When Positive becomes Negative?

By Daniel Andruczyk

Over the years I have been on many forums and posted on many articles about the need to grow Rugby League internationally. In general, some media in Australia aside, the consensus is that for the sport so survive, grow and thrive, then this is exactly what needs to happen. Now there are so many ideas floating around out there from many people about how this should be done, and this is wonderful to see, however over the years I have noticed something, and for a long time I was guilty of it. That thing is that we still seem to be elitist in Rugby League.

Now I don’t mean the organisation or running of the sport, I am referring to the attitude. So many fans still, despite wanting to see other nations play, feel that only with the traditional 4 nations being strong will the sport ever survive. As I mentioned at the start I was like this myself, but a couple years ago I started to see that this attitude if anything is holding us back. It seems that for international Rugby league to be “strong” then Australia, England and New Zealand need to be always strong.

Then when you talk about nations that should be targeted to be strong its France and PNG. So basically the feeling I always get is that fans always want to have those top 3-5 teams in Rugby league, as if its a holy right for those teams to have to be strong. Now I think ultimately this is a fatally position to have. In many cases its a matter of putting all your eggs in one basket. It translates itself into the attitudes of the Rugby League world more than we realise.

These attitudes translate themselves into the Rugby League administration and media, its why we have the inability for the RLIF to enforce the eligibility and game rules and then have to make ones up to appease the Aussies, Kiwis and English by allowing them to poach all the best players. Its also, why I think, the media always dismisses anything outside of those three main countries. Fans and the majority of people want Rugby League to be played around the world but not at the expense of the big 3.

Now, why is this putting all your eggs in the one basket. Well what happens if by not giving the resources that are needed to the other nations to develop they all collapse and we literally are left with only 3 nations to play the game, what happens then. In reality we loose our claim to being an international sport, we go back to pre 1932 in terms of where Rugby League stood with nations.

So let me ask these questions:

  1. Why is it imperative that we NEED to have a strong Australia, New Zealand, France or England?
  2. What would happen to the sport if we had a complete changing of the guard in terms of world Rugby League power. Lets say for the off chance that Germany, Fiji, Russia, USA and South Africa become the next big nations that beat the hell out of everyone and dominate the sport.
  3. Is this a worse or better situation than just having Australia, New Zealand and England always dominate?

These are important question, ones that I want everyone who comes on here to read think to think about and please put your comments up. Now two additional things here that I want to add:

  • I am not saying that the NRL and ESL and LER are diminished in any way as the premier professional domestic competitions in Rugby League (though its not to say other comeptition cannot rise up and also become professional and prominent)
  • I don’t want this to become a RLIF, RLEF bashing … this is about the attitude of the fans and supporters of the game.

So I am curious to know people thoughts on this…

Discuss!

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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20 Responses to “When Positive becomes Negative?”

  1. Chris Sanders says:

    Didn’t you originally come up with the idea that we need independents on the RLIF with no conflicts of interest Daniel??
    I don’t want to steal your thunder!

    • druzik says:

      I have been the advocate of it yes… not sure I was the one who came up with it first, certaonly never saw anything, but then again I never really looked… you can interpret that as you please.

  2. deluded pom? says:

    We need more pro/semi comps around the world. The best thing that could happen is for the Americans to get a fully pro comp with plenty of money behind it. Nothing is EVER going to change whilst 98% of professional players ply their trade in the SLE/NRL.

    • druzik says:

      That is certainly true as well… but there is no reason why from the NRL and ESL they cant allow and reward players for representing their countries instead of basically bribing them into either their national or rep teams.

      If we look at soccer, it only has a few really strong professional competitions as well, ones that people really care about, same applies for Union I would say, so I don’t think its the be all and end all to solving it.

      • deluded pom? says:

        There may only be a few soccer comps that people care about but there are also plenty of other nations who have a fully professional comp where players come through and if they are good enough end up in the leagues that people do care about.

  3. Chris Sanders says:

    Deluded Pom has got it right!Nothing will happen until something like that finally does happen in our game and this idea of the Junior Kiwis,Junior Kangaroos,England Under 20’s,France Under 20’s and PNG under 20’s playing the Emerging Nations like South Africa,USA,Canada,Serbia,Italy,Jamaica,Lebanon and others on the road,will eventually reduce the tremendous gulf in playing standards in the years to come!
    Again this was Daniel Andrucyzk grand plan or idea 2 years ago and this is the only logical way to attack the problem of narrowing the huge gap between 1st and 2nd and 3rd tier Nations and if done right,the returns will be huge for our game,when it does finally becomes a level playing field.
    Only time will tell.

  4. roml357 says:

    I think australia and NZ (mainly australia)attitude towards the development of the international game is quite pathetic. AFL has more international expansion insight than the nrl bosses have. We have a great product/sport which just needs some vision for it to really grow and expand. To close the gap especially in the pacific why cant australia and new zealand put there “A” teams or best under 20s teams against, tonga, samoa pong etc in annual or bi annual tournaments? Just one idea of many?

    • druzik says:

      Its an interesting point there roml… the other day I found something really worrying here in the USA. I was flicking through my TV channels and on the guys it had Australian Rules Football … curiosity got the better of the cat in this case … I put it on.

      To my shock and horror it wasnt the AFL from Australia but a repeat game of one of the USA AFL competition games! I kid you not. I was astounded that the US AFL comp has managed to get a games televised on TV here, and has them repeated over the winter.

      If AFL is managing this then we should be more worried about them than Union.

  5. Ashley says:

    I think the traditional nations would always be strong no matter who came along. What the game needs is a good 5 year plan for getting nations onto the track of competing against the big three. In that plan you can slowly build whatever country it is up and they can play Aus u20s then PMXIII until they are ready for a crack at the kangaroos.

    I’m all for using A teams and u20s for development. As well as helping developing nations a tour of say Serbia, USA etc can help young players develop as people and give valuable experiences.

    The lack of planning ahead is sometimes truly shocking, especially in a buisness since. Though maybe there is more behind the scenes in organisations than we know. I’d love to know the long term goals of the RLEF, do they just want to put dots on maps or do they have a 5-10 year plan that will see the likes of Serbia, Russia and Italy competing regularly against France and England.

    We will have to wait for nature to take its course in regards to new pro comps forming, unless international rugby league finds a Nathan Tinkler. My biggest hope at the moment is that the World Cup will make a larger profit than 08 and hopefully provide another burst of growth and funds that seemed to occur post 08 world cup.

  6. Ashley says:

    I’d like to ad that the England Knights would be a perfect development tool. Last year they played Cumbria, France and were supposed to play Samoa. Pitting them against the likes of Ireland seems logical and maybe short tours could be considered e.g of Ireland: Knights vs Ulster XIII, Knights vs Leinster XIII, knights vs Ireland. Could be valuable experience for local players and These sort of fixtures could also provide the added push for players to commit to league instead of other codes.

  7. dragons4eva says:

    I think we shouldn’t be targeting the fans and supporters who view this but mainly the RLIF and people in charge. They are the ones who can turn things around with the game!

    Sure we can spread our message through social media networks and on some media outlets etc but media, sponsors and fans will still wanna support the Pro comps in Australia/NZ and England!

    But the best way for it to change is at the top! They’re the ones who need to make the tough decisions and force development for growth! Once they make changes for the better fans will eventually be persuaded to change as well!

    • druzik says:

      You are right in the sense that the RLIF are the ones that can exact the changes.

      HOWEVER… its the fans that will force the media and RLIF to make the changes. Hence why you need to target the fans. Ultimately they are the ones that have the power.

      If all the fans in Australia and England and France rose up saying that no, the eligibility rules are wrong that this players need to stick to their nations, start coming out to internationals more than say SoO then the RLIF and media have to sit up and take note, and enact the changes.

  8. Chris Sanders says:

    But they are all apathetic and do nothing we get what we deserve!If people don’t rock the boat,then they shouldn’t complain and the ones that do complain are labelled trouble makers!!

    • druzik says:

      Its not about, not complaining, but its the way you do it.

      You can still “complain” and get your point of view across in a polite and constructive manner, rather employ a scorched earth policy.

  9. Marv says:

    1, It is not imperative they remain strong and apart from the rest.

    It is imperative they remain close to each other though.

    So who says we “need” a strong NZ, Eng or Aus Dan? I think its been pointed out that its just generally accepted those nations will be stronger.

    2, It’s not going to happen in our lifetime. But for the sake of your argument, if it did it would be great, it would upset the apple cart at the RLIF old boys club but IMO that would be just cool too

    3, If question two happened then yes, It would be better than the status quo.

    • druzik says:

      How are ya Marv, long time mate. Need to head to Cumbria soon I think!

      Most fans say that that we need to have a string NZ, England and Aus. Everyone says that we need engalnd to be strong etc… do we?? That is my point.

      If lets say we have the English get replaced by the USA… why is that bad?

      It seems that despite the great work being done internationally, the media, especially in Australia, just don’t wnat to recognise or accept anything outside of NSW and QLD.

      2 and 3 … yes agree.

      • Marv says:

        I’m great mate thanks. It would be great to see you over here for a game sometime. I know your a busy guy!

        As I say, we don’t NEED them to be strong, but as things stand, we need them to remain close to eachother.

        For me, if NZ/ENG/AUS were too fall behind and be replaced with the USA, then that would be cool.

        In fact, it would then be up to England to get themselves that number 3 spot back.

        Just as right now it is not England or Australia’s job to look after the rest of the rugby league world underneath it.

        I agree that mainstream RL media is SL/NRL biased but times are changing.

        Especially because of efforts from people like yourself.

  10. Chris Sanders says:

    That’s the whole trouble with the whole game!A 3 Nations dictatorship of England,Australia and NZ and this is the reasons why others don’t get heard.
    I have,had a gutsful!!

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