Complete the 2024 NRL Rivalry Survey for the good of RUGBY LEAGUE SCIENCE
It’s time to for the 2024 NRL RIVALRY SURVEY. Complete the survey and share it with your friends.
I last ran the survey in early 2022 - read the dissection - which received some interest and reached some interesting conclusions. However, the survey itself could have been more clear and I wonder if Broncos fans were uniquely despondent at that specific point in time.
So I want to go again and see what’s changed. Does everyone hate the Dolphins now? Please complete the survey and let's find out.
The survey, which you can complete here, is open to all NRL fans. I expect that with a slightly larger core audience but much less overall reach than I had in 2022, the response rate will be lower and skewed more heavily to the Q4 but this is what we have to work with. Then again, this is not an academic work and is mostly for entertainment purposes.
Last time I closed it once I got at least 10 responses from all the clubs (600+ total) and the Titans had the fewest responses bar the Dolphins, who were still a year away from debuting. I’m not sure when I will close it this year but I will send out a few reminders before then.
Complete the survey. If you want the results delivered to you, then its time to subscribe:
New season, new rule
To quote the regional Queensland News Corp papers, “The NRL has scrapped penalties for illegal restarts in a bid to encourage more teams to take short kick-offs and dropouts,” which is the clearest explanation of the change that I’ve read, drily announced by the NRL as “2024 Laws and Interpretations”.
Not sure why people keep connecting this to the Broncos?! Have I completely mentally blocked the entire grand final experience from my brain? Yes.
This is far too early in the season to be changing rules. There's five weeks until kick off. This should be announced the night before in Vegas. Ridiculous.
Where's the juice? This barely scratches at the fabric of the game, let alone rips. PVL should have legalised one forward pass per play. Also you get a set restart for every 10 metres advanced but sets are now only four tackles. And tries are worth six points, conversions one and other goals three. That's real tinkering the Americans will get on board with.
I didn’t realise some people hate the short drop-out1. I thought the risk-reward was well balanced, a bit like going for it on fourth down, but now its skewed to have more short drop-outs which, even as a proponent, I didn’t realise there was a dearth of short kicking.
Finally, whatever. We know what this administration is, does and how it thinks. It’s not going to change and we can only endure it. At least now one of the highlights of the season is going to see which players and refs understand the new rules and which ones don't.
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Ils sont revenus
Pacifique Treize, the Noumea based rugby league team which aims to provide opportunities to players from the French speaking territories in the Pacific, namely New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna and French Polynesia, are set to undertake a historic first ever tour of Australia. Here’s the squad and here’s the jerseys.
Pacifique Treize is an attempt to funnel Francophone South Pacific talent into a Queensland rugby league pathway, not unlike the Hunters did for Papua New Guinea2 . And like the Hunters, AS Pacifique XIII would make overseas France, and by extension metropolitan France and so to the EU, canonically Maroon3.
I had assumed that the program was a victim of covid, having announced that they existed shortly after the pandemic began but before it consumed a couple of years of our lives. But P13 is back, and probably never really went away. As a confluence of French, Queensland and rugby league, I find this very cool. For example, 16 year old, Remisio Lakina, will make history this February when he becomes the first ever Rugby League player from the small pacific territory of Wallis & Futuna.
Naturally, there is a long way to go from three U17 games to a fully-fledged Queensland Cup franchise. In the interim, the plan is to enter the age grade competitions and even if that’s a sporting disaster, the Clydesdales weren’t much chop before re-joining the senior competition, so let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
On a NRLW-style pace of expansion, surely they’re four or five years away from the current crop of kids aging into reserve graders. There’s potential to supplant that talent with some métro Elite 1ers coming down (think Pat Tempelman, Darryn Schonig or Zac Santo but French, so like Hnaloan Budden) and accelerate the timeline to a few years, which would probably be as soon as the QRL would welcome a new team in the senior mix in any case.
Surely, it couldn’t be that hard a sell to live in the South Pacific, play rugby league make $35k and have a “job” from one of the sponsors to get through the French off-season? Longer term, Le Treize could help bolster the second tier of French players and, one hopes, strengthen the national team.
I will definitely be keeping an eye on developments.
Incidentally, I wonder if there's any signs of how future Raiders teams will play in 1995?
Huh, weirdly prescient. I wonder what became of the Raiders #7?
Uh, what happened to club licencing?
I wrote about this towards the end of 2022 and then more or less forgot about it for 15 months. I’ve had a bit on my plate.
In short, there exists a legal agreement between the NRL and each of the clubs governing the clubs’ participation in the NRL. To quote the 2019 Broncos annual report:
Under the Deed, the term of the Club Agreement, which was due to expire on 31 October 2018, was extended for five years to 31 October 2023. The Deed also included a commitment by the NRL to transfer ownership of club intellectual property or trademarks (IP) back to clubs.
In among the tumult of the RLPA negotiations towards the end of 2022, we saw headlines about REBEL BREAKAWAY COMPETITIONS as clubs tried to apply pressure to the administration in the most ridiculous manner possible. As far as I can tell - and if you know something, just reply to this email - the whole issue has been strangely silent and the deadline has passed with nary a murmur. Part of that will be that it took V’Landys until August 2023 to finally cave under the slightest pressure to player demands and in doing so, provided direction on future club funding and the salary cap, which is what the clubs said they wanted.
This silence presumably means the clubs are satisfied. This is directly related to perpetual licencing, also discussed in 2022 and included the wonderful hypothetical of a potential Titans owner being an - and I quote - “international cocaine smuggler”, and adjacent to clubs getting control of their own IP back from the ARLC/NSWRL, as noted above although this process does not appear to be complete, and Souths breaking from the rest of the NRL in the way they set up their website4, which had been a consistent layout for all clubs over the last five-plus years.
One of the main theses of the V’Landys administration has been to decentralise rights, responsibilities and resources, moving these from head office to the clubs. This will ultimately mean a less consistent experience of the National Rugby League across the nation, and its doubtful the clown car of NRL clubs’ managements should be responsible for important pillars of the game, but at least V’Landys’ power base is secure. Assuming no one replies to this email with better information, we may only discover what, if anything, has happened once the Broncos’ annual report is released in April or if the NRL get around to releasing a 2023 report at some point.
That said, even if we discover what’s in the new agreements, which is unlikely in the extreme, I’m not at all sure it will Matter. At most, we will see 99-year licences, which is the de facto arrangement anyway as no one has had the guts to do what needed to be done, and fans of the weaker Sydney clubs can rejoice in their security.
Fairly self-explanatory as an interesting historical artefact. Personally, I think John Quayle comes off as a real know-it-all prick, which is ironic considering he’s a dinosaur that missed the Chicxulub impactor because his head is so far up his own ass.
While we’re on late 2022 hysterics, remember Global Round?
“Jotham Russell is one of two Australians to have been chosen for the 2024 class of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program.” We last heard from Jotham as he was trying to kill someone (Devils #14 below) in a Colts game.
“Excitement is building around Papua New Guinea’s bid to have its own team in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL). Australia is providing big bucks – $600 million over 10 years – to PNG, in addition to technical support, to put together a strong bid. But it is not a done deal.” Pretty good read about some of the hurdles the PNG bid would have to clear to join and/or remain in the NRL.
“The management arm of the NRL teams, Broncos Limited (ASX: BBL), informed that the profit before tax for the Group, for CY23, is expected to surge approximately 70% to 80% above the 2022 result of $4.7 million. This financial leap is attributed to the stellar performance of the NRL and NRLW teams during the 2023 season, culminating in Grand Final and Semi Final appearances, respectively.”
The 2024 World Club Challenge is going to Wigan, and has sold out, which means the Panthers are a bigger draw in England than Australia. The Pre-Season Challenge™️ is down to 16 teams, which is not news but it only occurred to me belatedly. That takes about 5% of the fun out and there wasn't a whole lot to start with.
Something about Matt Burton being a flat earther? Get Dane Gagai to knock some sense into him (and Tino to pull him away when he’s had enough sense added).
Kalyn Ponga did Play School Story Time, which is not Play School proper but is a spinoff in the Play School Extended Universe. It’s not quite Bluey but it's something.
Chelsea McLeod and Alisha Foord sign for the Cutters
Sharney Upton, Delaney Claridge, Bree Spreadborough and Gemma Brennan sign for the Capras
Not new but fun: The night Burleigh almost beat Great Britain
Not Queensland: David Hughes responds to London Broncos IMG grading. Incidentally, the London away jerseys look great (although it’s not clear why the photograph is so dark) and should be worth several grading points on its own.
Lol: England could turn to Pacific Championships entry amid meaningful competition risk. We should run the Pacific Championships every year and then every fourth one is just called the World Cup. Alternatively, how about Queensland opts out of the State Championship and England sends their national team down for that?
Lmao: “The clubs’ chief executives wrote to NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo on December 16 asking for a meeting to resolve the issues. At the time, Abdo was on a week-long promotional tour in the US city with handpicked players and reporters, including the Herald. Frustrated by the NRL’s lack of urgency, they have since insisted V’landys attend the meeting. The situation reached boiling point on Friday when the NRL’s advice about visas dramatically changed.” Incidentally, 21,000 attendance in Vegas would be a pretty good result imo. If you expected more, you shouldn’t have.
Replacement for Qplus announced when?
I’m trying to avoid calling people cowards, because it’s overdone, but seriously c’mon.
Perhaps replacing the Hunters once they cheques clear from DFAT and they become too good for us plebs in Cup.
The Blues can have Fiji, whose Silktails have decamped from Ron Massey to Jersey Flegg for 2024.
This is weirdly what brought this topic back to front of mind.