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Posts Tagged ‘NRL’

AFL, NRL, Western Sydney – War?? What is it good for?

In Mish-Mash of Wisdoms, Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

Last night on the news I saw Graham Annesley (ex NRL COO, current NSW Minister for Sport) handballing a Sherrin to Andrew Demetriou – part of the AFL’s announcement that one of its premium events – the Draft – will be held in Western Sydney, backyard of their newest franchise, The GWS Giants.

An image full of irony.

Demetriou & Annesley - Partners in an Ironic Dance

There has been much talk for some time about the war (or imminent war) between AFL & NRL over Western Sydney. Phil Gould, Penrith Panthers RL GM is reported to be trying to spark the NRL into military action against the southern insurgents. I even saw on one forum some Panthers fans up in arms about the fact their local newspaper devoted their front page to a story about the Penrith Rams Aussie Rules team.

The battle, I guess is a distraction and the subject is a fairly emotive point of discussion … at least for NRL supporters. The AFL nor its fans and supporters seem to be talking about “war”, they seem to be focussing on how they can make things work better for them.

I think the AFL would be happy the NRL, its clubs, and NRL strategists, feel they are in a war. While they strategise about what they should do to combat the AFL,  the AFL strategises about how they can do things better.

The question is where will this “war” take us (us=RL) – my guess is that, if “war” really is the driver of either the clubs or the leagues, then it will use up a lot of resources for very little benefit to anyone. War implies a focus and attention on your opponent. That sort of focus in business can be disastrous.

The most recent war for Rugby League was the civil war. It started in 1995 and, 16 years leter, the scars have not healed.

Imagine what a great position the game would be in if the (in excess of) $1b spent during that war had have been spent on improving the game, its administration, its grass roots, its strategic position, its standing and profile. Imagine the state of our game now if Packer, Arthurson,, Murdoch, Ribot, and all the other players had sat down and said lets work out where we all want to be in 10 years time (or 20 or 50) and then design a pathway to that goal.

But, they each focused on the other!!! When they should have focussed on the game!

The moment your focus becomes your opponent, and your intent becomes destructive, that is the very moment you should be doing a bit of self-examination and looking at what you can do to improve yourself (irrespective of there being any opposition.)

Interestingly enough, it seems to me that it is the NRL who see themselves at war (or that war is imminent). They see themseleves as being invaded and think its is time to defend their turf. Well boys, guess what???

You are too late!

The invasion has happened and the only way you can win the so-called war is to improve yourself. Not one solitary cent should be spent with the intention of disarming or destroying the other side.

The AFL seem happy to co-exist, to acknowledge the value and position of Rugby League. They even had some of their players pay homage to the Blues in State of Origin – some may see this as somehow devious but the fact is that it did, and does, pay respect to the premium NRL event. I doubt the NRL would ever allow their players to make such a complimentary gesture.

My god, even the choice of colour and jersey design for GWS was a huge compliment to Wests Tigers. It paid great homage to Wests Tigers – it makes an inference that those colours, those brand elements, that belong to Wests Tigers best represent Western Sydney. What an opportunity for Wests Tigers to leverage. What could come from a strategic relationship between Wests Tigers &  GWS? A partnership aimed at strengthening the Western Sydney sporting, cultural, and economic juggernaut. And, simultaneously building and deepening their own influence in the region.

Working together with GWS those Wests Tigers colours would be identifiably Western Sydney in less than a generation. And it would be difficult for that to happen without GWS, perhaps impossible.

So, in typical NRL fashion, The Wests Tigers blew up and threatened legal action. Just as Packer, Arthurson, Piggins etc blew up when Murdoch entered the equation in 1995 – opportunity lost.

My first thought at Penrith was to approach GWS and work out ways we could work together to make Western Sydney a stronger region, but there were some internal barriers. Parramatta could also work them in constructive ways. But the opportunity for Wests Tigers was (and is) much bigger.

Nah! I am afraid the NRL boys haven’t learnt a great deal and are looking to throw more money in a war. And worse, they have identified the wrong enemy … who is the real enemy? Well, I might broach that question another time.

Opera Australia, Western Sydney, & Football

In General Mish-Mash on June 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm

The artistic director of Opera Australia, Lyndon Terracini, is looking to expand Opera Australia’s audience base … and he believes Western Sydney holds the key to that ambition.

See SMH June 21, 2011 – Opera looks to footy to make its mark.

There would be many who’d say he was dreamin’!

Undoubtedly many look at the “golden” west as the host of rich fields of customers ready for harvesting. The SMH article seems to suggest Terracini has this belief.

His belief may well be spot on … and there exists plenty of evidence to support that view.

Nevertheless, before attempting to harvest it is sensible – in fact may be essential – to enrich & fertilise the fields first, seed appropriately,  and ensure sustainability.

To move out of the metaphor, Opera Australia needs to give to the region before it can expect to be supported by the region.

Now, according the SMH article, Terracini sees his way into Sydney’s West as being paved by football – the AFL variety. He identifies Andrew Demetriou (the AFL supremo) as being his trailblazer because he has a solid grip on Australian culture. Better than most people engaged in either the arts sector or the political world. Again there is plenty to support this view. However, the jury can’t yet have returned a verdict on the evidence cited, namely the AFL’s move into Western Sydney (with GWS Giants). They have yet to kick a ball in anger.

Nevertheless there are precedents for the arts sector and the sports sector to form an alliance … and there are strong precedents in Western Sydney.

In fact, the partnerships built with Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, The Penrith Regional Gallery, and The Australian Balletdelivered an array of benefits to the Penrith Panthers, the City of Penrith, and Western Sydney.

Both the MCA and Australian Ballet were fantastic partners.

The Australian Ballet delivered a free concert at Penrith Stadium in November 2010. They approached Panthers about this because they learned about the very innovative work we had done with the MCA and Penrith Regional Gallery. After the first meeting they were convinced they were in the right place and Penrith Stadium replaced Parramatta Stadium as the venue for the free concert.

Footy & Ballet @ Penrith Stadium

The C3 West project wasthe focus for the partnership between Panthers and the MCA. The project aimed at creating synergy by operating in the space where the worlds of commerce, creativity, & community intersect. The outcomes have been extraordinary and the project is the subject of a soon to be published book.

Back to opera and footy – in 2006 we also experimented with operatic drama opening Panthers footy game. A song made famous by one of the world’s great singers, Paul Robeson, was belted out pre-game by Sydney singer David Aston. The song was The Killing Song, wonderfully aggressive and powerful, eminently suited to football. Alas! The fans didn’t like it! It was a bit too bold for them … and the team lost.

 

 

Maybe Opera Australia would be well served to have a chat with the teams at the Panthers, the MCA and the Australian Ballet to guide them in their Western Sydney expedition.