He's thrown some verbal bullets at league over the years. Probably like over here people need to talk up or mention rugby and the All Blacks to get into the papers and get some good press. Over in Australia you need to mention league to make the sports pages, a lot of the papers seem to be negative to generate headlines. So him writing or commenting about league isn't surprising. But damn I find that quote surprising, did he get hit in the head or something?
England is pretty interesting when you look at the South mainly Union and the North playing league. We hear a lot over here about them playing 10 man rugby and not having the ball in hand skills. Their league is known for moving the ball around, supporting the ball player etc. They aren't obsessed with mistake and completion rates like the Australians.
Peter Fitzsimons has written that a couple of times. He really is anti establishment, and that includes Alan Jones who he has a swipe at every opportunity. He also might be/is aware of how many subscriptions Fairfax get from over this side of the ditch.
Also I have posted before about Gerald Ryan, the late former chairman of the NZRFL. He was adamant the Northerners got the idea of running rugby from the NZ Native team that toured there in 1988-9.
The 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team
was a New Zealand rugby union
team that toured Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand in 1888 and 1889. It mostly comprised players of Māori
ancestry, and also included somePākehā
(white New Zealanders). A wholly private endeavour, the tour was not under the auspices of any official rugby authority; it was organised by New Zealand international player Joseph Warbrick
, promoted by civil servant Thomas Eyton
, and managed by James Scott, a publican
. The Natives were the first New Zealand team to perform a haka
, and also the first to wear all black. They played 107 rugby matches during the tour, as well as a small number of Victorian Rules football
and association football
matches in Australia. Having made a significant impact on the development of New Zealand rugby, the Natives were inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame
After a preliminary tour of New Zealand in 1888, the side travelled to England via Melbourne
and Suez. The Māori players initially provoked curiosity due to their race, but the British press subsequently expressed some surprise that the side was not as "Māori" as they had expected. Playing their first match, on 3 October against Surrey
, the team was subjected to a taxing match schedule, and frequently played three matches per week. Their early matches included a 9–0 loss toMiddlesex
, but their form improved in November, when they won 10 of their 13 matches. The team played its first international match on 1 December, against Ireland
, and won 13–4. This was followed by a win over one of the strongest English county teams, Yorkshire
, and a 5–0 defeat against the Wales national team
. By January 1889 the Natives had played 36 matches in less than three months, winning 22 of them; they had spent most of their time in the north of England, where the playing strength was strongest and the crowds largest and most profitable.
In a return match on 19 January, Yorkshire fielded a stronger side than in the first match and inflicted one of the Natives' heaviest losses, a 16–4 defeat. The team then went undefeated until 16 February, when they faced England
. Officials of the strictly amateur Rugby Football Union
(RFU) had become increasingly concerned at the behaviour of the New Zealanders, regarding them as unsportsmanlike, and tensions reached a nadir in the aftermath of the England international, during which the RFU secretary George Rowland Hill
, refereeing the game, awarded a number of controversial tries to England, prompting three of the Natives to temporarily leave the field in protest; England eventually won 7–0. The Natives apologised afterwards for their behaviour, but the damage was not repaired. The New Zealanders left England without an official send-off, and travelled to Australia where they toured Victoria
, New South Wales
. They then returned to New Zealand, where they displayed a level of combination not seen in their home country before. They went 31 games undefeated before losing their final match, on 24 August 1889, 7–2 to Auckland
The Natives' final record in rugby matches was 78 wins, 6 draws
and 23 losses. They introduced a number of tactical innovations to New Zealand rugby on their return home, and their tour contributed to the formation of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union
in 1892. Seventeen of the team's 26 players went on to play provincially in New Zealand, and two, Thomas Ellison
and David Gage
, subsequently captained the New Zealand national rugby team
Impact and legacy
, who played 83 of the sides' 107 matches, went on to captain the first official New Zealand
side in 1893.
The tour had a significant impact on the development of rugby within New Zealand. It was the first tour of the British Isles by a team from the Southern Hemisphere, and the longest in the history of the sport.
By the time the Natives returned to New Zealand, they had developed into a side superior to any in the country,
and introduced a number of tactical innovations.
Seventeen of the 26 players went on to play provincially in New Zealand, and two, Ellison and David Gage
, subsequently captained New Zealand.
The tour also prompted the eventual formation of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union
(NZRFU, later renamed New Zealand Rugby Union) in 1892; one reason for its formation was to ensure greater control over any future touring New Zealand sides.
The NZRFU sent an officially sanctioned New Zealand team, captained by Ellison, to tour Australia in 1893.
The Natives are also the forefathers of the Māori All Blacks
, a representative team organised by the NZRFU, that first played in 1910.
The Native team, along with Joe Warbrick, was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame
in 2008 – the seventh inductee.