The headline in the Sydney Daily Telegraph reads “Rugby league versus rugby union game moves closer to reality”.
Wow, that is interesting, considering that Rugby League administrators are dealing with their own internal issues right now while Rugby Union administrators or on their New Zealand junket watching lost of fat blokes roll around on each other in between kicking the ball into the stands.
So I read on…and I find out, its all bullshit!
A mob calling themselves “Hybrid Code Pty Ltd” is in talks with ANZ Stadium in Sydney to put on a game that would be a hybrid code, somewhere between Rugby League rules and Xanax.
ANZ Stadium is just looking for “events”. They don’t care if its sport, a concert, a religious gathering, they just want to get bums on seats and to be able to sell food and drinks to a lot of people. That is hard to do when 6 months of the year they don’t really have any major sports that they host.
So Hybrid Code Pty Ltd is talking this game up. Rugby League vs Rugby Union. They are saying this single game could generate $40,000,000 for the NRL and ARU. This is going to be great.
Oh, just something I probably should mention at this point….
Hybrid Code Pty Ltd aren’t negotiating on behalf of ANYONE!
They have not had even a hint of interest from either the NRL or the ARU for this completely stupid idea! They are basically going into meetings with this fanciful, stupid idea, and they have nothing to offer a sponsor, television broadcaster or stadium!
Its insane this shit even warranted an article in the newspaper!
I could do the same thing! I could go in and propose an MMA fight between Megan Fox and Mike Tyson and have just as much official backing as Hybrid Code Pty Ltd has to negotiate on behalf of anyone!
There has always been a couple of major stumbling blocks stopping a game like this from happening.
First of all, why would Rugby League consider it? Rugby League in Australia is a mainstream sport that generates hundreds of millions of dollars and has millions watching on TV. Why would they want to devalue their own product to showcase a minority sport that struggles to attract any attention at all?
From the ARU’s point of view, the money would be very handy for them, as would the attention. The idea of Greg Inglis, Jonathan Thurston, Billy Slater and the like unleashed against their powder-puffs, not so much. If an ARU side got 60 put on them by an ARL side, that is game over for Rugby Union in Australia (If it isn’t already).
For years we have seen News Limited media toss up the concept of a Hybrid code, and I think in an ideal world, they would love to see it happen.
Taking the mainstream following Rugby League has and being able to combine it with the fantastic international structure Rugby Union has built.
If The Super League War had worked out right for News Limited, I have no doubt we would have just one “Rugby” code today. In fact, Rugby Union only went professional because it saw what was happening in Rugby League and realized that it either needed to start paying its players, or it would be swamped by the Super League War.
In 2011, the landscape is very different.
The NRL is on the verge of signing a broadcasting deal with at least $1 billion dollars. Its 16 clubs will have an incredible amount of money to spend. This will change the landscape quite a bit, and we will see not only other Rugby League competitions feel the impact of this, but Rugby Union competitions too.
If somebody did want to create a Hybrid Code, I would look at something alone the lines of a 10 per side competition played between October and March. I would clean up the cynical, ball killing rules Rugby Union. I’d remove scrums and line outs completely.
I would then trial two break downs with this game. The first one would be limiting the number of tacklers that could enter the breakdown and contest the ball to say 4 players. Then I would trial Rugby Leagues play the ball.
Which ever one promoted the best attacking football, I’d go with.
Play this series like a circuit around the world. England, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia. Move the tournaments to where the weather allows for these games to be played. Allow teams to rotate their side through a squad of around 30 players over the course of the tournaments to cut down player fatigue, player burnout and spread the possible risk of injuries.
Rugby League and Rugby Union could then still stand as sports in their own right, but you would have this Hybrid middle ground.
I personally wouldn’t want to see that happen. I think 7’s Rugby Union is a boring farce. I think what I have written above would die out very quickly through lack of interest.
The funny thing is, the push for a Hybrid Code comes down to two wants from either side.
Rugby League wants the world wide network it can tap into. Rugby Union wants the Rugby League players, excitement and main stream foothold.
One sport wants the administrative structure, the other seems to want to be more like the other sport is on the field.
I’ve said for a long time that eventually, Rugby Union will evolve, just as Rugby League did, and one down day the track, Rugby Union will have adopted so many of Rugby League rules that the games will merge, and it will be a very simple, natural process.
I have little doubt that if it were up to the ARU and NZRU, this wouldn’t be fair off of happening by now. But the RFU, FRU and South Africa would have zero interest in seeing this happen. Taking Rugby Union away from their traditional strengths and handing Australia and New Zealand a massive influx of Rugby League talent that is already up to speed with Rugby League…it doesn’t serve their interest.
Talking of the codes merging seems far off and very fanciful, but writing about it on this web site is about as close as it will come to happening any time soon.
MP Paul Gibson, Mark Ella, Bob Dwyer and Phil Franks and sign all the agreements they like on behalf of nobody at all. Hell, I’ll let them play it in my back yard and I’ll pay a bazillion dollars for it! (By the way, notice all of the Rugby League names not involved in this thing?)
My offer is based is the same reality as the Hybrid Code Pty Ltd and its non existent ability to negotiate on behalf of nobody.
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