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Thread: The great Rugby shame"The revolution has started as grassroots shun the establishment

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    The great Rugby shame"The revolution has started as grassroots shun the establishment

    The revolution has started as grassroots rugby shuns the establishment

    Neil Breen
    By Neil Breen
    December 14, 2019 — 1.00pm

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    The biggest killer of a sporting organisation is an entitlement culture. And the one that exists at the elite level in rugby is the game’s biggest problem.

    Israel Folau and his inflated ego believes, because he’s a good outside back, that the game owes him millions.

    David Pocock was floored by the widespread criticism he received when he was paid $800,000 to have a season off. A "sabbatical", as only rugby could do.


    Castle defends 'cost effective' Folau settlement

    Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle defends 'cost effective' Israel Folau settlement.

    In his book Openside, he expressed his disappointment that people didn't want to help him financially with his charity efforts in Africa during that year, 2017.

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    “In hindsight now, it has been pretty disappointing all the stuff about being paid for a year off,” he wrote. “After I agreed to sign for 2018 and 2019, they [Rugby Australia] asked if they could average some payments across the three years instead of just two, which is apparently not uncommon, so when people started talking about me ripping off Australian rugby, I was really surprised.

    "I think the worst part was that it definitely made it harder in Zimbabwe. A couple of the stories that ran in Australia were printed verbatim over there, and then people just thought I was printing money.”

    Wow, $800,000 to “smooth out” his salary. What on earth was he earning?


    Pocock’s conservation efforts in his home land of Zimbabwe are to be applauded, no question. This is in no way a criticism of that work, or his beliefs and humanitarian efforts. But grassroots rugby people were rightly confused by the "smoothing" payment.

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    And Pocock needed to understand the confusion.

    At club rugby level, the game is living hand to mouth. As it always has.

    My old club Easts in Brisbane now has more than 1000 juniors. Which is incredible. The biggest junior club in Queensland and a far cry from the one team per age group of the 1970s and '80s.

    Easts is run by volunteers, paying the club, and the game, back for what it did for them as kids and young men and women. Fantastic community engagement.

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    But, get this. For the privilege of nurturing 1000 juniors while the game eats itself alive at the elite level, the club (that is, the parents) hands over $100,000 a year to the Brisbane Junior Rugby Union, the Queensland Rugby Union and RA.

    It amounts to just over $100 a child. Between $5 and $18 for each kid is for insurance.

    For seniors, they hand over $117.70 a player to the QRU and RA (insurance included).

    Turn the clock back five years, and the club used to receive grants from the controlling bodies of about $100,000 a year. It helped keep the dream alive; kept kids on the field and jerseys on their backs.

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    Clubs have gone from being net recipients to net payees, in many cases in excess of six figures a year.

    It’s completely backside about.

    At Easts Rugby Union Club you’re feeling pretty weird about stumping up for a massive power bill for the kids to train under lights when Folau is on Instagram with a smile on his dial and millions in his pocket.

    Clubs the nation over should be looked at by powerbrokers as an opportunity to grow the game, not an opportunity to fill the coffers.

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    Rather than sign Israel Folau for seven figures a year in the first place, help the clubs.

    All of this madness has led to a resurgence in support for club rugby. It’s a grassroots rebel movement. People love rugby and are showing the love by attending suburban grounds and shunning the establishment.

    RA, and all involved at the elite levels of the game, need to get their heads out of their backsides.

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    Legend Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    I could comment, but then people might think I give damn about east coast rugby.

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fulvio sammut View Post
    I could comment, but then people might think I give damn about east coast rugby.
    We cant have that.

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    Easts in Brisbane are part of the Queensland establishment that have voted for the current/past ARU/RA and kept them at the wheel. Remember QLD and NSW each have 3 votes and WA just 1 vote.

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    Time to secede.

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    I think we have already seceded to some extent with the start of GRR. I am sure Twiggy is not going to abandon GRR and the teams that have signed up. If a new RA board (NSW and Qld biased and controlled) chop the NRC, then the split will be even bigger.

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hansie View Post
    Time to secede.
    to what?

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hansie View Post
    Time to secede.
    WA couldn't afford to secede.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    WA couldn't afford to secede.
    You mean financially or structurally?

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    You mean financially or structurally?
    I was talking about the state of WA, in which case financially.

    I assume RugbyWA couldn't afford it either, otherwise we would have already.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    I was talking about the state of WA, in which case financially.

    I assume RugbyWA couldn't afford it either, otherwise we would have already.
    The current Chair of RWA doesn’t support the idea so it wouldn’t happen even if RWA could afford it

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    I am not advocating RugbyWA seceding from RA. But I am suggesting with GRR (registered in Hong Kong, but based in Perth), we have already been forced into it at the professional level in a de facto way by the RA axing the Force.

    We still need the RA to pick our juniors and seniors for the Australian national squads and teams.

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    While RugbyWA obviously isn't going to pull the plug on RA, I would like to see WA develop a much more integrated stand-alone structure reflective of the situation it has been placed in. In particular, I'd like to see the Spirit become more than just a Seconds team and develop into the overall program integrating the age elite teams with an expanded Future Force system, limited to players already based in WA and feeding into the NRC team. The Force is still limping along much in the same vein as a SR team, so will always be poor cousin and seen as reliant on ES rugby. That will continue until they are largely forging their own independent path.

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    I would like WA to have a chance of qualifying for the world cup, we could have a rule where we will pick players playing in other parts of the world, or Australia to actually make up the team so it isnt just a Force team representing Western Australia, but a truely national team setup similar how Wales is in the UK. Optus would be the home stadium for Western Australia and once every few years we would beg the WA government to have the All Blacks tour at Optus for a one off trophy match similar to the Mandella Cup right now with the Wallabies and South Africa. Eventually this may turn into a grudge match especially if we can start beating the Wallabies once in a while (if RA were ever game enough to take us on at international level incase they are completly embarssed).

    Eventually we would "Force" our way into the Rugby championship with regular wins over Fiji, Japan and Argentina forcing world rugby and SANZAARS hand.

    This would be the best thing to happen to our state.

    Oh and for those who think we couldnt afford it, well talk to all those tiny nations with way smaller GDPs that do just fine. Remmeber even NZL is only slightly bigger than WA population wise.

    Its time Rugby WA stood up and push the button to secede!

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    If by:
    Remmeber (sic) even NZL is only slightly bigger than WA population wise.
    You mean that New Zealand has twice our population (5 million vs 2.5 million).

    Mind you, the GDPs are similar, so we do have a GDP per capita which is twice NZ's.

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