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Australian Rugby / RA

qwerty51

Stirling Mortlock (74)
I know this was amateur era, but Easts and Randwick are having a 30 year reunion of this game tomorrow - imagine if our clubs could run out players of this ilk every now and then.
They used to not even that long ago. Check out the grand final team lists for some Uni v Randwick or Eastwood matches from 2008-2013
 

Brumby Runner

David Wilson (68)
Which is why a hybrid club/rep model would be better. Allow for X number of clubs to qualify from each of the Sydney and Brisbane comps. Based on the number of clubs in each say 3 from the Shute and 2 from the Hospitals. Plus the winner from the John Dent Cup. Then alongside these clubs a comp based rep squad. The professionals not called up for national duty if they are aligned to one of the qualifying clubs would naturally play for them while the rest plus the best from clubland would play for the rep side. Both Perth and Melbourne would also enter a rep squad as well.

Or there's one of two other options. First, you let them bid based on set criteria. This would make some clubs have to be realistic and could see some movement toward working together to enter a bid. Second, bring back the NRC. But this time assuming we get private equity on board we take some of that money and spend it on things like promotion and marketing. Also, contract non-Super Rugby contracted players (guys from clubs) for a set period. Club loyalties are great but if a player with professional aspirations has the opportunity to play at a higher level and be paid then I'd bet many would take the opportunity.
I like the idea where teams are asked to bid to participate. If tied to some form of contracting for players, then it wouldn't matter a jot if the Shute Shield teams took their bat and went home. The players who want to progress from SS will move to teams in the comp and get paid. It would also free up the timing constraints a bit as well. If this comp overlapped SS or Hospital Cup comps, who cares if those comps lose their best players to the new semi-professional comp? I, for one, wouldn't have a care in the world about those clubs but would really be behind the new 3rd tier improving the professional ranks here for Super Rugby and Wallabies. If it hurts any of the Sydney or Brisbane clubs then they could bid to be included in future versions.
 

Wilson

Simon Poidevin (60)
I like the idea where teams are asked to bid to participate. If tied to some form of contracting for players, then it wouldn't matter a jot if the Shute Shield teams took their bat and went home. The players who want to progress from SS will move to teams in the comp and get paid. It would also free up the timing constraints a bit as well. If this comp overlapped SS or Hospital Cup comps, who cares if those comps lose their best players to the new semi-professional comp?
A fair portion of the decision makers, based on the history of 3rd tier competitions in Australia.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
I like the idea where teams are asked to bid to participate. If tied to some form of contracting for players, then it wouldn't matter a jot if the Shute Shield teams took their bat and went home. The players who want to progress from SS will move to teams in the comp and get paid. It would also free up the timing constraints a bit as well. If this comp overlapped SS or Hospital Cup comps, who cares if those comps lose their best players to the new semi-professional comp? I, for one, wouldn't have a care in the world about those clubs but would really be behind the new 3rd tier improving the professional ranks here for Super Rugby and Wallabies. If it hurts any of the Sydney or Brisbane clubs then they could bid to be included in future versions.

It's how it's done in Major League Rugby in the States. A locations ability to have a team is solely dependent on their ability to meet criteria particularly a participation fee and operations of in MLR's case of around $3-5m for a minimum of 5 seasons.

I'd set things like must be able to provide a salary cap of $1m a season for a squad of 25-30 players. Facilities for broadcast etc. This would make a lot of clubs have to be honest about their ability to meet these criteria and where they sit in the pyramid.
 

dru

Tim Horan (67)
I like the idea where teams are asked to bid to participate. If tied to some form of contracting for players, then it wouldn't matter a jot if the Shute Shield teams took their bat and went home. The players who want to progress from SS will move to teams in the comp and get paid. It would also free up the timing constraints a bit as well. If this comp overlapped SS or Hospital Cup comps, who cares if those comps lose their best players to the new semi-professional comp? I, for one, wouldn't have a care in the world about those clubs but would really be behind the new 3rd tier improving the professional ranks here for Super Rugby and Wallabies. If it hurts any of the Sydney or Brisbane clubs then they could bid to be included in future versions.

I'd be tempted to agree with the minor exception that it didn't work. For NRC the Qld clubs did not have the ability to pull it together so entry was via the Reds pulling together two teams. In the SRU several of the main clubs effectively placed a joint curse and ban.

If it is going to work it needs not just the blessing but the active support of those clubs.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
No successful solution to mess that is Australian rugby at the moment involves Super Rugby in any way, shape or form. It's time was up a decade ago, but it's dwindling adherents cling to it like a drowning man in the middle of the Pacific. The Wallabies are simply a reflection of what is going on below, just as the Wallabies of 2000 were and the Wallabies of the 1980s and 90s were.

The only solution is the professional club-based model used in England and France (and in most Australian sporting codes).

The obstacles to this are the aforementioned Super Rugby devotees and the ongoing desire to limit the influence of clubs in the game, instead relying on "academies" and "pathways" to produce talent. Related to this is the desire to have private school rugby as the flagship of junior development rather that clubs. Weaker amateur clubs have significantly less resources to develop talent and grow their junior base than professional clubs would. Nine NRL clubs in Sydney and three NRL clubs in SE Queensland all running professionally-based junior programs - each with the incentive that the more good junior players that they develop, the greater the chance that their club will have long-term success. There is no more powerful motivation than self-interest.

And of course the organisations with the best administration across the sporting world are consistently at the top of whatever sporting competition in which they participate. Australian rugby draws its staff and office-bearers from a narrow sub-strata of modern Australian society, so notwithstanding the talents or merits of any individuals, it's hardly surprising that they lack the practical knowledge about how professional sport works and how best to interact with the community game to achieve optimum results. This is particularly necessary in the Australian setting given that there are 4 professional football codes here, and at least 3 of them competing for the same talented athletes.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
No successful solution to mess that is Australian rugby at the moment involves Super Rugby in any way, shape or form. It's time was up a decade ago, but it's dwindling adherents cling to it like a drowning man in the middle of the Pacific. The Wallabies are simply a reflection of what is going on below, just as the Wallabies of 2000 were and the Wallabies of the 1980s and 90s were.

The only solution is the professional club-based model used in England and France (and in most Australian sporting codes).

The obstacles to this are the aforementioned Super Rugby devotees and the ongoing desire to limit the influence of clubs in the game, instead relying on "academies" and "pathways" to produce talent. Related to this is the desire to have private school rugby as the flagship of junior development rather that clubs. Weaker amateur clubs have significantly less resources to develop talent and grow their junior base than professional clubs would. Nine NRL clubs in Sydney and three NRL clubs in SE Queensland all running professionally-based junior programs - each with the incentive that the more good junior players that they develop, the greater the chance that their club will have long-term success. There is no more powerful motivation than self-interest.

And of course the organisations with the best administration across the sporting world are consistently at the top of whatever sporting competition in which they participate. Australian rugby draws its staff and office-bearers from a narrow sub-strata of modern Australian society, so notwithstanding the talents or merits of any individuals, it's hardly surprising that they lack the practical knowledge about how professional sport works and how best to interact with the community game to achieve optimum results. This is particularly necessary in the Australian setting given that there are 4 professional football codes here, and at least 3 of them competing for the same talented athletes.

I found myself irrationally angry during last nights game. The systems in this country are probably irrevocably broken under our current leadership which has been the case for more than two decades and very unlikely to change in the long term. While I don't necessarily agree that schools based Rugby is solely the problem as having been educated at St Greg's Campbelltown in terms of NSW many NRL clubs use the Metro Catholic Schools comp as a proxy development league themselves. It's narrow application as a pathway and warehousing of talent certainly hinders development. Particularly in terms of game time. Growing up I played League and Rugby up until I was 16. Then I focused solely on Rugby. I played both school, club (Colts from 16 and up) and age based reps and averaged around 30-35 games a year. While most of my peers at the school level play 12-13.

Schools could be part of the solution but not our current system. In fact they are part of the solution just not our current schools alone. In the States they employ a schools based club system for youth Rugby where one school operates as a club for up to 2 or 3 in the area. Which makes sense for a niche sport. Rugby here has the advantage of still being well known and having a similar competitor with somewhat transferable skills. We could look to employ something similar in mixed school/club model beyond the traditional competitions. But see as this would take hard work and planning its unlikely.

The Wessels twitter thread posted here is bang on. We need more opportunity and more games. SRP (Super Rugby Pacific) could provide that but not under it's current structure and thinking. It needs to run a double round robin schedule and add at least two more teams. These could be joint ventures between RA and the NZRU targeting overseas pros but based here. One based in Nth Sydney and the other Nth Queensland. A club based system seems great but we've probably long since passed the point where that could have been the option. I cannot think of a marketable club that could manage it on their own. Not without a ton of investment from an outside source. At least not at the required level of professionalism.
 

KOB1987

Rod McCall (65)
What about a merged model? This is just some preliminary thoughts but why wouldn't this work. Using NSW as an example:

Say there are 35 contracted senior players per franchise. There are 12 Shute Shield clubs so each club gets 3 contracted Tahs players (one only gets 2) via a tender process or something. The 5 super franchises play each other twice i.e. 8 games spread over the club season just like the old representative fixtures, and then there is just a 1 v 2 final at the end of it, probably the week after the SS Grand final. So, when there isn't a Super fixture, and during the Test windows, all players are playing for the club, but they still train with the Tahs say on a Wednesday and Sunday. The Tahs don't have to select from the contracted players, if a club player is absolutely killing it the Tahs are free to select him via a semi-pro system. The U20s (Gen Blue) have a similar system going on. Replicate with the other franchises based on the number of clubs in the premier comp e.g. 8 in the ACT.

Then, the Shute Shield clubs become the primary pathway for the juniors as well - in many respects they already are e.g. Norths select their team for the junior state champs from the clubs in their zone. But this system needs refining and professionalising.
 

dru

Tim Horan (67)
What about a merged model? This is just some preliminary thoughts but why wouldn't this work. Using NSW as an example:

Say there are 35 contracted senior players per franchise. There are 12 Shute Shield clubs so each club gets 3 contracted Tahs players (one only gets 2) via a tender process or something. The 5 super franchises play each other twice i.e. 8 games spread over the club season just like the old representative fixtures, and then there is just a 1 v 2 final at the end of it, probably the week after the SS Grand final. So, when there isn't a Super fixture, and during the Test windows, all players are playing for the club, but they still train with the Tahs say on a Wednesday and Sunday. The Tahs don't have to select from the contracted players, if a club player is absolutely killing it the Tahs are free to select him via a semi-pro system. The U20s (Gen Blue) have a similar system going on. Replicate with the other franchises based on the number of clubs in the premier comp e.g. 8 in the ACT.

Then, the Shute Shield clubs become the primary pathway for the juniors as well - in many respects they already are e.g. Norths select their team for the junior state champs from the clubs in their zone. But this system needs refining and professionalising.

I thought that the starting issue was a number of the key SRU clubs who think they should have been, should be, the mainstay of professionalism. I never thought that the relationship between SRU and NSWRU was any stronger than it's relationship with RA.
 

Highlander35

Andrew Slack (58)
People trying to reinvent the wheel are off the mark.

What's currently happening isn't working, and "generally" the problem is accepted as being the lack of ability to put rugby minutes in legs, both for "non-selected" and/or returning from injury senior players in the lead up to international fixtures, and for the player base more broadly.

There are four options that would "work" (from a logistic and commercial POV):

Leave Super Rugby Pacific as is, and do "something" to bring the standards of the Sydney & Brisbane club comps to an acceptable level (see here an RA perspective, not necessarily my own)

Leave Super Rugby Pacific as is, but have Provinces sans the 26-35 players required to be held over for match day/tours play each other over the July-October period

Remove Australian Rugby from Super Rugby Pacific and leverage the Provincial IPs into a new ~8 team professional "domestic" competition, ideally including the Drua, but not necessarily.

Remove Australian Rugby from Super Rugby Pacific and buy into the club narrative: have about a dozen clubs (maybe including the Brumbies/Rebels/Force IPs, maybe not) formally separate their High Performance arms from their community arms and create a singular competition that will make up the highest level of non-representative rugby.
 

dru

Tim Horan (67)
People trying to reinvent the wheel are off the mark.

What's currently happening isn't working, and "generally" the problem is accepted as being the lack of ability to put rugby minutes in legs, both for "non-selected" and/or returning from injury senior players in the lead up to international fixtures, and for the player base more broadly.

There are four options that would "work" (from a logistic and commercial POV):

Leave Super Rugby Pacific as is, and do "something" to bring the standards of the Sydney & Brisbane club comps to an acceptable level (see here an Rugby Australia perspective, not necessarily my own)

Leave Super Rugby Pacific as is, but have Provinces sans the 26-35 players required to be held over for match day/tours play each other over the July-October period

Remove Australian Rugby from Super Rugby Pacific and leverage the Provincial IPs into a new ~8 team professional "domestic" competition, ideally including the Drua, but not necessarily.

Remove Australian Rugby from Super Rugby Pacific and buy into the club narrative: have about a dozen clubs (maybe including the Brumbies/Rebels/Force IPs, maybe not) formally separate their High Performance arms from their community arms and create a singular competition that will make up the highest level of non-representative rugby.

My drive would be to a domestic pro/semipro comp pulling the best of the clubs forward to drive the game. Distribute the current pro players throughout. Then follow with a rep teams scenario with 2 or 3 teams and look to TT or similar. I'd see the Wallaby coaching team picking up HC roles in those teams.

My choice when the Kiwis aren't interested, and they won't be, is to stick with the domestic driver and let the rep comp also be domestic. Pick up perhaps Pacifica teams. Or if in time there is connection with Japan (and NZ) with a champions style comp the rep teams work there.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
What about a merged model? This is just some preliminary thoughts but why wouldn't this work. Using NSW as an example:

Say there are 35 contracted senior players per franchise. There are 12 Shute Shield clubs so each club gets 3 contracted Tahs players (one only gets 2) via a tender process or something. The 5 super franchises play each other twice i.e. 8 games spread over the club season just like the old representative fixtures, and then there is just a 1 v 2 final at the end of it, probably the week after the SS Grand final. So, when there isn't a Super fixture, and during the Test windows, all players are playing for the club, but they still train with the Tahs say on a Wednesday and Sunday. The Tahs don't have to select from the contracted players, if a club player is absolutely killing it the Tahs are free to select him via a semi-pro system. The U20s (Gen Blue) have a similar system going on. Replicate with the other franchises based on the number of clubs in the premier comp e.g. 8 in the ACT.

Then, the Shute Shield clubs become the primary pathway for the juniors as well - in many respects they already are e.g. Norths select their team for the junior state champs from the clubs in their zone. But this system needs refining and professionalising.

How would it be any more marketable than what we've got now? You're spreading talent over more clubs across more competitions. Contrary to the fairy tales many like to spread the club game hasn't grown in the time I've both watched and been apart of. And I've been watching it for 25 plus years. Instead of 150 professionals across 5 teams we'll have that number across 28 or so if you only implement this across Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

We need more teams and we need more games. If not via SRP (Super Rugby Pacific) then a hybrid model might be a better option. I've suggested this several times on this forum in relation to the NRC but a hybrid model could be a pathway forward.

Give the existing Unions a license for 5 teams and then open the bidding to the clubs to looking for inclusion in a national competition with financial criteria etc that have to be met. With the goal being a minimum of 10 teams competition with a maximum of 12. Part of this would require a centralised contracting system where players sign with a club but are paid by the overseeing organisation. So that the clubs aren't burdened with having to find the money to pay players.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
People trying to reinvent the wheel are off the mark.

What's currently happening isn't working, and "generally" the problem is accepted as being the lack of ability to put rugby minutes in legs, both for "non-selected" and/or returning from injury senior players in the lead up to international fixtures, and for the player base more broadly.

There are four options that would "work" (from a logistic and commercial POV):

Leave Super Rugby Pacific as is, and do "something" to bring the standards of the Sydney & Brisbane club comps to an acceptable level (see here an Rugby Australia perspective, not necessarily my own)

Leave Super Rugby Pacific as is, but have Provinces sans the 26-35 players required to be held over for match day/tours play each other over the July-October period

Remove Australian Rugby from Super Rugby Pacific and leverage the Provincial IPs into a new ~8 team professional "domestic" competition, ideally including the Drua, but not necessarily.

Remove Australian Rugby from Super Rugby Pacific and buy into the club narrative: have about a dozen clubs (maybe including the Brumbies/Rebels/Force IPs, maybe not) formally separate their High Performance arms from their community arms and create a singular competition that will make up the highest level of non-representative rugby.

These are probably the two best in my opinion. The last one is pretty similar to the hybrid model I've suggested for the NRC. Though where I suggest having a Sydney and Brisbane based rep squad join qualifying club sides you'd keep the Tahs and Reds IP alongside the Rebels, Brumbies and Force. A centralized contracting model. With clubs signing players but the central organizer holding the contract and paying players ensuring fair distribution of talent. But entry out to bid with criteria based around operational finances and development etc.

The first one would probably be the easier one to achieve. Though still with a centralised model. Could split Sydney into two along the old North/South Harbour set up of old. But this time North Sydney and Sydney. Similar for Brisbane whichever split makes more sense there. Look to involve the Drua if possible but find an 8th team if necessary.
 

KOB1987

Rod McCall (65)
How would it be any more marketable than what we've got now? You're spreading talent over more clubs across more competitions. Contrary to the fairy tales many like to spread the club game hasn't grown in the time I've both watched and been apart of. And I've been watching it for 25 plus years. Instead of 150 professionals across 5 teams we'll have that number across 28 or so if you only implement this across Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

We need more teams and we need more games. If not via SRP (Super Rugby Pacific) (Super Rugby Pacific) then a hybrid model might be a better option. I've suggested this several times on this forum in relation to the NRC but a hybrid model could be a pathway forward.

Give the existing Unions a license for 5 teams and then open the bidding to the clubs to looking for inclusion in a national competition with financial criteria etc that have to be met. With the goal being a minimum of 10 teams competition with a maximum of 12. Part of this would require a centralised contracting system where players sign with a club but are paid by the overseeing organisation. So that the clubs aren't burdened with having to find the money to pay players.
I know what you’re saying, it doesn’t hurt to throw ideas out there. The idea of this one is to get the higher profile players back into the club system and create a bit of mystique around the selection of the teams for the Super rounds, which would become quasi representative teams. And having the development pathways through the clubs rather than only the governing body creates more of them, and it means more kids can aspire for representative honors, rather than just the 30-40 in each age group currently who mostly happen to have well connected dads.

There are several iterations of variations to the current setup that have popped up over the years (mostly in the now defunct ‘where to’ thread), none of them are necessarily wrong but almost all of them are unworkable, including this one. But at least people are thinking about it.
 

Brumby Runner

David Wilson (68)
I'd be tempted to agree with the minor exception that it didn't work. For NRC the Qld clubs did not have the ability to pull it together so entry was via the Reds pulling together two teams. In the SRU several of the main clubs effectively placed a joint curse and ban.

If it is going to work it needs not just the blessing but the active support of those clubs.
I don't see that as necessary dru, but desirable. If the players are paid they'll come for the money or stay for the club glory. Their choice.
 
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sunnyboys

Syd Malcolm (24)
Why is it only in rugby that we hear about wanting full professional players to go play in an amateur comp? ‍♂

you don’t see anyone expecting NRL or AFL players to be back home playing in some amateur comp.

this idea that it will somehow “help the game” is a myth I’m sorry. It’s a redundant notion that’s is full of romanticism for the old ways.

what fully professional rugby players need is more games against other fully pro rugby players.
 

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
I know what you’re saying, it doesn’t hurt to throw ideas out there. The idea of this one is to get the higher profile players back into the club system and create a bit of mystique around the selection of the teams for the Super rounds, which would become quasi representative teams. And having the development pathways through the clubs rather than only the governing body creates more of them, and it means more kids can aspire for representative honors, rather than just the 30-40 in each age group currently who mostly happen to have well connected dads.

There are several iterations of variations to the current setup that have popped up over the years (mostly in the now defunct ‘where to’ thread), none of them are necessarily wrong but almost all of them are unworkable, including this one. But at least people are thinking about it.

Nothing wrong with throwing up ideas. Totally agree with that. It's just anyway forward needs to strike a better balance. Which leaning too far one way is probably as bad a leaning too far the other.

I agree clubs should be part of the development pathways. It's how it's done in a number of sports. And how it has traditionally worked in Rugby. I played reps for both Illawarra and Randwick coming up having been selected from feeder clubs. So it does exist. But it does need professionalizing and importantly it needs work in developing depth. In my time the Illawarra comp would regularly have 6-8 teams competing in most age grades despite their being about 12 clubs. But that was positively robust when compared to Randwick where they had 2-3.

But as a primary vessel for performance at the professional level it doesn't fit the bill.
 
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