Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Two Super Leagues

This is the way forward for RL. It's already happening and will continue to do so. It will change the game for the better. First a little history.

RL was a professional game for many years regarding pay but not the standard. For example, the first RL tour in 1908 was made up of players new to the game but they were instantly competitive. France only took up RL in 1934 and by 1939 was a top nation. That can't happen today as the standard has risen so much, hence the new way.

Northern Hemisphere:

The UK Scene: The professional competition is the SL currently with 12 teams. A few professional outfits in the division below but the rest semi professional. The third division is amateur. That isn't many pro teams.

Changes Already: Two French sides have joining the UK game and players are crossing the channel to sign up with English clubs. More French clubs are considering joining. A team from Canada is working  its way up the ranks in England.

Changes To Come: If the standard of other nations is to grow with reasonable pace, more teams need to make the leap. More North American teams will follow but what about Europe? Teams could be set up in European cities where RL has a foothold and those clubs could enter the UK system.

The Effect: The number of professional teams would grow, more sponsorship and more lucrative TV deals. Players from many countries could join semi-pro and pro clubs thereby lifting the international standard.

What's Also Needed: Beneath the pro clubs in all of these nations where teams were set up there would need to be a need competitive environment for players to make the step up to a higher level when good enough. That may require regional divisions below, such as Scandanavia, the Low Lands and Balkans. That requires funding but some of the money being generated at the top could be syphoned off to cover that.

Southern Hemisphere:

The Australian Scene: The professional competition has 15 teams. There is a gap to the NSW and Queensland state competitions with no promotion and relegation. Basically a licence system.

Changes Already: A New Zealand team joined some years ago but too little otherwise. A PNG side play in the Queensland state league with much success and Fiji is trying to enter the NSW equivalent.

Changes To Come: Other states in Australia need teams as do some regions in existing areas and of course NZ is well overdue another side. Asia is a huge untapped area that needs to be looked at if the sleepy Australian RL can snap out of its expansion stupor.

Summary: Areas like North America, Europe and Asia could one day have their own competitions as things grow.  For now RL needs to use the two strongest nations to lift others.

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