Did anyone really enjoy the 2016 Rugby League Four Nations competition?
We had Australia playing just one really good half of football in the entire tournament, New Zealand not turning up at all, England being England, all round terrible while pretending they are still highly relevant to the international game, and a fake Scottish team wasting everyone’s time by representing a nation that doesn’t even have a domestic competition.
When the biggest talking points of the tournament end up being a manufactured feud between Wayne Bennett and Mal Meninga, the whinging by the English media when Wayne Bennett didn’t walk out and start kissing their collective arses, and talking up this Australia team as one of the best ever when they barely looked interested for most of the tournament, is it any wonder most die hard Rugby League supporters were barely interested in watching the games on offer?
Lets hope we don’t see another Four Nations competition any time soon that involves Australia sleep walking to the final with New Zealand, and England riding their coattails while a token team is thrown in to the mix.
The good news for international Rugby League is that supporters do actually want to see more of it. Teams like Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, France, the United States, Jamaica and Canada excite supporters. For most they are new teams, different teams, they are playing exciting styles of Rugby League, and as time goes on we are seeing more and more stars of the game playing for these nations as the game evolves and the player pool expands to take in new nations.
I floated the idea of a Four Nations competition involving Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and PNG on my Twitter feed a few weeks ago and so many people loved the idea. The issue is that the people pulling the purse strings in international Rugby League get so focused on Australia and England they they just leave everyone else to do what they can with the meager resources they have on hand.
There doesn’t really seem to be an overall plan for all of international Rugby League. We now have World Cup competitions in place every four years (I think they should be held every three years but that is for another article) but outside of that what do we have to look forward to?
Australia and England just care about making money. If England wasn’t a source of income for the ARL you can be assured that England would hardly be involved in international Rugby League at all. New Zealand has to work its way around those two, and everyone else has to work out what is left after that. It is a terrible way to run the game and holds it back.
It makes you wonder what the RLIF actually does. Who has a say? Who is really in charge? If other member nations decided to make a major change to the international calendar would their voices even be heard? Do they have any ability to vote on any of the decisions that are made?
We see fake teams throws together with Scotland, Ireland and Wales as we head into every single World Cup. These teams get opportunities and resources every four years over real Rugby League playing nations like Fiji, Jamaica, France, the United States, Canada, the Cook Islands and PNG just to name a few….and I’m at a stage where I’m wondering why that continues to happen.
Why did we allow a fake Scottish team into a big tournament like the Four Nations when we could very easily have had France involved. How was that allowed to happen?
Rugby League really needs to step back and decide which nations are real Rugby League playing nations. It needs to stop prioritizing “British” nations over everyone.
I don’t want to see my country, Australia, play England and New Zealand AGAIN. I want to see them take on the likes of Fiji, France, the United States and Canada. I want to see different nations getting the spotlight.
Plenty of people will say “But League Freak, look at how big those scorelines will be. Look at how one sided those games end up being”. GREAT! That is international Rugby League. Why are we hiding from that? Why are we more interested in watching Australia sleepwalk past a boring team like England for the millionth time when we could watch them put on a real show against a nation that would get so much more out of being exposed to the World Champions?
Nothing could be worse than the 2016 Four Nations, that is for certain. It was boring.
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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