Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: The Master Plan: No one can stop us now!

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Winning a world cup wouldn't hurt.

    Failing that, lessee... as far as the Air New Zealand cup is concerned, I think part of the problem is that New Zealanders don't hate their neighbours enough. Back home, every town has a variation of the following saying, mouthed in the example by somebody from Pisa:

    Meglio un morto in casa che un fiorentino alla porta (it's better to have a dead family member in the house than a Florentine at the door).

    That obviously helps with the ticket sales when the two teams play each other. But equally deep-seated antipathies can be developed over time also within the same town, if it happens to have two teams, or between far-away, seemingly unconnected places such Otago and North Harbour. You just need to know how to go about it.

    And on top of that you need serious skirmishes between rival supporters, of course, so we should find a way to encourage gang-like behaviour and widespread looting and vandalism. It's a key ingredient, because it's something you can't get by watching the game on the telly. Ideally we'd want a situation where each city that happens to host a game on a given weekend has to be militarized, as well as the main routes to and from the place of origin of the away team. Last sunday for instance a group of Napoli supporters took over the train to Rome, threatening the other passengers and making millions worth of damage. Fixing all this damage create jobs and raises the country's GDP, which is a nice bonus. It also keeps the police and health personnel from idling on what would otherwise be a slow day.

    In terms of human cost, what you want is a casualty per season, on average. More than that, it could keep families away; less than that, the hatred could dissipate.

    Or you could take the view that things are fine as they are right about now.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • noizyboy,

    New Zealanders don't hate their neighbours enough.

    You've obviously never been to a Canterbury v. Auckland game at Lancaster Park.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The friendly-match format turned out to be quite useful for revealing which All Black players have the class to stay on track and not turn into complete eggs.

    Kahui, Hore and Williams were among that number.

    Nonu and Lauaki most assuredly were not.

    But I'm with Henry in thinking the match was not without its uses. I wonder if it might have done Toeva and Thompson quite a lot of good. In particular, Thompson was not only quick to the tackle, he wasn't a complete and utter doofus when he got there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    How's this:

    1. Stop treating us fans like fools
    2. Change the perception by us fans that the ABs are mainly there to be squeezed and squeezed until the last drop of gold has been extracted.
    3. Set up a competition where real teams (not franchises) play in a competition where they can reach the pinnacle of the game, or drop through the trapdoor.
    4. Create a competition where Heartland, National and Super comp's are all linked in a hierachy.
    5. Demand the Aussies sort their crap out regarding a domestic comp, that is what is killing the domestic comps here and in SAf, because it's only about what SANZAR wants nowadays.
    6. Have a salary cap or other limits on the big 4 poaching.
    7. Have a Nth vs. Sth Isle of Origin 3 game mid-week series each year that would double as an AB trial.

    Imagine a competition as per the following:

    - National div's 1 & 2, played July to Sept each year with promotion and relegation.

    - The top 4 teams in Div 1 go on to play Super Rugby comp following year

    - Super rugby comp with 12 teams (4 teams x 3 countries) plays March to May each year.

    - Tri N goes back to home and away tests only. Is played every 2 years, not every year, in the middle year between World Cups.

    - In between, we get a proper Winter tour by one of the test playing nations (including Aus and SAf)

    Imagine Taranaki or Southland getting 4th in Div 1 one year and making it into the Super comp, magic stuff. Also, it would force the Aucks and Cantabs to use their best players in the national comp because a Super comp would depend on it. With those players included, some of the spark would return.

    Of course, we'll have to dynamite NZRU headquarters in Wellie first.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    As a Counties supporter (yes, I know, why aren't we being dropped instead of Northland and Tasman, who were not bottom last year and will not be bottom this year......) the main thing wrong with New Zealand provincial rugby is the Super 14.

    Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and to a lesser extent Dunedin hoover up all the rugby talent in the country at the start of the year, then hang on to them for the NPC/Air New Zealand Cup. This leaves the rest of the teams struggling with locally-grown players and no All Blacks (not that the main centre teams have many Al Blacks either). When a competition can only ever have one of 4 winners, it gets a bit boring.

    The other main thing wrong is the lack of big-name players in the NPC/ANZC/whatever it's called this week. Before rotation, and not that long ago actually, the Super 14 and All Black players ALL turned out for their provincial teams. It's only recently that 10 or 15 games a season has been too much for the poor dears (bet that gets a real laugh from people like Steve Price and other leaguies who play upwards of 30 games a year). If you had full-strength teams, if you had All Blacks playing, if you had a decent spread of top players across all teams, you'd have a good competition. The salary cap is a start (and seems to work for the NRL) but I'm not sure how you get around the other problems.

    I really don't like the Super12/14/ all that much, and have never been able to get particularly excited about it, given that for the first few seasons we (Counties) were lumped in with our arch-rivals and called Auckland *seethe*

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    You've obviously never been to a Canterbury v. Auckland game at Lancaster Park.

    Do the fans get stabby? No? Didn't think so. I grew up near the stadium in Milan and there were a few key games in the season when I knew better than to leave the house - that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

    And I was being flippant, obviously, but not entirely: there is a certain element of 'be careful what you wish for' that ought to be considered. Perhaps the current interest in rugby is just the right amount. Perhaps people used to go the stadium more because there were fewer activities to choose from in the weekend - as far as my partner's family is concerned, I'd have to say that lack of other interests probably played a big part. Do we want to go back to a more monocultural country? I'd also argue that attitudes towards sports in countries where the attendance is higher aren't necessarily healthier.

    And it's so hard to figure out the root causes, anyway. The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup almost in a canter last year, and yet they struggled to fill their stadium week in, week out. The media outside of Detroit made a big deal out of this; local reporters pointed out that the good people of Michigan are out of work and don't have money to support their team. Sky might just be a better investment for a lot of families on a budget.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    [Edit] - and I like a LOT of Peter's ideas.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    1. Lock the IRB in a room (preferably with a full-grown bear) and don't let them out until they've settled on a global season. I don't care when we play, cos someone will have to give way, as long as it happens.
    2. Absolutely make the 3N every 2 years, and just home & away in each country. If the ABs hadn't been such muppets in Dunedin the 3N would have been all but over after Aus v SA in Durban.
    3. Did the Lions tour not teach the IRB that we love proper tours?
    4. Abolish SANZAR, create a 12 (or more) trans tasman or pacific competition, made up of the top teams in each country. Split it into two groups (or more) and play home and away.
    5. Create a national semi-pro comp that feeds into the International Provincial Championship. To save money etc, split it into regional groups so the teams travel less, and so we have more derby matches.
    6. If necessary, force smaller unions to amalgamate. The Makos and Vikings experience has proved that alliances between unions doesn't work. In fact,creating a locally focused NPC, we might be able to get more teams involved (say an extra team in Waitakere, for instance).

    I'm happy to implement all or none of the above for well less than $1m per annum (but more than happy to do it for more)

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Do the fans get stabby? No? Didn't think so.

    Wouldn't be too hard to convert some of the Cantab fans into Lazio-style Ultras!

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Edward Siddle,

    peter's idea about trinations in the mid year between world cups and tours in the other years is something i definitely support. i'd also push the whole international window back to sept/oct somehow so that those games are played in better conditions, and then once they're finished the ABs can go off and play the northern hem teams (or they could even come down here - make november the inter-hemisphere touring window - it's not like the weather is that summery by november anyway). rest of the season is for whatever configuration of domestic stuff they come up with.

    more day games.

    season not to start before april, so i can enjoy my cricket and work up a bit of enthusiasm for the oval ball stuff.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    There's a bit of a double edged sword involved here as well. If the NZRU didn't run our clubs then they would be free to manage themselves better (including the introduction of new clubs). But then we would be in a similar situation to rugby (and football) in the UK where the clubs have the say over who is made available to play (or not) for the national team.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    oh, and, in response to one of Giovanni's points -

    Take live NPC coverage off TV. Show one game a weekend live if you must, the rest delayed (or highlights). Make people go to the games if they want to see them live (and let the kids in for free, good show Wellington).

    And my structure seems wedded to the idea of provinces. Maybe they should be abolished and the clubs take on a national competition.

    And, lastly, automatic promotion & relegation between divisions. From memory Northland failed to win a game in the old first division for years, but were never relegated because of that idiotic promotion match with the Div 2 champions. HB were robbed, I tell yas, robbed.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Take live NPC coverage off TV. Show one game a weekend live if you must, the rest delayed (or highlights). Make people go to the games if they want to see them live (and let the kids in for free, good show Wellington).

    Is the Sky TV subscription going to go down in price, then? Otherwise I'd have to side with the family on a budget that likes its occasional NPC game and say no thanks.

    In Aussie they black games out locally but if I'm not mistaken (I may well be) the TV coverage is free.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    (or Frutopia, that one's for Emma)

    Aw, and I didn't get you anything. Wait -

    Dere iz no spoon!

    Right.

    season not to start before april, so i can enjoy my cricket and work up a bit of enthusiasm for the oval ball stuff.

    F'n'ay. Git yer sprigs off my pitch. First game the fielders can't take their hands out of their pockets, you can start the rugby season.

    Trinations, years one and three of the World Cup cycle. If a series runs every year people stop paying attention. One of the great things about the Lions Tour was that it had been a while since we had a Lions Tour. We need a wider variety of tours/tournaments, with each one played less often.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    First game the fielders can't take their hands out of their pockets

    You can always count on Emma to bring the saucy.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    You can always count on Emma to bring the saucy.

    Aw, thanks Giovanni, it's nice to feel appreciated. Also glad I restrain myself as much as I do.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Take live NPC coverage off TV

    Which goes completely against my broadcasting policy:

    Broadcasting:
    National broadcasting rights for the tournament will be sold as individual games. Broadcasters will submit tenders for each game. At least one game per week must be shown live on free-to-air television. All games must be available to view for free on the internet after the game has been completed.

    International broadcasting rights will be sold as a package of all games. The international broadcaster must provide at least one game per week for free on the internet after the game has been completed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Aw, and I didn't get you anything. Wait -

    Dere iz no spoon!

    May I present for your entertainment, the LOLBlacks, featuring: "There is no spoon" (at the bottom)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Which goes completely against my broadcasting policy:

    This is based on the English Premier League where games that kick off at 3pm are not shown live at all. There has been an ever increasing number of EPL games that kick off outside that timeslot, but you still get 5-6 games a weekend that play at that time.

    (it used to amaze me that they'd have (say) Arsenal v Middlesbrough at 7pm on a Monday night, which means the travelling fans have to take time off work to attend. On occasion they'll have derby games kick off early, to prevent opposing fans getting too pissed beforehand and causing trouble.)

    I back a system that encourages fans to go to the game, rather than watch on TV.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    For me, 1992 was about as good as it got. An 8 team first division NPC with semis and a final. Promotion and relegation. No Super Rugby. Matthew Ridge was only bloke in ages to leave NZ (wish he'd stayed away, rilly). The All Blacks only played tours, home and away.

    I call it the 'We're the All Blacks, the rest of the world can take a running jump' approach. We were good then.

    Completely unrealistic of course, with professionalism and the plucky little NZ dollar all meaning we're a shadow of our former selves depth-wise. But can't we have an NPC format that people can at least understand, and a token effort to include the All Blacks in a meaningful way? And proper international tours instead of an utterly meaningless Phillips / Iveco series?

    Anyway, if I can pimp, this guy has all the NPC answers, and it turns out that test was good for Samoa.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    RI, you have to be joking: Look at what happened in 1992.

    The All Blacks lost to Australia.

    The All Blacks lost 40-17 to … Sydney!!!

    Ant Strachan played for the All Blacks.

    We had a silly, meaningless visit from something called the World XV who wore jerseys that would make your average jockey blush.

    We travelled to SA for a one-off test where the Afrikaners in the crowd sang Die Stem instead of the National Anthem.

    Waikato won the NPC.

    And they resorted to eye-gauging to do so.


    A dreadful year all round.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I back a system that encourages fans to go to the game, rather than watch on TV.

    Here's my problem with this. Lots of people can't afford to go to the games. Especially if they're people who are looking at paying for a whole family to go. If the only available rugby is delayed coverage of 7:30 kick-off games, those kids never see rugby. Just like they never see cricket any more.

    And I'd have this theory that not exposing kids to a sport on tv is really bad for the future of the game, except for one thing. Soccer. Ridiculously popular with kids. Never on the telly.

    (Disclaimer: both my kids have chosen to play soccer at school. I am not a quaxing soccer mum, we never encouraged them to or away from it or rugby and I have no concerns about my poor little white kids getting creamed by big Polynesians.)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    Waikato won the NPC.

    You had me at 'Waikato won'

    A dreadful year all round.

    I'm a blogger. I don't do research.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Emma,

    Soccer’s probably the only sport around that doesn’t need the oxygen of TV coverage.

    That’s its asset; simple rules. Anyone can understand it and play it.

    BTW, it’s all over SKY Sport; England, Europe, even the A-League...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    This is based on the English Premier League where games that kick off at 3pm are not shown live at all.

    When you say "this" you mean your idea right? because I want nothing to do with the EPL, I think it's an awful system.

    I back a system that encourages fans to go to the game, rather than watch on TV.

    And while that is a good idea, I feel that the product must good enough for them to want to go first. And drumming up support via the TV and internet is a good idea. Also if you go to the game how are you going to see the matches you will miss but that might important to the tournament as a whole?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

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