the Union raids yet we have a very short memory of us doing it to Union for 80 years… Some of Rugby Leagues greatest players are ex-union players. The difference between League and Union was and in some respects still is that we never put whole life bans on players that switched and then came back, where as Union did and in some countries still does. Play league and forget about ever playing Union again.

      Yes I agree that League at least in terns of the rugby codes is by far the dominant. At least with this popularity wee need to now start giving the other nations the exposure. This means we need to have more meaningful tournaments that involve the top nations and give exposure to the other nations, and with that the closer and more competitive matches will come.

      • PNG says:

        druzik I agree the english comp does look as though it is going from strength to strength while the nrl seem to be going backwards they seem more focused on rule changes so much so that the rules the nrl play are vastly different to what our local league plays. I’m not to certain how the english run there comp but was thinking if we here in the nrl changed our setup of the competition(not the rules again) so that all teams played each other once rather than twice reducing the comp to 15 rounds rather than 26 (players complain they play to much football and thats why they can’t play more rep footy) have a bonus point system like the super 14 rugby union 3 points if a team wins a game by a 20 point margin but four tries must be scored in that 20 point margin win ,2 points for a win , 1 point each for a draw & 0 for a loss. With the reduced number of nrl games we could have a bye round after each state of origin leading into a three test series sraight after origin with a bye after each test. test series to alternate between eng,nz,png,with a set of 3 one off tests to be played the year after eng,png & nz against fiji,tonga,samoa until there at the level to compete over a series complete our nrl season then play three warm up internationals before the four nations once again fiji,samoa,tonga.England could do the same alternate there mid year test to a test series between aus,nz,png,france and then one off internationals against ireland,scotland and wales then once again at the end of the season before four nations ireland,wales & scotland.whilst all this is going on the emerging nations can all have there internationals all tournaments would stay aswell euro championship fournations pacific cup federation cup

      • druzik says:

        druzik I agree the english comp does look as though it is going from strength to strength while the nrl seem to be going backwards they seem more focused on rule changes so much so that the rules the nrl play are vastly different to what our local league plays.

        The English have certainly gone a long way in improving the quality of the sport, they are not just focused on say rule changes, but in actually making sure clubs are the best they can be. In the NRL everyone goes on about the Cap leveling out the Playing field, not allowing clubs to go broke etc… but we still see clubs on the brink of financial ruin and needing bail outs. The RFL at least has come out and said we that for clubs to have licences in the super league they need to meet certain criteria. Not just results but finances, facilities, crowds, local player stock have to all meet certain levels to be accepted, so clubs have to work hard to make them selves good clubs. And so a club in the lower divisions with aspirations now has a clear understanding what it needs to do to eventually make it… its not enough to just impose a salary cap and say all is fine and dandy. The RFL have looked across its borders now to introduce teams from France and wales and rumours are of a Scottish and Irish team … but in the case of the French especially I fear for the local com if there are too many French teams in the super league. I guess its why I am not in favour of a PNG team in the NRL, that kind of money is better spent on local development and paying the players there.

        I’m not to certain how the english run there comp but was thinking if we here in the nrl changed our setup of the competition(not the rules again) so that all teams played each other once rather than twice reducing the comp to 15 rounds rather than 26 (players complain they play to much football and thats why they can’t play more rep footy)

        Well in the ESL some teams play up to 6 more games than the NRL since they have the Challenge Cup, and you never hear them complaining… Is 26 rtound stoo many, maybe, 15 rounds… that is too few… The play each other once I agree with, but I think we can expand the sport to at least 20 teams and have 20 round, that is a good number. The rep footy is OK, but it needs to be in some sort of coherent order, its a farce that the city country is played on the same night as the anzac test! It should be city/country -> Satae of Origin -> International have a dedicated 5 week mid season rep footy season. This way other nations can also do any of their Origin matches or test as they please.

        have a bonus point system like the super 14 rugby union 3 points if a team wins a game by a 20 point margin but four tries must be scored in that 20 point margin win ,2 points for a win , 1 point each for a draw & 0 for a loss.

        No, the bonus point system in the s14 is there to encourage trys to be scored, to get rid of the emphasis on playing for the penalty and kicking… we don’t have this problem in RL and so dont need this system. What we have at the moment is perfectly fine.

        With the reduced number of nrl games we could have a bye round after each state of origin leading into a three test series straight after origin with a bye after each test. test series to alternate between eng,nz,png,with a set of 3 one off tests to be played the year after eng,png & nz against fiji,tonga,samoa until there at the level to compete over a series complete our nrl season then play three warm up internationals before the four nations once again fiji,samoa,tonga .England could do the same alternate there mid year test to a test series between aus,nz,png,france and then one off internationals against ireland,scotland and wales then once again at the end of the season before four nations ireland,wales & scotland.whilst all this is going on the emerging nations can all have there internationals all tournaments would stay aswell euro championship fournations pacific cup federation cup

        I think I know what you are saying, but that would be too overley complicated… if we have tournaments then lets have all teams compating on an even footing with meaningful tournaments that lead into the world cup. the mid year break cab be for one off test rather than series, you can build up some traditional rivalries. For example Australia and NZ have the ANZAC tes, PNG and Fiji could have a Melanesian Cup, Tonga and Samoa a Polynesian Cup, even the Cook Islands could come into this have a game against the Kiwis, why not? England mid year traveling would be an issue, they tried this a number fo years ago and got pasted, trhey are better off playing france and the home nations and develop the sport internationally there.

        Remember that tournaments we want to make valuable not by having them every year but by having them come round once every 4 years. The old Kangaroo tours were special because they only happened once every four years, the world cups are special because they happen once every four years… well blue moon anyway… the 3 nations was losing its luster which is why its gone to 4 nations… it may work for a bit but it will get less popular in the long run again. In Union the tri-nations has dropped off in its popularity only because its not a special thing anymore, the games are every year and so if we loose then there is always next year.

        Look at the world cup, the Kiwis have won it and so for 5 years they are world champions and people can’t wait till 2013 to have a shot at them to get the WC back, on all the forums its always a talking point are the kiwis the best etc… doesn’t matter they won the WC and so are the world champions, a 4Nations is not a WC… its why in soccer European champions or World champions is a biiiig thing, only come round once every 4 years.

        Another 2 examples, from Union… ask players which test tour they look forward to the most… its the Grand Slam tour… because it comes round once every 6 years or something…. the Lions tour to Australia is a massive thing for players and fans, because it happens only once every 12 years… there is that expectation and anticipation.

        That is the secret.

  7. john says:

    Druzik, I have only found your site recently, and love the articles you have been putting forward. It’s great to see rugby league supporters who really believe in the international game.I think the 20 comp playing once is the way to go.The 4 year international cycle I like. I would like the mid year comp ie internationals why not include NSW & QLD in this structure which allows othet NRL players thechance to play for their nation while also playing against the soo teams. So the comp could include all Pacific Island teams. When NSW & QLD meet we still have SOO Everyone is happy and the game grows internationally. Back to the 20 team comp, I like perth, CC, CQ, PNG & relocation to Adelaide (Sharks) I feel this really helps their national side become strong, actually I believe that PNG could one day become a power house in rugby league.So I see their inclusion in the NRL as a plus. For 4 new teams, some simple maths says if we get the most optimistic new deal we can see salary increase to approx. 6mil for 20 teams with approx 30 to 40mil/year in the bank. regards

    • druzik says:

      Glad that you like the site.

      lol your playing with fire suggesting Sharks go to Adelaide with me… I don’t think moving any of the current teams will work. If Adelaide gets a team it has to be its own team like with individual identity.

      PNG in the NRL I actually am not a big fan of on several levels. I fear that it will kill off the local competition there giving nothing for the locals. A PNG NRL team most probably will end up being based 1/2in Darwin and also will be stacked with Australian players doing nothing for the locals. Also with a NRL team costing $16-20 million to run these days, isn’t it better that that kind of money went back into the local community through the local comp and teams, pay the players better there, upgrade facilities? For me the way to get PNG to a higher standard is through more international against the best nations.

      The other issue is that we need to re-name the NRL into the IRL – once we have 2 international teams we are not a “National” sport anymore no?

      I am not sure I fully get your idea on NSW and QLD playing internationals…. these are state teams and not international teams.

  8. druzik says:

    Thats is certainly where I looked at, The NZ comp used to be quite large but these days (correct me if I am wrong on NZ RL) most of the $ just gets gobbled up by the Warriors.

    On average its costs about $16 million to run a NRL clubs annually, money like that can be better spent in developing the local comp rather than an NRL franchise which will basically use Australian players and not benefit the locals much.

  9. druzik says:

    So you would have just a team touring all year around?

    I don’t think you realise the logistics behind that. Why would an Auckland side be the way forward and not a NZ residents or the AAS team? Why not have the Jr Kiwis or Jr Australia touring? I am not sure where you are getting all these ideas from.

    If you want to do tours then you want what 3 match tests? 16 Nations there (sorry but Tartarstan is not a separate country, its part of Russia, and Madagascar despite its previous RL history has nothing there at the moment) So 48 matches in the year? They would be touring all year around with no break? I cant see that happening somehow. Plus with the annual tournaments where players need to take 2-3 weeks off a year anyway (so there goes their annual leave) its hard for them then to do another separate break for a tour.

    If you suggest that that they play only one match, then why not just have tournaments?

    What you fail to realise is that the idea of tourning is purely a Commonwealth Nation thing… no one else around the world in any sport tours. Its not a copst effective way to run sports. Its better to have large tournaments in one spot where you get the best teams go through a qualifying tournamenst. Soccer, Ice Hockey and Volleyball and other sports do this and are massive. Its easier for the sponsors to deal with and for the fans to travel.

    As for the legalities of the Vulcans, Auckland RL and the Warriors, I am not a lawyer and so can’t comment on that at all. If you feel this is the case then take it up with the relevant authorities.

  10. druzik says:

    The War of the roses became a liability for the RFL, it lost money on it and there was no interest in it from the fans, in fact it was the fans that effectively said it shjould be got rid of. It also became difficlut because with ESL and Challenge Cup it is hard to find a place for it unless you completely eat into the international circuit. Plus how do you account for any Cumbrians and players from other areas in there.

    Now Tatarstan is part of russia and when were there any Tatarsatn v Russia matches… I have looked and looked and not seen any refernces for them?

    The problems in Russia have stemmed from the start because it was seen as a way for rich people to make money rather than develop the sport.

    As you know Rugby League was established by Eduard Taturyan in 1989 and he wanted to establish a soviet oval ball association. He brought over Klebanov causing the first schism in Rugby over there. He promised professinalism to Klebanov hence why he came over. He now is the head of Veraya. You had also Akhmet Kamaldinov who was president of the RRF and ousted in a coup by Klebanov in 2005. With this Kamaldinov left with Dynamo Moscow back to Union leaving the RRF basically under total control of Klabanov. He quickly used his wealth to buy the best players and kept everyone else amateur and so he was able to buy his way to championship and Cup after Championships and Cup.

    The Kazan team was also basically semi-professional/professional. They were based around the TAU and so had great facilities because of it and were able to pull big crowds. However they still could not compete with Lokomotives dominance being backed by the railways (i.e. the government). With Klebanov controlling things like a dictator effectively Strela left in 2008 and Energia and Dinamo also went with them… back to Union. Rumours are that the three will form a super club soon to compete in the RUR. Union has taken over their 18,000 seat stadium which was going to be for league and Medvedev and Mutko ( president of Russia and the sports minister) will make Kazan a centre for Union.

    In 2009, Klebanov had basically split the sport in two with his ways, The Russian team was the Lokomotive team, there was no incentive or anything for any other team. There was internal bickering between so many people and when the RU7s olympic decision was made this opened up money for RU funding and Klebanov jumped ship, but as it is he is not being welcomed back into Union and Lokomotive is in limbo. Eduard Taturyan has stepped back in but he is not completely welcomed back either by RRL. But he seems to have taken it upon himself to try and resurect rugby league there.

    But things get even murkier (this is actually very typical of how Russia operates in General) there are upto 20 people and 3 major groups claiming they are the legitimate Rugby league association. You have Association of Rugby league clubs in Russia (ARLKR) let by Taturyan and claims to be running the sport, and have seven clubs (mainly moscow based) Krasnogorsk-Thrashers, Moscow-Nord, Naro-Fominsk, Otradone, Spartak-Losinka, Vereya and St Petersburg and are militairy based on the whole. The old mob that were aligned with Klebanov the RRLF are still around and claim to be the true governing body. Others also calim ownership but seem to be small fry to these two.

    Taturyan has managed to get domestic games to be played again in Russia, and they are competeing again on the international stage agaisnt Latvia and Ukraine in the Euro Shield. Despite everything they probably still are one of the stronger nations in the central/East Europe. Rugby league needs to get stste recognition and funding again, something which it lost with Klebanov going, remember Lokomotive are a government klub basically which gave the sport it government recognition and funding.

    Despite everything, things are looking slightly up there. The sport is being played, the ESL is being screen into Russian homes on a weekly basis. RL is now a truly amateur game in Russia but this does not mean it cant go pro again, it was never set up with the solid foundations hence why its been such a problem there. It will be important how the RLIF will deal with this it seems tht they are leaning towards the Taturyan camp… but the RLIF has said that they want to have russi in the WC qualifiers in 2011/12

  11. C.T.SANDERS says:

    TATARSTAN IS NOT RUSSIAN TERRITORY.IT HAS IT’S OWN AUTONOMY AND GOVERNMENT SEPARATE FROM MOSCOW.UNLESS YOU BEEN THERE DANIEL YOU CAN’T COMMENT.THE MAORIS AREN’T A COUNTRY YET THEY CAME IN AS A SEPARATE IDENITY FOR THE 2000 RL WORLD CUP IN THE UK AND FRANCE.ONE RULE FOR ONE AND A DIFFERENT RULE FOR THE OTHER.TATARSTAN SHOULD COME IN AS A SEPARATE IDENTITY FOR RL WORLD CUP QUALIFERS FROM 2011.END OF STORY.

  12. C.T.SANDERS says:

    NOT QUITE TRUE.RUSSIAN RUGBY LEAGUE WENT PEARSHAPED IN 2004 …

  13. C.T.SANDERS says:

    I HAVE SEEN 3 TATARSTAN v RUSSIA MATCHES IN THE PAST THE FIRST IN AUGUST 1999.

  14. C.T.SANDERS says:

    KAZAN WILL BE HOPELESS AT RUGBY DANIEL I GIVE YOU THE TIP. LEAGUE SUITS THEIR STYLE BETTER.AND WHAT HAS RUSSIA EVER ACHIEVED IN RUGBY.OUTSIDE KRASNOYARSK IN SIBERIA RUGBY IN RUSSIA IS A DEAD LOSS BUT THE TROUBLE WAS THAT THE LEAGUE PEOPLE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD NEVER,EVER GOT BEHIND RUSSIAN RL WHEN IT WAS GOING WELL.THEY SAT BACK AND DID NOTHING WHEN THE WRONG PEOPLE WENT IN THERE FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS.

  15. C.T.SANDERS says:

    WHERE DO YOU GET THIS IDEA THAT KELABANOV IS RICH.HAVE YOU EVER MEET EGUENY KELABANOV?

  16. Stu Lockie says:

    With the USA/Canada game – why are the Canadians calling themselves the ‘Wolverines’ – I thought they had decided on ‘Mounties?

  17. C.T.SANDERS says:

    In reguards to your report on russia a lot of what you say is the same what i read on the roar a biased rugby union site somewhere in sydney and when i tried to respond on the roar to put things in perspective they blocked out my blogs by refusing to post what i wrote.Rugby union in russia is scared of league because russian rugby union is one dimmensional and a bore to watch.Russian love fast moving games like ice hockey,football,basketball,field hockey and only in krasnoyarsk is rugby an institution and it is worth noting siberian rugby is basing their whole game around canterbury rugby here in new zealand the home of one of our favourite sons sonny bill whereas moscow rugby union under kopiev is basing their whole around the poms.Talk about a bore.

    • druzik says:

      Well not sure what the roar says… they are more of an AFL website I think, that is where many of their readership is.

      I suspect Chris, any bans they put on because your managed to rub people up the wrong way. You can say what you want without being patronising.

  18. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Thanks daniel because russian rugby league isn’t getting a fair crack of the whip and the rest of the rl world couldn’t care less whether it sinks or swims.The poms aren’t interested in it what so ever,russia are a fully established member of the irlf unlike say ireland,scotland,lebanon and serbia all of whom are associate members and for the sake of the game it is important that links between russia and the usa are continued because nz and australia aren’t interested in russia especially since kamaldinov went in 2005.I was told that rl in russia is still deregistered as a sport by the russian ministry of sport in moscow,there is still no state funding as rugy union is the only recognised form of rugby in the russian federation and the national team still haven’t found a sponsor as yet.However,good to see that the ukraine are playing lativa in kiev on 26 september.But at least you care about russia.

  19. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Daniel.I think latvia are playing the ukraine in kiev on the 18 september which is a saturday.I got it wrong.Sorry.Now i think the russian rugby league site is http://www.rc-vereya.ru

  20. C.T.SANDERS says:

    So you got hold of the people at vereya daniel?Do you speak russian daniel because it is similiar to polish and i think that you maybe fluent in that language because my mother is from dalmatia and serbo-croation is also similiar to russian as well.

    • druzik says:

      Both are slavic based but have enough differences. I don’t speak Russian as such but can understand enough if spoken slowly…. all slavic languages are like that, as are any languages from similar groups.

  21. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Ok fair enough because the irlf or rfl have to appoint you as northern hemisphere coordinator and if they dont and go alone and do it themselves they will stuff up,mark my words.This happened when the nzrl went into russia in 2004 and completely fouled it all up because they didn’t know what the hell they were doing.Not only did they ruin the game in one country but they also ruin the game here in nz because they weren’t there for the betterment of rl but what was in it for them.They put the game back 100 years where ever they went to the stoneage because rl as sport has got a stoneage mentality i’m afraid.

  22. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Because ivy bennett and sel bennett went there on the invitation of russian rugby league president akhmet kamaldinov to advise the rrl of how to go about setting up a rl system or structure that was going to make russia more competitive against the well established rl nations in 2004 which failed miserablyThe nzrl had plenty to say about russia yet couldn’t run their own game properly.Hence,bob bailey was brought in as national coach at the expense of eugeny kelabanov who was shafted sideways and of course got his nose out of joint and instigated a revolution.The ceo of russian rrl in 2004 vladmir dolgan saw sel bennett as the big i am from the irlf when bennet wasn’t on it but pretended he was and of course selwynn bennett was caught out telling lies in reguards to granny gate in november 2006 which lead to him being thrown off the nzrl,ivy bennett was done for pockie machine fraud in february 2007 where she pinched money from a local trust here in auckland and is now known as a convicted fraudster in league circles,the late keith pittman who was on the board of the nzrl at that particular time got sacked from his job as boss of the yellow ribbon because of his behaviour towards women in the office yet got a $131,000 payout from the active trust a struggling trust and then turned crown witness against the same trust that gave him the money in the first place and of course the other sel,selwynn pearson the executive chairmam of the nzrl a person with criminal convictions and also a well renown drunk undermined everything in reguards to russia once they smelt kamaldinov’s money.Aren’t they all great people,people with no crediblity and these people virtually represented the irlf when they were involved with russia and then people want to know why the game went spearshaped in that part of the world.The answer is obvious.The nzrl weren’t there for the good of the game but used russia as a backdoor to get their grubby hands on the money,within weeks bailey was back in nz with his tail between his legs,the bennett’s couldn’t of cared less because they were there for the free pomp and ceremony,to have a good time and what was in it for them,yet the poms sat back and did nothing and the chief development officer of the irlf sat on the fench and did nothing as well and when the poms tried to do something about it in january 2005 a meeting with representatives from the rfl ended diasterously in moscow when it was all too lateOf course kamaldinov and dolgan resigned and rrl was back to square one because the representatives from the nzrl had destablished the whole game in russia but that is not surprising because the bennett’s were part and parcel of the original warriors that went broke where they have always milked the system and also blame the nzrl for all this because that executive board in 2004 was the most corrupt board in the history of the game with too many crooks and their associates spoiling the brooth in reguards to russia but they also stuffed up the game here by putting it back a hundred years to the stoneage because they didn’t know what the hell they were doing yet some of these people are still actively involved in the game today just looking for the dollar.Talk about a circus run by clowns.

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