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

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.


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.


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:
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