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Thread: Call to move Brumbies to Melbourne

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    Call to move Brumbies to Melbourne

    This old chestnut raises its ugly head again

    Call to move Brumbies to Melbourne

    By Peter Jenkins
    April 05, 2007


    PROMINENT rugby union officials are privately reigniting debate that the Brumbies should be uprooted from their Canberra base and transplanted to a new home in Melbourne.

    The issue has been a ticking bomb since the Brumbies were founded in 1996 - at the start of the professional era - to provide a third Australian province in the Super 12 competition.

    But the emergence of big-spending Western Force on the Australian rugby landscape, and the financial clout their corporate backers have brought, has senior figures outside the ACT wondering what the future holds for the side in the national capital.

    The latest concerns have been triggered by an ongoing tug of war for the services of Brumbies and Australia forward Mark Chisholm.

    Force wants him, and potential third-party endorsements have supposedly had Chisholm and his manager interested.

    Similar third-party deals, but on a far grander scale, plucked Matt Giteau from the Brumbies to play in Force colours this season.

    "They just don't have the financial muscle to compete at that level," a senior official from a rival franchise said of the Brumbies. (That would be from the Tahs or Reds...)

    "The Australian Rugby Union should have looked at all this before they brought the Force into Super 14.

    "They should have called for interested parties to apply for one of the four franchise licences, and then you would have had five submissions (from New South Wales, Queensland, ACT, Perth and Melbourne).

    "In terms of a corporate market, Melbourne would have surely been more attractive than Canberra.

    "It could still be done, and the team could still be the Brumbies. They would simply have a new home.

    "Take a look at the AFL. They have never moved to have a team full-time in Canberra. Why? Because the market isn't big enough."

    An ARU insider suggested: "You have to wonder whether people at the Brumbies have had the same thoughts. But if they were thinking ahead like that, they would be loath to say anything because they already have committed sponsors.

    "What will be interesting to see is how successful the Melbourne Rebels are (in the coming third-tier national competition), in terms of crowd support and sponsorship backing." (And perhaps worth waiting til then before bringing up this topic?)

    The pro-Melbourne push has also raised questions about the Brumbies once home-grown foundation players George Gregan and Stephen Larkham and the long-serving Stirling Mortlock finish playing.

    Will the Brumbies be able to recruit successfully and remain competitive? If not, how will it impact on their corporate backing?

    Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan has heard the arguments before.

    He scoffed last night, suggesting it made no sense to remove the two-time Super 12 winners from Canberra.

    "It's never been tabled for discussion by me or any of my predecessors at the ACT Rugby Union," he said.

    "We made a healthy profit last year and hope to do the same this season.

    "Our corporate sponsorships stack up with the three other provinces, they're certainly in the same ball park.

    "The naming rights sponsorship with Computer Associates is a seven-figure annual deal. We have 40-odd sponsors and a solid corporate network."

    As for Chisholm, Fagan is confident he will stay, especially if the contracting protocols put in place by the ARU are adhered to in the chase for his signature.

    Third-party endorsements, Fagan said, could not be used as an inducement by a franchise to lure a player.

    Those "extras" can only be sourced by a player's manager.

    But Fagan acknowledges the blurred line in trying to police the policy.

    "The Force have admitted they provided the 'fish finder' that delivered Matt Giteau's third-party deals," he said.

    "The protocols have been tightened since then. Such a comment in 2007 would be a clear breach of those protocols."

    Fagan also claimed that third-party endorsements should be of increasing concern to the ARU.

    "Money doesn't grow on trees and if we want four competitive and healthy teams we've got to be careful we don't start eating our own," he said.

    He also argued that the ARU's long-term vision made it foolhardy to suggest the Brumbies move to Melbourne.

    After 2010, when the existing broadcasting agreement with News Limited expires and changes to the Super 14 and Tri-Nations competitions will be explored, the national body may look to establish a fifth provincial franchise.

    The obvious choice, at this stage, is Melbourne.

    If the Brumbies were moved there beforehand, Canberra could surely not be revisited. So where then would a fifth team head?

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    Oh give me a break... they wouldn't be the Brumbies anymore! They'd be some... other.. team.

    Melbourne didn't get their own team when it went to S14 we did!!
    So they should have to sit and wait until it's decided to make S16... or whatever... I don't know what I'm talking about actually but just leave the Brumbies where they are

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    Excuse the mini-rant but this is one thing that really makes my blood boil and I doubt I am the only one.

    Every few months this comes up (and mostly in the Sydney media!) and then gets shot down because it just won't happen. Canberra has had our basketball, soccer and cricket teams taken away but they aren't taking our Brumbies! If Melbourne really needed and deserved a team they would have been picked over Perth but they weren't and don't. Would the Brumbies really be the most successful Australian team in Super Rugby if they came from Melbourne? Like Perth is finding out now, being a bit isolated from the other teams is in no way a hindrence if anything it is a benefit as it creates a close knit environment where it is more than just the footy that makes it a team. One quote that has stuck with me is something foundation captain Brett Robinson said "the Brumbies is about friendship, fun, family and football." The order is indicative of just what makes the Brumbies the Brumbies.
    Proud to be Australian with a Brumby on our chest.

    Okay, rant over.

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    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    they cant get there own team so there trying to steal someone elses. how much do they want the get enough f****ing sport already swim world champs, commenwealth games and every time somthing like that comes around it goes strait to melborne. i bet they couldnt evan get the crowds the brumbies get in canberra each year.

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    Legend Contributor Flamethrower's Avatar
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    You all have to remember how much the Vic's love their sport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamethrower
    You all have to remember how much the Vic's love their sport.
    Bugger FT, you stole my post.

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    Legend Contributor Flamethrower's Avatar
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    Just thought I would get it in while Burgs was offline

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    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    im sure i love sport more than any vic and im also sure half of victoria are silly old people whos lives revovle around afl. thats all they care about not rugby. only a few melborne storm games were sold out last year it took them about 16 rounds of winning to get lots of people there and the stadium is not a big one i dont see them getting much people for the union.

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