With pretty much all of Rugby Union’s interest in Australia currently surrounding former Rugby League player Israel Folau, it is pretty clear that the ARU is desperate to re-sign the former Queensland State Of Origin winger and keep him from returning back to the greatest game of all.
When asked about what the Australian Rugby Union could offer Folau, ARU CEO Bill Pulver had this to say:
“You talk about Israel Folau, I mean Israel Folau’s away game is in Cape Town. In rugby league, his away game would be Campbelltown.”
Israel Folau was born in Minto, which is just over 5 milometers away from Campbelltown. The area is well known for producing some of the great Rugby League players we see today such as Krisnan Inu, Ryan Hoffman and Jarryd Hayne. Campbelltown has also produced a number of Olympians and people within the entertainment industry.
It is fair to say that when it comes to producing talented individuals in many different fields of excellence, Campbelltown punches well above its weight.
Campbelltown doesn’t have an NRL team of its own but it does host Wests Tigers games on a regular basis. The area is very strong in terms of Rugby League though and has some of the best junior clubs in the game within the region.
Campbelltown is only 43 kilometers from Homebush Bay, which is generally regarded as the geographical center of the wider Sydney region. Campbelltown is also only 62 kilometers to North Sydney…back I’ll get back that that in a little bit…
Right now every single sport in Australia is scrambling to get a piece of the huge Western Sydney sporting market. Rugby League and Soccer are the undisputed kings of Western Sydney, but the likes of Cricket, Basketball, Netball, AFL, Cycling…all sports are doing everything they can to get a foothold in one the most valuable pieces of sporting real estate in the country.
Some sports have more success than others. The AFL for instance is spending $200 million to try and establish AFL in Western Sydney. So far it has been a dismal failure.
You see, not every sport is guaranteed success in Western Sydney. Its is hard to sell something to people of Western Sydney that they don’t want. Western Sydney is one of the great places in the world to live. A region known for being a mix of many different cultures from all over the world. People of Western Sydney get to experience so many different things to the point that they end up making up their own minds about what they like, and what they don’t like.
As every sport in the country sweet talks the people of Western Sydney, it seems the ARU CEO doesn’t think much of the region at all. Why would they? This is only one of the great “rugby” talent pools in the entire world!
Take a look at the Sydney Club Rugby Union first grade competition and where most teams are situated: Eastwood, Sydney University, Southern Districts, Eastern Suburbs, Randwick, Parramatta, Northern Suburbs, Warringah, Gordon, Penrith.
The vast majority of these teams are based in and around North Sydney. This is a sport that has been established in Sydney for well over a century and that has clearly been unable to grow across the city at all. The Parramatta team struggles and the Penrith team is so bad that they might as well just stop bothering!
When you consider that Sydney is easily the greatest “Rugby” city on the planet, with the ability to sustain so many Rugby League clubs and one professional Rugby Union club in the NSW Waratahs, you would think the ARU would be like every other sport in this city and be embracing Western Sydney at every chance they got.
Obviously with Bill Pulver in charge, that isn’t a priority.
This news would be music to the ears of Rugby League and Soccer. Both sports are so entrenched in the area, they will never truly be challenged in any way by any other sport. Still, one less competitor is always a good thing!
That the head of the ARU puts no value at all into a large area of Sydney must worry Rugby Union types. Considering the struggles the sport in Australia faces, with a dwindling salary cap, losing millions of dollars every year, and financially not anywhere close to their main sporting rivals in the NRL, AFL and Soccer, the last thing Rugby Union needs to do is be letting large parts Sydney know that they have no place in Rugby Union.
Only weak people allow their postcode to determine who they are. It is a sign of an ignorant mind when someone dismisses an area of the same city they live in.
Bill Pulver might look down his nose at the people of Campbelltown, but he of all people should know that your postcode don’t insulate you from bad situations in life.
Bill Pulvers ignorant comments won’t hurt Rugby Union in Western Sydney simply because, for the most part, the sport doesn’t exist past Concord.
As someone that was born and raised in Western Sydney, and who currently resides in Penrith, I have a simple message for Bill Pulver.
Go fuck yourself Bill…