I t has been Rugby League Twitterati's overused cry of late that the game is dead or, at the very least , Dnd his last breath. It's usually nothing more than a whimper that shows little understanding of the history of sport in Australia or the UK.
There is one element of the game, however, which is at a crossroads following the decision of Australia and New Zealand to withdraw from the Cup world of rugby union later this year , as it is the culmination of a long-standing, uninspiring and ing on contempt Australian rugby league staged for international football. What could have been a decisive week for the international rugby league with the announcement that the The 2032 Olympics to be held at the heart of the league in Brisbane has movedembellished in yet another unnecessary self-inflicted drama.
One of the great tropes that those who laugh at the rugby league shy away from is that the game is lacking of a real international presence. While there have certainly been sporadic hits to those hits - most recently Tonga's rise and rise after the last World Cup and the Toronto Wolfpack experience - the game has essentially been confined to its traditional heart.
News that Brisbane will host the 2032 Games should have been considered by the Australian Rugby Union Commission (ARLC) and the world of the rugby league as a major opportunity to bring the game to the world. Brisbane is the rugby league capital of the world, but the decision to castrate the World Cup just shows how blinded the powerbrokers in the game are, and how little they care about opening up the game to the world.
Australia and New Zealand - the only nations to lift the World Cup since 1972 - announced Thursday that they would not participate in this year's tournament for reasons of" safety, health and well-being. -be. ”This is the flashpoint of a cold war between the powerbrokers in the southern hemisphere who did not want the World Cup to go as planned this year and the British organizers who were determined to keep the show going.
The NRL and Australian clubs essentially held the international match as a ransom and when the International Rugby League failed not acceded to requests to delay the tournament, they pulled the trigger and implemented the nuclear option.
Under the guise of Covid, the ARLC and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) refuse to send teams to what should be Rugby League's crown jewel, depriving the tournament of its greatest.s big names and its two most successful nations. This is weak justification for such a monumental move which has the real potential to end the International Rugby League.
Covid continues to have a major impact across the world but the UK has clearly demonstrated its ability to host major sporting events. Over the past month, England have hosted the Euro 2020 final, Wimbledon, the Open Championship and the British Grand Prix, true international events, all organized under strict health protocols. and security. There have been no notable issues with regards to athlete health or safety.
There is no doubt that Covid was used as a screen smoke by powerful Australian clubs and administrators to advance undermine something they deem intrusive and costly. The international rugby league, formerly prbased in Australia and New Zealand, now ranks third behind club play and home state in the southern hemisphere.
The positioning of the International Rugby League in the Australian pecking order is not new. It tended to decline in the mid-1980s for a number of reasons - with the power of the NRL clubs at the top of the list - and the chasm widened. But even the most ardent critic of the international game would find it astonishing to withdraw from a World Cup.
Although this has been touted as a matter of health and Safety is nothing more than a power play from Australian clubs wanting to make sure their players get an offseason and are ready to ride in 2021.
This was thinly disguised opportunism with little consideration given to the true long-term sustainability of the sport. The rugby league will never die - its resilience should never be underestimated - but that will never be all it could be because it can never overcome short-term goal.
The World Cup organizers are now in a terrible position. Proceed without the two biggest nations and two of the three biggest draws or bow down to the Australian clubs, further compromising the international game.
After the surprise victory of the New Zealand at the 2008 World Cup, there were significant opportunities for the growth and development of international football. Popularity in New Zealand has skyrocketed. The Pacific tests were introduced and for the first time Fiji, Samoa and Tonga made pamass participation of NRL players. Cup and beat Australia a year later. A revival of the Kangaroo Tour concept was mentioned. Without strategy and without counting on the generosity of the Australian clubs, all hope quickly vanishes.
S it's once again.
It 's a devastating week for the rugby league. The international game is now on life support. Unfortunately, again, it was short-term self-interest that got him there.