The RFL’s Proposed All Star Game Will Not Work, And I’ll Tell You Why!

There is a lot of talk right now that the Rugby Football League are looking to establish an All Star Game between the English test team and a selection of players from Super League clubs.

It would be very easy to suggest that the RFL have looked at the All Star Game in Australia held between the Australian Indigenous All Stars and NRL All Stars, they liked the concept, and want one of their own. However, the idea of an English All Stars Game has been doing the rounds for about a decade.

The push comes for one main reason, and that is to provide England with what is supposed to be a decent game on home soil. The idea being that, if England gets to play more games of a higher intensity, they will obviously close the gap on Australia and New Zealand.

Like most English ideas….they completely miss the point….

Now as you read this, keep in mind that this concept is completely different for the NRL’s All Star Game. Motivations are different. You can not compare the two contests, so I won’t.

Who Will Make Up The All Star Team
I cant imagine the top teams in Super League will be happy to, not only lose their English Test players for a game, but to also lose all of their best imports for a game as well. Not only that, putting an extra match into the legs of the best players on the books of Super League clubs….clubs won’t be happy about that either.

This means you’ll see the All Stars Team made up of players from as many different clubs as possible to lower the effect this game would have on Super League top clubs.

Will this effect the quality of the side? Probably, but not by much. Even the worst teams in Super League can manage to attract OK imports.

So the All Star Team is going to be a very mixed group of players from many different clubs.

What Is The Incentive For The All Stars Team?
If you are an import thats headed to Super League, you’ve headed over for one of two reasons. Either you have gone over for a payday to finish your career, OR, you’ve found yourself on the fringe of the professional game in Australia and realized, if you head to England, you can have a long professional career.

Either way, your motivation is money.

Lets pretend the RFL is going to pay a nice amount of money to the players in the All Stars Team. What then becomes their motivation to step up a level and give England a proper game?

We saw in the War Of The Roses clash between Lancashire and Yorkshire, you can not manufacture passion. You can not tell a group of players to play a hard game of football just for the hell of it.

On top of that, we all know the truth of the matter. The RFL will be sending this All Stars Team out to be lambs to the slaughter, ideally. Who is going to want the All Stars Team to win?

The RFL?


England players?


English fans attending the game?


So you have mercenaries playing in a game that means nothing to them, for a team that is supported by no one, in a contest no one wants them to win.

Does this sound like a winning concept to you?

England Vs The Super League All Stars….Really?
I love my Rugby League history. Our game has a proud history forged by men who went through a hell of a lot, and that was before they had even played epic contests against opponents they had never seen from the other side of the world.

To think that we’ve come to a point where, in 2011, the long and proud history of British Rugby League has come down to England vs the Super League All Stars…its tragic.

Will This Game Provide The Contest England Wants?
No. There is no way at all this game is going to give England what they want, which is basically a game of a similar intensity to they face when they play New Zealand and Australia.

If it was easy to manufacture such a contest, Australia would have done it years ago when no one was able to give us a decent game!

The problem England has had for decades now is overestimating its ability. They go out and smash France, and beat their chests. They hammer Wales and talk about being ready. They go great in Super League and talk about being at the cutting edge.

They play Australia and they get embarrassed.

I see this concept of England playing an All Star Team as yet another false tool of measurement for those within the British Rugby League set up.

Does It Sound Exciting?
Would you care about this game? I look at this concept and I find it very hard to feel anything beyond “meh”. At best it feels like a World Club Challenge style circle jerk, where the RFL tosses up a rubbish concept, the home team wins and everyone sprays themselves with champagne and uses terms like “Worlds Champions”.

At worst it sounds like a cheap money grab by an organization that thinks it can bullshit a small but loyal fan base. Lets over look Millennium Magic, a Challenge Cup competition who’s relevance is non existent beyond the final and a Super League competition that is less competitive than the non competition that is the English Premier League, here we have another money grab, buy your tickets, wave your flags, and keep a failing administration on the gravy train.

So What Will Work Then Genius?
There is only one way for England to get more games against quality competition the likes of which they face when they play Australia or New Zealand.

They need to play Australia and New Zealand more.

Here is the problem though…..

This idea that just playing a lot of games against top opposition is the way to improve is beyond ridiculous!

It only took New Zealand 101 years of playing regular test football against Australia to finally be able to claim a real upper hand against the Kangaroos.

Even if England doubled the amount of games they played against Australia and New Zealand (And they already play both of them a LOT!), it wouldn’t make any difference. Of the 30-40 games per year English players are playing over the course of a season, they are facing decent opposition twice a year.

If you play Chess on your computer, set to easy mode, a thousand times….will that make you a Chess master? No.

Completely Misguided
I wouldn’t expect anyone within the RFL or British Rugby League in general to really know what needs done to improve England, because the fact is, the people in charge, the administrators, the coaches, the players….none of them have experienced what a winning environment on a great scale actually is!

We are looking at the result of generations of failure building up so that now, today’s British players get their advice and coaching from coaches who were coached by failures themselves!

Nothing short of a complete, top to bottom of the game overhaul is going to make a difference to British Rugby League declining standards. This has now become a decay that will need a few generations to turn around, let alone a stupid, convoluted, over hyped, misconceived all star game!

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