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Posted by jacksy on 05 November 2014 - 12:44 PM
National Rugby League CEO Dave Smith explained further "We feel that rugby league at this level should be played using the best referees in the best stadia. Upon reviewing every single stadium used for rugby league throughout the world it was quickly apparent that the Australian ones are head and shoulders above the ones overseas. From the greenness of the grass to the quality of the hot dogs sold in the stands, our grounds are far superior. International rugby league should be about quality and fairness and we would be letting our players down if we made them play on the insufficient turfs they have abroad... (read more)
When asked about the announcement, New Zealand Director of Operations Scott Carter told us the following, "I haven't seen the statement yet but I wholeheartedly agree with it, completely."
At this stage it is unclear how this will affect this years Four Nations Final, which could still feature Australia, but early reports suggest that if the World Champions qualify it will relocate to Sydney.
In further rugby league news, Australia will wear a commemorative shirt for their decisive Four Nations clash with underdogs Samoa. The black and white hooped shirt which remembers the historic victory over England in the 2014 Four Nations tournament, will come with a brown "swag" bag and a black eye mask.
Posted by John Drake on 24 August 2014 - 10:59 AM
If you don't normally go, start planning your trip to next year's final right now, and make the difference in reducing the numbers of empty seats yourself. There's loads of time to save up, loads of time to persuade others to join you, you'll get to pick where you want to sit and how much you want to pay (you'll get some good early bird deals as well) and you'll have a great day out at one of our sport's biggest and best showpiece events. Even getting there and back doesn't have to prove that big a deal if you plan it early enough.
I'm not lecturing people from the position of having a media freebie here either. I bought and paid for my own tickets (got £32 tix for £22 on one of the RFL offers several months ago), drove myself and friends down there early yesterday morning, sharing the £40 worth of petrol it cost between 3 of us, took sandwiches to save on food costs, parked up at Hillingdon tube station which cost £2 all day, 23 minute direct tube ride to Wembley Park and there you are. Gentle stroll down Wembley Way enjoying the sights and sounds of Cup Final day and bumping into a few old friends along the way, then into the stadium to watch the curtain raiser with a bucket of tea that cost £2.
There's even now a decent shopping mall right next door to the stadium, with lots of food outlets, even a cinema, for something to do after the game without trekking into Central London.
The Cup Final is what we as Rugby League fans make it. The game itself is almost incidental to that. Some years it will be great, others it might be a bit average, but you can have a great day out at the Cup Final regardless. The players provide the main event, but the fans can lift them to greater heights as well.
So basically what I'm saying is: don't waste energy complaining about empty seats at showpiece events like Wembley, or finding reasons not to go (there will always be reasons not to go if you look hard enough to find them regardless of anything the RFL may or may not do to market it) and don't wait to see which teams get there before deciding to go. Commit yourself to the project now, make sure at the very least your own bum is filling a seat next year, then we'll all have less to complain or fret about when the official attendance is announced.
And the more non-Club Wembley seats we fill between us, the more exciting and unmissable an event our Cup Final will start to appear to those who have, but currently choose not to use, their Club Wembley seats on RL Cup Final day.
Posted by Gerri Monside on 30 November 2013 - 10:31 PM
It's been a dream. A long, deep, pleasant, wonderful dream. It started weeks ago - or to be fair it started on Christmas Day 2012. Santa dropped a gift to me. Two tickets to the World Cup opening ceremony in Cardiff. With accommodation thrown in. And in this dream I thought - "it wont work", "it'll be rubbish"", "the media will laugh at us", "the fans wont show", "Bristol? Bristol? Seriously?". And then I returned to my dream. And then it was October and we were on the train to Cardiff. And we bumped into Stevo & Nobby. And we had a laugh. And the opening ceremony wasn't rubbish. People came. The dancing was great. And we met some great people. And for 20 minutes we had Australia on the rack. But it wasn't to be. So we stayed back and did a Mexican wave. And watched Italy beat Wales. Then it was the long journey home. And we rushed to watch New Zealand v Samoa as Warrington rocked. And then we discovered the delights of Premier Sports and Andrew Voss. Then it was Monday and for a brief moment the dream relented as work took over. Then it was 8pm and Ireland faced Fiji in Rochdale. And the ground was full. And the people were happy. And we thought, "It might be good". Then Scotland went toe to toe. Then USA took out the Cooks. In Bristol. In front of a packed crowd. And we all thought that we were dreaming. And it got better. Huddersfield sold out. Workington sold out again. Leigh sold out. Matches were full of drama. People who had never been to a game wanted to go. And we thought "this is good". And then we had some bell-ringers of matches. And grounds packed out. And we came together. And we went to Wembley. And they needed more tickets. And for 79:38 we thought it was ours for the taking. But it wasn't. We came up so tantalisingly close it hurt. It hurt down to the core of our soul. And we cried. We cried "why. why isn't it us". But we went back into ourselves. We regrouped. And we went to the Theatre of Dreams. And we were treated to a masterclass in how to play a final. And we experienced a record crowd - at the end of a record tournament. And we look back on it all and celebrate the fact that we were there. And four five brief, magical weeks we all agreed on what we all knew already. This is the greatest game. We are the greatest fans.
And tomorrow, I'm going to wake from this dream.
And I don't want to.
It's been too good.
I don't want this to end.
Posted by Kenilworth Tiger on 23 November 2013 - 07:21 PM
So all i will say is this....
Today I witnessed one of the best sporting spectacles I have ever seen in any sport, met some first time RL fans from all over the country and been involved with a team of volunteers who have given up time and money to support our game.
My overriding emotion, soon after complete and utter heartache, was sheer pride in our great game and squad of players who went toe to toe with the world champions.
No one player lost that game - as a team we never closed it out, simple as that.
I am proud England Rugby League supporter tonight
Posted by Auntie Linzi Morris on 28 July 2014 - 08:12 PM
I have maintained all along that the RFL wanted the Broncos and the Catalans out of Super League. That in my opinion was why they brought in the 2 team relegation in the hope the Broncos and the Catalans finished in the bottom 2. They got half their wish. The RFL would love Super League to become a M62 corridor competition.
Is it little wonder that we get less print inches in the national papers than we did 15 years with such insular thinking.
There's an awful lot of nonsense written on rugby league internet forums and I've lost count of how many times I've shaken my head in disbelief when reading comments over the last few years.
But this, by some considerable margin, is in my opinion the daftest piece of ignorant and ill-informed nonsense without any foundation or basis whatsoever that I've had the misfortune to chance upon.
Posted by willy on 24 December 2013 - 06:16 PM
What holds RL back is its outdated view of itself and its backwards view of the sort of person that would enjoy it
The RLWC showed there is an appetite for it outside the flat cap northern enclaves of working classishness!
But as ever no one wants to support a losing team, or one that struggles, or one that comes in for so much stick from others within it
Geographically we have a large spread across the UK at semi pro level. That needs feeding
Its no accident that there are Romanian/polish/Nigerian etc kids killing it in the London academy - absolutely no baggage, don't care about where they play, nothing to do with the good ol british preoccupation with the class system, they just want to play a fast exciting sport
So please stop eulogising/patronising etc the London area like it is even remotely the same as anywhere in the north, it isn't.
We want success in London? Let London drive it. The problem with that of course is a Londoners priorities making a successful team in a London environment will be a lot different to that in the hinterlands of the Midlands and the North and sadly requires a lot of money and media presence, which don't actually go hand in hand but to a Northern audience seem to
The Money because its twice as expensive, the media because large sports concerns across London (soccer etc) blanket the media every single hour of every single day.
In my experience Londoners LIKE RUGBY LEAGUE
They respond to it, they appreciate it, they even admire it but it has no social or environmental context in their day to day lives
Media and Money all else follows
Grass roots development? Community ownership?
Outdated and outmoded in a city like London where the big sports clubs have overdrafts that dwarf the whole income of RL in one team alone. There is no such thing as 'local' development there.Name one London team of any sport in the spotlight that has 90% London born players?
RL should play to its strengths, it is egalitarian in nature, always has been, a mongrel with a rebel spirit. On the frontline of expansion even more so than PNG or Samoa or the USA or Canada, London should be a flagship outpost and should always have had dispensation to sign above the salary cap with extra income from the RFL
Same as half the teams in the USA football leagues when the franchises move geographical locations and the top Aussie RL side in the NRL outside of the East coast or the Super 14 RU teams etc etc
A level playing field is level only if the context is the same for each club, it isn't ever that simple, never was, and you reap what you sew.
London was not allowed to invest properly when it could, now it cant it never will unless the cap can be altered to assist and hopefully another money bags hits the scene to allow this to happen. Otherwise we are lucky to have a London team with no ground of its own, no money and no way to access a level playing field in the first place.
Posted by The Vet on 12 December 2014 - 12:11 AM
Posted by Dunbar on 24 October 2014 - 08:13 AM
The problem with Rugby League is that on the day before the major international tournament of the year begins the journalists and fans all start a chorus of international league is dead or dying. I cannot think of another sport with so much inherent negativity or pessimism
People cite the lack of GB and England competitiveness as a reason why League is failing internationally. While I admit that the single biggest boost to the international game would be a win for England in a major tournament the lack of success should not limit the spectacle of the international fixtures
Let me provide an example. Ireland have never beaten the New Zealand All Blacks at Rugby Union. That’s right, never beaten them. And yet when this fixture is scheduled, do we hear great cries of Union journalists and fans saying the game is a waste of time or the Union world cup a meaningless tournament. Of course we don’t, we hear that International Union is the pinnacle of the sport and a gladiatorial contest etc etc
Tomorrow sees the start of a month of great international Rugby League and I can’t wait for 7.00am tomorrow morning
There are clearly things to improve and I agree with many of the points in the article but I really do wish RL fans would say something positive about the sport every now and again
Posted by Griff9of13 on 14 October 2014 - 10:09 AM
In answer to the question in the OP, it may be more in how the incident is dealt with as much as the incident itself.
For me these are the positives we can take from it so far:
The referee acted swiftly and decisively on the spot to dismiss Flower. There was no histrionics from players of either side to try and influence his decision making.
The remaining players from both sides immediately and without question accepted his decision.
Flower walked without even glancing at ref.
The game resumed and was played in reasonably good spirits with no further recriminations from players or spectators.
At the end of the game the Wigan and Saints players mixed and congratulated one another in the usual good spirits. Saints, deservedly, celebrated their win and Wigan quietly left them to get on with it. (this, and those above are nothing less than I'd expect from our game in any circumstances, but maybe should be contrasted with other sports)
Wigan and Flower issue a comprehensive apology as soon as is practically possible. This apology contains no excuses or attempt to mitigate any disciplinary action that will follow.
The RFL announce the charges to be brought and when the disciplinary hearing will be held. Demonstrating that the game of rugby league has a transparent disciplinary process.
Lance Hohaia makes a statement to say there are no hard feelings. Saints say publicly they have no desire to press criminal charges.
The whole fuss being made about this clearly shows that this sort of thing is far from common in the sport of rugby league.
Posted by RSN on 14 June 2014 - 12:39 AM
He is the example of how every sportsman should live their life. He's had so much success but showed so little arrogance. He tries his hardest every week, sets an example for the younger kids and has a massive professionalism about how he acts. .
I don't rate him as a international standard player, but for professionalism as a top level English sportsman and how to set an example would I give an MBE? Most definitely.
Posted by grimesy on 29 November 2013 - 11:23 PM
“...BUT will enthusiasm for the game last beyond the tournament?”
So asked Katherine Downes in a BBC sports feature on the eve of the Rugby League World Cup Final. Of course my selected quote was preceded by a positive introduction on the fact that the final was a sell out. It went on to interview players from both New Zealand and Australia as well as an amateur player from Goucester All Golds. Katherine was introduced by Katie Gornall who asked had the World Cup caught the imagination of the wider public.
Following this clip I routinely did my daily scan of my preferred RL forum site. There was one comment that expressed a favourable view in the media coverage section. Fair enough. But I began to reflect on this tournament. Not about the games, players, tries, crowds etc etc – you will find them elsewhere (though you may have to dig a little). On the opening day of the tournament I went down to the Sports Club in my local village to watch England frustratingly, though not without promise, lose to the greatest rugby team in the world. They are not a brand name – rugby league doesn’t do that. Maybe it should. Well it sort of does. My comment about the greatest rugby side in the world comes naturally and without any hesitation. At the time of writing they are not even the reigning world cup holders. My current favourite band in the word is The Bitter Springs yet no has heard of them. They don’t sell records (they’ve been around a long time). They are not a brand. Yet they have considerable talent. And passion and integrity and honesty. Yes – honesty. Rugby league is an honest game. I grew up watching Wigan beat everyone and anyone – except Australia. I was at Central Park in 1994, 1990, 1986 – we couldn’t quite beat the ‘Unbeatables’ or even, I recall, in 1982, my dad coming back from the match whilst I was at my Auntie Mary’s on a cold dark Tuesday night saying the referee Fred Lindop had robbed us by denying a try by Wigan’s Glynn Shaw and then going on perversely to award Wigan a penalty. My dad said that was a pivotal moment in the future as the Kangaroos went on to literally be “invincible”. Still to this day I fear the green and gold jersey (I sense no fear when I see a black one, with or without any white). Funny as there is a family photo in my dining room on the wall and my wife is wearing it. She is from Sydney. We are all going to the final tomorrow. She says she’s wearing it. I’m wearing my All Golds top. It just seems right. Even after the semi final.
There was only one regret after that first game. Not the dropped balls or the decision about Charnley’s foot in touch or not. I hadn’t gone to watch it with my dad. He has Lewy Body dementia now and is in a nursing home. The last three live matches we saw were Wigan winning the Grand Final for the first time in 12 years, losing to St George in the World Club challenge and beating Leeds at Wembley. He was very poorly by then. A day or so later I did some work on the laptop and put 5 live extra on and listened to NZ v Samoa. Something did happen then. I don’t know what. Dave Woods doesn’t usually get me too excited. Maybe it was the Wire crowd. But something happened. And then I discovered I could actually watch the World Cup on Premier Sports online. So I subscribed. And was transfixed. It was breathtaking. It was exciting. It was brutal. It was honest. I wasn’t surprised. It was rugby league. And we all welcomed the Australian commentator Andre Voss into our hearts as he articulated the spectacle before him in a way we have been aching for – for, well, ever. He bellowed that Danny Brough is a “SUPERSTAR”. I cried laughing at "He's left 3 of his ribs on the pitch......somebody cook them up for me with some BBQ sauce....". But he cared. He did. He joked about the pub grub but he went in those pubs and talked to folk.
It was just great. The game was alive. I watched the first half of the England v Fiji game with my dad. I should have stayed for the second half. I formed my own opinions about the half back pairings and the rest of it. I read all the comments on the forum. I didn’t join in though. I took my two little kids to England v France. They loved it. Their mother has the temerity to suggest they are half Australian – thus it is my job to brainwash them. At one point I turned to the bloke sitting to the right of my little girl and had a rant about the half backs and the omission of a certain player. He nodded and agreed. I had another rant about something or other. He leaned over and said “I’ve never been to a rugby league game before”. It was brilliant. I said I hoped he enjoyed it and that he would come again.
I watched the semi final with my dad. All of it. I got him a beer and had to stir some thickener into it as per orders from the nurse. He didn’t know what was going on. I made the usual mistake of course. I got too excited. I should know better. We were at Elland Road three or four times. The one that stands out was 2004. I was convinced it was our time. Lockyer destroyed us. I still haven’t got over it. To be honest I haven’t got over Devereux’s missed tackle from ’92 at Wembley. But I still love it. Every month I have to change my password at work. November has been ‘daretodream’. I still will. After the semi final I just kissed my dad and told him I loved him. I couldn’t speak for two days after that. A week later at least I can say I watched it with my dad. That feels good. Better than good. Just like this game.
“Will enthusiasm for the game last beyond the tournament? Has it caught the imagination of the wider public?” I’m not going to try and answer these questions. I think they are irrelevant. To be frank they are hypocritical questions from the BBC. It is about more than ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘imagination’ and ‘the wider public’ – whatever that means. To me it’s about heart and courage and belief and spirit and honesty. And that’s just the rest of us, not even the players. Oh and a real sense of community. In the attic is a bottle of whiskey my dad and I bought in Western Australia in 2001 – only to be opened the day GB wins the ashes (well ok I’d go for the WC or a 4 nations). I do believe my day will come. The World Cup has confirmed to me what the game is – gold. All gold. 24 carat. Dare to dream.
Posted by Exiled Wiganer on 13 December 2014 - 04:15 PM
- to use our World Cup to set up a move away gives an insight into the sort of person Sam is;
- his refusal to speak to the press and say anything positive about our game reflects similarly poorly on him;
- the whole idea seems madness to me from his and union's perspective. What skills does he have which are transferable? Seemingly not tackling, certainly not his ability to run multiple times at speed and with power, as he will get perhaps 5 runs every match (my mum is fit enough for that), probably not his offload game, which wasn't that great in RL and I doubt is much use in union;
- he will have been super fit and strong while at Souths because he was being superbly conditioned and playing a fantastically demanding sport. That will go, and his body shape will change in the same way as Joel T has come back softer and lacking drive and power. He will lose everything he had by virtue of his environment and the game he played in short order;
- so, given that his only transferable "skills" are possibly an ability to run hard and pass (though again not his forte in league) and some intangible drive and determination, what does he need? Having played a lot of union in the back row and in the centres, unless you have spent thousands of hours knowing what to do in the back row you'll be made to look like a monkey. There are so many people and so many decisions on where to put yourself, where not to put yourself and how, that you simply don't have time to think or you'll be in the wrong place. Surely there are dozens of back row players who would eat him for breakfast at even semi pro level. God help him against a top back row player;
- in the centres he will do far less work than in a quarter of an NRL game, but what he does therefore has to make a difference. While he might make 3 clean breaks in a good game at NRL level, he will perhaps be making 25 carries for those. It'll take him 6 games to see that much ball. So, he had better make every one count. The qualities you need to be an instant success are some combination of huge size, great footwork or electric speed. Sam has none of those - he is big enough but you can't be huge in league because you have so much running around to do;
- so, it makes no sense at all, and I am astonished nobody has pointed this out that I have seen. It isn't a reflection on his skills as a leaguie, as in many respects he was the ultimate modern league forward. It is a reflection on the vast differences between the roles. Union is a combination of highly specialised people undertaking narrowly circumscribed jobs, whereas our game requires a high level of mastery of a much more generic set of skills; and
- finally, it reminds me of the stupidity of signing Panface (now recruiter in chief, to his shame). Again, no transferable skills and few natural attributes that would allow him to master the new ones. It's madness for everyone concerned.
Posted by nathanwood7 on 11 November 2014 - 10:28 AM
I see Bentham has been selected for the final and going off the stated criteria (the best referee gets the biggest match) he is therefore considered as the best referee once again. An amazing few weeks for Bentham who has gone from being considered the best referee in week 1 (Aus v Nz), to worst referee in week 2 (a warm up match between the police forces), back to best referee in week 3 (Nz v Eng), and now still best referee in the final week (NZ v Aus). In fact the only week that he was considered the worst referee was when Australia faced a do or die match against England. In this week, the Australian referee was the best referee.
Bentham must have really turned things around with his performance in that Police forces warm-up game to have suddenly become the best referee again by the following week. Well done Phil.
Posted by Ivarr the Boneless on 01 August 2014 - 04:23 PM
Oxford have openly stated they have no interest in Superleague. They don't think it is financially viable. At the moment the struggle is to be stable at the current level. (We aren't the only KC1 team in that boat.)
Oxford is not a rugby area. London Welsh all but gave away tickets to the home play off leg and still pulled in a disappointing crowd.
The aim at Oxford is to develop good players and hopefully pass the best on to bigger clubs. JJ Baird trained with Wakefield, Sean Morris trialled with Broncos. The number of northern based lads in the squad is down a lot on last season. The likes of Jack Briggs, an RU convert who was sent to learn the game at Oxford Cavaliers, have emerged as proven KC1 players.
There is actually a RL millionaire living near Iffley Road but Ian Lenagan has other priorities.
The key bit is that the likes of Oxford bring new players into the sport, as have Skolars who have seen several juniors turn pro at Broncos. That is how the sport can win.
Realistically, if Oxford have a future, it is as a development club. That doesn't bother me. I went to one game last season and fell in love with the place. Nice place, nice ground and 17 blokes who tried. As opposed to 5 or 6 who just tried my patience at recent seasons down Broncos. I have watched Broncos this season, both home and away, but enjoy watching Oxford more. Southern RL desperately needs a decent London club and academy system to draw juniors in though.
What Oxford are not is a future SL club, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
Posted by Kevin Nicholas on 20 April 2014 - 09:31 AM