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Declining participation and ARU plans for the future

WorkingClassRugger

David Codey (61)
Good post, and I agree with most of it bar extending NRC.
Most of the value add IMO is the better grade players combining with non test level soup players, brings the level up above Premier standard.
Without the Soup players I don't think any of the sides would be better than a fully fit Woods or Marlins side.
So unless the point is to relegate the SS comp,i don't get it.


I think relegating the Premier competition is Pfitzy ultimate point. Instead of the Premier clubs feeding into the NRC competition during its current window they would act essentially as reserve grade sides to a wider NRC. I don't mind that idea. Though I think the NRC could still be extended without impacting on the current club structures.
 

kiap

Steve Williams (59)
Without the Soup players I don't think any of the sides would be better than a fully fit Woods or Marlins side.
Just by the numbers, even with Supe squads of 23 out of the picture, you've got pro-contracted players, effectively Super Rugby A sides on the sidelines. I look at this Reds A team from 2014 that played in the Pacific Rugby Cup final, while the Reds were in South Africa. The Reds firsts were cellar dwellers but the A side was still pretty damn handy against an Argentinian mob with 15 test caps.

1. Pettowa Paraka, 2. Andrew Ready, 3. Sef Fa’agase, 4. Marco Kotze, 5. Blake Enever, 6. Curtis Browning, 7. Luke Beauchamp, 8. Tim Buchanan, 9. Nigel Genia, 10. JJ Taulagi, 11. Veresa Mataitini, 12. Sam Johnson, 13. Chris Kuridrani, 14. Nigel Ah Wong, 15. Kimami Sitauti.

I reckon for an average weekend during Super season, there'd be 50+ pro-contracted players spread across the franchises that are fit and not in the match-day. They most definitely won't be flying to Sydney to play in the Shute. Those players will stay where they're paid -- but they might play in a national comp.

... of course, a fair chunk of those players might originally be from Sydney, too. But that's a separate argument ;)

Let's say, for argument's sake, that the Woods guys are superior to these sort of Super squad A players I'm talking about above. I'm doubtful ... but everyone is entitled to their own opinion when backing their team ... So Eastwood get a close match against the Marlins. And then they rest a few players against the Emus the following week and still win by 10 tries.
 

Pfitzy

George Gregan (70)
Without the Soup players I don't think any of the sides would be better than a fully fit Woods or Marlins side.

Not to begin with, but over the longer term, why not? Increase in standards for the NRC is evident in terms of those Soup players showing up their club opponents, and then they are forced to get better.

Its difficult to maintain "better" when you're only talking about the two-month competition. Its more of a carnival that packs up at the end and everyone goes their separate ways, and maybe identifies a bit of talent.

Eventually the move must be made to have NRC start around March and run through the domestic winter. Soup squads can be slightly reduced in size at that point, because a match-fit pool of replacements should be good to go.

Club rugby doesn't get "relegated" as such, it just has another level inserted above it.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
Actually the existence of NRC is paramount to growing grassroots rugby

I have a rugby club, and it is my club, and nothing about Shute Shield is. With the possible exception of the ongoing struggle of Parramatta and Penrith. I can relate to that through my own experience as a club outside the circle of "haves". But I don't place them anywhere in my supporter hierarchy, because they don't belong there. If I played for them or coached with them, it might be different.

Rugby gets back in the spotlight, kids start thinking about it again beyond just the Wallabies, and young players get something to aim at in a national competition instead of being limited to club rugby.

I agree with what most of what you've said. I haven't copies your whole post as it's quite lengthy - only to save space, not to misrepresent you.

Probably the only thing that I you underestimate is that for some people, their local SS club is "their club" much in the same way as your subbies club is "your club".

There's a place for everyone and I have always taken the view that every level of the game should be as strong as possible for the level above.

I'm glad that you share with me the view that the NRC is at the very least part of the solution to the declining participation. NRC is a level above SS and only an incredibily short sighted person would see that.

Even though I don't agree with everything you've said, I like the idea that people are looking to make it better - that's better for everyone in the longrun.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
Not to begin with, but over the longer term, why not? Increase in standards for the NRC is evident in terms of those Soup players showing up their club opponents, and then they are forced to get better.

Its difficult to maintain "better" when you're only talking about the two-month competition. Its more of a carnival that packs up at the end and everyone goes their separate ways, and maybe identifies a bit of talent.

Eventually the move must be made to have NRC start around March and run through the domestic winter. Soup squads can be slightly reduced in size at that point, because a match-fit pool of replacements should be good to go.

Club rugby doesn't get "relegated" as such, it just has another level inserted above it.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but hasn't the time and length of the competition been deliberately chosen by the ARU to mirror ITM Cup and Currie Cup?
 

kiap

Steve Williams (59)
Anyway, that sort of NRC season extension is not happening anytime soon. It's years away, if ever.

The financials are sealed for a short season of around 3 months.
 

Pfitzy

George Gregan (70)
Yeah that's fine kiap - I'm spitballing mainly, because people are going to point out flaws with the ideas that I haven't thought of.

Like this:

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but hasn't the time and length of the competition been deliberately chosen by the ARU to mirror ITM Cup and Currie Cup?


Good point. My problem with the ITM Cup is it is shoehorned into a couple of months with a shedload more games. Some of the teams are playing 3 a week on rare occasions - and though it means you get rugby 5 days the week, its sometimes a blur.

If the NRC was to do this, you'd need more teams or extend the time frame slightly to get full home + away rounds in before finals.

When I last had Foxtel, I recorded all of the ITM CUP and deleted probably half - the ones I kept were highlighted by social media as good and/or high scoring.

I think I watched all of the Tasman Makos games though because they were awesome, and had Peter Betham carving up :)
 

Highlander35

Andrew Slack (58)
Maybe some sort of 10s carnival would be the answer to the Big Bash. We've got 8 NRC Sides. If you blocked out 3 weekends, you could have 9 prime time slots.

In Day (Week): Round, Location format
Friday (1): Round 1, West Sydney (Parramatta?)
Sunday (1): Round 2, Newcastle
Tuesday (1): Round 3, Canberra
Thursday (1): Round 4, Melbourne
Saturday (2): Round 5, Adelaide
Monday (2): Round 6, Perth
Wednesday (2): Round 7, Townsville/Gold Coast
Friday (3): Semi Finals, Ballymore
Sunday (3): Finals, SFS

Probably a 3 hour time slot for 4, 10 minute half games? 10s rather than 7s because longer games, more players and fattys.

Another silly idea floating about in my head.
 

half

Alan Cameron (40)
Do you think that the Soccer and the MLS systems are 100% of the systems that should be considered?


No far from it having said that I often look at what other sports do and it does not hurt to see what works in other codes.

As you posted the AFL, NRL & A-League all run national domestic competitions at the heart of how they run their Australia competitions. Rugby similar to cricket more run a National team program.

Back to the MLS and what they do. They have a number of divisions and are promoting new teams up.

The MLS don't go on who won but across a range of factors, there are many factors and I would be lying to say and am totally across it or for that matter have other than a overview knowledge of their we are . systems.

What they do is essentially select from an existing club that has a existing fan base and marketing smarts among quite a list. To compare this process to how the NCR was created is a long stretch. The key difference is the promoted club must be able to prove they will or should met key targets. The key being an existing club with history and a fan base.

I fully understand most think my ideas are beyond foolish to attempt to create an Australian Rugby national domestic competition and soon, have the structure in place prior to the next media deal.

We already have 5 teams, and from the existing NRC teams and 5 teams could be created, swap a couple of players and we would have quite a strong competition.

In Sydney we could have 3 teams playing out of Campbelltown, Penrith were lovely, small and cheap stadiums are available, and say Kogarah for the Tahs [maybe]

Essentially see what existing teams are prepared to step up and rate them .

Keep the Tri Nations, but be in control of our own future.

Waits for the logical revenue driven reason why this won't work. However I return to my argument we are going backwards at some point there may be a point of no return. We need to do something before then.

But I do also believe it can be sold to the media.
 

Joe King

Dave Cowper (27)
I hope I'm not off topic, but I'm interested in the talk of developing a unified set of values and culture across Australian rugby. This was mentioned a few times in the ARU's recent strategic plan. Does anyone know what it's all about, or have some more detail?

I'm particularly interested in whether there is any talk of encouraging a a certain culture and attitude to actually playing the game for all teams in Australia?

I was really encouraged by the attitude and culture of the Wallabies during the World Cup (particularly seen in the coach and captain), and I was wondering if there were plans to actually articulate something like this for all rugby teams in Australia to emulate as just standard in how we play rugby.

It's not a silver bullet, but I do think it could be helpful in getting the best out of players, and the Wallabies in particular - which would work well with some of the other focuses the ARU has, like more development officers, improved coaching, working on basic skills, high-level performance coaching for certain players, etc. The rich culture won't happen naturally. It needs to be instilled into teams and players starting at all levels of the game.

The Wallabies are often inconsistent in their performance, unlike NZ who always seem to play well (even when they lose), and I wonder if it has something to do with attitude and culture (unlike what we saw from the Wallabies during the World Cup). You also see it a bit in the Qld Rugby League team when they play NSW. It's just different.

For example, some really helpful values might include:

1. Humility in victory and humility in defeat.
I really loved Moore's speech after the world cup. He made no excuses. This shows they did their best. And even though they lost, we still loved them. We wanted to get behind them. To feel the weight of the pain of the loss, rather than just assume you could have won if you did this or that, creates a certain hunger to win next time. Humility in victory and defeat is really helpful. When you win, you don't rest or stop trying to improve. When you lose, you become really teachable and improve as a result.

2. Always respect the opposition.
How many times have the Wallabies played badly against a leaser opponent they were expected to beat? How many times have the Wallabies stopped playing well when they got ahead on the scoreboard? It's almost like a subconscious lazy streak. But it's actually disrespectful to ease up on an opponent! Respecting the opposition means always expecting your opponent to play as well as they can, and even better than last time you played them. This way, you're never fooled into taking them lightly. Having this mindset would I think, help with the Wallabies preparation in the lead up to every game. The most respectful way to treat an opponent is not just to do the minimum necessary to get a win, but actually attempt to crush them by as much as you can. Slowing down when you're ahead is a sign of disrespect.

3. The goal is not to win, but to dominate your opponent.
If the goal is to win, we get away with doing the minimum necessary. But what we really want is to dominate every facet of the game: breakdown, amount of tries, tackles made, offloads, metres gained, basic skills etc. This is what rugby is all about - every skill, tackle, run, scrum counts. The goal is to dominate.

I'd be open to feedback on what people think of these or if they have any others they would really love to see as part of the culture of Australian rugby.
 

papabear

Watty Friend (18)
I hope I'm not off topic, but I'm interested in the talk of developing a unified set of values and culture across Australian rugby. This was mentioned a few times in the ARU's recent strategic plan. Does anyone know what it's all about, or have some more detail?

I'm particularly interested in whether there is any talk of encouraging a a certain culture and attitude to actually playing the game for all teams in Australia?

I was really encouraged by the attitude and culture of the Wallabies during the World Cup (particularly seen in the coach and captain), and I was wondering if there were plans to actually articulate something like this for all rugby teams in Australia to emulate as just standard in how we play rugby.

It's not a silver bullet, but I do think it could be helpful in getting the best out of players, and the Wallabies in particular - which would work well with some of the other focuses the ARU has, like more development officers, improved coaching, working on basic skills, high-level performance coaching for certain players, etc. The rich culture won't happen naturally. It needs to be instilled into teams and players starting at all levels of the game.

The Wallabies are often inconsistent in their performance, unlike NZ who always seem to play well (even when they lose), and I wonder if it has something to do with attitude and culture (unlike what we saw from the Wallabies during the World Cup). You also see it a bit in the Qld Rugby League team when they play NSW. It's just different.

For example, some really helpful values might include:

1. Humility in victory and humility in defeat.
I really loved Moore's speech after the world cup. He made no excuses. This shows they did their best. And even though they lost, we still loved them. We wanted to get behind them. To feel the weight of the pain of the loss, rather than just assume you could have won if you did this or that, creates a certain hunger to win next time. Humility in victory and defeat is really helpful. When you win, you don't rest or stop trying to improve. When you lose, you become really teachable and improve as a result.

2. Always respect the opposition.
How many times have the Wallabies played badly against a leaser opponent they were expected to beat? How many times have the Wallabies stopped playing well when they got ahead on the scoreboard? It's almost like a subconscious lazy streak. But it's actually disrespectful to ease up on an opponent! Respecting the opposition means always expecting your opponent to play as well as they can, and even better than last time you played them. This way, you're never fooled into taking them lightly. Having this mindset would I think, help with the Wallabies preparation in the lead up to every game. The most respectful way to treat an opponent is not just to do the minimum necessary to get a win, but actually attempt to crush them by as much as you can. Slowing down when you're ahead is a sign of disrespect.

3. The goal is not to win, but to dominate your opponent.
If the goal is to win, we get away with doing the minimum necessary. But what we really want is to dominate every facet of the game: breakdown, amount of tries, tackles made, offloads, metres gained, basic skills etc. This is what rugby is all about - every skill, tackle, run, scrum counts. The goal is to dominate.

I'd be open to feedback on what people think of these or if they have any others they would really love to see as part of the culture of Australian rugby.

The goal is always to win.
 

wamberal

Phil Kearns (64)
I remember one occasion in school rugby when our coach told us we could probably win a particular game, so we should play for a nil all draw.


Bizarre.


Every team must go out wanting to win, ans believing they can. Otherwise, why bother playing? Forfeit the game and work on improving your skills and conditioning.
 

Gnostic

Mark Ella (57)
The goal is always to win.



I think I grasp the message, the intent is to win and we do that by achieving our goals such as the message quoted.

In business I intend to make money. My daily goals are more project focussed and making sure that each component of the project meets specs and is executed efficiently. Meet my daily goals and my intended outcome will be reached.
 

wamberal

Phil Kearns (64)
Okay, process is important. But attitude is more important on the sporting field.


If you are running a business, or just working in one, you are figuratively or actually at your workplace 50, 60, 70 or whatever hours a week. There are few if any events in your working week that have any equivalence with the rugby match day.


If you are a professional rugby player, process is important during the equivalent 40 or more hours of preparation.


But when you take the field, attitude and the will to win comes into play in a way and to an extent that it just doesn't in all but the rarest moments in business or other workday life. In the heat of battle "process" just means executing well - but attitude will trump process. We have all seen it happen.
 

Brendan Hume

Charlie Fox (21)
I think it's interesting reading through the comments on this thread. From my perspective, aping other countries, sports or competitions isn't a solution to the 'declining participation'. The horse has bolted here and there's little that can be done to reign it in.

How we can affect change in participation is having great competitions for players to play in at all levels, having a great culture as well as administrators and coaches that espouse that culture and impart it to the players in all competitions, having excellent referees, having a game that is fun and engaging to play, and having pathways to achieving your best. These few things need to be the focus of the ARU's plan moving forward - to some extent they've outlined some of the problems in their strategic plan. I think they're still a ways away from the answer but identifying the problem is always the first part of rectifying it.

Rather than going on for pages about how we should fix Rugby by being more like Rugby League (or AFL / A-League / MLS / UEFA Champions League / IPL Cricket / European Championship Rugby...), let's do what we can in our own backyards to fix the problems with engaging players (particularly young players) by addressing the issues that exist at the grassroots.
 
T

TOCC

Guest
I've lived in Sydney 6 years now, and I've only twice been to a Shute Shield match, I'm a rugby tragic and watch most games but i have zero attachment to the Shute Shield.

You have to ask why, i tried getting into it and went along and watched a couple of games but the clubs are so insular that it makes it difficult for anyone from outside of the club to take a vested interest. They don't market themselves as teams representing the community, they are teams representing the people within that club. Which has created a loyal and passionated fan based but its limited to current, former and families of players.
 

wamberal

Phil Kearns (64)
I've lived in Sydney 6 years now, and I've only twice been to a Shute Shield match, I'm a rugby tragic and watch most games but i have zero attachment to the Shute Shield.

You have to ask why, i tried getting into it and went along and watched a couple of games but the clubs are so insular that it makes it difficult for anyone from outside of the club to take a vested interest. They don't market themselves as teams representing the community, they are teams representing the people within that club. Which has created a loyal and passionated fan based but its limited to current, former and families of players.

I would guess that every club would welcome a new volunteer who is willing to make a contribution.


Eastwood certainiy would! It might take a while to get to know people, but give it a go somewhere.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
I've lived in Sydney 6 years now, and I've only twice been to a Shute Shield match, I'm a rugby tragic and watch most games but i have zero attachment to the Shute Shield.

You have to ask why, i tried getting into it and went along and watched a couple of games but the clubs are so insular that it makes it difficult for anyone from outside of the club to take a vested interest. They don't market themselves as teams representing the community, they are teams representing the people within that club. Which has created a loyal and passionated fan based but its limited to current, former and families of players.

I'd be interested what club it was.

From personal experience, I've never felt unwelcome in a rugby club anywhere in the world - even when I couldn't speak the language.

Some clubs certainly market themselves as representing the community - Manly have the biggest crowds in SS, up to 6 or 7 thousand for the Warringah game. Warringah do a similar thing. Most days there's a story of some sort about one or either in the local paper - most rugby stories, but also community involvement such as charity work or raising money or equipment for clubs in less privileged countries.
 

Joe King

Dave Cowper (27)
The goal is always to win.

Sorry for any confusion. My point wasn't to aim for less than winning, but to actually strive for more than just winning by a little bit - so that we not only win, but completely dominate. I think if the goal is to just win, we are tempted to get lazy if we're ahead on the scoreboard.
 

wamberal

Phil Kearns (64)
Sorry for any confusion. My point wasn't to aim for less than winning, but to actually strive for more than just winning by a little bit - so that we not only win, but completely dominate. I think if the goal is to just win, we are tempted to get lazy if we're ahead on the scoreboard.

I have never played rugby at the elite level. But I reckon any kind of win against a New Zealand team is worth celebrating, at any level of the game from under-20s to Tests. Domination? Just falling over the line will do me every time.
 
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