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Thread: Alignment

  1. #1
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    Alignment

    There are many aspects to going forward for Australian Rugby, but the one I am struggling with is all this "alignment" talk-

    Rugby Australia also want to create a centralised system which gets every player, coach, team and state on the same page going forward.

    “That’s really important to the ongoing success and planning of the game, the states have got to agree to it… what we need to do is create a structure where we traffic all the players through a system in a more uniform way, and I think that’s where we haven’t performed as well as we should have. Again, look at Ireland [and their success],” McLennan added.


    Depending on who is being interviewed, it would seem the "alignment" has seen them overperform as to what would have otherwise have happened if not aligned and still tanked, or they have been performing as expected over the last three years and really tanked.

    So, the theory being all in for a common focus on ultimately improving the National Squad, "all on the same page".
    But, what if it is the wrong page?
    Australian leadership hasn't been renowned for great decisions in recent times.
    What if they back the wrong vision of the next four years in where the International trend is leading?
    What if we end up with five SR clones for every position without any options for a different style of play?

    I believe competitive tension is invaluable in building better depth and it certainly brings a better and more marketable spectacle.
    The risk at the moment would be to end up with five SR Squads all being trained to play the boring as batshit England kicking for territory and points strategy. That would be a hard season to market.
    Surely better to have uniqueness across the comp allowing experienced Coaching Staff to develop strategies to challenge the status quo?

    Then, when the elite of each SR Squad gathers, it brings the best of each of those strategies to the table.
    I can absolutely get on board with Wallaby Coaching having more access to the wider Training Squad. Perhaps even running "Monday" Training on a rotational basis at each Franchise through the season for the Wallaby eligible players of that location.
    But to have your entire Nation committed to a single focus and style could well be akin to putting your entire share portfolio into Qantas a couple of years ago. Things change.

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    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    New Zealand and Ireland have got 'centralised' systems, but their teams play different (sometimes very different) styles of rugby. Some of that is about using the talents of the players on their teams, but some is also about signing and training players to play that team's 'brand' of rugby.

    When you watch the Brumbies you expect a certain forward-dominated style of play, with the backs providing more or less flair depending on where in the cycle of experience the current group are. I certainly don't want to watch the five Australian squads to all play the Waratah-style of play (assembling expensive 'talented' players and then watching them screw-up basic moves and drop the ball!)

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    I don't think anybody can argue that our Super Rugby teams working against each other to maintain their big fish in a small pond status. Yes it's been better recently, but we all remember the warehousing of flyhalves by the Brumbies keeping us from accessing Toomua/Leiliifano or any one of three others at that particular time, The Waratahs and Reds fielding benches full of Wallabies while the Rebels and Force struggle to field a team above club level and a whole bunch of other stuff.

    Alignment doesn't necessarily mean cloning it just means that everybody works toward a common goal.

    I will propose that the finer points of this "common goal" are vitally important in the success or failure of this approach. If the common goal is to play a certain style and practice it during the season then Burgs' point is well made. If, however, the goal is to build a clear pathway to the Wallabies for every contracted player in Australia I think we'll do OK

    It does leave room for teams to develop a playing style that's appropriate to their cattle (which is vital) but also means that clear targets are communicated to each player what they need to do to attain Wallaby selection and all players can be measured on the same yardstick.

    This might mean (for a kicker as an easy example) a certain percentage of successful kicks from certain ranges and perhaps an ability to kick from greater than a certain distance. You could possibly link that with indicators from a positional play (such as flyhalf)

    That way you could empirically rank all flyhalves who are kickers and come up with a metric which clearly indicates which ones get selected.

    If you set the bar high enough (but still attainable) then every flyhalf who kicks for post will be trying to meet that standard and the overall standard in the comp will improve.If everybody meets the standard either raise the standard of organise some sort of knockout competition to pick the best two or three.

    Assuming we set the standards high enough we will begin to build a crop of World Class players who all understand what it takes to be selected as a Wallaby and we can then look at playing styles which might suit based upon the standards that all Aussie players in each position meet. For example, if we find that our backrows aren't meeting a very high standard in pilfering, but all show plenty of power entering the breakdown it stands to reason that Wallabies coaching staff would take that information and advise the Super Clubs to concentrate on counterruck or pilfer with other players......

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    I can get on board with both your takes Sheikh and Gigs, but that's not what my takeaway of their definition is (re underline in OP and elsewhere).

    I would be happy to see key pairings/combos identified (1-2-3, 9-10,10-12, 12-13 etc) to be encouraged to work towards a Wallaby goal.
    A "for instance" away from the Force, going to the Brumbies and saying; "Look, I'm (ie the new Wallaby Coach) not going to start either Lonergan or Lolesio unless we have injury, however, during the season I will be selecting them as a bench pairing for particular matches and I want them ready as a package deal, please get as much time into their legs together as a combo as possible."
    Likewise Slipper-Lonergan-Alaalatoa, McDermott-Lynagh, Foketi-Perese.

    I believe that, apart from S&C, is how you best utilise the SR Season towards maximum Wallaby benefit.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    I haven't seen Irish provinces as much; but NZ sides certainly seem on the same page when it comes to breakdown tactics and defensively. They all run the same "screen" as Cheika calls it. IMO in a game where "last feet" defines offside it runs a very fine line for obstrusction. They execute it so well I reckon it's practised to perfection. Be good for our franchises to be as expert.

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    If RA wanted development alignment, they should get off their arses and just do it. Engage with HP teams, get out there with the age groups...bloody hell, just do something.

    Right now though, it reeks of "Give us the keys to everything, and then we'll have a think about things". They are offering no actual details, and seem fixated on getting the money more than improving the systems. Everything about it feels like they can't and absolutely shouldn't be trusted.

    Put something on the ground, show everyone how it needs to be done, prove that it can be, and most of all prove that RA is able and can be trusted to deliver something meaningful. Then come back and talk about the next step, if at that point the problems aren't already well on their way to being solved.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    Right now though, it reeks of "Give us the keys to everything, and then we'll have a think about things". They are offering no actual details, and seem fixated on getting the money more than improving the systems. Everything about it feels like they can't and absolutely shouldn't be trusted.
    I think they're walking away from that standpoint a little bit, hence the change of moniker to "alignment"

    I think their reasoning is because everybody told them exactly where they could put their offer and the Brumbies (at least) engaged lawyers to go them for breach of contract (forcing them to give back the operating license). I suspect it's not the last we'll hear of the "give us the keys to your house" argument, but theres a pretty strong indication that they don't reckon they can get it over the line at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    ...NZ sides certainly seem on the same page when it comes to breakdown tactics and defensively. They all run the same "screen" as Cheika calls it...
    But wouldn't that just come under "best practice" for each Provincial Coach though?
    As in each should be able to observe the International scene and say, "geez, you know what, that seems to be working pretty well, my team is going to do that!"
    I don't think it takes (well, shouldn't...) a National Coach to point out to a Provincial Coach where the evolution of the Code is going.
    For instance the Bench split next year will have far greater diversity now around "Bomb Squads" and "Utility Backs" then any year prior without any "alignment" being required/

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    But wouldn't that just come under "best practice" for each Provincial Coach though?......
    .....,...........For instance the Bench split next year will have far greater diversity now around "Bomb Squads" and "Utility Backs" then any year prior without any "alignment" being required/
    That's true but it has not been happening here. Maybe it will help build that magic bullet "cohesion" they are on about. In any event I see our biggest fall-down area as basic ball handling. It's friggin embarrassing at times. Most others, even the dastardly Mungos execute to very high standards. Try and fix that before waffling on with stats & metrics ffs.

    Don't get me started on "Bomb Squads". The introduction of interchange for uninjured players in both codes (& RL's 10 meter offside line); and the resultant changes in body types, are a big driver in the rise in CTE cases. Clean up the tackle all you want but with fresh behemoths running at collisions rather than space you won't mitigate this much.

    : Rant over.

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    Veteran SNOB's Avatar
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    Interesting reads from all and lots of very valid and insightful points but this whole alignment thing still doesn’t seem to cover or fix that the biggest problem for Australian rugby is that they aren’t playing enough games!
    I’ve no problem with centralised coaching, dieticians, conditioning etc. individual coaches will do there own thing and have their own players etc and hopefully listen to the Wallabies head coach to help develop players but when all is said and done if they are only playing for 4-5 months a year and the opposition is playing 8-9 months what does the ARU expect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    : Rant over.
    9/10

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