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An Open Letter to Fans and Critics of the National Rugby Championship

Discussion in 'National Rugby Championship (NRC)' started by #1 Tah, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    I loved the NRC and got some connection with my Rays team by the end of the comp as mentioned earlier in the thread.

    I thought I had detailed in this thread what I didn't like about the NRC: some of the trial law changes; but I didn't. I had interwoven them in a blog I did nearly at the midpoint of the competition:


    I was one of the naysayers about changing the points system. If folks are interested, the objections are in the blog.

    Why raise promising players in a false environment of surfie rugby? There would be enough tries in an NRC competition anyway and it would encourage better game management in the real world outside of the NRC.

    Game management is one of the things that needs to be encouraged in Aussie rugby because our Super Rugby teams and national team are inadequate in the practice of it.

    I was also in favour (at the end of the blog and in the discussion area) about alternative innovations of using the clock whereby more time surrendered by taking kicks at goal could be recouped.

    These innovations, such as turning the game clock off completely after a try is awarded and not turning it back back until the restart kick off, would add a lot more to the time the ball was in play, and more than what was actually recouped in the NRC.

    I daresay there were fans of American football who objected to a similar change, back in the day, but not too many now would want to change it back.

    A second clock, a shot clock, should be used also so that kickers didn't dawdle on conversions, even though the game clock wasn't affected.

    A shot clock for penalties could be more stringent also. Kickers would find a way to quicken their procedure or else the coach would find somebody else who could.

    The dead time of scrum resets could be reclaimed also if the ball did not emerge first time.

    Maybe we can revisit this thread since the rugby season is over in this neck of the woods.

    PS - It was grand to re-read the starting post by #1 Tah and the other responses, such as Bardon's on post#6.

    Terrific stuff.
    Quick Hands likes this.
  2. Omar Comin' Chilla Wilson (44)

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    Lee Grant, from someone with the opposing view, the issue is not about game time lost to shots at penalty goal. It's that shots at penalty goal are a major interruption to the flow of the game and boring to watch.

    When the ARU asked for fan suggestions for law changes, the overwhelming response from fans (perhaps not those on this forum), was that they wanted less penalty goals. I'm all for the NRC rule changes and believe most of the feedback was positive. I hope by showing they can work in the NRC it may eventually influence changes at higher levels.

    Before that happens (or if it doesn't) I think the rule changes can benefit Australian rugby anyway by making our players better at playing the Australian way. By kicking for goal less and having a faster, more open game our players will become more skilful and better at winning games with the running style that Australian teams MUST play with at higher levels.

    The problem with stopping the game clock all these times is that it would effect broadcasting schedules as games would go significantly longer.
    USARugger likes this.
  3. FilthRugby Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    "Put your petty club allegiances aside." (Sully, 2014)

    I think that's the best way to describe the NRC's success. I was definitely guilty of a club allegiance - at the start I was annoyed at how Brothers didn't get, in my opinion, enough players in both respective Queensland teams.

    I got over this and just enjoyed the rugby!!

    A highlight was seeing the XXXX Hill packed with both neutral supporters and differing club supporters. No shit chat bagging another club's player or anything remotely like that.

    I think you've really hit the nail on the head, #1 Tah, when you explain the success of the Currie Cup and ITM Cup and how the NRC could potentially incorporate similar efforts.

    I look forward to the NRC 15, because I genuinely think its been a success. Let's hope it continues to grow. As #1 Tah said, this will occur if more rugby fans attend games and get involved.

    "And so, my fellow Rugby Lovers: ask not what the NRC can do for you - ask what you can do for your NRC!"
    Quick Hands and RugbyReg like this.
  4. Omar Comin' Chilla Wilson (44)

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    <edit>Deleting the grammar talk<\edit>

    Now back to the NRC. Surely by now the ARU will have conducted a review of the first season with key stakeholders. It would be nice to hear of plans for season 2 early in the new year, before the super rugby season begins.

    I also think the ARU should create and publicise some medium term goals for the competition. Where should it be in say 5 years time in terms of crowds, viewership, sponsorship etc.
  5. Quick Hands David Wilson (68)

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    Well said LG.

    I went back and had a look at the law changes and my take on things were that there were probably fewer shots at penalty goal because of the ethos of the competition rather than by the points reduction. Everyone knew what was expected of them and they all accepted the way that the ARU and the fans wanted the game to be played.

    I liked the change to the lineout contest and have always thought this should apply. When one sees the lattitude allowed on scrum feeds, the pedantry of the same referees on straight/crooked lineout throws boggles the mind.

    IMO the TMO needs to be kept out of the game as much as possible - the own try ruling was the product of overuse of the TMO.

    Most referees seemed to allow sensible lattitude with the positiong of "the mark" at free kicks and penalties and the couple who didn't were made to look silly.

    Overall I believe that the NRC was a significant step forward for rugby in Australia, I enjoyed my trips to Brookvale Oval to watch the team and the local media certainly provided the Rays with good coverage.

    Moving forward, I think that the ARU could look at integrating the JGC with NRC entities.
    Lee Grant and Rugbynutter39 like this.
  6. Omar Comin' Chilla Wilson (44)

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    Greg Peterson said the points change made the biggest difference in an article he wrote on the Roar a few weeks ago: http://www.theroar.com.au/2014/11/10/greg-peterson-thoughts-inaugural-season-nrc/

    I'd say the points change is the sole reason for such a huge reduction in penalty goals. When they're worth a quarter of a converted try taking them is a waste of a try scoring opportunity in most cases. Nothing to do with the players trying to do what's best for the fans. That's just a by-product of (IMO) a good rule change.
    TOCC likes this.
  7. Quick Hands David Wilson (68)

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    With respect, "the sole reason" is a bit of a simplistic analysis. Since I've played rugby, the value of tries has gone from 3 points to 4 points to 5 points and thus the value of a penalty goal has gone from 60% of a converted try to 50% and now in the standard laws to 42%.

    I don't dispute that it has displayed some role, but I suspect a minor one.

    From my observations of matches:

    Defences were quite disorganised as most teams only came together a couple of weeks before the competition started. This made ball in hand all-out attack much easier. Many tries were scored from long range where there wasn't a choice between penalty goal and go for the try.

    Most referees allowed some latitude with the mark, which meant that the non-offending team could play on quickly before the defence had time to reset.

    There was a clear expectation from the administrators that teams were expected to play exactly the type of rugby we saw. Notwithstanding the odd naysayer, most rugby people embraced the NRC and many saw it as a once in a generation chance to move the game ahead. I believe that this ethos was accepted by coaches and players as well.

    There was an overwhelming expectation by the rugby public as to the importance of the competition and what we expected from it. Even in the one- sided matches, we saw an almost complete absence of the negative tactics that we see slowing down the game in other competitions. It's more than just the change in points balance at work IMO.
    Braveheart81 and Rugbynutter39 like this.
  8. Rugbynutter39 Mark Loane (55)

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    Well I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to Leichardt oval to watch Sydney Stars games and so did the couple of mates I took to two games (reintroduced past rugby fans who are back into rugby as a result.or at least the NRC!!!)

    Will try and take more mates to games next year as others need to know what they are missing.

    If you love rugby get behind the NRC and go to a game as you won't be disappointed.
    Quick Hands likes this.
  9. Omar Comin' Chilla Wilson (44)

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    I think that's just your perception but it's not supported by the stats. There was a significant increase in actual penalties blown and yellow cards in the NRC compared with super rugby - as a result of the points change (as well as, to some extent, the extra game time that resulted from there being so few shots at goal). If there was a complete absence of negative tactics then there wouldn't have been this increase.

    IMO the points change worked exactly as I expected. Significant, but barely noticeable increase in infringements due to less reward for penalty goals - balanced by an increase in yellow cards, and ultimately an increase in positive rugby due to teams consistently going for tries. The increase in infringements didn't matter from an entertainment perspective because they didn't hold up play. Also, because teams were consistently kicking for touch, we saw a lot more rugby in the 'red zones' compared with other games. I think this is good for fans and also good for the development of players in both attack and defence as it means they're constantly playing under pressure.

  10. TOCC Guest

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    I agree with Omar, the major reason for ignoring penalty goals and going for a try had more to do with the point structure rather then the 'spirit of the competition'..

    Players are far to competitive to allow the 'spirit of the competition' get in the way of them earning a win.. Even if players did play under the spirt of the competition in the inaugural season, that won't last forever.. Rivalries will develop and players will see the benefits of playing in a winning team and earning higher selection honours; competitiveness will drive them towards winning by any 'legal' means.
  11. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    We have different opinions on a few of the law variations and the scoring changes in particular - and it is well that we do: what would we be without these divergent views, validly held, as we see the validity?

    In the blog I referred to earlier, I mentioned the likelihood of a change being adopted in professional rugby, or not.

    So there is a further issue to be considered: if a law variation (scoring included) is not adopted universally, should the NRC retain such a variation?

    Even knowing the objections chapter and verse, I think not; others will disagree.

    We have to see the variations in a professional environment, probably in the 2016 Super Rugby season. I don't think the scoring changes will be contemplated.

    If that is the case should we keep the scoring variations in the NRC, or not?
  12. Quick Hands David Wilson (68)

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    Which is also exactly what happened in the past each time the value of a try has been increased.
  13. Quick Hands David Wilson (68)

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    If one of the purposes of the NRC is to develop players for the professional game, then if these laws aren't adopted anywhere else in the rugby world, I can't see the benefit for player development or the Wallabies.

    If the sole purpose is to provide an entertaining rugby product then we could keep them going as long as it suits us.
    Lee Grant likes this.
  14. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    There is the nub of the matter: when a new thing has different purposes, one or more aims may be served well and one or more, not.

    In my view the principle purposes of the NRC for players are to develop them in an environment they will be in should they progress further, and to assess them for such progression in the same circumstances.

    The aim of having good crowd numbers is worthy but if crowd numbers are proportional to the numbers of tries scored (something I am not convinced about) it may be a purpose that is not served.

    I said elsewhere, I think in a January blog, that attendances may not be great for the NRC but so long as the people bidding for the team spots had modest budgets for gate revenues, the crowd numbers could be secondary to the main aims of the NRC.

    Good rugby will build crowds, and innovative use of the game clock, and a separate shot clock, will give them more rugby for their dollar.

    We don't need surfie rugby.
    Quick Hands likes this.
  15. TOCC Guest

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    surfie rugby?

    I will take that in jest and i will continue to stand by the argument that for the NRC to succeed in the competitive sporting market, utilising the resources available then it needs to create a point of difference.

    I think we have all listed our arguments of pro/cons(probably a few times) so i won't go into them again, and i understand your argument LG but respectfully disagree, so i think rather then reiterating the same points over and over we are just going to have to agree to disagree.
  16. Quick Hands David Wilson (68)

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    ^^^I guess that one of the problems with where Australian rugby is at the moment is that we need the NRC to fulfil a few roles and so it's never going to do them all at the optimum level.

    In the short term, I see that situation continuing so that the NRC will need to:

    Expose a pool of players, coaches, referees and administrators to a level of rugby higher than club rugby

    Provide a national competition and thus be covered by the national media

    Provide a method of expanding the game by attracting new fans and by establishing some presence in non-traditional rugby areas

    Provide existing fans with a team to support

    Give the code a valuable shot in the arm in terms of self-confidence

    As I see it, it has done a reasonably good job in doing the above. Whether it could have achieved exactly the same without changing the laws is impossible to know.
    TOCC likes this.
  17. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    Agree - I am reminded of what Talleyrand said:

    If we go on explaining we shall cease to understand one another.
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