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…


Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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