Smoke and mirrors.
Are the days of Nigel Wood over? Some would argue that his days as head of the RFL (Rugby Football League) or even the RLIF (Rugby League International Federation) have expired past by the use by date many years ago and has somehow managed to hold on to his position virtually unchallenged. Some would argue that the great spin in the media is nothing short of hot air with very little substantially returning.
Today we seen the announcement of Aberdeen Rugby League, Scotland’s largest Amateur Rugby League team fold as the lack of participation numbers forced their hand to wind the club up, which now see’s Scotland’s domestic competition reduced to a rather astounding 3 teams. Aberdeen RL once boasted 3 teams which would have to regularly play against each other as teams were few and far between within the
Northern regions of Scotland and considered too far to attempt to travel to represent Scottish Rugby League in the Newcastle region where the closest established league was approximately 9 hours round trip.
I contacted Craig Parslow, the founder, Chairman of 5 years and Head coach of Aberdeen Rugby League for an interview regarding the situation at Aberdeen RL who was forthcoming with praise for previous players who have been apart of Aberdeen throughout its history stating “just a huge thank you to all that have been involved or supported the club over the years. We still have a thirst for the game but without teams travelling to play us or meaningful games it’s a loosing battle.” During the conversation Craig also stated that Aberdeen have “been waiting 4/5 years for a coaching level 2 course” and they have had “Zero assistance from Scottish Rugby League/Rugby Football League”.
Questions have to be asked where the money has gone with regards to the profits of the 4 Nations tournament generated and how or why this hasn’t made its way back to clubs such as Aberdeen Rugby League. But Nigel Wood remains positive about the outlook of International rugby league. He has yet to comment on the situation with Aberdeen Rugby League or even Scottish Rugby League who potentially may be eliminated from the RLWC2017 before the competition kicks off if no domestic teams are in competition which has rumoured to be the case but has today been in the media spot light commenting on the potential fixtures for England around the world.
During an interview at a press conference today, Wood stated “I think the world has shrunk, people are more used to going around the world than they used to do and there are opportunities, not just in America, but in the Far East and Middle East.” “Rugby League has to lift its head up a little and look where there is an opportunity.” “We’ve got a fantastic sport and it is beholden upon the administrators to provide opportunities for the sport to be showcased on the widest possible footprint and to give the players the chance to experience new cultures as well.” “It is an interesting time to be a sportsman because different regions are bidding for tournaments”
Nigel Wood is still to make a statement regarding the situation with Aberdeen Rugby League but one would wonder where Rugby League is lifting its head too exactly? As the state of Scottish Rugby League is in turmoil, some would argue that the work conducted by Wood with the RLIF has stimulated International Growth as more International Rugby League games have been played than ever but you have to wonder if the growth of Rugby League has been an accident as the head of the organisation has got the Scottish conundrum terribly wrong.