The Struggle Within.

By Daniel Andruczyk

So State of Origin what a spectacle… now that I have your attention… The ugly spectre of ignorance of the international game has reared it’s ugly head again. It saddened me to read and hear some of the uninformed and bigoted comments of commentators and journalists over the last week or two. Clubs also doing their utmost to scuttle the international. The RLIF itself has not been helping either.

The Burgess/Ellis issue

June 12 is the International between England and France in Leigh. An uproar was created when South Sydney didn’t want to release Sam Burgess for the test. There was a split in the camps, pretty lob sided actually, that the test is a nothing test and Burgess should not play. But The RLIF forced their hand and Ellis eligible for the match. Wether he will be selected is another thing, England may feel its not worth bringing him over like the Kiwis do with their Super League stars. but the fact of the matter is that Burgess, Ellis and all the other overseas players need to be made available for the international.

League Central

Listening to the Daily Telegraphs Phil Rothfield and Dean Richie the other day I was astounded on the way they perceived the international game. They call the European mid season test a nothing test and the French useless. I am sorry but who gives you the right to say that. There are many French and English players and fans who do see this as an important test. they make the comment that there are only 3 “genuine International sides” erhem erhem, an international side is any side that plays in an international competition, this makes it at last count about 40 odd international teams in Rugby League. Just because the Aussies, Poms and Kiwis are the dominant does not mean that we devalue any other nation.

No other football code, be it soccer or Union do they devalue the international game. When England play Andorra they still make a big deal of it. I remember living in Europe and when England played Estonia in a friendly at Wembley they got 80,000 to it… yes 80,000 people to a soccer friendly against a “nobody” team. Union is the same, why is it that they can get large crowds to their internationals yes our so called supporters in the media put it down.

Players may get paid by their clubs, but they also get paid by their nations for test which means they have as much right to be selected and played. Do Phil and Dean think that the ANZAC test is a nothing test, just because New Zealand never have their strongest team, they have a poor record? A bit of a double standard I think there fellows. As far as I am concerned Phil and Dean are not fit to call themselves Rugby League journalists. The sport is bigger than just the NRL.

The offending episode is http://player.video.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/#1502531379

ABC Grandstand

Driving home the other day i was listening to ABC Grandstand, I was amazed to hear that the commentators could not answer a simple question like where Jarrod Sammut is playing now. Crusaders! They were uming and ahhing, “oh he’s not in Penrith?”, “Oh I thought he was in Brisbane”, “I herd France Rugby Union”. Seriously are our commentators and so called rugby league experts that uninformed!

What was Tahu Thinking? Well not much that’s for sure. Tahu manages to get the ire of not only International Rugby League fans but also Rugby union fans by saying that the NSW Blues jumper was worth more to him than any Kangaroo or Wallabies jumper. Ex Wallaby Brendan Cannon came out in the press and gave him a spray basically demanding that he be striped from the record books if it made that little difference to him. Well I wont comment on then quality of the article, but hell for once I will agree with a Rugby Union person on something. Yes playing for your country is the greatest honour and no other jumper is worth more or is better than playing for your country. Tahu I hope that you don’t get picked for the Kangaroos ever again.

Coverage

So some big hoopla has been made of the fact that Origin is being shown to 90 countries. OK, great but lets look a bit more at this. Where the hell is Europe?! Sorry but if you are going to be serious about this you need to have live coverage in France, Germany, Spain, Poland, between these 4 nations and the rest of Europe! That is almost 450 million people that are not seeing the match and a market where Rugby ( in some form) is known. France for crying out loud, one of the top 4 Rugby League Nations is not getting Origin. Sorry but I am not impressed.

Solutions?

OK, so I have gone and had a rant on problems in the International Rugby League scene. What is the solution? Well its has to be changed on three fronts.

  1. A regular international scene needs to be set. There needs to be a regular 4 year cycle of tournaments of regional championships and minor international tournaments that culminate in the World Cup. Fans, administrators, clubs and commentators need to be shown that the depth in Rugby League is deep these days. But this also means that we cant have these tournaments as Mickey mouse ones. A Pacific Nations Cup needs to have Australia and New Zealand play against the likes of PNG, Fiji and Tonga.
  2. The RLIF must, must, must become fully professional and independent. They need to not rely on the “profits” of a World Cup every 4 years, they must be pro active every year getting money and sponsorship and promoting the game on a regular monthly if not weekly basis. The media needs to be made aware that the internationals are the top competitions.
  3. Origin needs to go, well in its current format it has to go. We need to get it out of the mid year or have a dedicated mid year representative season where we can have not only Origin, but also other internationals played. Its a no brainer. The Mid year season is needed for all the New World Nations around the world to play their internationals since that is the only time they can do it, but lets give them the ability to call upon the best teams they can, have a rep season where they can call upon eligible players.

If we can get these three things sorted out then International Rugby League, no, RUGBY LEAGUE will survive and will have respect.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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28 Responses to “The Struggle Within.”

  1. Alex-P says:

    Dan I cant help but agree with evrything you say mate.. ive been thinking about International / Rep structure for a long time. And the following fits in Internationals and Origin over a two month period (May-June). In the weeks in between rep games NRL & Super League can return.

    Based on a 6 team Pacific Cup (could replicated with a 6 team European cup in the northern hemisphere)…

    May Weekend One (30th, 1st, 2nd)

    New Zealand vs Papua New Guinea
    Fiji vs Cook Islands
    Australia vs Tonga

    May Weekend Three (14th, 15th, 16th)

    State Of Origin

    May Weekend Five (28th, 29th, 30th)

    Cook Islands vs New Zealand
    Tonga vs Papua New Guinea
    Australia vs Fiji

    June Weekend Two (11th, 12th, 13th)

    State Of Origin

    June Weekend Four (25th, 26th, 27th)

    State Of Origin

    The remaining 3 Pacific Cup rounds could be played at teh end of the season, as they are currently done e.g 4 Nations.

    • druzik says:

      that is one possibility, I was actually looking at a more simple structure… will be doing a blog to look at this more in depth either Friday or Saturday… truth be told if State of Origin was discarded i would not be upset about that. I think SoO is doing the most to limit rugby leagues spread across the world.

      • Alex-P says:

        As much as your point is valid, in my lifetime i can never imagine Origin being thrown out.

        Im unsure whether id have it or not, firstly as im Welsh not an Aussie, but first and foremost i put the international game first.. and if that requires Origin to go then im more than happy to see it go.

  2. Greg Cross says:

    Dan,
    Great ideas.There’s no way State of Origin should go as it provides funding for Junior Development.There should be a festival of football at the end of the year,with double headers and emerging nations playing curtain raisers before these games.Bring Jamaica and the USA teams over to Australia as well to play matches.Every Nrl and Superleague club should adopt a country and develop this great game over there.They should bring over promising players to play with feeder clubs.There is tremendous player potential in the USA with American Football players.Let’s get off our backsides and grow our game.

  3. terry ryan says:

    In total agreement,there is only a handful of countries capable of winning the rugby world cup also,but they don’t seem to dump on the international game with the same arrogance that Australia does.No wonder it’s taken 100 years for our great game to start expanding. Keep up the good work.

    • druzik says:

      In soccer as well, I think there is only like 9-10 out of how many nations that can win it, in Union, there have only been 4 WC winners, no, but they do place their value on the internationals.

      the question is how do we get the public recognize the value in internationals?

  4. Ashley says:

    Good article as usual, wouldn’t mind reading something like this in the papers instead of those idiots who put the game down and show no respect to other countries.

    Agree with what you say about pro RLIF. It HAS to be done for the game. We need people who are constantly in a position to help the international game, not occasionally meet and decide to get rid of corner posts in the NRL.

    Obviously what the league central “Journalists” Don’t see is that there are hard working volunteers right around the world playing rugby league and keeping the game alive out of their own time and pocket, just like those who do the same in Austrlia.

    These guys sit on their laptops writing scathing articles about pretty much everything in rugby league and suddenly take a stab at other countries? How can they even call themselves fans. Obiovusly they are too busy looking at what colour Hayne’s boots are.

    As for Tahu, for me he embodies what is wrong with rugby league players: a massive lack of loyalty towards their country.

  5. Joel says:

    Do the Daily Telegraph have their own “Three Stooges”?

    How are they writers for rugby league & in the media when they come up with garbage like that (via the video you posted)….

    Most of the stuff they write people disagree with. Or the information isn’t true.

    “Welcome to League Central, the only place you go to for completely unbiased, objective, and fair minded reporting for origin” Is that right DT – “And what about these dirty Queenslanders?” straight after that.

    • Anthony says:

      Joel you’ve got to remember that this piece of glorified fish and chip wrapper is a NSW paper

      • druzik says:

        Despite all that it still is probably the best paper for Rugby League coverage… which is not saying much is it.

    • druzik says:

      Joel that why they have the Courier Mail in Brisie, am sure they do the same up there.

      But yeah, I was shocked by what those guys said… which saddens me as Rothfield is a Cronulla stalwart, but I can’t be a fan of him with that kind of stuff.

      In a way I am hoping that France upset the Poms just to show everyone that they are capable of the performance.

      lol I like the “Three Stooges” remark.

  6. Anthony says:

    AS I’ve said many times the current rules of eligibility of Origin need to be changed. Under the rules players must alighn themselves with Australia.

    • Anthony says:

      This has got to be the solution to this –
      Players that are eligible to play Origin can play it, but also don’t have to declare there allegiance to Australia.

      • druzik says:

        That may be one thing, but you see in the old days Origin was a trial for the Kangaroos, these days its not, its almost the other way around! Which is sad. I have no issue with Origin being Aussies only, but we need to give something for the other nations so players have the option to play for the New World Nations.

    • druzik says:

      Its not so much the eligibility rules but the way its played and when its played… there is a lot that needs to change I think.

  7. deluded pom ? says:

    Have those muppets (Rothfield and Richie) ever set foot outside of Australia except for maybe a gap year doing bar work in London? What has rugby league done to have such “friends” as these? As stated you just rarely see union journos slating their own game yet league journos seem to think it’s compulsory.

    • druzik says:

      I know… its absolutely bamboozling!

      I think very few of the journos have set foot outside of Australia.

      Really thinking about it, if you were to try and pick three journos that are positive for the international game would you be able to do it? I can name 1, Steve Mascord… that’s it.

  8. deluded pom ? says:

    Mascord HAS seen the world unlike the average Aussie muppet with a word processor.

    • druzik says:

      Mascord is awesome as RL jurno. He no longer is at News which in some ways is a chame, he was the last of a bright beacon for the International game there.

      I saw Steve last week actually, we went to the Parra/Cronulla game together and we were chatting about many of these things. He will be doing another tour at the end of the year, to see games and also see his rock bands lol.

  9. roml357 says:

    Totally agree bro, good to see someone who has so much passion and vision for the game. Just wish the powers to be could take some of these views on board. It just seems no one wants to take a risk on the chance they will loose money out of it.

    • druzik says:

      Cheers,
      The powers that be in Rugby league are a funny bunch. I some ways they are evolutionary, with rules changes etc… (sometimes I think too much), however when it comes to the general running and structure of the game they are the most conservative bunch going round!

      One reason I think is that because everyone on the RLIF board is sitting on the boards of the ARL, RFL/ESL, NRL and NZRL there will always be leaning towards these nations in the decision that are made. Look at the last 3 major decisions that have been made by the RLIF… removing of the corner posts, World Cup and International structure and the player eligibility laws… all favour the top 3 nations.

      In terms of money, we know that with a good structure and marketing the game sells itself and makes money, the 2008 WC though a success financially making a profit, could have made more. There is a bit of a myth about the 2000 WC. It actually made money but the RFL used it to pay off its debts and so with that it looked like the RLWC2000 was a flop.

  10. roml357 says:

    Sh%T I didnt know that, but it seemed the wc2000 was pushed too hard too fast without enough exposure for the countries outside the big three. Totally agree about there being not enough international competition involving oz in the pacific. Two things that really burn me at the moment are:
    1: The pacific cup held bi annually(ya there will be heaps of progress for those countries playing once every two years!)
    2: The kangaroos having a rest year the year before the world cup, what a load of crap!
    Just so annoying that the morons that run the game dont have any vision!

    • druzik says:

      Mmmm.. see I would rather have the Regional tournaments played once in a 4 year cycle, however the top 4 progress through to a mini international tournaments(s), a 6 or a 4 Nations… then through to the World Cup. This allows teams from both the Pacific and Europe get to experience top Rugby League against the best local nations and then International Nations.

      It would then also give us a good indicator in terms of rankings, because you are starting to get a direct comparison of nations on a regular basis from around the world. So take PNG for example. They would have a chance to play Oz, NZ and other nations in the first two years with the Regional Cup qualifiers and finals… then go through and play the, England and France in the next, and then come up against them and others in the World cup, so in 4 years they potentially can play upto 20 different nations and some repeated… nothing stopping them from friendlies either.

      Well that’s it again, the roos having a rest year… theye did that in 2007 and look where it got them lol… I think I have answered how to fix this above.

  11. C.T.SANDERS says:

    YOU MUST BE JOKING THAT THE PEOPLE RUNING RL ARE EVOLUTIONARY.THEY HAVE NO IDEA AND IF THEY KEEP TAMPERING WITH THE RULES THEY WILL EVENTUALLY STUFF UP THE WHOLE GAME.TELL ME WHAT RUGBY LEAGUE ANY OF THE ADMINISTRATORS HAVE EVER PLAYED?HAVE THEY PLAYED THE GAME AT ANY LEVEL.I CAN’T REMEMBER RICHARD LEWIS EVER PLAYING THE GAME AND I DID SEE A CERTAIN RICHARD LEWIS PLAYING LAWN TENNIS HERE IN THE 60’S AT STANLEY STREET IN AUCKLAND.IS THAT THE SAME RICHARD LEWIS RUNING ENGLISH RUGBY LEAGUE NOW BECAUSE HE WASN’T MUCH GOOD AT TENNIS.

    • druzik says:

      You need to re-read the blog. My point was that theyarent evolutionary now… they are a reactionary mob . And that it is doing damage to the game.

      Yes its the same Richard Lewis… but that is a good thing. He managed to get English tennis back on its feet and hence why he got the RFL gig. Just becuase he didnt play league should not mean anything. Actually probably an advantage in that he can see things from a different perspective. And he has. Majority of Rugby league fans are very happy with what he has done.

      You don’t always have to have someone from the sport having to run it… sometimes it can be a disadvantage.

  12. C.T.SANDERS says:

    England are a joke at lawn tennis and he didn’t turn things around at all like you thinked he did.Tell me what the poms have ever won at tennis.They haven’t had a world class player since fred perry in the 1930’s.At least great britain have beaten australia over 70 times since 1910 in all internationals which is more than any rugby union side have ever achieved against the mighty all blacks.If nothing else british rugby league has a great history behind it but they still dwell into the past too much and since the advent of summer rugby the sport has gone backwards.

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