Australian Rugby has never had a tougher year. The average punter has never felt more disconnected from the fat cats in the ARU, and it seems that our idea’s of how to make the game great again are worlds apart. On top of that, the team that can change our whole perception of the game, the Wallabies, have so far failed to fire.
It seems like fans are turning their back on the professional game with record low attendance figures, and instead turning back to what started this great game, club rugby. The question then, is why have fans turned their backs on Super Rugby and the Wallabies? and how do we get them back?
One obvious key component is the handling of the Western Force, but i’ll leave that conversation for another time.
Poor skills and handling, atrocious results against foreign teams, expensive tickets, scheduling of games across different time zones and a confusing Super Rugby format all seem to play a part.
To all the disheartened fans I have great news. The NRC can, and will, bring back your passion!
Running rugby with 88 of the most creative tries in the first two weeks of the competition, will have even your League loving “mate” admitting that running rugby is back. Weekly derbies between three NSW sides, two Queensland sides and three more strong sides from around the country make every match up exciting. Did i mention that 2017 see’s the addition of the electric “Fijian Drua”, a team of somewhat surprisingly organised, fit and ready Fijian rugby players that keep you on the edge of your seat for an entire match. Not to mention the Horan-Little shield that is up for grabs throughout the season, which mimic’s the highly sort after Ranfurly shield from NZ’s Mitre 10 Cup.
The Rd 2 Highlight from Fiji Drua Vs Melbourne Rising
Love your club footy? Well you’ll find all of your favourite players duking it out against each other from round 1 all the way through to the grand final.
Club footy not high enough quality for you? We have all your Super rugby favourites, and even plenty of Wallabies on show to ensure we see the quality skills of Australia’s best. This week you’ll see some of our brightest stars like Quade Cooper, Jake Gordon, Sam Carter, Curtis Rona, Isi Naisarani and Taqele Naiyaravoro just to name a few!
There have been a few solid crowds in Perth and Brisbane for their champions. But as yet, despite the high quality, politic free, entertaining footy that is being played. Most people aren’t tuning in or heading out to games.
Some of the truely disapointing things i’ve heard in the last two weeks alone are:
1. A Sydney Subbies Club Rugby team BBQ chose to play the pregame of the Storm vs Parra Final (ON MUTE!) over an insanely entertaining Melbourne vs Fiji NRC game.
2. A large group of Women’s Rugby 7’s players left immediately after the final at Macquarie Uni to head down to the least anticipated rugby league final, the Cowboys vs Sharks game, rather than wait around to watch the NRC’s cracking derby between the Sydney Rays and the Greater Sydney Rams.
I talk about rugby to pretty much everyone, a lot of those people definitely aren’t interested.. But even the ones that love their Union regularly say they won’t watch the NRC. There is one common theme between nearly all of these rugby fans, they have never watched a game! Their opinion of the competition is based on hear say, and what the perceive the competition is about.
The future of Aussie Rugby is well and truely up in the air right now. The NRC is a fantastic product, and one that is here to stay. Do yourself a favour and tune in on foxtel, their website or app. It’s time to stop complaining about what is wrong with the game, and to start enjoying what is so right with it.
I’ll leave you with a few highlights of the first two rounds of this years competition from Rugby.com.au
Rd 1 Highlights of the NRC 2017
Rd 2 Highlights of the NRC 2017
Hopefully you’ll tune in soon, or better yet, I’ll see you in the Horned Army.
Written by Harrison Dale