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Dory_77

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Interestingly the rugby union board has a single WC thread dedicated to all the matches. That thread has around 500 posts. I reckon one of our game day threads would get more than that (especially if J Wagner is playing) and we have one of the smaller BigFooty bases.

I live overseas and have a hard time explaining to others that Australians outside of Queensland and NSW couldn't give less of a fu** about rugby union.
Watched the QF last night with a mate from Sydney and they had barely any idea of what we were watching. I think Union could completely drop out of 'major code' territory in Australia in the next couple of years after that showing; an indifferent WC performance and no big stars coming through to at least sell some tickets to games (Korobete, maybe). The next coach will need to be bloody good to sort it out.
 

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Gysberts2Bate

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Watched the QF last night with a mate from Sydney and they had barely any idea of what we were watching. I think Union could completely drop out of 'major code' territory in Australia in the next couple of years after that showing; an indifferent WC performance and no big stars coming through to at least sell some tickets to games (Korobete, maybe). The next coach will need to be bloody good to sort it out.
Union is dead in this country. Was poisoned by Sydneyside elite in the 90s, has died a slow and painful death since 2003.
 

Dory_77

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Union is dead in this country. Was poisoned by Sydneyside elite in the 90s, has died a slow and painful death since 2003.
Yeah, the organisation have nuffed it completely. There's a reasonably strong and passionate grassroots supporter base (at least that I've seen in the ACT/rural NSW), but it doesn't translate to anything at the higher levels.
 

Cannon82

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This is big"footy" not backwards throw ball
A League, Premier League etc have a fair following on the boards. I found that out when I was watching a replay of a game and they helpfully highlighted the final scores of the game I was watching at the top of the BigFooty page. Bastards.

Union is dying and hopefully league isn't far behind. At least Union has a semi-respectable world cup, though.
 

Cannon82

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Union is dead in this country. Was poisoned by Sydneyside elite in the 90s, has died a slow and painful death since 2003.
"Poisoned by the Sydnseyside elite in the 90s"? How so?

Union was fantastic in the 90s and the Super rugby competition was also good viewing in the 90s/00s, but Australia being garbage has been one of the bigger detriments to the game. Its such a small talent pool to pick from, unfortunately.
 

Gysberts2Bate

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"Poisoned by the Sydnseyside elite in the 90s"? How so?

Union was fantastic in the 90s and the Super rugby competition was also good viewing in the 90s/00s, but Australia being garbage has been one of the bigger detriments to the game. Its such a small talent pool to pick from, unfortunately.
It’s a small talent pool to pick from because they destroyed the game at the grassroots level and made routine poor coaching investments throughout the system. 90s were time to pull ahead of league but they maladministered and went for short term individual gains knowing they were in a golden age of Wallabies players anyway (which manufactured the success of 1999-2002) and there was never any coming back. Somehow union participation numbers have gone down in the past decade or two while tier 2 nations have gone from strength to strength. The Wallabies biggest problem is that 90% of athletes in this country play alternative codes. Won’t take long for the Wallabies to slide out of the top 10 countries in the world and become totally irrelevant, unless the NRL somehow dies and all the talent floods into union.
 

Cannon82

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It’s a small talent pool to pick from because they destroyed the game at the grassroots level and made routine poor coaching investments throughout the system. 90s were time to pull ahead of league but they maladministered and went for short term individual gains knowing they were in a golden age of Wallabies players anyway (which manufactured the success of 1999-2002) and there was never any coming back. Somehow union participation numbers have gone down in the past decade or two. Won’t take long for the Wallabies to slide out of the top 10 countries in the world and become totally irrelevant, unless the NRL somehow dies and all the talent floods into union.
How did they destroy the game at the grass roots level?

Problem with union is that was fairly apparent back then is that they were reliant on private schools and some high schools / regions to supply talent. My school's Saturday rugby team folded in my last year of school. The demographics of schools have changed over the years and sport is less of a priority now than it was in the past. Kids simply aren't playing as much sport as they used to (across the board), and union is going to be affected badly by that given the influx of more-academically focused and more "socially"-focused students () into their tiny puddle of talent.

Having lived in a number of locations over the last 8 odd years, competitions across the board are generally struggling to fill their sides and plenty of teams have folded, merged or chopped grades. Sport in general just isn't as popular or dedicated now.
 

Gysberts2Bate

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How did they destroy the game at the grass roots level?

Problem with union is that was fairly apparent back then is that they were reliant on private schools and some high schools / regions to supply talent. My school's Saturday rugby team folded in my last year of school. The demographics of schools have changed over the years and sport is less of a priority now than it was in the past. Kids simply aren't playing as much sport as they used to (across the board), and union is going to be affected badly by that given the influx of more-academically focused and more "socially"-focused students () into their tiny puddle of talent.

Having lived in a number of locations over the last 8 odd years, competitions across the board are generally struggling to fill their sides and plenty of teams have folded, merged or chopped grades. Sport in general just isn't as popular or dedicated now.
This is literally all because of a lack of investment. It’s not as though the opportunity wasn’t there for the ARU to break its reliance upon the private school sector; they just didn’t take it. Also the numbers on any sport other than rugby union don’t support a decline in participation. Australia just isn’t keeping up with the rest of the world. The UK started taking sport extremely seriously post-2003, made it a funding priority through the National Lottery, and is now a powerhouse at Olympic level and most of their national sports. Same with a lot of others. Australia’s biggest issue is with the corporatisation and elite gatekeeping of sports (and arts and a few other things) which has compromised the talent pool. Like I said, well on its way to irrelevance while many other countries will shoot past us.
 

Cannon82

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This is literally all because of a lack of investment. It’s not as though the opportunity wasn’t there for the ARU to break its reliance upon the private school sector; they just didn’t take it. Also the numbers on any sport other than rugby union don’t support a decline in participation. Australia just isn’t keeping up with the rest of the world. The UK started taking sport extremely seriously post-2003, made it a funding priority through the National Lottery, and is now a powerhouse at Olympic level and most of their national sports. Same with a lot of others. Australia’s biggest issue is with the corporatisation and elite gatekeeping of sports (and arts and a few other things) which has compromised the talent pool. Like I said, well on its way to irrelevance while many other countries will shoot past us.
Not talking about the UK here. I think this would work better if you stopped throwing buzzwords at me and got down to specifics.

Competitions and clubs merging and folding sure do support the decline in numbers. In cricket for example, they fluff the numbers and count kids who play in multiple teams as two kids to boost the stats. It also looks better for participation levels if you have a core team of 6 or 7 with another 15 or 20 ring-ins to make up the numbers rather than a dedicated smaller number of players who play every week. The standard of competition in a lot of these places is also shocking. A lot of people playing in lower grades have hardly played before.

You don't think kids choosing to play XBox, Playstation, computer games, go to the beach, to festivals, stay home at study, work on Saturdays etc isn't a major driver in the decline in sport in this country?
 

Topkent

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I could name more members of the wallabies early 2000s team than I could name of players since.

Sport in Australia is dying people just don't realise it
 

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Gysberts2Bate

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Not talking about the UK here. I think this would work better if you stopped throwing buzzwords at me and got down to specifics.

Competitions and clubs merging and folding sure do support the decline in numbers. In cricket for example, they fluff the numbers and count kids who play in multiple teams as two kids to boost the stats. It also looks better for participation levels if you have a core team of 6 or 7 with another 15 or 20 ring-ins to make up the numbers rather than a dedicated smaller number of players who play every week. The standard of competition in a lot of these places is also shocking. A lot of people playing in lower grades have hardly played before.

You don't think kids choosing to play XBox, Playstation, computer games, go to the beach, to festivals, stay home at study, work on Saturdays etc isn't a major driver in the decline in sport in this country?
Rugby participation has gone down by 60% since 2003. If you honestly believe that's due to the same factors as a 'potential' decline in other sports then we're clearly having different discussions.
 

Cannon82

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I could name more members of the wallabies early 2000s team than I could name of players since.

Sport in Australia is dying people just don't realise it
Yep. We had a very strong sporting culture decades ago. Now we don't. We used to punch above our weight on the international stage. Now we don't.
 

Cannon82

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Rugby participation has gone down by 60% since 2003. If you honestly believe that's due to the same factors as a 'potential' decline in other sports then we're clearly having different discussions.
I'm not interested in getting into a lengthy discussion on a Sunday so we'll leave it there. Suffice to say that buzzwords and a few choice and quite selective stats don't paint much of a picture for me.
 

Cannon82

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not sure which buzzwords i used but as per usual we'll both just put this one down to the other person being fundamentally wrong on every single level and move on
"Corporatisation", "elite gate-keeping" etc are contextually meaningless to me. How is gate-keeping going on when someone can join their local sports club for the price of registration fees? People aren't being prevented from playing sport, they're choosing not to or prioritizing other things (ie work, study, social activities) over them. Womens' sports are also going through "corparatisation" but they're going from strength to strength courtesy of subsidization from the main sporting bodies and the government.
 

Gysberts2Bate

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"Corporatisation", "elite gate-keeping" etc are contextually meaningless to me. How is gate-keeping going on when someone can join their local sports club for the price of registration fees? People aren't being prevented from playing sport, they're choosing not to or prioritizing other things (ie work, study, social activities) over them. Womens' sports are also going through "corparatisation" but they're going from strength to strength courtesy of subsidization from the main sporting bodies and the government.
I just don't believe that overall sporting participation is the cause of rugby's demise so much as a deliberate sequestering of the sport by its elite around the turn of the century. Not surprisingly Australia does better at things where it doesn't try to maintain in-clubs for the bougie types, and rugby absolutely is one of those things. Like I said if they'd wanted to make it more accessible and reach out to young players who chose instead to play league throughout the 00's and 10's and make pathways to elite sport more likely they would have - but they didn't and now there's no going back. It's a miracle that Israel Folau ended up at the Wallabies - a shame that Cronk, Inglis, Thurston, Hayne and others didn't also try to make a quick buck at GWS. Australia has become uniquely shithouse at union since 2003 - whether it is or isn't because of overall decline in sport it's definitely because of the ARU just being awful. High degree of corruption going on there pre-2005.

Also doesn't help that other countries are simply getting better at things while having bigger populations (and faster growing middle class populations) while we're just stagnating.
 

Cannon82

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I just don't believe that overall sporting participation is the cause of rugby's demise so much as a deliberate sequestering of the sport by its elite around the turn of the century. Not surprisingly Australia does better at things where it doesn't try to maintain in-clubs for the bougie types, and rugby absolutely is one of those things. Like I said if they'd wanted to make it more accessible and reach out to young players who chose instead to play league throughout the 00's and 10's and make pathways to elite sport more likely they would have - but they didn't and now there's no going back. It's a miracle that Israel Folau ended up at the Wallabies - a shame that Cronk, Inglis, Thurston, Hayne and others didn't also try to make a quick buck at GWS. Australia has become uniquely shithouse at union since 2003 - whether it is or isn't because of overall decline in sport it's definitely because of the ARU just being awful. High degree of corruption going on there pre-2005.

Also doesn't help that other countries are simply getting better at things while having bigger populations (and faster growing middle class populations) while we're just stagnating.
How is the sport being "deliberately sequestered by the elite"? You're presenting a daffy phrase now instead of a buzzword. The "heartlands" of Union are the eastern/northern suburbs of Sydney and probably something similar in Brisbane. They're not the biggest areas to begin with, they're high COL areas that have gone through significant cultural shifts in the last 20 to 30 years. You don't see that many Chinese or Indian kids playing Union. Oddly enough, they have different priorities. Union is played in other places mostly around regional NSW and QLD, but is definitely not the main or perhaps in the top 3 sports in the area (ie cricket, AFL, football, perhaps league depending on location). So if that relatively small base for Union starts to degrade in terms of support and talent being supplied, the sport is going to go downhill quickly.

Other countries might be getting better, we might just be sliding back into the pack or further behind. I kind of doubt other countries are really doing anything ground-breaking. Kids and parents in first world countries would be in very similar boats to here as to their options. The Kiwis are still fantastic at Union because they live and breathe that shit over there. High school kids have training every day. Look at GWS and the AFL - they're bending over backwards to make the AFL a home in western Sydney, but hard to say if they've made any significant inroads at all during their time there. Western Sydney is hard-core football and League territory. Making AFL more "accessible" doesn't seem to have improved the Giants following or the amount of talent being funneled out of Sydney too much, particularly given GWS do most of their academy recruiting out of the Riverina / Albury zones.

Also, it was never a choice between Union and League in a lot of these areas. I bounced between football, Union and AFL when I was growing up. Plenty of other kids did the same. We'd shuffle around codes depending on what our mates were doing.
 

Gysberts2Bate

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How is the sport being "deliberately sequestered by the elite"? You're presenting a daffy phrase now instead of a buzzword. The "heartlands" of Union are the eastern/northern suburbs of Sydney and probably something similar in Brisbane. They're not the biggest areas to begin with, they're high COL areas that have gone through significant cultural shifts in the last 20 to 30 years. You don't see that many Chinese or Indian kids playing Union. Oddly enough, they have different priorities. Union is played in other places mostly around regional NSW and QLD, but is definitely not the main or perhaps in the top 3 sports in the area (ie cricket, AFL, football, perhaps league depending on location). So if that relatively small base for Union starts to degrade in terms of support and talent being supplied, the sport is going to go downhill quickly.

Other countries might be getting better, we might just be sliding back into the pack or further behind. I kind of doubt other countries are really doing anything ground-breaking. Kids and parents in first world countries would be in very similar boats to here as to their options. The Kiwis are still fantastic at Union because they live and breathe that shit over there. High school kids have training every day. Look at GWS and the AFL - they're bending over backwards to make the AFL a home in western Sydney, but hard to say if they've made any significant inroads at all during their time there. Western Sydney is hard-core football and League territory. Making AFL more "accessible" doesn't seem to have improved the Giants following or the amount of talent being funneled out of Sydney too much, particularly given GWS do most of their academy recruiting out of the Riverina / Albury zones.

Also, it was never a choice between Union and League in a lot of these areas. I bounced between football, Union and AFL when I was growing up. Plenty of other kids did the same. We'd shuffle around codes depending on what our mates were doing.
im not sure what exactly we disagree on here. No one plays union anymore because the opportunity to do so has been sucked out even in its heartlands, let alone any attempts to expand being non-existent. The only point of contention seems to be whether the huge chunk of people not playing union now are not playing sport at all or are playing other sports instead, and whether or not the ARU is at all responsible for that in either case.
 

El Sketcho

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At a national sports organisation level, without corporate sponsorship or independent revenues (ticket sales, merchandise, etc.), the sports are reliant on government funding. No shocking information there.

The current, though increasingly unpopular, funding model is called "Winning Edge". It is designed to deliver the most olympic medals possible, a bang for your buck idea. Rather than support participation, the money is put into sports which have a high chance of winning, prefereably multiple, olympic medals (swimming, sailing, shooting and the like).

Having been involved in NSO business, there are sports where despite an increase in participation, funding is cut. The AIS has been gutted, there are only a small handful of sports still based there. The sports science department, an absolute world leader in it's field, has been decimated. There are presently more administrators than athletes. The primary function for the AIS now is tours and to host school camp groups.

There have been reasonable and audited participation surveys from Sport Australia that say that participation numbers are mostly steady, but slightly down for contact sports.

The sport I am involved with has been told that even if we qualify for Tokyo (which is the hardest tournament in the sport to outright qualify for) there is no guarantee of continued levels of funding. A failure to qualify would almost certainly result in a decreased funding. Our national junior program is almost entirely athlete funded, not unlike many non first tier sports. We are a long way from winning olympic medals. But we host the largest, most gender equal, school participation event in the country (potentially the southern hemisphere). Our men are ranked in the top 15 in the world, and achieved their best ever result at world championships within the current olympic cycle. Our women have moved up thirty places in the last few years on the back of an athlete funded full time program. Our best coaches are being hired by other countries to run their national and/or junior development programs on the back of the work at the AIS since Sydney. Yet the government funding becomes smaller and smaller.

If you are not a sport with an Olympic medal chance or a big TV audience, you are simply being asked to do more with less. So the results are less.

With rugby's diminishing TV audience, they are at risk of falling into the same boat as the rest of us.
 
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