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Why can’t Australian rugby go it alone?




While we look at the Wallabies as a world of hurt for supporters, it is clear that we have created depth in our squad.

“Heart” and “attitude” are another topic, but the depth is there.

Watching club rugby over the past few weeks, as a result of poor scheduling, giving other codes a leg-up, it has been spectacular.

Last year, Sydney Rugby Union made a tough decision to remove the Penrith Emus, which was met was much derision and anger.

Looking at the Shute Shield this year, it is clearly a masterstroke.

Both the Hunter Wildfires and the Two Blues have been awesome for the competition. There were no guarantee wins and both sides pushed for the finals. What a good call in the end, given western Sydney is represented by Two Blues, West Harbour and Eastwood.

It is a heavily-backed area by Sydney Rugby Union and their current strength represents that.

The issue that is often raised on The Roar is that rugby doesn’t have depth for a third tier and that is absolute rubbish.

The rugby played in Shute Shield and the Hospital Cup in Queensland has been fantastic viewing and deserves a platform.

How that platform works is for greater minds than mine, but to say there is no depth in rugby in Australia is negative journalism.

An example of this is the NRL, with 16 teams and a 17th coming.

The top clubs have approximately 3-4 key players with players below that being the troopers and guys who can forge a career.

Of those approximately two clubs have the skills now, the salary cap will even it out.

Super Rugby Pacific is a great platform and I think it is certainly ‘a’ way forward, if everyone can get on the same page (but they won’t).

The inclusion of Fiji Drua and Moana Pasifika has been a massive draw card and it should be embraced.

The issue lies with eyeballs and how many people are watching.

Super Rugby, in its current form, simply doesn’t have any appeal anymore.

The introduction of the Pacific teams allows RA to get some compensation, but it isn’t solving the issue at hand.

Fijian captain Nemani Nagusa leads his team out during the round two Super Rugby Pacific match between the Brumbies and the Fiji Drua at GIO Stadium on February 26, 2022 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

Club rugby has a big following. To the extent of Rugby League? No, but ask most people in the street and they go to their club games or watch them on Stan Sport.

Why don’t they go to Super Rugby?

Again, a question for bigger brains than my own.

When the NRL started, it was predominantly NSW-based and they introduced Queensland teams, which today only make up three sides, with the Dolphins debuting in 2023.

The top NRL teams fly, as the others cry out “we don’t have the depth”. Does this sound familiar?

Rugby Australia could do a lot worse than go it alone.

Perhaps an Australian Championship Competition, involving the top six from NSW and Queensland and two from Melbourne and WA with two from the ACT to balance it out.

Yes, the talent would be spread but so is the NRL, AFL, A-League etc…

Four stars in each team, a draft, what could be?

You have to build a foundation to create a building.

The foundation is built and has been established for over 100 years and despite the outside issues, the competition has stood the test of time across two states, and ACT and WA fast approaching.

How do you incorporate my Gordon without upsetting others, I don’t know.

You can’t merge 100 years of history?

Or can you?

The NRL did it…and it worked. How do you make it work in rugby?

But if the name is incorporated and it is the professional team and the team represents the region, maybe that’s it?

Get the name right!

Hamish McLennan, you may have a competition.

Look beyond trying to appease. Five teams won’t do it, nor will 10.

If you’re going to do it, go hard. Sixteen teams, home and away, stick with the territories and pick the right grounds.

In five years, you’ll have a competition, if you can grab the community.

Again, better minds than mine.





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