Thursday, 2 December 2021

RIP Rugby League Week - for many, our Rugby League education

Published December 2, 2021

What a magazine Rugby League Week was... it wasn't just Rugby League news, it was Rugby League journalism.

And there's a difference.

You learned something every time you bought RLW. 

It was, for many of us - our Rugby League education.

Scrambling to the local newsagent on a Wednesday (for the most part) was for any kid in school on the list of high priorities when the bell went at 3pm, and beginning with the incredibly consistent run of standout front covers, you were rarely disappointed giving up your pocket money, your parents' money or your own hard earned pay from your part time job.

With Rugby League not achieving TV saturation until the late 90s where you could find a way to watch every game if you had the coin to do so, the golden years of footy - the Winfield Cup Era - saw RLW form a symbiotic relationship with the TV and Radio networks who educated you on what was happening in Rugby League every week.

It was truly a special time to be a Rugby League fan... something that has been lacking in the years since for the most part.

Rugby League Week finally fell by the wayside in 2017 but had been clinging on by its fingertips for at least a decade as the digital access to Rugby League news finally matched up with the TV saturation domination.

Although RLW could not endure as digital took over (and although not entirely its own fault - in its final decade it just wasn't the same magazine you grew up with), when you compare it to the clicks over substance 'reporting' styles being rammed down our throats these days, it's embarrassing to RLW to have to put it in the same category as the current 'footy news' available to fans.

Imagine if Fox League or the Wide World of Sports treated the game with the respect RLW had in its hey-day digitally... imagine if they actually told stories, spoke to players after games, recapped games succinctly so you got a sense of what happened vs trying to find or invent a clickbait storyline, maybe celebrated the past to educate today's audience on what came before the NRL... and those are just a few ideas... now we won't ever get a weekly magazine back in circulation, but it's not overly optimistic expect better from the NRL's official broadcasters is it?

It was mentioned on the Facebook post this viewpoint was first floated on that the Telegraph should be included with Fox and WWOS but the Tele has been a one trick pony for years, it isn't changing.

For more viewpoints of readers on The Winfield Cup Facebook page - scroll to the comments.

Now perhaps we can dream Fox League and WWOS still might change. 

In fact, their decision makers may yet be surprised seeing what's possible if you treat the game with respect over clicks, and actually approached covering it journalistically... because right now, it just doesn't cut the mustard.

The editors and journalists who put the great RLW magazine together can't like what Rugby League media has become in the last 20 years, but without their work ethics, ethics and genuine passion for the game - there'd be generations who would've missed out on learning about the game and we would have a serious vacuum in Rugby League knowledge right now.

Because the value of knowing the how and why in the game and the history that comes with that, is something that can't be lost and like it or not - the current broadcasters have a responsibility to continue passing this on to future generations. 

PS. Jason Martin did in fact not take the Bears to the top in 1991... but what a cover. 
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Sunday, 7 November 2021

Rugby League History: 'Who are you? You never played Origin...'

Published November 7th, 2021 
If you don't know who this is playing for NSW in 1988, then you are in good company... Tommy Raudonikis company, as the legend goes.
Allegedly at a NSW reunion, Tommy was introduced to the player in question and he asked in classic Tommy fashion:
"Who are you? You never played Origin, what are you doing here?"
To which our man replied.
"Yes I did Tommy. Like you, I played in one Origin, and I also scored one try... however Tommy, my try was worth four points, yours was only worth three."
The player is Steve Hanson.
He was a late call up into the NSW team for Game 3 of the 1988 Series (QLD had already won the Series) when then Australian and NSW prop Phil Daley was sacked from the side for leaving camp mid-week.
Hanson's try came during a torrid opening to the game by the Blues as they rocketed out to a 16-0 lead to stun QLD in front of just 16,910 fans at the new SFS... Hanson ran a beautiful line off Cliffy Lyons to score under the posts (and give Steven Menzies a blueprint to follow half a dozen years or so later.)
Mind you, QLD were back level by halftime and won the game 38-22 to clean sweep the series 3-0, but Steve Hanson had his slice of Rugby League history by scoring a try on State of Origin debut and having more points at Origin level than Tommy Raudonikis (in just as many games).
Hanson passed away on November 4th 2015 at just 54 years old. 
He debuted for North Sydney in 1985 and played in 87 games for the Bears through 1990. After a year in the then Metropolitan Cup competition, he finished his First Grade career with Eastern Suburbs across the 1992-93 seasons playing another 22 games.
In all he scored 7 Tries, and all of them were worth 4 points 😁
Rest in Peace Steve.
Shoutout to Bobby Peterson for requesting this little tribute via the Winfield Cup Facebook Page, if you've got a story to share that is PG13 that you'd like us to write up please send us a message.
🗓 1988 #WinfieldCup
You can subscribe to the 
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Friday, 8 October 2021

Wests Tigers have a new logo for 2022 and another missed opportunity

Published October 8, 2021 
On Wednesday October 6 2021, the Wests Tigers unveiled their new 2022 primary logo and heralded its arrival as the start of a 'New Era' for the NRL club.
To the club's credit they did own the announcement, as no media organisation got first rights to 'revealing it' but the end result is not exactly ground breaking in its design or, more importantly, its reflection of the joint venture's team histories.
Now, let's be very clear - they are the Wests Tigers. 
But this franchise/joint venture/merger/club is still very much part of the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies' heritage and when they went 'new age' in 2000 with the rebrand to the Wests Tigers (going to great lengths not to step on too many fans from the Magpie faction with the way the team is referred to as... memo to all - it's NEVER just the Tigers, always the Wests Tigers) they also moved away from arguably the greatest logo in Rugby League history in the detailed and striking Balmain Tiger on a black background.
Just look at this magnificent thing.
However, if it's a true joint venture then apparently you can't just sub in an existing logo - no matter how good it is - from one of the two sides involved in the merger... it just isn't done.
Except when exactly this was done 12 months earlier by St George and Illawarra.
So what's the alternative?
Well simply this logo mockup below, the logo that just made sense from day dot... 
If both factions within the Tigers had been able to see the sense in maintaining a brand that was engrained in pretty much all Rugby League fans... the end result should have been something like this.
You can modernise the Tiger's outline if you wish, but the Magpie perched either side of a black circle with a white outline and Wests replacing Balmain just works.
Or it doesn't... or slights the financially stronger Magpies or heralds the league's club less Tigers... or whatever.
Instead of staying with an emblem full of identity... the Tigers went for this.
Which is just a blatant copy of the Florida Panthers logo from the National Hockey League... but you know 'new look' and all... can't copy what's come before it. That would be disrespectful.
Then after 2004 and five seasons with one 'new' logo, the powers at be (ie. those at Wests who obviously didn't like that 'Wests' was smaller than 'Tigers') went for a ground-breaking change.. so wallah, another fresh new logo with equal sized font footing for the two names.
Yeah, it's a game-changer... and is it just us or does Wests stand out less than it did when it was smaller?
Anyhoo... fast forward 15 years and no second premiership from the core that won the club's first title in 2005 and the best team off the field in Rugby League (that's pretty much the club's current management's mantra these days) has decided a new era is needed and spent a lot of coin on this 'reiteration' and 'digital friendly' logo...
So now compare that with what could've been from the start and you wonder why Rugby League fans are scratching their heads at this declaration of another 'bold new era'... when the club really didn't need to go away from the good thing they were sitting on from the very start. 
You can subscribe to the 
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Enjoy great moments from the Winfield Cup Era (1982-95) on Facebook and Twitter.