Oh How Easy it is to forget History

By Daniel Andruczyk

I bought the other day the Australian Rugby Leagues “A Century of Rugby League” 4-DVD set. I watched it in great anticipation that I would get a great overview of not just Internationals and the NRL but Rugby League in Australia as a whole. I mean it is meant to be a century of the sport in Australia yes? So believe me that when I say I feel completely disappointed and robbed and I think the rest of Australia who really cares about Rugby League as a sport should feel this way too.

A New Title

Sitting through those DVD’s it was abundantly clear that it was more a DVD on the history of the NSWRL. Sure it was the first competition and richest in terms of money, but not necessarily players. Queensland had always produced fantastic players. But at times even when Queensland had to be mentioned, it was at the barest minimum and felt in great pain. The only time when Queensland started to get any mention was when they talked about the Broncos and the NRL and Super League.

But what upset me the most was the fact that Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and Country Rugby League get no mention what so ever! Now the last I looked these states, play Rugby League, are all part of Australia and fall under the auspices of the ARL. So why do they get ignored?

Victoria is actually the third oldest Rugby League playing State in Australia with the first game played in 1914 when the Lions toured Australia and played News South Wales in Melbourne and drew a crowd of 12,000. By the 1920’s there was an established premiership and a state team doing tours. In South Australia the sport has been played since the 1950’s and in Western Australia since 1948 on a consistent basis. So much so that its considered the strongest state now outside of Queensland and New South Wales, winning 8/12 Affiliated States Championships and with a team in the Jim Beam Cup and SG Ball Cup in 2010. They are one of the favourites to get a new franchise in 2013. The Northern Territory competition started in 1941 and included teams from the Navy, Air Force, Army and also included and all-indigenous team! Why was this not talked about in the DVD? Tasmania, more recently has also started playing within that Century of Australian Rugby League. There was also absolutely no mention of any of the famous and fantastic Country Rugby League competitions like the Challenge Cup and Maher Cup!

Many Rugby League fans in Australia talk about how the sport should expand, yet in reality the sport has been present across the whole country for at least 60 years. Its been the typical insular thinking of the Eastern states, i.e. the NSWRL and QRL that effectively shut out the other states. Teams in the 1950s and 60s used to tour and play the other states on a regular basis.

Representative

There is a disc dedicated to the international game, but once again it seems to take a back seat to the State of Origin. I still am not sure where the line blurred from Internationals being the pinnacle to State of Origin being the pinnacle of the sport. There was some coverage of the Ashes and the New Zealand tours and tests, but very little mention of the French and also matches against the USA, Italians and South Africa in the 1950’s!

Summary

In reality all that this DVD has shown me is that the sport still has a long way to go to break the insular and inward looking of the sport in Australia. Despite the sport being healthy in New South Wales and Queensland it isn’t a national sport on the same scale as AFL yet. A greater effort needs to be made to have games played in other states and get teams there eventually. No I am not saying to just up sticks and dump a team there, but a plan needs to be in place that in 10-15 years time we have teams in all major cities of Australia. This is what we need if be truly want the N in NRL to stand for National. That and the history of the sport needs to be re-remembered and promoted so that all Rugby League fans in Australia know its true rich history.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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34 Responses to “Oh How Easy it is to forget History”

  1. dragons4eva says:

    Too right Druzik Too right. Australians are either blind or don’t care about RL outside of NSW or QLD. There should be a greater emphasis of RL in the whole of Australia (outside of QLD and NZ) and OUTSIDE of the traditional heartlands.

    • druzik says:

      Its just frustrating the way the sport has been treated not only internationally but domestically. If things had been done differently then I think we really would be the dominant code in Australia.

  2. GCCowboy says:

    Blokes used to make the the Kangaroos from the comps in Toowoomba, Townsville and Sunshine Coasts so it is dissapointing that wasn’t in the DVD’s.
    Also I beleive the Poms used to stop off and play the West Australians back in the days that the team still cam by boat.
    One point though is that to have strong international game you do not need a national game. Look at Union only strong in Sydney and Brisbane not even across those states and it has a thriving international game. Much is to be learnt from how union grew into an international sport without significant prescence in many of the countries the international game is popular in. (Australia, Argentina, Italy, Japan)

    • druzik says:

      Yes, and also from Newcastle and other country aras there were players that used to regularly make the Kangaroos. All touring nations used to play matches against the state teams of NSW, QLD, NT, Victoria, SA and WA. The WA matches used to putt up to 15,000 to matches in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. France when they toured in 1951 played 34 matches or something and many were against the country teams.

      Yes union has concentrated heavily in the international scene particularly in Australia. In other countries they do have strong domestic comps. What Union does have is the industry links basically because it being a private school sport the players and links are in all the professions that control things like media and big business, those links are what keep it alive basically, without big sponsorship deals the sport would be in real strife.

      As I said, Union has always made its cash from internationals, but in reality of you look at it, it hasn’t really grown much in the 115 years since the split. What only Italy and Argentina can be said to have come up to the tier 1. I think its manly because the tours restrict teams on who can and cant tour and get the money.

      In the long run, RL not having tours anymore will be advantageous as it gives a greater equal opportunity for other teams to be able to play with the top teams. Soccer does this and look how big they are… I think Soccer is the sport we need to look at if we want to grow.

      • GCCowboy says:

        I think there is a big oppurtunity to ride on the coat tails of union though. Mainly on the basis that it takes very skilled coaching to be competitive in the sport. Not saying playing league at a high level is any easier just that there are many nations that do not have quality union coaches and therefore there teams are largely unsuccesful especially at schoolboy levels (where the gap is even wider between the big 5 and the rest). I think approaching stuggling union schools to get them to adopt league is a viable option especially in places like europe, africa and americas. Romania for instance is not on the league scence but has a strong union base but suffers from a lack of technical coaching to let it compete at a high level (same can also be said for Italy outside the core schools). As far as I am aware there is no league movement in Romania, but with 25million people if they took the sport on I would have no doubt the would be a power on the continent.
        I suppose my main point is penetration into the school system is the best way to grow the sport.

      • druzik says:

        Look do we really need to always look to Union?

        Anytime you try and step in anyway and say use Union players, then they get all uppity and make life difficult. The Serbians and Czechs have the best idea, develop players from scratch taht dont have anything to Union and then you have no issues.

        There have been some movements in those countries like Romania, but things will take time there to get up and running. Union in Romania has gone down significantly. The French pumped in a lot of money but I think have pulled out now and the sport just is not popular enough to survive in any large way.

        Schools, juniors in any sport are the best way to go.

      • dragons4eva says:

        I think Steve means promoting the sport Internationally. The thing i don’t understand is that when Australia play Fiji on a Saturday night on Channel 7 for Union, no one criticizes or says “ohh Fiji are too bad let’s not show the game”. No…they instead provide statistics, mention where the players (even on the Fiji squad) play their football in the world, the individuals on both sides and sometimes even do history on teams such as England, Fiji, Samoa, France etc before the game.
        Channel 7 with rugby (mentioning the sport as a global game and promoting it) should be the same as Rugby League.

      • druzik says:

        yes I agree,

        Look in terms of promotion Union has it hand over on League.

        Our biggest issue is look at who is in the media and effectively controls what the general public reads. Gould, Rothfield, Ritchie and others just dont give a damn about the sport outside of their clubs and SoO.

        As we all have mentioned, the NRL is fast becoming the new NFL or AFL…. in several years I would not be surprised if there was a revolt.

      • dragons4eva says:

        Certainly looking like that. I’m afraid one day there’ll be three Rugby codes.

        Rugby union, Rugby League and Australian Rugby Rules….

        I hope i NEVER happens

      • druzik says:

        Well Rugby League has 4 different rules already that different nations play, so we sort of have that already.

        For all Unions failings, they at least have consistency across the boars. The IRB has the power on rules changes and one nation can’t just go and change things willy nilly without anyone else. The split in the ELFs showed the power of the IRB, the mentality of Aussie fans showed in reality where the psyche of Australian Sport is, its a very inward looking mentality.

  3. Super Steve says:

    It’s a shame, but unfortunately no surprise to me. One read I did find quite good was the Centenary of Rugby League book. It didnt seem quite as Sydney-centric.

    Its definately something I think is ingrained in Australian/NSW media. I cringe everytime a channel 9 commentator declares origin above international, and Im hearing more and more players actually say the same thing which is very scary. I actually think we could do with a change of network with our next TV deal here in Australia. Channel nines efforts just seem to be so amatuer really in what we want as a world sport. Theres something about what Channel 7 do with international union coverage that just gives it more of a world feel. Channel 9 is just the same old cronies every week with Gus gould regularly bagging international league. He declared ESL standards as “park footy”. With that kind of ignorance how can they be expected to providegood international coverage.

  4. Super Steve says:

    Thats exactly what I was getting at dragons4eva.

    When Australia play anyone in International league it is always treated as a non-contest by the majority of nine commentary, and if we do lose a match the opposing team never ever get credit they deserve, its always Australia losing the game rather than the other team winning.

    I think a change would be great for us TV wise, unless 9 can lift their game. Even Fox sports coverage is better. They dont carry on forever about a refs call like they do on nine. They just get on with the game. I often think to myself that newcomers to our game must be put-off by the constant focus on the negatives by nine. The whole thing just comes off as an amateur production.

    Lets not forget the disrgaceful promotion the footy show ran for RLWC08. The two galahs’ Matt Johns and Laurie Daley laughing like idiots throughout the whole thing not even taking it seriously.

  5. PNG says:

    A new broadcaster would go a long way towards breaking down the negativity that the current one has to the game internationally and also to expansion in the nrl .I don’t understand why we have different rules i think it would be best to spread the game if there was just one set of rules which were played at all levels I think international rules should be the only set, have everyone playing on the same page .As far as gould and the rest of the so called experts if you in your work place criticised the company you work for and consitently were negative about the product the company produce you would be shown the door before you had time to clear your desk why hasn’t someone pulled gould aside and said the game has been good to you how about you ease up on the game promote it instead of tearing it down. Last of all why is it that in union if the wallabies, allblacks or england beat a devoloping nation by 100 it’s a beautifull display of running rugby and a spectacle but if aus,nz or eng beat a devoloping nation in league by more than 30 points it’s a farce according to the media

    • dragons4eva says:

      It’s all about Mentality. Let’s compare Rugby League to Basketball at the olympics. See in the last 120 years of Olympic history, the USA have been obviously the most dominant team. I think in something like 20 Olympics they’ve won 16 of them. Only 4 other nations have won the gold medal…but does anyone criticize the USA team and say “ohh International Basketball’s a joke?” No ofcourse not. Instead people are happy watching the NBA USA team take on the world and win.
      Rugby League is in a similar boat but the difference is we’re unfortunately run by the media who view International RL as a dead set joke. People outside of QLD/NSW in Aus. don’t care much if Lebanon or Jamaica are playing RL. Instead we just worry about 2 things…NRL and SOO. That’s it. Anything else is considered a “joke”.
      Now the reason Union always get blockbuster crowds to say Wallabies v Georgia is because they promote, consider and make Internationals the 100% pinnacle of their game. They LOVE seeing their best players do their thing and want to beat them 100-0. RL unfortunately does not have this same mentality…which is SHOULD!!!

      • druzik says:

        Yes I have argues exactly this point o many occasion. I don’t understand why we have this mentality yet in other sports it is OK. Very very strange.

  6. C.T.SANDERS says:

    LEAGUE HASN’T GROWN MUCH EITHER AND AT LEAST TOURS PROVIDED THE FOUNDATIONS TO BUILD TOURNAMENTS LIKE THE VERY FIRST WORLD CUP IN 1954,THE GROWTH OF RUGBY LEAGUE IN ITALY FROM 1950 TO 1965 AND THEN THE SWITCH OF THE ITALIAN LEAGUE TO RUGBY UNION,THE FORMATION OF RL IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA IN THE 1950’S,THE PRESENCE OF RL FOOTBALL IN 2 FRENCH PROVINCES IN THE SHAPE OF VIET NAM AND MADAGASCAR IN THE 50’S AS WELL … .ALL FOR THEM AND NONE FOR ALL.

  7. C.T.SANDERS says:

    RIGHT ON THE MONEY DRAGONS4EVA.RL IS ALL ABOUT A SL COMP THAT STRETCHES ALONG THE M62 HIGHWAY BETWEEN YORKSHIRE AND LANCASHIRE AND THE NRL COMP THAT STRETCES ALONG THE EASTERN COASTLINE OF AUSTRALIA PLUS A TOWN IN NZ.A SMALL FISH IN A BIG POND.THAT’S WHY THE SPORT STRUGGLES BECAUSE IT’S THE SAME OLD SAME OLD.A BIG BORE.TOURS,TOURNAMENTS AND THE LIKE WERE NEVER,EVER BORING AND TOURS ARE NEEDED TO BUILD TOURNAMENTS UP FOR THE FUTURE.OK.

  8. superpaulia says:

    Consider this.

    The USA sets up a professional RL comptition with professional marketing and promotion. It is successful, achieves significant growth and becomes fashionable. Interest developes throughout the world and RL starts to be taken seriously rather than a regional sport.

  9. C.T.SANDERS says:

    AGAIN SUPERPAULIA RIGHT ON THE MONEY.YOU HAVE A GLUE ABOUT THE GAME UNLIKE THE OTHERS WHO WOULDN’T KNOW THE TIME OF DAY BECAUSE ALL THEY THINK ABOUT ARE THEIR CLUBS,APART FROM ONE OR TWO CLUBS,IT MAKES NO MONEY FOR THE GAME.IT’S a WASTE OF TIME.
    IF THE USA CAN GET A BIG SCALP LIKE SAY THE WORLD CHAMPION KIWI RL SIDE IN JACKSONVILLE IN OCTOBER 2011 PRIOR TO THE 4 NATIONS TOURNAMENT IN THE UK AND FRANCE,THAT WILL BE MASSIVE FOR THE GAME IN AMERICA AND IF THAT DOES HAPPEN ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

    • superpaulia says:

      A successful, fully professional USA RL competition is very possible.

      The USA could then export RL to other countries (including the UK and Australia) as they do with much of their lifestyle, culture etc…

      It would give us much needed credibility. RL could no longer be portrayed as a minority sport played by northerers/antipodeans.

      We should all suppport USA RL

  10. C.T.SANDERS says:

    OF COURSE WE SHOULD SUPPORT THE USA RUGBY LEAGUE BUT PEOPLE CAN’T SEE FURTHER THAN THEIR OWN CLUBS.THAT’S THE PROBLEM SUPERPAULIA.

  11. C.T.SANDERS says:

    If you are going to development a game from scratch,concentrate on people under 85 kilogramme in weight,have a under 85 kilogramm rlworld cup once every 4 years,scrap the nsw premierleague competition plus the the toyota under 20 competition and put all the available resources into regional under 85kilos tournaments,one in the southern hemisphere and the other in the northern hemisphere divided into zones and all the winners play each other off in play offs to determine the last 20 positions climaxing with a world cup every 4 years.The growth of any game is measured in the numbers that play it and if he officals concentrate on the small people for a change,rl as an international sport will change dramatically.Rl is no different from rugby union.Both games are domonated by giants and both are now looking one dimensional.Something got to change for the good of the game,Hence a under 85kilogramme rl world cup is a must.

  12. C.T.SANDERS says:

    GUS GOULD IS RIGHT.EUROPEAN SL IS PARK FOOTY BECAUSE WITH NO CYCLES OF TOURS ANYMORE THE STANDARD HAS DROPPED DRAMATICALLY AND THE GAME IS RUN BY PEOPLE WITH NO RUGBY LEAGUE KNOWLEGE WHICH DOESN’T HELP MATTERS EITHER.LOOK HOW THE POMS HAVE STUFFED UP RUGBY LEAGUE IN RUSSIA AND GEORGIA BECAUSE THE RLEF WHICH IS INFLUENCED BY THE RUGBY FOOTBALL LEAGUE ITSELF DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE DOING IN REGUARDS TO EASTERN EUROPE.SAY NO MORE.

    • druzik says:

      The poms didn’t stuff up rugby league in Georgia and russia! Bloddy hell. The Russians stuffed it themselves and Georgia were never seriously interested, Union were just trying to get money through a back door.

      Super League is not park, footy. Its at a very high standard and I would dare say the top 4/5 SL clubs would beat a good account if not beat most of the NRL teams. Gus may have a good knowledge on tactics, but his knowledge on the rest of RL is poor like most commentators in Aussie RL.

  13. C.T.SANDERS says:

    What a load of rubbish daniel.You never ever been to russia yet come across as the big expert on russian rugby league.You never ever spoken to egueny kalabanov,Akhmet kamaldinov,dino vikas,victor kotun,alex kolikov and the late maxim kelachev in moscow nor have you spoken to the likes of igor petrushinin,maxim romanov or michael garbushkov in kazan so alot of the information you get is second or third hand.
    Russia rugby league went pearshaped when the lowlifes from the new zealand rugby league board of control went into russia in 2003 and 2004 on the invitation of akhmet kamaldinov to advise them of how to run the game in russia yet they couldn’t manage to run the game here in nz which they ran into the ground.It didn’t help matters with the likes of selwynn pearson and the late keith pitman underming everything in background which was a recipe for disaster.You had the wrong people from nzrl going there for all the wrong reasons and that was to try and make money out of the russian game especially when they all smelt akhmet kamaldinov’s money.Elena levina kamaldinov’s pa clearly didn’t know what she was doing and vladimir dolgan as ceo under the kamaldinov regime was a total disaster.With the husband and wife team of sel and ivy bennet going to russia every 5 minutes of the day to big note themselves on the bludge what did the poms do about it and did they get permission from the irlf to go to russia in the first place.When i complained to the chief development officer of the irlf i warned him that these undesirables from nz would stuff the whole thing up and he sat on the fench and the poms sat back and did nothing which is just typical.When kelabanov was shafted sideways as national coach in favour of the bennet’s mate bob bailey all hell broke loose and within weeks bailey was back in nz with his tail between his legs,the bennet’s couldn’t of cared less because they all had a good time and again the poms who are supposed to run the development in the northen hemisphere did nothing until it was all too late.
    In reguards to Georgia i spoke to many Georgians in moscow in 1999 who were genuine in trying to establish the game in their homeland and of course the conflict between russia and georgia didn’t help matters either especially when georgia forfeited their world cup qualifier in mscow in 2008.Why wasn’t it played at a neutral venue to keep the momentum going.The irb only care about the 6 nations and the tri-nations countries and argentina.They don’t care much about the rest but still that’s better than rl which only cares about the nrl and superleague and sl is crap.

    • druzik says:

      I have never claimed anything?! If you think you can get Russian RL up and running of have so much to offer there etc… why aren’t you there running it and working with them.

      Sure I haven’t spoken to all of them, but a few of them over time I have been in contact. There is also a lot of other info and people that have been involved that I have spoken to and read. Actually any one can read about.

      As for the Georgians, from what I was told by several people involved with the RLEF and the qualifiers that in the edn the Georgians were not interested in actually playing the sport. The Union administartors were searching for money and when they were asked to peovide a constitution and actually have a proper RL board they, left and went back to Union.

  14. C.T.SANDERS says:

    daniel when are the russian rugby league going to get their share of the world cup profits?for a fully established member of the irlf they are being treated shabbily and it’s not on.their share of the profits have been kept frozen and what are the reasons behind all this?.please explain?

  15. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Let the nrl play what they like but it’s the international rules that matters most of all,one referee,corner posts,etc,etc.It will disadvantage the Kangaroos when they play at the 4 Nations later on in the year and people have to stand up to the nrl.Simple.

  16. C.T.SANDERS says:

    THE RLEF ONLY WORKS ON A SHOE SRING BUDGET BECAUSE SUPERLEAGUE GETS THE WHOLE LOAF AND LEAVES THE REST THE CRUMBS.THE POMS WILL SAY ANYTHING BUT THE POMS DON’T PULL THE WOOL OVER MY EYES.
    RUGBY LEAGUE IS MICKEY MOUSE AS A SPORT,ALWAYS HAS BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE.IF ONE LINES UP ALL THE ADMINISTRATORS AGAINST THE WALL AND SHOT THEM ANOTHER 6 WOULD POP UP EQUALLY AS BAD.THAT’S THE NATURE OF THE BEAST.
    IN REGUARDS TO GEORGIA,THE FACT THAT 2 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS WERE PLAYED IN GEORGIA BEFORE HUGE CROWDS SHOWS THAT THERE WAS OBVIOUS POTENTIAL FOR THE SPORT THERE AND IF THERE WASN’T AND IF THEY WEREN’T INTERESTED AS YOU SAY,EXPLAIN TO ME WHY SO MANY PEOPLE WOULD BOTHERED EVEN TO TURN UP.PEOPLE TELL ME THAT THERE’S BIG INTEREST IN THE NSW PREMIER LEAGUE COMP YET NO ONE TURNS UP TO WATCH ANY OF THE GAMES AND EXPLAIN THAT ONE DANIEL.THE GEORGIANS WALKED AWAY LIKE SO MANY IN THE GAME OF RUGBY LEAGUE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT WELCOME.EVENI WASN’T WANTED AS A PLAYER 35 YEARS AGO HERE IN AUCKLAND AND WHEN I TRIED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT RUSSIA AND TATARSTAN IN 2004 BOTH THE NZRL AND THE AUCKLAND RUGBY LEAGUE SABBOTAGED IT FRIGHTENED THAT I MIGHT MAKE A QUID OR STEAL A QUID IN REGUARDS TO RUSSIA.THEY ALL WANTED A SLICE OF THE ACTION AND WHEN THEY SHAFTED ME SIDEWAYS THEY COMPLETELY STUFFED IT ALL UP WHICH IS JUST TYPICAL OF A SPORT AS STUPID AS RL.
    FINALLY DINO VIKAS AN AUSTRALIAN OF GREEK HERITAGE FOR THE RECORD A QUALIFIED STAGE 3 REFEREE AS WELL AS A QUALIFIED STAGE 3 COACH HAS BEEN IN RUSSIA SINCE 1999 YET THE RLEF REFUSES TO EVEN ACKNOWLEGE HIM AS WELL AS THE INTERNATIONAL BOARD.THAT AGAIN IS JUST TYPICAL OF RL.YOU ARE EITHER WANTED OR NOT.

  17. C.T.SANDERS says:

    WHERE SHOULD OF THE WORLD CUPS PROFITS GONE TO DANIEL?TO PROP UP THE NSW PREMIER LEAGUE COMP.

    • druzik says:

      No they should have gone to creating an independent and professional RLIF, where the people were paid good money to do a decent job. Where rather than relying on money from a WC every 4/5 years then we have money coming into the game ever year from people who’s sole job is run and promote the international game. Eventually build up the profile and bank so that the international game is not held to ransom to the NRL and ESL.

      This then flows through to regional federations being set up, like the RLEF. Have an Asian, Atlantic, Pacific federations. Tournaments would be also run and controlled by the regional federations and the RLIF. Have nations bid for tournaments, like in the soccer, Olympics. It then gives nations something to aim for to host tournaments, and they can start small with the regional tournaments to the World Cup.

  18. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Those tournament that you talk about will always make big loses but kangaroos tours made huge profits and part of those profits went back to fund the growth and development of the international game.That why we had a successful pacific cup here in auckland in 1992 on the back of hugely successful tours and world cups that made big money for the game that was the catalyst for the growth and development of the game in new horizons such as russia,moldovia,ukraine,south africa,usa,japan,ocenia and parts of the middle east.Tell me what money the nrl and superleague make for the game that filters back down to the grassroots daniel?I will give you the answer daniel.None.Ok.

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