Interesting article in SMH wth which I agree. Especially this part.
Yet this bedrock of the game – the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions – the source of most of the players for the four state teams, and most of the Wallabies, is never allowed its day in the sun, never allowed to field its strongest team on its biggest day. The grand final is always denuded of Wallaby stars who are not allowed to play. This year was no different.
Instead, what we have is a game at war with its own heartland, where men in corporate boxes, with visions of creating a national league just like football/soccer, treat the real and enduring third tier of the game as some inconvenient irritant, a holdover from the amateur past that needs to be replaced with a gleaming new entity.
The result: the rampant utopian naivety of a “national competition” built out of eight franchises that don’t exist, that the public does not want, that has no corporate backing, no sustainable business model, no tribal passion and zero tradition.
All to be paid for by flogging the gold jersey, the Wallabies, turning the national team into a club side, playing 12 to 15 Tests a year, including six games a year against the All Blacks and the Springboks. This is not leveraging a tradition, this is devaluing it. This is not building mystique, this is over-exposure. This is not leading from the top, this is insidious erosion. While rugby loses ground in the grass roots, the gold-jerseyed goose is being cooked.
Not only the Sydney club competition is being overlooked, but grass roots rugby all over Australia. It’s time the “suits” in the corporate boxes realised that, without the willing endeavour of a huge number of volunteers, both officials and players, the base of the sport, from which all elite rugby stems, will wither and die.