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May 18 2013 08:41 AM | League Express in Latest News
The draw for the quarter-finals of the 2013 Tetley’s Challenge Cup has been made and will see cup holders Warrington Wolves take on Huddersfield Giants in the stand-out tie of the round. The Wolves will be hoping to move one step closer to a fourth appearance at Wembley in five years while Huddersfield will be aiming to avenge the Cup final defeat to Warrington in 2009. The draw was made live on BBC Breakfast television and BBC Radio 5 Live by Louise Minchin and Charlie Stayt earlier today and also saw Sheffield Eagles, the only remaining Championship side left in the competition, drawn at home to London Broncos. The other ties in the round will see Hull FC travel across the channel to take on Catalan Dragons while the most successful team in Challenge Cup history, Wigan Warriors, will host Widnes Vikings.
May 17 2013 01:50 PM | League Express in League Express
Last Saturday afternoon I was at Huddersfield's Challenge Cup-tie against Leeds at the John Smith's Stadium.
It was a tremendous match, played in front of a terrific crowd, and must have created a very positive impression for the audience watching the BBC's coverage of the game.
After the match, and the media conference, I went upstairs into the lounge in which Giants supporters and players congregate, and I was assailed with people asking me about the RFL's proposals for changing the structure of the league competitions.
It's fair to say that I didn't find anyone who was in favour of the proposed changes, and many supporters couldn't understand why the changes were being proposed.
So it's hardly surprising that the RFL chief executive Nigel Wood and his fellow RFL director Ralph Rimmer should have taken to the Twittersphere today to try to explain their proposals to an audience that has been fairly sceptical about them so far.
May 16 2013 12:35 PM | League Express in Latest News
Leeds Rhinos have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of their Super League clash with St Helens at Headingley Carnegie on Monday night with the news that centre Carl Ablett and prop Jamie Peacock (pictured) have both been ruled out for up to eight weeks.
Ablett suffered a hand injury in the Tetley's Challenge Cup loss at Huddersfield on Saturday whilst Peacock has injured his knee. The Rhinos could also be without forward Brett Delaney who suffered a shoulder injury at John Smith's Stadium at the weekend.
May 15 2013 09:32 AM | League Express in Latest News
Goal kicking Winger Jamie Foster has signed a new two year contract with the Bulls and will remain at the Provident Stadium until the end of the 2015 season.
Foster, who is 22 years of age, joined the Bulls from St Helens in the close season and immediately made a big impact at the club kicking 38 goals and scoring 2 tries in 10 appearances before he was injured against Rochdale Hornets.
“It’s a massive confidence boost for me to get this new contract," said Foster. “The deal was very easy to agree and I was quick to sign on the dotted line. I'm just really excited about what the future holds now.
“We know it’s a building process here at Bradford to challenge the big clubs again but we’re all hungry for it. I think if you’re have the hunger then you’re halfway there already.
"Omar Khan has come in and bought the club and there is a tremendous feeling here now. The club is certainly going places.”
May 15 2013 09:27 AM | League Express in Latest News
Widnes Vikings forward Gareth Hock (pictured) and Cory Paterson of Hull KR have both been suspended for four matches after they appeared before the RFL Disciplinary Panel on Tuesday evening.
Hock was found guilty of a Grade D offence for making deliberate contact with a match official during the Tetley's Challenge Cup fifth round tie against Workington Town on Sunday May 12.
Hock, who pleaded not guilty to the offence, was also fined £300 by the Panel.
Paterson was found guilty of committing a Grade D reckless striking offence on Blake Green of Wigan Warriors during their Tetley's Challenge Cup game on Sunday.
Paterson was also fined £300 by the Panel.
Leeds Rhinos half-back Danny McGuire was given a formal warning and fined £300 after he was found guilty of a Grade A punching offence during the Cup game against Huddersfield Giants on Saturday May 11.
May 13 2013 09:29 AM | League Express in League Express
THE latest Rugby Football League Policy Review appears to have hit rocky ground, even before its launch, which takes a little bit of doing.
The governing body is keen to stress that the re-organisation of the top two tiers of the game is part of a 'Whole Sport Plan', although no-one outside the Red Hall seems too sure what that means. Whatever the plan for the 'whole sport', the key to having a strong, sustainable future is to get it right at the top.
The plan to re-structure the Super League and Championship as outlined last week, with two leagues of 12 splitting into three leagues of eight almost half way into the year, has gained little support outside the clubs. In fact we have had absolutely no positive response from any of our readers.
But there has been plenty of negative reaction, and plenty of stakeholders within the game have warned of dire consequences should the blueprint be implemented.
When one of those stakeholders, a Super League coach, openly criticises the direction of the RFL, it is time to be concerned. Warrington coach Tony Smith is losing patience with the governing body, particularly its insistence on making wholesale changes with the structure of the competition, seemingly to appease a few disgruntled club officials.
May 10 2013 04:26 PM | League Express in League Express
If you look at the RFL's proposals to re-structure Super League and the semi-professional leagues below it, you have to ask whether the cure is worse than the disease.
The RFL and the Super League clubs seem to have identified two problems with the structure of the game as it currently stands.
First, promotion and relegation between full-time and part-time competitions is futile, given that a club going into Super League would have to transform itself from a part-time to a full-time operation within a matter of weeks, and sign an entire squad of players from somewhere.
On the other hand, licensing is unpopular with many clubs and supporters, given that many fans years for the sort of promotion and relegation battles that characterise the football leagues.
The second problem the clubs seem to have identified is the relative lack of movement of clubs within Super League from year to year.
May 10 2013 09:22 AM | John Drake in Rugby League World
I’ve long been an advocate of providing clubs at all levels of the game with achievable targets in terms of reaching showpiece finals, which they can use to galvanise and excite their supporters. The creation of the Northern Rail Bowl, which will be played as a curtain raiser to this year’s Northern Rail Cup final at Halifax is a big step forward in this regard.