The Rugby League World Thimble

This is an article about Rugby League. So if you think that this is just another opportunity for the Rolling Maul to go League bashing you'd be right.

I bring your attention to the Rugby League World Cup, launched amongst almost no fanfare earlier this week by a guy in a suit in front of 30 guys in shorts and a camera man from Channel 9.

You really have to wonder why they bother. If the 'historic' one-off Centenary Test can only sell 10,000 tickets then what hope have they got selling tickets to Ireland vs Tonga? And if you think the competition will be one-sided and Australia ware the hot favourites you'd be right again. Check out these odds:

AUSTRALIA $1.25
NEW ZEALAND $6.00
ENGLAND $7.50
FRANCE $101
SAMOA $101
IRELAND $251
PAPUA NEW GUINEA $251
SCOTLAND $251
FIJI $501
TONGA $501

The frightening thing is that it wasn't so long ago that France were a competitive outfit (sort of). And what happened to Papua New Guinea, the only country on the planet where Rugby League is the National sport and where Mal Meninga can draw a crowd?

Credit where credit's due though. The League version of the World Cup pre dates the Union version by 33 years, but in the 54 years since it was first played there have only been 12 World Cups including this year's. And of the 12 there have only ever been 2 winners, Australia 9 times and Great Britain, who don't compete anymore because of the need for more teams, 3 times.

Also, if you think Rugby Union spends too much time tinkering with its World Cup that's nothing compared to League. Gaps of 2, 4, 5 and 8 years. Anywhere between 4 and 16 teams. Pool systems, home and away matches, qualifying matches, super pools, groups of 3 and 4 in the same competition. You name it they've done it.

So what is the purpose of this post? Only to bash Rugby League of course. That and the desire to avoid dwelling on the plight of the Waratahs who don't have a B Plan and Sam Norton-Knight can't kick under pressure and should be dropped and...

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