Heartlands Win Out in World Cup Draw

By Daniel Andruczyk

Today the 2013 Rugby League World Cup venues have been released. In a fairly conservative move the heartlands of Rugby League in England have been chosen over a few new cities looking to promote the sport more. While all this is taking place, underhandedly the Aussies once agin show that they are bullies in the sport and are looking to undermine the sport internationally. Also in Australia there are worrying reports of the financial troubles of the Gold Coast Titans. There are reports that the team may fold but the question, however is, is this such a bad thing? It will be a test for the New ARL commission in more ways than one.

2013 Rugby League World Cup Draw!

The draw for the 2013 World Cup was announced today and is as follows:

http://www.rlwc2013.com/fixtures

Group A
England v Australia Millennium Stadium, Cardiff*
Fiji v Ireland Spotland Stadium, Rochdale
England v Ireland The Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield
Australia v Fiji Langtree Park, St Helens
England v Fiji KC Stadium, Hull
Australia v Ireland Thomond Park Stadium, Limerick

Group B
France v Papua New Guinea MS3 Craven Park, Hull
New Zealand v Samoa The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
France v New Zealand Parc des Sports, Avignon
Samoa v Papua New Guinea MS3 Craven Park, Hull
New Zealand v Papua New Guinea Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
France v Samoa Gilbert Brutus Stadium, Perpignan

Group C
Scotland v Tonga Pow Beck Stadium, Whitehaven
Scotland v Italy Pow Beck Stadium, Whitehaven
Tonga v Italy The Shay Stadium, Halifax

Group D
Cook Islands v USA The Memorial Stadium, Bristol
Wales v USA Glyndŵr University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Wales v Cook Islands The Gnoll, Neath

Group C/D
Wales v Italy Millennium Stadium, Cardiff*
Tonga v Cook Islands Leigh Sports Village
Scotland v USA City of Salford Community Stadium

Quarters Finals
Winner A v Winner D Glyndŵr University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Runner Up A v 3rd place B DW Stadium, Wigan
Winner B v Winner C Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
Runner Up B v 3rd place A The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington

Semi Finals
Winner Q/F 1 v Winner Q/F 4 To be confirmed
Winner Q/F 2 v Winner Q/F 3 To be confirmed

World Cup Final
Winner S/F 1 v Winner S/F 2 To be confirmed

Heartlands Win Out

The Venues chosen by the RFL for next years world cup have a conservative flavour to them The Northern English heartland clubs/cities have predominantly won out to have the majority of game. Its a move that is most probably designed to try and make as much of a profit from the games as possible, by targeting the heartland areas of Rugby League, as was done in 2008 in Australia, the sport can utilise the fans and now are a full year out for promotion of the tournament.

The map below shows a comparison of the 2013 venues compared to the last time the UK held the tournament in 2000, a tournament where a loss of nearly 2 million pounds was made. The yellow dots represent the 2000 WC games and red are venues that have hosted the 2000 and will host 2013 games. A decent distribution through the 2000 sites showed a sense of forward thinking by the RFL back then to try and showcase the sport in many different areas. A combination of poor weather a train strike and bad planning forcing a loss. The Green, which are the 2013 only cities in combination with red show the clear line through Northern England where the heartland cities are.

WC2013

Cardiff have a double header to start the tournament off with Australia v England following the opening Wales v Italy match. A few non heartland cities such as bristol, Limerick have been chooses, but on the whole its cities that have strong professional or semi-professional teams in the UK or French competitions. Perpignan, with the Catalans Dragons, has won a match and also Avignion which has demonstrated in the last few years that their fans a mad keen for the sport, selling out French games, has also been given a match. Over all no real surprises yet. We still are waiting upon the decision where the semi-finals and final will be played. One only hopes that for the final Wembley Stadium in London will be chosen.

With this decision, it should guarantee that the tournament and sport will at least break even, and we all hope that it will make a greater profit than the $5 million the 2008 WC supposedly made. This still begs the question, why on earth are we relying and basing the future of our sport all on one tournament every four years?

Is the Folding of the Gold Coast Titans a Good Thing for Rugby League in Oz?

This morning we all woke up to the news that the Gold Coast Titans are in a lot of financial trouble. The debt varies depending on where you read but it is between $25 – $35 million. Now I usually don’t get involved in clubs struggles (unless its Cronulla) and I also try to stay out of the running of national competitions and bodies, and I will sort of do so here as well. However a question arises about the sustainability of the sport and its future expansion. If the Titans do die then a. Should we look to resurrect them with a new Gold Coast franchise? and b. is this a new opportunity for the NRL and the ARLC to do something new, bold and innovative?

Below are some links to stories about this

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/gold-coast-debt-a-titanic-25m-auditors-reveal-20120322-1vmyx.html

http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/gold-coast-debt-a-titanic-25m-auditors-reveal-20120322-1vmyx.html

http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/commission-contemplating-what-to-do-with-struggling-titans-20120321-1vkcq.html

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/auditors-find-35m-black-hole-in-gold-coast-titans-books-but-cooper-cronk-deal-to-go-ahead/story-e6frexnr-1226307676162

U20s State of Origin

I banged my head against the wall on this one when i read it. Australia now has a new way to snare any overseas talent. Players that could help other nations will now be tied into Australia and any future world cup representations or national games will be dealt a server blow. This will also drastically hurt the Kiwis. I can see that Australia will once again just uber dominate the sport. All the hard work of the last few years of New Zealand, England and other nations building up the sport and brand will be destroyed. Its unfortunate that the RLIF have absolutely no power or confidence to stand up to this, oh wait, its run by the Aussies!

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/under-20s-to-get-their-own-state-of-origin-match/story-e6frexnr-1226305765886

Remember 2 years ago I predicted that within 10 years Rugby League in Australia will cease to exist, the NRL will still be there but will be a completely different sport to what everyone else plays and in that sense will not compete anymore or at worst will destroy the sport completely in the rest of the world.. This decision is only enforce this view, we have 8 years to go.

This decision is a very disappointing one in my eyes.

Set the Precedent!

Now let me try and explain what I mean by my above comments. The NRL, is looking at a large TV deal next year, wanting over $1 billion. In reality if they want to achieve this they do need to open and expand new markets. This means that new teams have to come into the sport. Naturally this means new cities and new areas to target, ones that are lucrative to the TV broadcasters and sponsors. Now, there is no doubt that the Gold Coast as a region brings a lot to the table, but how many false dawns can we have? This is, what, the 5th iteration of a “Gold Coast” team, first with the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants, then the Gold Coast Sea Gulls, the Gold Coast Gladiators and the Gold Coast Chargers.

Lets let them die and lets have a decent, proper selection process for the new franchises. If we have a new Gold Coast team get set up, how are they going to be different? Do we let Searle back in, he is obviously the one who got them into this mess to start with. Is he fit to run the team. Considering how much influence he has had on the sport over the years its a worrying sign for the sport. After all wasn’t he the one who pushed for the “independent commission” originally? Does this spell doom for the ARLC and the sport??

But I digress. Perth and Central Queensland are a must in me eyes. These are two massive areas for rugby league with lots of fans and in the past have shown the ability for these cities to have good crowds. The last spot will have to come down to either the new Gold Coast franchise or the Central Coast team. But the real thing is the precedent it can set for the new ARL commission. They have been bold recently with the changing of fundamental aspects of the game like the play-off system changes. But they need to show that they are willing to make the tough decision when it comes to letting a team go naturally belly up.

There is a country we can look to. The USA is an “elitist” sports country. They are not adverse to letting team die or shifting them to the other side of the country. You see this in the NFL and baseball often. Those sports certainly have not gone down because of it and over time you can have a distribution of the teams through the country, where you are constantly testing and evolving the sport and teams. Certainly these days the idea, to me, of a Sydney team if it were to naturally go belly up, or if it was a smart move to shift to another city, like Adelaide, should not only be considered but palatable. AND yes this means even if it is Cronulla . If a move meant the survival of the brand in some way, so be it. It will be for the greater good.

So that is my take on the whole situation on the Gold Coast. I encourage debate on this and anything else in this article.

 

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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21 Responses to “Heartlands Win Out in World Cup Draw”

  1. PNG says:

    I don’t think there ever was a GoldCoast Gladiators team the only franchise names I know of are the Tweed Coast Giants the GoldCoast Seagulls and the Goldcoast Chargers and the current Goldcoast Titans . I think it would be very hasty to let the Titans die the club is asset rich but cash poor this is because they went out and built the centre of excelence straight away thinking they had the money and backers to pay for it then the GFC hit and alot of backers had to pull out either way it’s not a good place they have put themselves in .I”m a little amused that alot of NSW papers are calling for them to die but where were these same claims when Cronulla were getting bailed out by the NRL year after year after year? there was even one year were the sharks may not of been able to pay all there playing roster at the end of a season if not for an advancement on there NRL funding ? it was not that long ago that Manly were in Financial strife aswell as souths all have been kept alive by the NRL through grants and bail outs at one stage. Even the warriors were cash straped for a few years .To let the Goldcoast team die would be a dire situation for the NRL if the Titans can’t figure out how to fix the mess there in then they should sell there property and the centre of exellence pay there debts and get back to just playing footy or maybe the NRL could take control of there books and come to an agreement to have the debts paid off in a timeframe thats agreeable to the creditors. It would be very hypocritical for the NRL to have kept alive for many years a number of sydney/NSW clubs in a overcrowded market then let a expansion side in QLD die.

    • druzik says:

      All good points the PNG.

      The Gladiators only lasted like a month in 98 I think. But they were there.

      • Cheyne Maher says:

        I agree these are good points PNG, just frustrating that they were let in ahead of CC Bears at the time. I hope they survive as SEQLD need AT LEAST two teams long term. Obviously the Broncos cover the city, GC to the south, potentially Ispwich to the west and who knows long term maybe sunny coast/redcliffe to the north. I don’t think just throwing another team in called the Brisbane…whatevers will work. Who (supporters) will identify with them so much that to want to ditch the Broncos – who just happen to be one of the (relatively) strongest sporting franchises in the world. At least the GC represents a region – and a decent sized one at that too.

  2. PNG says:

    The Goldcoast Gladiators almost came into existence when the Seagulls licence was bought out by a entrepreneur at the end of the 1995 season and the name gladiator was mooted but never came into existence they played in the Cocacola sevens under the Goldcoast banner and wore a different jersey to the 1995 Seagulls jersey the License was revoked by the ARL before the 1996 season started and was taken over by the ARl and they played under the Goldcoast Chargers banner

  3. Chris Sanders says:

    Transfer the Gold Coast licenes to Port Moresby and then we will all be in heaven PNG!
    And where are they going to play the 2013 RLWC Final?
    Whitehaven???

  4. Chris Sanders says:

    I can’t see how the sport will be destroyed in 10 years time if Australia go it alone and if the NRL is still around.
    Let Australia play their own game and we can play ours.They will be left behind and blame Gallop and Carr for all of this.They are the bad apples in the cart and time to gang tackle them firmly into touch for once and for all as it’s a NSW thing.
    And in reguards to the RLIF.Sack Carter,Lewis and Gallop and bring in independents and time for a bloody revolution in the game.
    We want blood!!!

  5. tax_dodger says:

    So it looks as though they’ll be no WC games in London. That’s based on the assumption the final will be at Old Trafford. Very, very disappointing if that’s the case.

  6. Chris Sanders says:

    No games in London?This is a joke as it’s no sign of progress in almost 118 years.The RLIF must change as they are running the whole Tournament and first thing they have to do is sack Scott Carter,David Gallop and Richard Lewis and if this Tournament fails to make a profit,their heads are on the block.
    Like in 2000,there are just too many games in the traditional heartlands and why are there 2 games in Whitehaven for goodness sake?
    It won’t even pay for costs of staging the games there and why persist with double headers?
    The RLIF have no idea and time for Independents and start with Johnny Quayle,Jack Ripperly,Eric Perez,David Oxley,Bud Lisle,Dave Moffett and John Slade to run the RLIF.
    Then we will get progress.

  7. ParraEelsNRL says:

    Chris, one of the semi finals and or the final will probably be in London and frankly, that’s all they deserve really.

    Good stuff RFL, now promote the hell out of it for 18 months.

  8. Cheyne Maher says:

    Good story Dan,

    I was worried the WC organisers would open with Eng v Aus, but to me it should have been in the last round of group games played – by doing so it would have improved the WC

    1) The crunch game between Eng and Aus is likely to decide who will get the easier path (by avoiding NZ in the semis) to the final – why not let them warrm up first

    2) The crunch game between Fiji and Ireland will almost certainly decide which one progresses to the final – again why not let both have a couple of games to gel first

    3) By keeping both of these games til the last round of group games there would be more anticipation among fans. Now if Aus smack England first up all the usual whineing that it is a one horse race will last the whole tournament as it did in 08 (although that didn’t go to the script most thought it would).

    4) Why not lift the status of one of the other group a games to “opener” status. We could have opened with England v Ireland and it would have generated more interest.

    Any way they have made their choice so i guess we just have to sit back and enjoy it – otherwise im just as bad as the rest of them hahaa

    Once again though Dan, great story and interesting thoughts re gold coast – as a central coastian its interesting to see this mob got the jump on us in 2007????

  9. Kingsland7 says:

    The Gold Coast is a sporting wasteland, a great enigma where codes go in half cocked and are left with nothing.

    A-League, AFL and soon Rugby League all experience the lowest crowd averages in their own sports on the Gold Coast.

    Why is this area being persisted with? Is it as prosperous as we all think?

    If Rugby League struggles in the South of Queensland than you would have to wonder what code could be successful there.

    • druzik says:

      Because with half million people and the greater surrounds going close to 1 million its a vital place to have in terms of your TV money. Its also critical for Brisbane to have another rival team close by.

  10. dragons4eva says:

    Glad that 95% of the World Cup schedule is announced! The RFL and RLEF have done an awesome job promoting this tournament! Hoping to travel to the UK for the opener in Cardiff and final (wherever it is!)

    Thanks for the blog Druzik!

    • druzik says:

      No worries… its true that they have done a good job, but in Australia I hear that it has not even made a ripple?

      • dragons4eva says:

        Not much mate! Barely heard anyone talking about it! Was mentioned once or twice in a short section of several newspapers but no major announcements, articles or nothing. Just a short “ohh by the way” Australia’s touring UK and Ireland next year. Matches in Cardiff” etc. Made it feel as if it was an ‘end of year’ nothing tournament like usual!

      • druzik says:

        That is very disapoiinting

  11. Mark Swanborough says:

    Steve McNamara was on the Thursday night footy show here, with a lot of talk around Feleti Mateo.

    Its not the greatest way to initiate talk about the WC, but at least they were talking about it!

    They also talked about how “we had one over AFL by having international competition”.

    Dead right, but a lot of Australians cant see outside of their love for their club or state.

    Such a catch 22 – If England can win a WC rugby league stands a good chance of becoming strong again there, but rugby league in England needs to become strong before they win a WC.

    I guarantee a couple of losses (say a WC and a 4Nations) to England by Australia will a lot more than a couple to NZ to the avg punter in Oz.

    • druzik says:

      Some good points there Mark. Being in the USA i didn’t see the footy show … what was the other panels (i.e. Fatty et.al.) reaction to McNamara talking about the WC.

      Did they seem to even know that is was on and had been announced?

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