Dr Sportz returns to answer more sport-related questions that we have received recently via email.
This week, with the Auckland Nines ahead, he’s answering a few posers on the reduced number event.
What you think of the Auckland Nines?
Stephen Neun, Bulwer, QLD
I’m a big fan of the Auckland Nines, with the recent addition of Foxtel to the Dr’s house, who wouldn’t be.
With the Rugby League season looming but not yet here, this truncated reduced numbers event is the perfect taster to the season ahead. You get to see all the teams, and also get to see the up and comers for the season or two ahead. It is also a boon for the SuperCoach freaks who will have an eye for those early round cheapies.
Whilst the Indigenous All Stars game is great it is too much too early, the season is much better starting off with the Auckland Nines, as the length of times of the game matches the amount of interest at this time of year. Like a Tapas feed of League instead of a full meal.
As good as the Nines are, there’s always room for improvement. I remember the old sevens back in the day would have teams from outside the main league competition like the PNG Vipers. We suggest expanding the comp to 24 from 16, and invite the other Pacific Nations who play off for the final Four Nations spot (PNG, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga) and then include the two finalists from the QLD and NSW Cup competitions.
One final thing that could be said about the Nines, is the carnival atmosphere of having all fans in the one venue over a weekend merely confirms that an Australian version of the UK Super League Magic Weekend would work in Australia no doubt.
For those who don’t know, the UK Super League play one full round of fixtures in the one city (usually not a place who has a team) over two action packed days of league. To have the 14 odd sets of fans chanting and counter chanting for and against teams based on their rivalries, plus to have game after game to watch with only a mascot Olympics as a side show, is one of the great sporting events that this Dr has been to. Problem is that the NRL don’t think too far out of the norm for an idea like this, and then it will in Sydney, a city not famed to turning up to anything other than premium sporting events. I’d recommend either New Zealand, Brisbane or Central Coast.
Are there any other sports who could benefit from an Auckland Nines style reduced numbers?
Forge Tohwyng, Kallangur, QLD
Yes, most sports in the world could do with a reduced numbers format, be it players like the Auckland Nines, or reduced length of game like the Big Bash and other various T20 competitions.
We’ll select a few to discuss below.
Hockey is a great game, played like football but with sticks it ticks a lot of sporting boxes, however it always feels a little crowded on the field. We suggest that they could reduce the amount of players to 9 to open up the field with the promise of more goals for the punters.
There is form, Hockey has previously used reduced numbers in the extra time by having drop offs as the extra time continues, and not only is it a better way of dealing with extra time in knockout situations, it shows that the reduced numbers leads to more open could be the answer.
Another event that could surely do with some sizzling up is Rowing. Outside the Olympics and Australian participation no one really gives a hoot or two about Rowing. Kayaking, and K1ing. That could change with reducing numbers, but actually reducing them mid-event.
Our new blueprint for Rowing, and in this specific scenario we’re focusing on the 8’s. Coxless or not. The idea is split the rowing length into 8 segments (called a Tomkins) starting with 8 rowers. As each Tomkins is complete, the group of eight has to be reduced by one rower. Yes, this means that one rower has to throw themselves overboard.
It is up to the team themselves to determine which rower is to jump off at which Tomkins end, allowing for tactical overboarding and added excitement for the fans.
This will leave the last Tomkins of the race with one person rowing a boat big enough for 8 to the finish. Providing not only the toughest test as a rower, but also potential laughs if they can’t stay straight and cause collisions. It would turn the Rowing into one of the must see events of any Olympic games.
Finally, there’s Rugby Union, which could certainly be improved by reduced numbers. Sure they already have the successful sevens tournaments, but we’re thinking more around the zero mark.
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