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Thread: Academies proposed to boost depth for Western Force, Melbourne Rebels

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Academies proposed to boost depth for Western Force, Melbourne Rebels

    Date June 2, 2015 - 6:17PM
    Georgina Robinson
    Chief Rugby Reporter


    The Melbourne Rebels and Western Force would establish $500,000 a year live-in academies under a proposal to level the playing field across Australian rugby's five provinces.

    With talk of a draft dead in the water, and in response to complaints the country's two newest franchises are raiding the nurseries of Queensland and NSW, the Australian Rugby Union is favouring an academy model to help boost the competitiveness of the Force and Rebels.

    Funded by revenue from the upcoming five-year broadcast deal, which is expected to deliver the ARU a cash windfall of up to $40 million annually from next year, the programs would target potential future stars straight out of high school, plugging a gaping hole in the ARU's development pathway and giving the Force and Rebels the power to recruit and develop their own mini-nurseries.

    The Force have been trialling a scaled-down version of the program for the past nine months with four players, three of whom are West Australians and one from Tonga via Auckland. One of the players, back rower Kane Koteka, made his Super Rugby debut this year.

    Rugby WA chief executive Mark Sinderberry said he believed an academy model, with up to 15 players living and training together full time, was the best available solution to a natural inequity across the five Super Rugby franchises.

    "Everyone recognises that within the current structure there's an inherent unfairness in the financial and talent distribution across the five provinces," Sinderberry said.

    "This seems to be the best option to see ourselves and Victoria develop while being careful not to take away from the strength and depth in the traditional rugby heartland areas."

    With both the Rebels and Force blessed with high quality training facilities already, the estimated price tag of $500,000 per year would cover the cost of housing the players, who might range in age between 17 and 21, and providing extra coaching resources.

    Depth and its distribution has been a vexed and politically charged question in Australian rugby for some time. Several senior coaching and administrative figures have told Fairfax Media privately that they do not believe the country has the playing depth to sustain five Super Rugby teams.

    Likewise, there is a view that if the country's best talent was distributed equally across the five provinces, no Australian team would have the potential to win a Super Rugby title.

    But having committed to furnishing the SANZAR competition with five teams until at least 2020, the ARU faces the challenge of helping all five become competitive, which has been no easy feat over the past five years. Although the Rebels have marked milestone after milestone under current coach Tony McGahan this season and the Force notched their best ever season under Michael Foley last year, they recruit and perform against the odds.

    "There's an aspiration across all of Australian rugby to have five strong Super Rugby franchises and in doing that we'll have the best chance of having a successful Wallabies team, but our current environment is such that a lot of the talent is concentrated in the Sydney and Brisbane traditional heartland areas," Sinderberry said.

    Queensland and NSW are particularly sensitive to the "redistribution" principle, arguing it is grossly unfair that players who have come through their well-established systems are poached by the other franchises.

    An entry-level draft has been proposed in the past and was on the table for discussion again this year, but Sinderberry revealed the provincial bosses could not reach agreement on how one would work.

    "In the meantime, we're proposing a concentrated development program, getting players in at a younger age than we normally would do. We believe it will help us develop meaningful depth in our squads," he said.

    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/fo...02-ghenh6.html

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Same old, same old.

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    Senior Player Herbasimplex's Avatar
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    The context is interesting. It seems the main argument is that academies be in place to stop "raiding" of the tahs and reds jnr stocks. Likewise the arguments re having the talent spread evenly, it would stop teams (reds, tahs and brumbies) challenging for the title.

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    So sick of the myopic view of NSW and QLD, they do realise it is a franchise competition and not a state representative team?

    The game will never progress until someone with true vision is running the game not NSW/QLD blinkers.

    Surely the most important thing is players from whatever state have a pathway to the elite levels. A lot of players are lost to league due to more opportunities to play at elite level. Can't believe the quote below indicating they think 5 teams might be too many. Only will lose more players if there are less teams.








    [QUOTE=The InnFORCEr;399361]Date June 2, 2015 - 6:17PM
    With talk of a draft dead in the water, and in response to complaints the country's two newest franchises are raiding the nurseries of Queensland and NSW, the Australian Rugby Union is favouring an academy model to help boost the competitiveness of the Force and Rebels.










    Depth and its distribution has been a vexed and politically charged question in Australian rugby for some time. Several senior coaching and administrative figures have told Fairfax Media privately that they do not believe the country has the playing depth to sustain five Super Rugby teams.

    Likewise, there is a view that if the country's best talent was distributed equally across the five provinces, no Australian team would have the potential to win a Super Rugby title.





    Queensland and NSW are particularly sensitive to the "redistribution" principle, arguing it is grossly unfair that players who have come through their well-established systems are poached by the other franchises.

    An entry-level draft has been proposed in the past and was on the table for discussion again this year, but Sinderberry revealed the provincial bosses could not reach agreement on how one would work.



    [QUOTE]

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    My call on the "raiding the Heartland Nurseries" comment would be for somebody to have a look at the current team lists and profile the history of each player, not just birthplace but Junior development, Senior Club, Provincial fringe and first provincial cap. I think you will find that the current Force and Rebels would stack up pretty well in many of those areas.

    If you look at players with their first provincial contract, the rebels have several Force players (both WA born and others) and the Force also lay claim to ten local products, let alone blokes like Nick Cummins who wouldn't have seen the light of day in the NSW team.

    I remember the talk when James O'Connor came over to WA that he was here because nobody would give him a contract. Apparently he was too small. Qld have now 'raided' our talent identification programs.

    It's all relative when you look at it. The two new teams have opened pathways for more players to play at the top level. They are yet to compete on a level playing field with the silver spoons.

    We need more than development pathways, we need a fair crack at the existing high end talent to stop some of the leaks.

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    Rookie Basha69's Avatar
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    I take it that when we develop some top class talent Qld and NSW won't come 'poaching' from our talent pool. YEAH RIGHT!!!!!!!

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    Same old, same old.
    Yeah, but their spending $1 million for the same old!

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    Rookie Petalz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    My call on the "raiding the Heartland Nurseries" comment would be for somebody to have a look at the current team lists and profile the history of each player, not just birthplace but Junior development, Senior Club, Provincial fringe and first provincial cap. I think you will find that the current Force and Rebels would stack up pretty well in many of those areas.

    If you look at players with their first provincial contract, the rebels have several Force players (both WA born and others) and the Force also lay claim to ten local products, let alone blokes like Nick Cummins who wouldn't have seen the light of day in the NSW team.

    I remember the talk when James O'Connor came over to WA that he was here because nobody would give him a contract. Apparently he was too small. Qld have now 'raided' our talent identification programs.

    It's all relative when you look at it. The two new teams have opened pathways for more players to play at the top level. They are yet to compete on a level playing field with the silver spoons.

    We need more than development pathways, we need a fair crack at the existing high end talent to stop some of the leaks.
    The one thing that this article doesn't mention is how long these things are meant to be funded for. I'm sure that the ARU hasn't just gone "here have 500k and do what you will". Hopefully this investment is to be made over 3-5 years - or it's a total investment of 1.5-2.5mil for each franchise

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    Champion andrewg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Yeah, but their spending $1 million for the same old!
    And it's more $ than the previous Academy model.

    Mark Sinderberry is correct when he makes the comment "he believed an academy model,was the best available solution to a natural inequity across the five Super Rugby franchises."

    Particularly if the preferred young player DRAFT was "dead in the water" as "the provincial bosses could not reach agreement on how one would work".

    This has to be a move in the right direction but there need to be additional concessions for the Rebels and the Force IF there is a genuine desire to make these teams competitive and truly grow the game in Vic & WA.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg View Post
    Particularly if the preferred young player DRAFT was "dead in the water" as "the provincial bosses could not reach agreement on how one would work".
    A draft would have required a complete overhaul of the contracting process here in Australia. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, getting the ARU out of the contracting process would be great and it's something I've droned on about myself for years but it wouldn't surprise me if the ARU and others have put it in the "too hard" basket. I also see RUPA getting in the way of a draft as they find themselves on a good wicket.

    The governing body should only be there to rubber stamp a contract not actually be involved with the contract talks. Scrap Wallaby top ups and spread the money amongst the franchises here in Australia, increase the match payment for a Test match. It's utterly ridiculous that a player on $500k retainer can potentially earn another $10k per Test. Especially given some of the Rugby we've seen from the Wallabies in the last 2 years. Hell make it a bonus for actually winning something like the Bledisloe Cup. This isn't a new argument either, it's something myself and others have droned on about for years. It's also ridiculous that the ARU endorses a system where a state Union may be able to pay a Quade Cooper or an Israel Folau $250k while the head office will pick up the tab for the rest just because they are on a top up.

    Also agree with GIGS, it's all well and good to open up other pathways for exciting young talent but what about access to established high level talent?

    While favouritism is present in the process (or at least the perception that it exists) the only winners will be a select few while the rest go hungry or live for the next handout.

    I'm not going to lay all of the blame at the feet of the ARU, obviously some of the established talent just don't see WA as a desirable destination at the moment, possibly due to poor results of the Force over a period of time.

    A failing Western Force or Melbourne Rebels will do nothing to grow Rugby in Australia which is one of the goals for both franchises. If one or both were to fall over it would do catastrophic damage to the game of Rugby Union in either city.

    Seeing as I've been working on this post whilst in between jobs at work I've probably left out a few thoughts.

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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    IF the boss sees this-you WILL be between jobs!

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    Senior Player Macattack's Avatar
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    Yes the reasoning may be suspect from the ARU, however, the good news is that we should get a proper academy
    For the moment I will focus on the fundamentally good part of this announcement and hope it works in making us more competitive and sustainable 😀

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokendown gunfighter View Post
    IF the boss sees this-you WILL be between jobs!
    Stop giving me shit and start digging your ball out of the sand trap.

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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    Champion oxleymoron's Avatar
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    Of course the "heartland states" are particularly sensitive to the "redistribution" principle, arguing it is grossly unfair that players who have come through their well-established systems are poached by the other franchises....

    Queensland GPS schools open their cheque books to sign the best young SA talent at age 15-17 to include in their system. Previous "Queensland" talent include Liam Gill and UJ Seuteni but we normally lose at least 2-3 players per year who then aren't released for state competitions.

    So personally, i'd prefer that the Ox academy acts a feeder to the force academy

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