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Thread: JOHN CONNOLLY: 'It's a disgrace that the Rebels were set up to fail from day one

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    JOHN CONNOLLY: 'It's a disgrace that the Rebels were set up to fail from day one

    https://www.theroar.com.au/2024/06/0...fAKsrfCtvESVd5

    The Melbourne Rebels were set up to fail from day one by Rugby Australia – and quite frankly it’s been a disgrace to the sport I love.

    From day one 13 years ago, the Rebels have been fighting for themselves. And nothing’s changed as they prepare to head to the Federal Court to fight for survival.

    It’s a credit to the Rebels that they started from scratch and got this far because the odds were deliberately stacked against them.

    When rival codes – and the AFL is the gold standard here – set up expansion teams away from their home state, they give them huge financial support, the pick of the new crop of young star players and every other incentive you can think of.

    When the Rebels were setting up in Melbourne, they were locked out of access to top players in NSW and Queensland and were forced to spend too much of their start-up money to attract talent.

    The Rebels always felt like they were outside the NSW-Queensland tent. And they were.

    We needed people right at the top of the game who could see through the NSW and Queensland bias and deliver what was needed to successfully grow the sport nationally.

    But at no stage has Rugby Australia – previously known as Australian Rugby Union – tried to help. They couldn’t give a hoot about any team outside of NSW, ACT and Queensland.

    When the Brumbies needed financial support RA couldn’t have been faster to respond. Then the Waratahs held their hand out and RA raced to their rescue with piles of (borrowed) cash. But that money trail never made it past the Murray River.

    Look where it has got us.

    AFL is setting up a new team in Tasmania, and the NRL is reportedly looking at a team in Papua New Guinea.

    What’s RA doing? Killing teams. They can’t even call themselves a national competition anymore.

    I coached both Phil Waugh, now RA CEO, and Daniel Herbert, RA Chair, and I like them both. But they were left a sport that’s in a hole which they can’t get out of.

    Their only answer is to shrink the sport which is giving other codes a free-kick.

    RA is on life-support. Even RA describes itself as “technically solvent” and at the mercy of their funders, Pacific Equity Partners (PEP).

    PEP must seriously be questioning their decision to ever get involved with RA. Did they seriously sign up for a shrinking game?

    Did Nine seriously sign up to broadcast a shrinking game, and one that will now snub the nation’s second biggest state? World Rugby must be seriously worried about the 2027 World Cup with the Victorian Government declaring that without a professional rugby team in the state RA can forget about their support.

    And is Rugby Australia so flushed with funds that they could afford to walk away from the tens of millions of dollars pledged by a private equity backed consortium, led by respected businessman Leigh Clifford, that wants to save the Rebels?

    Like the Melbourne Rebels in 2011, we all know RA never gave this new Rebels consortium a chance to set up in a new financially sustainable home in Tarneit in Melbourne’s west.

    Melbourne’s west is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia which will soon have a huge population who could have grown up supporting the Rebels.

    The money from the private consortium would have been a Godsend and anyone at RA who thought it was a good idea to walk away from Victoria needs their head read.

    RA now faces a brutal court fight.

    At the end of the day, it is a disgrace the Melbourne Rebels were not given more help. Sadly, Australian rugby is the loser.

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    Last edited by Burgs; 09-06-24 at 14:56.

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    Veteran valzc's Avatar
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    Connolly is delusional on so many levels. Is he talking about the right team?

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    Hard to know where to start shooting holes on this one...

    He has a point on the National exposure/position, but the whole "blameless and underfunded Rebels" is pure BS.

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    Shonky Admin/ leadership ?….. at RA and Victoria has basically brought Union to its knees….

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    He does have a point about supporting expansion franchises, though. They did half a job with the Rabble, who still managed to squander the leg-ups they did get. The way they handled the WA situation just three short years after RWC 2003 was idiotic to say the least and the perfect example of (mainly) NSW narrow minded self interest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    The way they handled the WA situation just three short years after RWC 2003 was idiotic to say the least and the perfect example of (mainly) NSW narrow minded self interest.
    They even had the Western Reds failure to look at there.
    Is my arms length memory correct there that League made the WR pay both their own and visiting teams flights and accom?

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    Player Kernow's Avatar
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    Sadly for the players and supporters, the club has been living beyond its means for a long time.

    I don't think cutting the club does anything positive for rugby. It is the lesser of two evils for RA - simple as that. In the absence of someone like Nicola and Andrew, it's curtains.

    Even if this does go to court, the horse has bolted. It was not long after the Force's last game that the player and coach signings began to roll out. Even if the court appeal against cutting the Force had been successful it was too late to have made 2018 a season unless they could have cancelled the new contracts etc.

    None the less, its a crying shame - going to miss the Force V Rebels fixtures.

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    Veteran chibi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    They even had the Western Reds failure to look at there.
    Is my arms length memory correct there that League made the WR pay both their own and visiting teams flights and accom?
    Yes, that's right. It was a significant part of the reason they left for Super League. Super League also selected rep teams without bias, which was another, though more minor issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    The way they handled the WA situation just three short years after RWC 2003 was idiotic to say the least...
    Too right, and if Australian Rugby had more balls at the administrative level, we would have had the WA side in Super Rugby before that '03 world cup; instead of sitting there like a pushover and copping a veto from our "closest SANZAR partner"

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    They even had the Western Reds failure to look at there.
    Is my arms length memory correct there that League made the WR pay both their own and visiting teams flights and accom?
    I couldn't be 100% sure but as I remember it was offered as part of the bid. It probably would have failed anyway as they didn't have the funding they claimed so they had to go with Rupert Murdoch, who had suddenly developed such an obsession with RL that he selflessly volunteered to take the game to the world and make all the players wealthy.

    It didn't fail from lack of interest as the average crowd was around 10,000. Also, the Storm concept was John Robot's baby and his reward (including the Reds players) for organising the "revolting peasants"

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    Last edited by shasta; 09-06-24 at 20:59.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    for organising the "revolting peasants"
    Yes, I know I've already used it...

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    . Maybe they should have got this bloke to save the Rebels

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