GAGR Podcast 201- 5 Burning Questions - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

GAGR Podcast 201- 5 Burning Questions

GAGR Podcast 201- 5 Burning Questions

On this episode of the GAGR Podcast we give a new format a go where the Hosts answer 5 burning questions from the last week. This week we ask;

Should the Western Force move to Western Sydney?

Can the Reds Turn it Around?

Will it Take Boardroom Dramas to take down the Brumbies?

Are the Thunderbolts the Real Deal?

Is the Shute v ARU Saga coming to an end?

  • Moose

    Re ARU funding for G&GR, I’ve heard whispers that Pulver has $300K earmarked for research, design and most importantly field testing of a new G&GR stubby holder, now that McCaw has retired. If it comes through, I’d like to volunteer to be involved in the field testing, I have extensive experience.

  • cay_t

    Re Burning Question #1… on what basis is the Force’s participation being assessed? That wasn’t clear to me, beyond the noise made by the Shute Shield stakeholders, even if one of them used to be the Force CEO.

    If it is financial, it was mentioned that all Oz Super teams struggle, but didn’t mention that the ARU took over the NSWRU a few years back… so the purchase of the IP, whilst certainly a form of a bail out, is not without precedent and should not be the reason for canning the side.

    If it is performance on the field, agree it has not been great, but they are certainly competitive, and despite last years results they are not the worst team in the competition. Is that the Club, Players or Coach? Again, not black and white and certainly not a reason to can them.

    As Hugh mentioned, crowd numbers are better than the Brumbies more often than not, and the atmosphere is great there. I have been a member since the start, and even living overseas I maintain my tickets for family and friends and they are in high demand each week…

    As for the comment that if the NRL cannot do it, the ARU certainly cannot… first of all I hate that kind of “logic” as it is immediately defeatist, and ignores the situation at the time. There were a lot of off field events that lead to the downfall of those NRL franchises. Not performance.

    I would also suggest that getting a foothold in WA without the NRL to compete against is a good move. Perhaps learn from the AFL – they were prepared to invest for the long term in Sydney and Queensland.

    As I think the NRC demonstrated (when local players were fielded), there is an excellent local competition in Perth, and the Force have made it significantly stronger. New WA talent has been identified and nurtured, and whilst nowhere near the levels of Queensland, NSW and ACT it is on its way.

    So as I think Hugh also pointed out, there is a lot more to rugby than the Shute Shield, and whilst they certainly have some legitimate bones to pick and should be supported in some manner, destroying the expansion of the game is short sighted, and counterproductive.

    Anyway, thats my 2 cents.

    • Great comment. With none of the Super teams cutting it financially, you do start to wonder what the Super comp is for.

      If that purpose was performance though, it’s not pretty reading for the Force (see pic) and I don’t think you can just browse over that and say ‘it’s all fine’.

      • Pedro

        Yeah, having grown up in WA I really feel that the only thing stopping the Force becoming financially viable is on field success. WA have always had dominant sporting teams and a good culture of supporting them. If the Force could just get a bit of the former i feel that they would cash in on the latter.

      • cay_t

        Matt – that table is ugly, no doubt, but I think financial and on-field performance are symbiotic. Financial success at each Super franchise is not the main goal – at least in the Australian structure.

        Whilst undoubtedly desirable, I would suggest developing players for the Wallabies is the primary goal of the ARU; and on field success for the professional team the priority for the Super franchise itself. Given the ARU get the TV rights earnings for Super Rugby and Wallabies… whatever “ARU profit” should be enough to cover the losses of the Super teams and support the feeder pathways into those programs. So the financial “success” or failure needs to be viewed as a whole.

        Now financial success makes on field winning a lot easier, likewise financial success is a lot easier with onfield success… given sponsors are the main source of income. I agree with Pedro’s point.

        However you can’t argue with results, ours are poor – but is that because of the coaching, players selected, something WA specific, or is it that Aussie rugby cannot support 5 teams?

        If it is the latter, then following the logic it should not matter where that team is located… so the question is moot. My view is that we need to persist with 5 to create more professional opportunities, greater competition for the Wallabies and ultimately better teams at both levels.

        If it is WA specific, then I’d like to understand what that could be… as I agree with Pedro that WA has a good history of successful sporting teams – AFL, Basketball, even Soccer.

        It is is coaching and players… that is solvable too!

        • So on those two measures other than financial solvency:

          1 – Performance. Is abysmal, no questions. NSW might have taken for ever to win a GF, but they troubled the finals spots a few times along the way. They certainly managed above bottom half of table.

          The biggest problems for the Force is attracting the top Aussie talent, which comes from three time zones away. You talk to anyone in admin over there and they’ll tell you that’s the #1 problem since the Firepower $$ disappeared. Isn’t going to change, ever.

          Without the talent, you get the performance and no one wants to join an endemically poorly performing team. Vicious circle.

          2 – Talent development. “Fish where the fish are” is the old saying and there are oodles of them in Western Sydney, all wanting to play some version of rugby – whichever one can give them a career. More than half the rugby players in Australia come from NSW, why do we think one Super team can address that? (especially when it is based as far from Western Sydney as you can get).

          Developing rugby in WA is very worthy and worthwhile, but it’s swimming upstream vs Western Sydney.

          Look, overall I’m not straight out saying we should axe the Force – that’s disrespectful to the Fans and the good people involved with the franchise – but the logic above is hard to refute

  • Sam MacGillivray

    Re the Mens 7s I agree they are improving but are no where near as likely to take home a gold in Rio as the women are.

    • Pedro

      I think most people would agree with you, the men though have gone from outside chance for a medal to a good chance in the last four months. The women are dynamite though, no doubt.

      • Graeme

        The women are our best prospects for gold, but I agree the men have a pretty good chance of standing on the podium, especially if their current form continues.

  • Nipper

    This whole conversation about Western Sydney seems to be a quick-fix idea for papering over the failings of the ARU and NSW union.

    And it seems like the Force are always trotted out as the hapless example of the problems with expansion. But that’s just a lazy thinking.

    Have the Force under-performed? In terms of W/L and table position, sure. But what was the reason given for awarding them the franchise in the first place? To expand and grow the game, right?

    So, let’s look at that as the metric to judge them by:

    * More and more homegrown WA players coming through, several with Wallaby potential. DHP and Kyle Godwin now, Luke Burton, Kieran Longbottom, and more.

    * Attendance has always been strong, better or equal to the Bumbies and Rebels, and below the Reds and Tahs. I haven’t had a chance to do the research, but I would wager that if you looked at the ratio of Force attendance to population (or even playing population), they would blow away the other Aussie sides.

    * Financially, they are not in a great spot, but point out to me which of the other Aussie sides is? We know of the Brumbies troubles, the Reds dismal record with anything related to management, the NSW woes, and the reliance on private funding (at a loss) for the Rebels. So, how is the Force different?

    They definitely need to improve their performances to retain the die-hards in the Sea of Blue, but they have also won more than they’ve lost against the Reds and Tahs since 2013. So they’re not totally inept.

    But remember what the reason and purpose was – to grow the game. So, strong attendance, more locally grown players getting opportunities and excelling… seems like they’re going alright to me.

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