I greeted the appointment of Daryl Powell to the role of coach at Castleford tigers with a quiet cheer.
And a note of sadness…I remember sitting in the stands at the Halliwell Jones when his Featherstone Rovers side became champions in 2011 and wondering why a club playing such attractive rugby league was outside of the super league after such a comprehensive season. Had we had promotion and relegation, I feel that the 2011 side of Powell’s would have more than held their own in the top flight.
That game, beating Sheffield Eagles, 40-4 was an outstanding display of rugby. If Powell can bring the same drive and commitment to the Tigers, then a top 8 finish is assured. Had that Featherstone side gone up, then they may not have made the top 8, but they would have been a major influence on which teams did make it. They were powerful, aggressive and had a steel about them that can only come from having committed athletes and a coaching staff who are able to really get the best out of them.
All of a sudden, the guardians of our game are once again looking at ways to improve the way it looks to those who don’t follow it. I agree, we need to do something, or our game will die a long slow death in the public eye. I’m no spring chicken at 42, but where is the youth involvement in the games HQ? OK, Brian Barwick has come in and has bags of experience and contacts to boot, but where are those who will be custodians of your game in 30 or 40 years’ time? We need a root and branch reformation of the game alright, but not perhaps where those currently at the top would want it…Inside Red Hall itself
These are the current proposals:
Option 1 – Super League reverts to a 12-team competition (from 14) and a 10 or 12-team Championship, with one club promoted and relegated each year
Option 2 – A two-division Super League with each division comprising 10 teams
Option 3 – Two divisions of 12 in Super League, with teams playing each other once to provide 11 fixtures before splitting into three groups of eight in mid-season and then playing each other home and away to provide 14 more matches
What is wrong with 2 up, 2 down? Even if the 4 clubs have a playoff system to decide the places available, at least clubs would have something to fight for. I do think that a 12 team top tier will help our national side in the long run. Why do we burn out our brightest and best and then moan because the Southern hemisphere hog all the silverware?
And what’s wrong with the RFL looking for the brightest and best in the sport to move upwards at Red Hall? One big moan I hear form a football friend of mine is that the FA is full of people who never played the game and who are only in it for honours and free trips around the globe with FIFA and UEFA. We seem to be getting the same thing happening in our game, not just at Red Hall, but on our screens with Sky and in our papers and magazines.
OK, we don’t have that sort of globetrotting at the RFL, but remember Will Carling and his Old Farts? A comment aimed after administrator Dudley Wood’s comments about England players’ alleged desire to cheat by breaking the amateur ethic.
At the moment, certain areas of the game appear to be stifled by the RFL. Take the 9’s series. The Armed Forces would have loved to put a team in last year, but were stopped after the RFL moved the try line and made it open only to certain quarters of the game. What could so easily have been a festival of sport for all areas of the game appears to be missing from the 2013 schedule…Watching Omari Caro outpace the opposition (especially as Thierry Alibert was one of them) in the race for super Leagues fastest man title was superb! It should be a showcase of the younger talent and a couple of the old guard, throwing the ball about and entertaining the (huge) crowds every week. In fact a 9’s match as a curtain raiser ahead of each game might just induce a few more through the turnstiles rather than an X-Factor contestant or some 70’s singer on the pitch for 10 minutes. Save that for ½ time.
And whilst I’ve got my soapbox out, when will this “Dual registration” system result in a non-Super League player heading into a club to play, rather than the rather one way traffic we’ve seen so far? It’s all well and good Lee Briers trotting out for Swinton, but what about one of the Swinton lads heading the other way as part of the package? Having watched Whitehaven run them closely, I’d like to see Jessie Joe Parker given a shot somewhere. His try, was for me, the best of a close fought game.
Anyone else see the end to the Swinton V Whitehaven game on Premier Sports? No? OK, have a look at this then…
Now tell me that you only get great rugby league in the top tier. Leave aside the Lee Briers comeback that made headlines ahead of that match, it was a great advert for all the Premier Sport coverage to come, be it NRL, Kingstone Press Cider championships and the World cup later in the year. Having a Ref Cam so you can see what he sees? Fantastic. Being able to hear the video ref as he looks over the decision and tells the man in the middle what has actually happened really makes it a great way to watch the game that the RFL & (insert sponsors name here) Superleague could do with looking at.
I had tried Premier Sports back when we lived in Leeds & as I’m going to be doing a lot with the World cup later, I thought it prudent to look over the broadcast partner again & i’m very nicely surprised. The commentary is lively, and delivered
Anyway, That’s quite enough for now, hopefully, I’ll have something more constructive on the World Cup front in the next couple of weeks as training dates are confirmed…So, See you all at the Magic Weekend & keep on loving the greatest game.