Does three decades of losing make people crazy? Can you bring up a generation of sports fans that are so ill informed that they don’t realize what they are seeing is the death of their own game?
After decades of being on the wrong end of beatings at International level, the British game has taken a stand and is now over joyed that to see the reaction from their Australian counterparts.
You can see British fans and administrators rubbing their hands with glee as the NRL comes under fire, losing players to Super League and Rugby Union at a rate greater than ever before.
The money is just too good. Players are openly coming out and saying they have little choice but to take offers in the UK that are most times well over double what they could earn in Australia.
British Rugby League fans love it! They are getting one back against the old enemy.
British Rugby League administrators love it. They get to run out quality players to bolster their game day product.
The problem is however that at the end of the day, its British Rugby League that suffers.
The British system has now been set up so that the marque players, the big stars, the big earners, are Australians and New Zealanders. That cant be a good thing for the British game.
On top of that, with the new rule allowing ten imports per club, Super League has invited clubs to field just 7 British players per club out of a possible 17 players. Some people would tell you that is 10 imports for the entire squad, but tell me one team that’s buying high priced imports to take up places 17 to 25 on they playing list…
Its a stupid system based on jealousy.
Australia and New Zealand are better, so lets steal all their players. That will make us better!
British fans seem to think that Australia and New Zealand are now at their peril, they believe that the quality of the Australian and New Zealand games are being e eroded and they love it.
What they don’t realize because of ignorance, is that in both countries, young superstars they have never even heard are wowing crowds in both countries.
Israel Folau, Michael Jennings, Simon Mannering, Dave Taylor, Robbie Farra….players who every week play out of their skins who most British fans wouldnt even know existed.
At halfback alone, a key position on the field, Jonathon Thurston, Matt Orford, Cooper Cronk, Benji Marshall, Brett Kimmorley….these are halfbacks in the NRL today that Great Britain has not had the likes of in decades.
Rugby League in Australia and New Zealand is in rude health. Never before have we seen so much tallent in the game with New Zealand and the Pacific Islands in particular turning out some brilliant athletes.
Still, British fans would have you believe the playing ranks of their southern hemisphere rivals have been pillaged and are in decline.
And yet, at the end of the day, one simple fact remains. Matt King, Trent Barrett, Paul Whatuira, Stacey Jones, Shaun Berrigan…..these players aren’t British.
British Rugby League is at its lowest ebb. While the British game has produced a handful of players in the last 20 years that have been able to match their southern hemisphere counterparts, none of those players are playing today.
British halfbacks, once a standout feature of our great game, are long gone. British centers with speed, strength and skill don’t exist any more. British standoffs are so long gone that lock forwards now take their place and British wingers are so poor that if you replace all of them with overseas talent no body would miss them.
In the forwards, Great Britain produces solid, but not spectacular players. You find that British forwards have one or two seasons of decent form in them before they burn out, lose their desire or just get shown up so many times against better opponents at test level that they never really recover.
With all of this in mind, how can anyone in the British game be jumping for joy at the supposed declining state of the game in Australia and New Zealand. If anything, the game down under is showing that it is in such amazing health that it is providing the bulk of players for two competitions.
With the new rules in place, Super League has become a transplanted, second string Australian/New Zealand competition, and no matter how many quality players Super League clubs buy from overseas, one important fact will always remain.
They’re not British.
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