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Declining participation and ARU plans for the future

kiap

Steve Williams (59)
The other level which is somewhere between club and pro and will require a chunk of money is age group and non-professional representative and development teams.
Yup.

With the greatest respect, you seem to be having an argument with no one.

Every level of the game needs to be self-sufficient in terms of day to day running costs - I was really clear about that qualification. Club and junior rugby are.

It's a nonsense qualification in any case. To talk of self-sufficiency (and for it have any meaning) there'd be no need of any investment. And there'd be no problem taking existing subsidies away.

A self-sufficient club rugby scene would be growing; stable at least, but not shrinking - even with the present "investment".

The requirement is not self-sufficiency. Efficiency will do, along with whatever changes that can be reasonably made to maximise participation.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
Yup.



It's a nonsense qualification in any case. To talk of self-sufficiency (and for it have any meaning) there'd be no need of any investment. And there'd be no problem taking existing subsidies away.

A self-sufficient club rugby scene would be growing; stable at least, but not shrinking - even with the present "investment".

The requirement is not self-sufficiency. Efficiency will do, along with whatever changes that can be reasonably made to maximise participation.

You can play word games if you like. My views are quite clear. It's no point having a discussion if we're going to waste time on semantics.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
NRC is effectively cost neutral for the ARU at the moment isn't it? I thought foxtel money covered the competition expenses and it was the teams that took the hit on player/coaching costs recoverable from crowds etc if they can.

The other level which is somewhere between club and pro and will require a chunk of money is age group and non-professional representative and development teams.

Are the clubs really self-sufficient?

Development teams and junior rep programmes are a bit of a hotch potch - I think a bit of reorganisation could go on their and eliminate some duplication and different levels.
 

Monty Python

Ted Fahey (11)
More worrying that the mulit-million dollar loss suffered by the ARU is the decline in participation in 15 a side rugby.

And just to show that he has little grasp of reality, he thinks schools will solve the problem. Alas, even Sydney GPS schools are experiencing a decline in teams.


A piece in the northern district times, the local paper around Eastwood rugby club. Two local clubs in Eastwood and Epping have merged to become one club - Eastwood central - due to lack of numbers. Good result, but merging can't go on forever.

a8335005dadb37a41042f6e9a552c4c9.jpg


http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.co...01001/8713/87132016042000000000001001/48/true
 

wamberal

Phil Kearns (64)
Not surprising, given the huge influx of residents from a non-rugby background into Eastwood and Epping.
 

Braveheart81

Will Genia (78)
Staff member
Based on lots of comments through many threads, it does seem very clear that the ARU should be running a huge amount more coaching accreditation courses at the various levels and hopefully subsidising them more heavily.
 

Prodigy

Alex Ross (28)


A piece in the northern district times, the local paper around Eastwood rugby club. Two local clubs in Eastwood and Epping have merged to become one club - Eastwood central - due to lack of numbers. Good result, but merging can't go on forever.

a8335005dadb37a41042f6e9a552c4c9.jpg


http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.co...01001/8713/87132016042000000000001001/48/true

A bit of misinformation in this article. Unfortunately people without knowledge of the actual situation are telling the story.

We, at Epping Rugby, are hoping to get our story out next week.
 

Brendan Hume

Charlie Fox (21)
Based on lots of comments through many threads, it does seem very clear that the ARU should be running a huge amount more coaching accreditation courses at the various levels and hopefully subsidising them more heavily.
I think there are only a few things that matter for most grassroots clubs - good competitions, support for recruitment activities, good administrators, great coaches, and great referees. My club contributed around $17,000 (around $100K from the region) to the ARU and QRU in levies last year and we had a single Level 1 Ref and Level 1 Coaching course provided to our region. This year has been the same, and we'll contribute roughly the same money. Like great players, great coaches require training - the more they get, hopefully the better they get. Coaches and Referees are at the coalface of the game - they are the one's that are the best recruitment and retention tools for the sport and they are usually doing it for free. The ARU seem to have done some good work in establishing an online education hub, but it needs some significant support from face-to-face training opportunities. I'm greatly disappointed SmartRugby no longer requires a live session.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
I recently visited the Sydney Subbies thread for the first time in a long while. I haven't had any involvement in subbies for 15-20 years and it was always a part of the game which was going quite well. It seems that the 15 year decline in local club juniors and state high school rugby is now starting to bite and the subbies part of the game (or at least parts of it) are facing the same problems as juniors and schools.

I'm glad the ARU have finally woken up to it. I hope it's not too late. Logically if things continue on this trajectory then the Wallabies will eventually suffer from the decline at the base.
 

half

Alan Cameron (40)
A bit of misinformation in this article. Unfortunately people without knowledge of the actual situation are telling the story.

We, at Epping Rugby, are hoping to get our story out next week.


My house backs onto Someville Park and 25 tears ago both fields were in use Saturday morning and the big field all day with training four nights a week..

One of my sons played for Epping about 16 years ago and most teams were made up of Epping and Hillview players and sometimes Epping, Hillview and North Rocks...

Today the junior field is hardly ever used and often there are no games played at all on either field all weekend ... Very rarely are the fields used on Saturday morning any-more.

If you take Someville Parks two fields and the two fields opposite Epping boys and look at our player numbers its seems very poor. Especially when most of the Soccer fields are in use all day Saturday and Sunday..

I look forward to the Epping Rugby story but by my back of the hand calculations we have been going backwards since 1984 when I moved into the area.

I can recall when the Woodies made a grand final and many of the shops in Eastwood were covered in blue and white banter and Eastwood station had the station staff in Woodies shirts... Last time we made the grand final it went by unnoticed.

Sadly today the message board in Rowe street hardly gets looked at and the Eastwood club once a place to go and talk rugby struggles to keep its doors open and Rugby hardly ever gets discussed.
 

Prodigy

Alex Ross (28)
My house backs onto Someville Park and 25 tears ago both fields were in use Saturday morning and the big field all day with training four nights a week..

One of my sons played for Epping about 16 years ago and most teams were made up of Epping and Hillview players and sometimes Epping, Hillview and North Rocks.

Today the junior field is hardly ever used and often there are no games played at all on either field all weekend . Very rarely are the fields used on Saturday morning any-more.

If you take Someville Parks two fields and the two fields opposite Epping boys and look at our player numbers its seems very poor. Especially when most of the Soccer fields are in use all day Saturday and Sunday..

I look forward to the Epping Rugby story but by my back of the hand calculations we have been going backwards since 1984 when I moved into the area.

I can recall when the Woodies made a grand final and many of the shops in Eastwood were covered in blue and white banter and Eastwood station had the station staff in Woodies shirts. Last time we made the grand final it went by unnoticed.

Sadly today the message board in Rowe street hardly gets looked at and the Eastwood club once a place to go and talk rugby struggles to keep its doors open and Rugby hardly ever gets discussed.

I suppose the thing that we want to clarify is the fact that Central Eastwood is a new club and by no means has Epping Juniora folded.

Although things are stagnant at the moment, we have a team in the Sydney Juniors Open competition and will be busting out butts to build the club again.

There has probably been a bit of poor management at a whole club level into the promotion of our junior club but we are moving forward with plans to rebuild.

I was probably finishing my run in the Juniora around the stage you mentioned @half but I did play in a combined Epping/ Hillview Under 17s team in 1999, but it was due to a high number of guys who were provided with scholarships to GPS schools.

I don't remember many other teams that were composite of other clubs though.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
In regards Central Eastwood. I played by junior rugby back in the 70s and I recall playing against a Central Eastwood club, who played in blue and white hoops. Is it the case that the two clubs are using it as a vehicle for combined teams, much as clubs around Manly are using the old Manly Vikings name (although in the Vikings case they haven't used the old colours - which as a former player I find a little irritating)

Old old Manly Vikings team pictured at Manly Oval in the 60s. (In white jerseys with red trim)

d7_14533r.jpg
 

half

Alan Cameron (40)
Progidy

I know many of the good folk who run Epping Rugby and aside from a mad president a few years back who wanted to build a club and grandstand complete with bars and pokies on the car park side they have by and large been as good as any club officials.

The drop in player numbers is largely out of their control and many a good volunteer has walked away for some of these reasons. Let me give you my two major concerns.

First the easy one and this may be fixed now I don't know but the private schools played during part of the local park teams season and when a players school wanted the player they played for the school leaving those left to be thrashed. Next week back to full strength and the team you play had many of their player off playing for their schools. This turns away so many new kids and their parents and they don't come back.

The second is quite long so I will keep it very brief rather than go into all my reasoning. Having the game hidden away on Fox with an ageing and rusted audience harms the game in so many ways. Not the least of which is when councils make decisions in new areas about grounds etc, when parents consider what sport, being hidden away on Fox with so many games played overseas and the Tahs seem to be a East Sydney team.

Local people like yourself cannot help that between private schools affecting district rugby clubs match scheduling and hidden away on Fox and add this to the increasing soccer mum that games to rough and your job is so much harder.

We all have mates interested in other codes three close mates of mine one in Perth and the other two in Epping are rusted on hard core soccer folk and they tell me soccer is prepared to take up to a third less than they can get in the next media deal to have the Socceroos and A-League on a commercial FTA broadcaster. How I wish the ARU could tell SANDZAR to FO and take the SA money and shove where the sun don't shine and just get the game before public eyes.

Sorry rant over.
 

Rugrat

Darby Loudon (17)
It's not a fair comparison though Rugrat. Clubs have always been at the heart of football, and club comps occupy 95% of the calendar. People identify with their club first, and their country second.

The centre of rugby has always been international games. Rugby fans care far more about the Wallabies than they do their Super teams, likewise Kiwis/Saffers and the ABs/Boks.

Rugby will never shift to a football-style model where clubs are at the centre of the game, and internationals are something you only care about fpr a few weeks every two years (at Euro/Asian Cup time and World Cup time).

When the ARU come out and say the financial success of the game is heavily based on the Wallabies, it's not a vain hope for the future- it's how it has always been. Look at the financials- the vast majority of their annual funding comes from gate takings, sponsorship and TV revenue.

Clubs are vitally important to rugby, but to say they can somehow be the centre of our game financially is flawed.
.
It is a fair comparison and it is not flawed in the context that we operate in a global marketplace for players. Club rugby in France and the U.K. Is dominating player payments and the general interest in rugby in that part of the world. You can't get a different result if you maintain the same old vies and refuse to look to model yourself on the most successful model of professional sport.
 

Braveheart81

Will Genia (78)
Staff member
It is a fair comparison and it is not flawed in the context that we operate in a global marketplace for players. Club rugby in France and the U.K. Is dominating player payments and the general interest in rugby in that part of the world. You can't get a different result if you maintain the same old vies and refuse to look to model yourself on the most successful model of professional sport.


I still don't think you're making a reasonable comparison. Out of everything the ARU is in control of, the Wallabies are far and away the best revenue generator. There is no option for the ARU but to rely on the Wallabies to drive their finances.

The ARU would dearly love huge injections of private equity capital into the Super Rugby franchises. This is essentially how the European model has ended up where wealthy owners are willing to spend money on the teams to fund the massive salaries etc. The appetite for it just isn't there in Australia.

The Rebels were previously privately owned by Harold Mitchell who then sold the club back to the ARU and now the Rebels are back in private hands (the Andrew Cox consortium). Each transaction has effectively cost the ARU money and all that the private ownership is enabling them to do at this stage is to reduce the amount they lose on the team each year.

The Waratahs looked at a private equity model when the license came round for renewal a year or so ago. None of the opportunities were compelling so they kept the status quo.

What Australian Rugby lacks are wealthy owners who are keen to own a team as a lifestyle asset and lose several million dollars a year for the privilege.

Until and unless that happens there is no conceivable way that the Super Rugby sides or clubs below them are going to be sources of revenue in Australia. There is literally nothing the ARU can do to shift the revenue model away from being the Wallabies and subsequently they need to use that to generate as much revenue as possible to flow down to the lower levels of the game and the grassroots.
 

half

Alan Cameron (40)
^^^^^

BraveHeart81

I don't know where to start and heaps of work over the next few days so I will be as brief as I can, I cannot disagree more.

Further to my rant above pertaining to the Super competition.

This BTW is my opinion and given I am not a highly paid sports admin type I dare say I am in the minority.

Back in the dark times when Rugby had no money a bunch of suits came along and said do you guys want some money. The people running Rugby at the time had little sporting business knowledge. Thus the Tri Nations and Super Rugby was formed.

The Tri Nation part was excellent and as you suggest brings in lots and lots of dollars. Then we let the suits tell us our state teams are to become club teams and our club structure is no longer important.

Effectively if in the mid 90 if we had like Rugby League forced a merger of say the Sydney Shute teams to five teams, Brisbane to 4, and have one Newcastle, Central & Canberra team. Meaning a 12 team competition we could have sold as our local national domestic competition. Then we could have grown it.

Instead we have treated the Shute teams with disdain raided their player to the point we create another thing for the suits of a NRC. Add the fact we have forgone our our SOO between the Reds and Tahs as they are seen as club teams these days instead of State teams [something I still struggle with]

Unlike both SA & NZ we have no Currie Cup or any sort of national domestic competition. Thus we have no effective pathways for juniors and what were once very proud clubs offering pathways to national teams are a shadow of themselves.

Meaning our junior numbers are falling very fast.

We can continue on as we are and let the suits hold us to random with golden handcuffs [i.e. media deal]

OR we could have faith in our game and take a bunch of money for the Tri Nations and other teams and develop our own national domestic competition that will in time be able to be sold to the media.

Sorry I am starting to rant. But I just see we totally screwed up when we got offered money and wasted it on Rugby League players and holding our best rather than developing our national domestic competition and saying it can't change scares me a lot.

The longer we leave it the worst it will get.
 

Braveheart81

Will Genia (78)
Staff member
You are conflating a decision made in 1996 with the ARU's plan now.

There wasn't money on the table to be part of the Tri Nations without also being part of Super Rugby.

You are suggesting we should have forced the merger of Sydney and Brisbane clubs and made that our premier competition. I would guess that the biggest detractors of that suggestion would have been the clubs themselves who were much more powerful in the mid 90s than they are now.

The game went professional. There was no choice but to follow that. Effectively the players are the ones that gained power out of rugby becoming professional, not the suits as you call them. Prior to rugby being professional the 'suits' had far more power in that they had a player base that were effectively forced to play for free and could still generate money from television and gate takings.

I think you are wrong saying the game had no money at that point in time. The players had no money at that point in time and all of a sudden were offered plenty.

It wasn't a whole lot different to World Series Cricket. If the ARU chooses not to be a part of that new professionalism and bans all the best players they end up with a C grade Wallaby team for a couple of years before realising that they can't compete and need their best players involved and have to accept the new professional competition.
 

half

Alan Cameron (40)
What plans are there to grow a national domestic competition. Please don't insult me and say the NRC will over time become HUGE.

I also don't agree with your 1996 analysis.

We could have if the courage and leadership of the ARU at the time forced the mergers.

Yes we could have developed a Champions league type model instead of the Super model, which would have been great for the competition. Say the top 12 teams from the three national domestic competitions could have played off.

However this is 20 years ago and nothing can change what has happened.

In Australia today we have no national domestic competition like the AFL, NRL and A-League. Both SA and NZ have strong national domestic competitions.

At some stage of the planning we need to have 10 to 20 teams in a National Domestic Competition that is played over 20 plus weeks and broadcast even if on the ABC or SBS. They have to be based were our juniors are i.e. Penerith as an example.

We have to take our heads out of the sand even if it means 10 years of pain.

The again maybe I am too old and set in my ways I don't see playing teams in Japan and a few weeks competition of the NRC that aside from I suggest 100K at the most in Australia care about being the answer to the declining player numbers, crowds down and rating down.

I see the way out is a national domestic competition complete with test players, playing weekly.
 

Highlander35

Andrew Slack (58)
Scotland tried to juggle professional Club Rugby and Regional/Provincial Rugby (in Europe) at the same time.

It was such a financial black hole that it was scrapped after 2 years, but led to the disbanding of the Caledonia Reds (yet to be seen since the 90s as anything but a select XV), the eventual collapse of the Border Reivers in 07, and very very disgruntled Clubs for 12-15 years.

We're only now beginning to recover from that, and: the fact that Murrayfield was one of the last Stadiums in the UK to undergo largely self-funded renovations.

Given the market in Australia, and the fact that most of the club leagues in Europe already existed, and just needed to go pro, whereas you guys would have needed to rationalise and Nationalise over ridiculous distances, Super Rugby was almost certainly the correct choice.
 

Braveheart81

Will Genia (78)
Staff member
We have to take our heads out of the sand even if it means 10 years of pain.


I just don't see how the concept of '10 years of pain' is even a viable answer.

How do you fund a large national competition? Please provide some detail about what you think could be done for rugby in Australia now.
 
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