Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Professionalism is killing nostalgia

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  • Angus Robertson,

    And they are putting motors on America's Cup boats.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    And they are putting motors on America's Cup boats.

    And Alinghi are gonna have a real advantage if they are allowed to keep that helicopter

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Walsh uses the example of eye-gouging; how much do you want to win that you are willing to damage another person's sight?

    And yet in another way, it's not the best example, because eye gouging, and similarly violent incidents, are more frequently picked up and punished in the professional era.

    Even compare the way rucking is done now to clips of the 70s matches- the stuff I've seen is actually quite uncomfortable to watch at times.

    I think the professional era has been stronger on preventing outright thuggery, but maybe less so on cyncism- if he brought up diving, that would've been a very good example.

    I think the real downside of encroaching professionalism is the loss of connection- the Franchise system US has is an extreme example, as, no matter what loyalty the supporters may have to the team, the franchise owner can up and leave- as evidenced in the last couple of years with the Seattle Supersonics NBA team. On a more frequent level, it's the way players are bought and sold, treated as brands rather than teammembers.

    Then there's the focus on the Bottom Line, of which the NZRFU seems to be obsessed with at the moment, much to the detriment of the long term future and prosperity of the sport. Which in turn leads to leads to a system of haves and have nots, which is most apparent in Premier League Football.

    It's not so much the sport, or even the results themselves, so much as the more nerfarious stuff around it. The loss of perspective, as the original post sagely puts it.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    The NZRU clarifies the criteria that will separate the Premiers from the Div Ones:

    Summary of Assessable Criteria

    · Population (10%);
    · Community Rugby (25%) - based on official player, referee and coach registrations;
    · Playing History (20%) – based on finishing position;
    · Player Development (15%) – based on academy performance and players selected in Super Rugby and national teams;
    · Financial Position and Performance (30%).

    All of the criteria are averaged over four years (2006 – 2009).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Thorpe,

    I heard Walsh and thought a lot was nostalgic rubbish.
    he raised the important issue that sporting organisations, amateur or professional should have well developed and accountable regimes in which young players should be required to continue with studies, or become involved in other aspects of commercial life, and not be left killing time between gym sessions.
    I agree that professional sport has less excuse for failing in these areas, but Walsh does not convince me that they actually do it worse than the old amateur set ups

    The game is cleaner, there are fewer attacks with intent to injure talented opposition and generally a lot less thuggery than in the past,mostly because of the improved technology, especially those so condemned tv cameras.

    Many a great amateur sportsman lost his way when the cheering died away. Let us remember Don Clark, possible the greatest matchwinner in the game, left this country convicted of shoplifting, and the list of those who descended into alcoholism and mental deterioration is never published, and certainly was already of considerable length before the All Blacks signed up for the modern professionalism.

    Hokianga • Since May 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Allan Moyle,

    Not read any of the press about the detail of NPC changes …but it looks compact and does have its own season window, esp. for the finals
    Having a small Div 1 with only 6 teams makes playing home and away seems like the right way to find the 2 most consistent teams to play a final to take on the promotion “chalice”.
    Round robin is an effective option for the Heartland, given the financial resources of the unions themselves and allows players in these unions to get a good number of games above local club level. Having recently starting watching club rugby in lieu of S14 on TV for the more involving experience, the NPC - are they still calling it that? – takes on some more interest, seeing which standout young club players are making it into these teams

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Meanwhile the Guardian reports on draconian new powers for next year's UK olympics. Not only police, butr also IOC agents will be able to smash their way into homes (using "reasonable force" - e.g. beating up anyone who gets in their way) to confiscate anything used in producing unauthorised advertising. This needn't just be flyers for Coke when Pepsi are the sponsor - it could be a server for a website protesting against Nike's sweatshops.

    That's the essence of Big Sport - no different to oil companies or arms manufacturers - except that nobody puts their tribal loyalties behind Shell or British Aerospace.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    Im really excited about the new structure for the NPC/Air NZ Cup. Especially having a home & away competition for Division 1, its good. Hopefully they've also thought of a way to assist teams that are promoted & relegated in order to avoid too much bouncing up & down.

    Based on the criteria for Division 1 its getting a little easier to predict who will be dropped down - i'm picking Manawatu, Northland, BoP and Tasman.

    Also, what the devil - Hawke's Bay want their own Super rugby team!

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Yes, the new Air NZ Cup looks good at first blush.

    Also, what the devil - Hawke's Bay want their own Super rugby team!

    This bid will be a good test of whether or not the NZRFU is open to different ideas and approaches. I am not hopeful since they track record indicates they have a bad "not invented here" syndrome.

    My spies tell me a very large sponsor has been lined up if this gets the nod. The team already has 12 Super 14 players one of whom is a recent All Black. Indeed it is heady to imagine that Hawke's Bay will start as favourites against Auckland at McLean Park next Saturday, but Auckland's provincial team is loaded with no-name club players. Hawkes Bay are well coached and if they have the money then they can easily attract the additional players to be 100% competitive.

    I've always thought the best solution to the Super 14 teams is to have the top five provincial teams plus, say, a draft of up to five out of province players to allow All Blacks who miss out to play in the Super Competition.

    McLean Park has a flash new stand and can apparently now hold 24,000 people. I've heard capacity estimates for the ground as low as 12,000 and but I've been to games there when the crowd was around the 25,000 mark and the place is packed to the rafters. But that was a long time ago and I doubt the modern control freaks of rugby admin would be comfortable with creaky temporary stands and milling throngs of excitable fans but metres from the touchlines.

    Which brings me to...

    I heard Walsh and thought a lot was nostalgic rubbish.

    I agree. he clearly never saw an Otago pack in the full flight with bits of flesh, clumps of mud and pieces of shirts flying out the back of the ruck in a passable impression of a tree mulcher. Or the unsportsmanlike, loathsome thuggery of Alex Wylie's Canterbury team.

    But I also think a lot of professional sport is a little like watching porn. It sorta looks like what you and your fellow amateurs do up and down the country every week, but the bodies look odd and no one is smiling much.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Yeah, there was no drug cheating or anything like that in sport until the nasty, nasty modern era.

    From his bag he takes a phial. "That, that's cocaine for our eyes and chloroform for our gums..."
    "Here," said Ville, tipping out the contents of his bag, "horse liniment to keep my knees warm. And pills? You want to see the pills?" They got out three boxes apiece.

    That's from an interview with the Pelissier brothers in 1924. And that was a time when professional cyclists made a living in many countries (including NZ) travelling around and racing at local events. It wasn't much of a living, but some people did quite well at it. We've had professional sportspeople for quite a long time, really. For instance, Major Taylor was basically a professional cyclist from childhood, and he was competing at Madison Square Gardens in the 1890s.

    So yes, nostalgic nonsense.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    It sorta looks like what you and your fellow amateurs do up and down the country every week, but the bodies look odd and no one is smiling much.

    And when they are, it's creepy.

    Also, what the devil - Hawke's Bay want their own Super rugby team!

    And another province may also put in a bid. Possibly Taranaki or Bay of Plenty. Like Hawkes Bay they are provinces with a good local player base and the urge to keep a hold of them and not have their best talent "migrate" to the Franchise bases.

    Having said that though, I don't support the bid. I think our player resources are stretched as it is and New Zealand cannot support six franchise teams.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Having said that though, I don't support the bid. I think our player resources are stretched as it is and New Zealand cannot support six franchise teams.

    The get rid of a non-performer like the Highlanders and give someone else a go.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Having said that though, I don't support the bid. I think our player resources are stretched as it is and New Zealand cannot support six franchise teams.

    Aye. I think any expansion team will struggle to get the level of player needed to be competitive.

    And the Highlanders will be screwed if they can't import half the Hawkes Bay Air NZ cup team. Something has to give.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    And the Highlanders will be screwed if they can't import half the Hawkes Bay Air NZ cup team. Something has to give.

    It should be the Higlanders who are dumped. Their Super 14 team is our poorest performer and their Otago Air NZ Cup team has consistantly performed poorly. They have small crowds and those who do turn up seem to moan all the time. In contrast,Hawke's Bay rugby is on an absolute high right now. Support and enthusiasm is at an all-time high. They've built a flash new stand and upgraded their lights. No one will moans about the cost of the new stand and they'd pack out their stadium every week. If you include Palmerston North, they've a bigger population than Otago to draw on and the weather for night rugby is better as well.

    No one has a absolute right to host a professional franchise, change to an area which is more enthusiastic and more united behind their team can only be good for rugby.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'll concede there's a fair argument that Highlanders should go if one team needed to go. I don't think the argument is as strong if it's swapsidaisy for a new franchise popping up.

    You'd want to take a fairly long term view. For a long time the Chiefs were the eternal bottom of the heap. An argument for them to fold and a third franchise to open up at Nelson Bays (for example) would have made no sense for population or business sense however.

    I think there are unanswered questions about what would then happen. Super franchises cover the whole country, Highlanders cover three provinces. Do they all get sucked into the Crusaders?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Well to be brutal Kyle, the questions of failure are for those who have failed to answer. Keeping a better organisation, better team and more enthusiastic fan base out because it all seems to hard for the losers to work out what to do next is not a good way to make decisions.

    The whole issue would be avoided if the best Air New Zealand Cup teams played in the Super 14. using a draft system would ensure top players could be farmed out to the successful Air NZ Cup teams. Such a policy would have seen Super Rugby in Invercargill, Tauranga and Napier.

    Much more to the point, there would be no Super Rugby at all in Dunedin, Hamilton and Auckland in 2009.

    But really, is the long term interests of rugby in New Zealand REALLY served by jaded and listless Aucklanders, and moaning Dunedinites? Sure, the Chiefs did well this season in making the final but really their performance in the finals showed they flattered to deceive.

    I think a Super 14 season this year of an empty Eden Park and Waikato Stadium and Carisbrook would act as exactly the sort of real, sharp, kick in the pants administrators and fans occassionally need to stop them taking their privileged position in NZ rugby for granted. And the sort of enthusiasm and excitement Super Rugby would bring when they games were played in Southland or BOP or Hawke's Bay would be quite a tonic to rugby in this country IMHO.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    You know what might work, (and I can't believe I'm saying this): another Super 14.

    So you have a "Super 10" say with the best teams from the SANZAR nations. And then, run at the same time, a "Top 10" with the next best teams. that way you could have HB, Otago, Melbourne, Perth, a couple of SAF teams and possibly even a PI or Japanese team. And naturally auto-promotion/relegation between the two.

    Oh and the "Top 10" could play during the daytime!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh and the "Top 10" could play during the daytime!

    Quit it you with your communist inspired drivel!

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The whole issue would be avoided if the best Air New Zealand Cup teams played in the Super 14. using a draft system would ensure top players could be farmed out to the successful Air NZ Cup teams. Such a policy would have seen Super Rugby in Invercargill, Tauranga and Napier.

    I'd be happy with something like that as long as there was something for last years super teams to do in the super season.

    Otherwise you'd have provinces work their butts off to build a super structure - marketing, coaches, administration, sponsors - only to lose them next year when they came 6th in the Air NZ cup. That's no way to build a sustainable organisation.

    Maybe while the super 14/15 is being played, the five NZ prem teams that didn't make it could play a second tier competition with the new Division One teams (that'd be 11 teams in total), for something like what Hadyn has indicated.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Quit it you with your communist inspired drivel!

    Come Comrade, we play rugby for glory of Nation!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    You know what might work, (and I can't believe I'm saying this): another Super 14.

    So you have a "Super 10" say with the best teams from the SANZAR nations. And then, run at the same time, a "Top 10" with the next best teams. that way you could have HB, Otago, Melbourne, Perth, a couple of SAF teams and possibly even a PI or Japanese team. And naturally auto-promotion/relegation between the two.

    Oh and the "Top 10" could play during the daytime!

    I think this would be the way to go. If we accept that the NPC is now and forever a 2nd class competition; then the true answer to whats bad about Super Rugby is to turn it into a proper competition - two (or more) divisions would be ace. And if they played home & away as well!! I can but hope.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    “I don't know when Walsh started watching sport but it must have been a wondrous time, possibly before the invention of television and radio.”

    It must have predated the 16 December 1905 All Blacks vs Wales match in Cardiff - where Bob Deans was robbed of his try in the late stages of the game by a cheating Welshman who pulled him back from the try line, and an unfit Scots referee who was 30 yards behind the game when Deans scored, and in no position to judge.

    Deans went to his deathbed firm in his stance that he, and New Zealand, was robbed on that day.

    So, if he was roughly 13 at the time, David Walsh would need to be 117 or there-abouts.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    So it's Taranaki who put int eh other Super 15 bid. Good for them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Pffft. Taranaki? They've got a stoopid cow as a mascot and they all marry their cousins over there.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    Taranaki, hmmm, I have a harder time believing they would succeed in Super rugby than HB. But then again, aren't they already signing up Australians to play for them?

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

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