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When does a team become a great team


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#41 Steve May

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:42 AM

I believe it's pretty well accepted that the 'best' soccerball teams in the world in 1974 and 1982 respectively were the Netherlands and Brazil,


The Dutch in 1974 were a great side. They did not win the World Cup but much of the way football is played now stems from that side.

England in 1966 won the World Cup but changed nothing of note. They are footnote of football history.

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#42 gingerjon

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:17 AM

The Dutch in 1974 were a great side.


They were chokers of the first kidney.
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#43 Marty Funkhouser

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:22 AM

Leeds are clearly a very good side. But they are not a great team.

Great teams aren't about winning. Some great teams win nothing at all.

Great teams are about the way the game is played. Great teams come along and change the way people think about the game at a fundamental level.

In RL, the genuinely great teams have probably been Huddersfield in the 1910s, France in the 1950s, St George in the late 50s, Australia in 1982. Maybe a handful of others. Each of those sides left a mark on the game which lasted for decades.

Leeds are a very good side. They play the game very well indeed. But the game is not different in any significant way because of anything they have done. They are not a great side.

Given that almost all innovation in the game for the past forty years has come from Australia, it's difficult to argue that any English team of that period, including Wigan, has been truly great.


This...

Several years ago, when it was either the first or second placed team that always got to Old Trafford and won the title, the argument went that the play-offs were a waste of time and/or boring because no team would ever win from outside the top two. Then Bradford won from third, now Leeds have won twice from fifth. But instead of accepting that the whole thing has got a little bit more exciting and unpredictable, the argument is changed to say that the play-offs are unfair because a team that finishes fifth can emerge victorious. Uh?



It is nothing to do with finishing fifth , it is the fact that they lost 40% of their matches and yet are still crowned champions that seems inherently wrong...

The fact that they then got to play the 8th best team 1st as a reward for finishing fifth and losing 11 matches , whilst the team that produced a far better league season and finished top has to play a higher finishing opponent and then never receive the second chance they should be awarded as a result of striving to finish top, is unsatisfactory...

The fact that they are unable to complete the league and cup double in an era of only two competitions also does not stand well against other "champion sides" or even nearly "champion sides"...

Leeds are without a doubt a very good team with some very good players but the fact that this debate is taking place after they have won five out of the last six grand finals should speak for itself...

#44 Brigg Rover

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:54 AM

This is a very interesting thread for once. The debate seems to centre on are Leeds a great team or not. With fans from most other clubs saying they aren't.

For me the difficulty we have comparing teams of long ago with now is the fact that we have a salary cap which for over a 100 years of the game we did not. This changes things massively. In 20 or 30 years time we will be able to look back with far more volume of evidence and look at things with a better perspective. In many ways this could be as big a shift in the game as something like the move from the "dead ball era" to the "live ball era" in baseball.

One thing Leeds have done very very well is manage to keep a great core of players together for a long time (in much the way that Man U have done with Giggs,Scholes,Nevilles etc.).

For mine I have long since admired the Leeds team in the super league era and in my view are the benchmark that I would use if I were setting up a club and how I would run it. The majority of the Super League ere I have spent with my team not in direct competition with Leeds so I have no bias against them. They have produced a trophy winning mainly home grown team and managed to make a profit as well, they are the only club in Super League to do this.

#45 John Drake

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:33 AM

This...



It is nothing to do with finishing fifth , it is the fact that they lost 40% of their matches and yet are still crowned champions that seems inherently wrong...

The fact that they then got to play the 8th best team 1st as a reward for finishing fifth and losing 11 matches , whilst the team that produced a far better league season and finished top has to play a higher finishing opponent and then never receive the second chance they should be awarded as a result of striving to finish top, is unsatisfactory...

The fact that they are unable to complete the league and cup double in an era of only two competitions also does not stand well against other "champion sides" or even nearly "champion sides"...

Leeds are without a doubt a very good team with some very good players but the fact that this debate is taking place after they have won five out of the last six grand finals should speak for itself...


What speaks for itself is the determination of some Rugby League folk to talk down an achievement we really should be talking up. What Leeds have done is exceptional, unprecedented in the Super League era. Why try and diminish it?

Usain Bolt didn't win every 100m race he ran in 2012, but he won the race that mattered and is rightly feted as a great Olympic champion. Looked at through Rugby League tinted spectacles he could only be feted as a very fast runner who got lucky.

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#46 slowdive

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

What speaks for itself is the determination of some Rugby League folk to talk down an achievement we really should be talking up. What Leeds have done is exceptional, unprecedented in the Super League era. Why try and diminish it?

Usain Bolt didn't win every 100m race he ran in 2012, but he won the race that mattered and is rightly feted as a great Olympic champion. Looked at through Rugby League tinted spectacles he could only be feted as a very fast runner who got lucky.

But can we really call Bolt great?
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#47 Amber Avenger

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:35 PM

The fact that they then got to play the 8th best team 1st as a reward for finishing fifth and losing 11 matches , whilst the team that produced a far better league season and finished top has to play a higher finishing opponent and then never receive the second chance they should be awarded as a result of striving to finish top, is unsatisfactory...


You say that as if Wigan had the toughest route of all time to the final - they got two home games and a week off inbetween. They may not have had a "second chance", but if you use that, you forefit home rights in the qualifying semi. If the team that finishes top at the end of the season can't get to the grand final with that sort of hand, then that's the problem of the team that finishes top.

Leeds also had to play Catalan and Wigan away on consecutive weeks to get to the final; hardly a walk in the park.

Edited by Amber Avenger, 11 October 2012 - 12:36 PM.

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#48 Tonka

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:37 PM

I get what a lot of people are driving at. Leeds record in playoffs and GF's is outstanding and probably great.

But my gut tells me they aren't a great side, which I'm not sure really follows. The two main arguments that I think support that are:

(i) they haven't totally dominated the competition - they just do extraordinarily well in the play-offs (the buggers);
(ii) their teams don't tend to be chock full of great individual players.

Leaving Sinfield out of the debate, I don't think many people would argue Brent Webb, Kylie Leuluai, Brett Delaney, Carll Ablett, JJB, Danny McGuire, Ryan Bailey are "greats", but all have been backbone players in the Leeds side. I think Burrow is pretty great though I have to say, and one or two of the youngsters have time to be great yet.

#49 brooza

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

(ii) their teams don't tend to be chock full of great individual players.

Surely that would make them more likely to be a great team. They achieve more than the sum of their parts

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#50 Tonka

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 01:58 PM

Surely that would make them more likely to be a great team. They achieve more than the sum of their parts


Right you are. It still feels a bit odd calling a team full of not great players great though, don't you think?

#51 christopher

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:03 PM

Leaving Sinfield out of the debate, I don't think many people would argue Brent Webb, Kylie Leuluai, Brett Delaney, Carll Ablett, JJB, Danny McGuire, Ryan Bailey are "greats", but all have been backbone players in the Leeds side. I think Burrow is pretty great though I have to say, and one or two of the youngsters have time to be great yet.


Think your being a bit harsh on McGuire, he is SL's all time top try scorer and has a few years left in him yet, I suspect his record will take a few years to surpass. I would class that as great myself.

#52 Amber Avenger

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:04 PM

Right you are. It still feels a bit odd calling a team full of not great players great though, don't you think?


I dunno, do you have to have a team full of world beaters? Some of the greatest Bradford sides I watched a decade ago had players like Nathan Mcavoy, Scott Naylor, Stuart Spruce and Daniel Gardner playing key positions in them (to name a few) With all due respect, they are well respected at Odsal, but are hardly considered legends of the game at large. I think most teams who win pots have players like that, and for what it's worth the players you list are better than most.
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#53 Steve May

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:29 PM

Usain Bolt didn't win every 100m race he ran in 2012, but he won the race that mattered and is rightly feted as a great Olympic champion. Looked at through Rugby League tinted spectacles he could only be feted as a very fast runner who got lucky.


Looked at through the Steve May criteria for greatness, Bolt is a great. A number of runners have upped their game and run times that ten years ago would have been thought miraculous in an attempt to catch him (although they still haven't). He has changed the game of 100m sprinting. He is, without question, a great sprinter.

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#54 Tonka

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:47 PM

I dunno, do you have to have a team full of world beaters? Some of the greatest Bradford sides I watched a decade ago had players like Nathan Mcavoy, Scott Naylor, Stuart Spruce and Daniel Gardner playing key positions in them (to name a few) With all due respect, they are well respected at Odsal, but are hardly considered legends of the game at large. I think most teams who win pots have players like that, and for what it's worth the players you list are better than most.


I dunno either. No doubt the players I listed are better than most, but never greats. Rugby league great Brett Delaney? I have often thought the key to a good team is to get about 80% of it consistenly playing at 6/7 out of 10 every week, with a few individuals capable of playing at 8 or 9 out of 10. But if you have guys who can drop off and give you a 3 or a 4 you're in trouble. Leeds seem to be full of 6 and 7 out of 10 players, but don't seem to have that many 8 and 9s given how well they do.

#55 christopher

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:04 PM

I think a huge part Leeds' success is having a nucleus of the team that has grown up playing together, Sinfield, Burrow, Mcguire, JJB, Ablett, Bailey etc. It's also a great achievement that there were only 2 overseas players in Saturdays Squad.

#56 John Drake

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:10 PM

Looked at through the Steve May criteria for greatness, Bolt is a great. A number of runners have upped their game and run times that ten years ago would have been thought miraculous in an attempt to catch him (although they still haven't). He has changed the game of 100m sprinting. He is, without question, a great sprinter.


Leeds have changed Rugby League. Ten years ago, no one really believed it was possible to win the SL title from fifth, because no team had ever done it or even got close. Now they've done it twice. Bolt's achievement is talked up, Leeds' achievement is talked down. That's Rugby League for ya.

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#57 christopher

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:17 PM

Leeds have changed Rugby League. Ten years ago, no one really believed it was possible to win the SL title from fifth, because no team had ever done it or even got close. Now they've done it twice. Bolt's achievement is talked up, Leeds' achievement is talked down. That's Rugby League for ya.


agreed, they have also shown that it takes investment in both and home grown talent to make a team and not big name signings something which leeds have been the biggest culprits of in the past.

I never understand the mentality of a lot of RL fans who constantly see the bad rather than the good. If its constantly the top 1 & 2 in the grand final (as it was for a few years) people moan that its not competitive, but when a team does it from outside the top 2 its a joke!

People have moaned as if Leeds had the easy route to the final, they didn't, Wigan did, but still couldn't do it.

And for those that say Leeds haven't performed until the last month of the season, Leeds have been in All 3 finals on offer this year and won 2, the first one being in February, the second in August and the third in October.

#58 fieldofclothofgold

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:20 PM

Warrington demonstrated they are a great team, by the way they acted after last saturdays Grand final.They stayed on the field and listened to Sinfield's speech when they must have been heartbroken
but you and I weve been through that and this is not our fate.
So let us so let us not talk falsely now.
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FROM 2004,TO DO WHAT THIS CLUB HAS DONE,IF THATS NOT GREATNESSTHEN i DONT KNOW WHAT IS.

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#59 Steve May

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 04:09 PM

Leeds have changed Rugby League. Ten years ago, no one really believed it was possible to win the SL title from fifth, because no team had ever done it or even got close. .


Well, ten years ago the Roosters won the NRL from 4th. In fact, it's quite common to win the NRL from outside the top 2. In Britain Dewsbury once won the championship from 8th. Playing well in the play offs after a mediocre season is a brilliant achievement, but it doesn't really make you great.

I am setting a very high barrier here. Very high. But I think "great" warrants a high barrier.

Here's the example. Hunslet won "All Four Cups" in 1906 with a pack that was totally dominant. A brilliant achievement by a superb side. But Huddersfield won "All Four Cups" just shy of a decade later with a style of play based around the three quarters, a game that was a totally new synthesis of the best of traditional NU, Welsh RU and Australian rugby league.

Hunslet played the game as it was to an incredibly high standard. Huddersfield played a completely different game and changed it forever. One was the best side of the time, the other was one of the seminal teams, one of the greats.

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#60 Steve May

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 04:11 PM

Warrington demonstrated they are a great team, by the way they acted after last saturdays Grand final.They stayed on the field and listened to Sinfield's speech when they must have been heartbroken


They demonstrated that they are a decent bunch of blokes. Good on 'em.

But staying on the field after the match means literally nothing in relation to them as an RL team.

That's me.  I'm done.





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