It Starts All Again

By Daniel Andruczyk

The first week of 2011 has already thrown up some interesting talking points all around the world. The USA seems to be powering along despite some supposed grumblings in the ranks. We have our first international swap for the year and a surprising one and the Kangaroos top job has been decided.

Musical Chairs

So Willie Mason is a Tongan again. After playing in the 2000 World Cup he abandoned his first country to play for Australia. Now  some might think that Mason going back to Tonga is a good thing, but his reasons are bit more sinister. You see Mason needs the Tongan Citizenship to get in to play Super League.

About 10 years ago the European Community signed an agreement (The Cotonou Agreement) with Pacific Island nations; Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Papua New Guinea. It basically allows PI citizens to play as a non-overseas player in the Super League and so don’t come under the quota that restricts how many players from Australia and New Zealand can play in team.

Mason flew to Tonga had a couple beers with the Prime Minister of Tonga to fast track his Citizenship and Passport. Mason qualifies through his Tongan Mother though he was born in New Zealand. The interesting thing will be to see whether he will play for Tonga now or not.

Sharks Circle Back

In the USA the whole split talk seems to have died down a bit this week. The Jacksonville Axemen are starting to gear up and get their 2011 premiership defence on track. Other good news to come out of the AMNRL, aside from all the expansion that’s going on, is that one of the original teams is back this season. Yes the Bucks County Sharks are back in the AMNRL after a one year break getting things back in order.

The Sharks have many fans in the league and were always a club that prided themselves on developing local players and not relying on imports. They have always been pioneers in the AMNRL in terms of their development. So New Jersey has a team again in the AMNRL.

News from the South

Back in the Southern Hemisphere, after Australia’s 4 Nations defeat to the Kiwis there was speculation about Tim Sheens position as coach. Well this week that speculation ended with Tim Sheen being re-appointed as the man to lead the Roo’s this year again.

Also this week some good news has come out from New Zealand. NZRL supremo Jim Doyle revealed that player numbers in New Zealand have increased to 24,000 now which is a 50% increase. As well participation numbers are up 52% since 2009 when the NZRL restructured itself from the bottom up. It was in pretty dire straits in 2008 when they won the World Cup. So 2010 was a superb year for the Kiwis, the Warriors doing well in the NYC and winning the over all Club Championship, Benji Marshall winning the golden boot award and the Kiwis with the 4 Nations. On top of that the Rugby League features in the Halberg Award nominations in New Zealand, with Marshall, Manu Vatuvei, Stephen Kearney and the Kiwis all being nominated.

Also this week week great news from Singapore with the reemergence of the Singapore Rugby League. They have a website setting out their goals and plans fro the next couple of years.

So all up, some great news coming out of the Rugby League world this week.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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35 Responses to “It Starts All Again”

  1. C.T.SANDERS says:

    It’s the joke of the century indeed a severe case of double vision.Maybe 12000 people playing the game and no more.
    The figures are false and is it a case of the nzrl looking for more money from the government to justify their jobs.
    There have never,ever been more than 15,500 people playing the game at any one time,from 1949 to 1955 and from 1971 to 1975,2 times when the game reached the peak of it’s popularity.
    Did they count the maoris twice and did the islanders give 2 names?
    A 400% increase in manawatu is a joke and in fact the former chairman of manawtu rl laughed himself hoarse when he heard them.
    A former administrator who has administered the game in 5 provinces,west coast,canterbury,wellington,manawatu and auckland plus a couple of affliates said that the figures were false and fraudulent.
    The number of clubs haven’t increase significantly over the last 12 months and if there was indeed a dramatic increase in numbers playing the game as they say,it has not been shown or reflected in increase numbers of teams,coaches,managers,officials,referees etc,etc because my club ellerslie haven’t seen any evidence of increase growth or activity.For instance the arl has in fact spent less in the general direction of the clubs about$175,000 for the 33 clubs that make up the district league of auckland.However, it’s fair to say that there has been an increase in the number of hanger ons around the corridors of power at both auckland and the nzrl.
    Only a pipedream andI hope jim hasn’t had too much scotch.No wonder the game here is still the laughing stock.

    • druzik says:

      I am just going by what has been reported in the media esle where… take it up with them. No one else seems to be reporting what you say and I am sure they do background work on their stories.

  2. Stu Lockie says:

    Dan, what was the split talk in the US?

  3. dragons4eva says:

    Good blog Druzik, good to see the sharks back in the AMNRL. Also great to see Singapore back in the League circle and the massive amount of growth in New Zealand.

    As for Mason, don’t really care about him anymore. Never really liked him on or off the field. Not a big fan of how he got into Super League but what is done is done.

  4. deluded pom? says:

    The RFL/SLE have made themselves look stupid by allowing Mason to sign for HKR on a Tongan passport. He wants his cake and he wants to eat it. Tonga weren’t good enough for him a while back but all of a sudden they are. The Tongan PM should have told him to feckoff. Good to see HKR doing their bit to develop some English juniors. NOT. They now have TEN overseas players on their books. They also wangled EU passports for Vella and Galea so they could squeeze a couple more in.

  5. tax_dodger says:

    Bucks County is in Pennsylvannia, not New Jersey.

    • druzik says:

      True, but they were originally the New Jersey Sharks… and I think they still play some games in NJ and still associate themselves with the area from what I have heard.

      • sharkies says:

        The sharks have always been based out of Levittown, PA, which is close to the PA/NJ border. The majority of the players were from Bucks County, PA. They were labeled NJ when the league started to give the league a more regional look.

      • druzik says:

        Thanks for the Info.

  6. Cheyne Maher says:

    All good news! The (re-?) emergence of the sport in Singapore is particularly encouraging, the potential for the sport in Asia is huge!!!!

    • druzik says:

      Yeah, Singapore dabbles in RL several years ago, didn’t go too far through. Hopefully this time it will get further.

      • Cheyne Maher says:

        Lets hope so, would be great for the game if the likes of Singapore, Indo, Thailand etc take it up. It is very possible, as all are extremely popular destinations with Aussies!

      • druzik says:

        Well, seems that there is some movemnt in Bali, and its being called Indonesian Rugby league.

  7. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Don’t believe everything you read in the papers daniel because i have it in writing from many very experienced rl people that it ain’t true.
    So auckland went from 230 teams to 460 teams in 12 months a 50% increase as they say and manawatu rl from 400 players to 6400 players.Yeah
    There are only 24 senior teams in the wellington rugby league competition which represents 480 players and there’s 1500 people playing the game in wellington and the same number in canterbury.
    There’s 550 players on the west coast[Greymouth]in a town of 10,000people which on a population basis is the largest numbers playing our game.
    And who’s your nz correspondent in reguards to this site now daniel?
    Cock robin from otahuhu or rugby league nut??

  8. Q8T Kev says:

    From a wellington viewpoint the numbers have certainly increased in a big way, mostly due to the fact that many more college’s now have proper teams rather than being forced to play the 15 man game.

    The NZRL also mentioned that the method they used to collate this data in the past was not particularly scientific so it is a bit of a beat-up for them to quote any growth percentages as they are comparing apples to oranges.

    But overall, I definately believe rugby league is becoming more and more of a sporting option for the youth of NZ and long may it continue.

    The effect of the Toyota Cup should not be underestimated in that either. The fact that the college boys can see their teammates from previous years playing in famous strips at famous grounds on tv is a huge incentive. Especially for those outside of Auckland who previously may have thought it was just too hard to get noticed.

    As soon as CT takes over the running of the ARL we can launch our assault on the world stage and become the dominant game on the biggest stage of the USA, while playing weekly fixtures versus Vereya, Dorcol, Avignon, Leeds, Jacksonville etc.

  9. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Right on the buttom kiev.That’s the way forward.

  10. C.T.SANDERS says:

    who cares about willie mason playing for hullkr.Hull kr are only a club side and they can pick eskimos for all i care.
    What they do is their business and they want mason so be it.
    Do people at chelsea or man utd complain about imports in their game.
    Worry about your national side deleted pom because you lot are only playing dog tucker.
    The ways things are in the old dart you could be in your grave before you lot win anything of much note.

    • druzik says:

      Actually many people do complain that the EPL has too many imports and its why their national team suffers.

      It doesnt bother me if the Poms or anyone else to bad.. or good… they play and play how ever they can. Its the way it is. Its the administration that is always important to look at.

  11. deluded pom? says:

    “In the USA the whole split talk seems to have died down a bit this week.”

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water dru,

    • druzik says:

      Just a bit… yes well I have got a lot of info the last couple days on this and am writing an article at the moment… but am waiting on some other comments to have a balanced view.

  12. C.T.SANDERS says:

    The poms should get their priorities right for a change and get their national team right instead of looking for the same tired old excuses that are starting to wear thin.
    Deluded pom never,ever blames his own administrators who are the ones at fault and no one else.
    He’s just too scared to rock the boat unlike me who always rubbishes our incompetent administrators.
    That why he writes under a none de plume and he reminds me of the texan ranger rodger brady the invisable man.

  13. ParraEelsNRL says:

    The poms are doing as much as they can and good on them.

  14. deluded pom? says:

    Dru can you dump CT please. The “man” is deranged. The sooner the better please.

  15. C.T.SANDERS says:

    That’s typical of you deluded pom.Show me where i have rubbish barla on this site.You had kittens when they lost in a rugby 7’s tournament recently that was of no importance yet say nothing when the poms come a long thirrd in the 4 nations.You’re a bitter twisted old man.Go back to total and bitch there like an old sheila.
    Never have and never will rubbish barla because they are the saving grace of our game.They are the flagship of our game and at least i rubbish my own,the idiots runing the game here in nz who do nothing for the game.Everyone agrees on that.
    When you start to lose an argument you give me stick but you give out plenty to others but can’t take and then want daniel to become referee.
    So is sl spreading the game?
    Not many clubs outside the m62 and the same mentality as tours of the past.

    • Ryan says:

      One minute the US is the saving grace of our game, the next minute it’s BARLA. Then Russia or whatever you feel like at the moment. The fundamental problem with all your arguments is that they are not based on fact. That’s because you don’t know the current situation of the game worldwide. For instance you were asking if there is Rugby League in Miami in another post. Well I know for a fact that Deluded Pom and 99% of visitors to this site would know there isn’t any Rugby League in Miami at the moment.

      He has never lost an argument against you, no one ever has. One major problem, you don’t win any arguments…

      Super League is spreading the game. Have you heard of Crusaders RL or Catalans?

  16. C.T.SANDERS says:

    And what’s your name deluded pom?
    My name is Chistopher Unkovich Nutter Thomas Sanders.
    Ok deluded pommie

  17. deluded pom? says:

    We get the joke with your initials CT. Ha Ha Ha.

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