The Sydney Daily Telegraph is reporting that NRL clubs bosses are looking at a number of initiatives that are supposed to make the NRL season run a little bitter.
From what I can see, it looks like club bosses have no only out smarted themselves, but also added a dose of self interest into the mix as they add an extra round to the already long club season and look to axe the mid season test match.
Among the proposals being looked at according to Daily Telegraph are:
*More split rounds of club football.
*The scrapping of the mid season Test Match between Australia and New Zealand.
*The introduction of an New Zealand Origin series between Auckland vs Counties.
*The possible axing of City vs Country.
*An under 20’s State Of Origin series.
*State Of Origin games to be played in Monday nights.
*A 27th round of club football that would see all games played at Eden Park, ANZ Stadium and Suncorp Stadium.
It is a lot of changes to a season structure that isn’t THAT far off being very good as it is. It also doesn’t really address the two biggest issues in the game, one being player burnout, the other being the rubbish games mid season when State Of Origin players are not available for club matches.
If anything this season structure makes both of those issues worse!
Lets look at some of these things in detail:
Nobody likes split rounds! Less football to watch on the weekend, some teams play, some don’t, so it throws out the competition ladder for a week. You don’t have your own team playing every weekend….why do we keep playing split rounds of football? They serve no purpose to the game at all!
No Mid Season Test Matches
This is the clubs trying to serve their own self interests. They get nothing out of Test football, so scrap it! That is why we need the Independent Commission making these decisions, not the clubs!
I am far more interested in a Test Match than I am a regular season NRL game.
The NRL is becoming a competition with a real international flavour. We have so many Kiwi’s, Samoan’s, Tonga’s, Tongan’s….hell we even have a few Poms in the competition now! Instead od deciding to shut down international representation, we should be doing the complete opposite!
Auckland Vs Counties Origin
Basically this will be Auckland vs everyone else. I know as an Australian, I wouldn’t care. I’d also take a wild guess that Aucklanders wouldn’t really be all that pumped up ab out taking on “Counties” and the rest of New Zealand would hardly be on the edge of their seats to take on the might of….Auckland.
NSW vs QLD works for a hundred different reasons based on history, economics and the Banjo players up north carrying a chip on their shoulders. None of that applies in New Zealand.
As MUCH better series would be New Zealand vs Polynesia. You give a chance for New Zealand players to represent their nation, at home, and all those Polynesian players in New Zealand to finally get a chance to support a team of their own.
You give Polynesian players a pathway into representative football….it would be huge. Imagine the Kiwi’s facing off against the best Polynesian players at Eden Park!
THAT game would rival State Of Origin. It would be a game of cultural significance in not only New Zealand but Australia as well. The atmosphere would be unbelievable! How can they NOT play this as a series?
City Vs Country
Its 2011 for fucks sake. Let it die already!
If it needs to hang around as a second tier representative game to fill out stand alone rep weekends, fair enough. Outside of that, who honestly cares?
Under 20’s State Of Origin Series
This one is going to cause so many problems because you will find both NSW and QLD will use this as a chance to get non Australian qualified juniors to commit themselves to play for either state, turn their backs on the countries of their birth and down the track filter into the main State Of Origin series.
If you give ANY teenager or ANY nationality to take part in a Junior State Of Origin series, they will take it. Especially when the alternative is just watching it on TV anyway.
We need an international junior representative set up first, way before we start looking at a junior Origin series.
State Of Origin Games Played On Monday Night
So, we still see players missing the previous round of NRL clubs matches anyway, which everyone hates. That’s just a problem they don’t want to fix.
We stuff around with the biggest rating sporting contest in the country, and we don’t move it to the ideal place (Sunday night, 7pm kick off) but we put it on Monday night as an afterthought of the previous club round, and now we put it up against Monday night AFL games, from previously having no competition at all on a Wednesday night!
Thats just stupid!
All of that so that you give players a couple of extra days recovery.
Can someone tell me what would be wrong with three stand alone representative weekends?
Friday night would see New Zealand vs Polynesian All Stars.
Saturday nights would see City vs Country.
Sunday afternoon would see Under 20’s Australia vs New Zealand
Sunday evening with a 7pm kickoff would be State Of Origin.
Can someone tell me what is wrong with that?
Round 27 Played At Three Stadiums
Why do we need to do this? People keep pointing to the fact they do this in England, but they do it over there for two big reasons.
Firstly, England is a small country where traveling is much easier. Second, no England clubs can sell out a big stadium in a regular season game on their own. Last but not least, not all Super League games are on TV every week.
None of that applies to the NRL at all.
There is not a huge amount wrong with the Rugby League calender as it stands right now. A few tweaks here and there would set the game up to have a perfect set up.
The problem is the clubs right now feel as though they are in charge of the game, and with the handover to the Independent Commission yet to be a formality, they basically are!
I think a lot of what has been put forward today won’t happen simply because a lot of it will come down to what will gain the most amount of money for the game, rather than what is simply best for the gate takings of clubs.
Lets hope that’s the case anyway.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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