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Rugby League World Issue 400 - Out Now!

84 pages, 38 years of history from Open Rugby to the present day.
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Find out what's inside Issue 400
/ View a Gallery of all 400 covers / WH Smith Branches stocking Issue 400
Read Jamie Jones-Buchanan's Top 5 RLW Interviews including Marwan Koukash, Lee Briers, Gareth Thomas, Steve Ganson & Matt King OBE

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Member Since 14 Apr 2004
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#2962192 Retirement

Posted by GeordieSaint on 20 July 2014 - 04:16 PM

I officially retired from playing the great game of Rugby League at the grand old age of 33 this weekend. Unfortunately got cleaned out playing in the East 9s earlier this season and been suffering from neck and back injuries since; not worth risking my health and career continuing to play the game.

That said since having played the game since the age of 7, I've had some wonderful experiences and met some great folk at clubs across the country. I've played for Pilkington Recs, Newcastle University, Northeast Students, Northallerton Stallions, and Kings Lynn Black Knights plus individual matches for Gosport Vikings, Leeds Akkies, Hemel Stags and RMA Sandhurst. Great memories!

Eventually I'll get into coaching when settled somewhere in the UK but wondered when everyone else retired, at what age and who you used to play for?

#2961149 Four nations and premier sports

Posted by GeordieSaint on 18 July 2014 - 01:19 PM


I think I understand what you are saying but I have to disagree as I think the major benefit of having BBC coverage is widening the number of people exposed to the game. SKY certainly would have got much better viewing figures than Premier and If exclusivity from SKY wasn't an issue, I'd question that logic for the reasons you state. However, SKY would limit the access to the wider population that the BBC on a Saturday afternoon gives. We moan and whine we don't get enough exposure and SKY is a factor in that as it isn't open to the masses, which I personally think is a far greater need for the sport.

#2961122 Is a new power rising in the Championship

Posted by GeordieSaint on 18 July 2014 - 12:37 PM

I see Doncaster have signed Pas Dunn from Leicester Tigers RU club:


I think Kings Lynn RLFC can claim that as their first professional player as Pas' dad is our coach and he has played for the club on numerous occasions. Well done Pas!

#2960624 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by GeordieSaint on 17 July 2014 - 06:40 PM

We are not competing with the NRL.


We are competing against the NRL in terms of retaining playing talent. England's 3 best players are in the NRL and half of the rest of the team. That is a lot of quality to lose...


Dr Koukash is indeed investing in the youth development.  The write up for Salford indicates that as it states the change in attitude from the top of the club.

Of course he is and it is clear that is happening with the RFL commenting in the report; St Toppy chooses to ignore that as he's got an issue with Koukash. Retain that man in the sport and he'll make Salford into a very strong club.

#2960610 Malaysian airliner crashes in Ukraine

Posted by GeordieSaint on 17 July 2014 - 06:15 PM

Separatists have removed tweets from a few hours ago bragging about downing a Ukrainian cargo plane.
Suspicion is on them at the moment.

They've also removed tweets stating they had captured the Buk Missile System, which is capable of downing aircraft up to 72'000ft. Throw in the fact that a Ukrainian was supposedly shot down yesterday either by Russia or rebels yesterday at more than 30,000ft, suspicion is firmly on them presently.

However, whoever has done this, my heart goes out to the families and relatives of those poor people on the plane.

#2960386 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by GeordieSaint on 17 July 2014 - 11:54 AM

RL cannot do any of that because the narrative of the game in the public consiousness is that small regional sport, working class, best players leave for Oz or RU so not very good. Thats the starting point for most people in this countries knowledge of RL. Thats the shackle we need to break. We need to change the view to one where we are the biggest, best Rugby league on the planet, or at least up there with them. Where Hall V Charnely isnt a battle between two northern wingers, but between the two premier wingers in British rugby playing in the biggest rivalry in World Rugby.

Excellent paragraph and so so true... It is a huge problem and there are many people in the game who are happy to let that continue despite our best players leaving the UK for the NRL or another sport. I fundamentally disagree with people when they say RL's greatest asset is the heartlands. It isn't; it's the game's biggest handicap and will continue to suffocate the game until people realise that Wigan vs Saints may be sound great to people living in those small northern towns, but that the rest of huge population don't care and increasingly the games' stars are looking for bigger and better experiences.

#2959112 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by GeordieSaint on 14 July 2014 - 06:27 PM

Am I right in thinking that McManus and the other chairmen haven't simply dismissed Koukash's idea regarding a marquee player, but have rather asked for a vote to be deferred for a couple of years? That suggests that they too think changes are needed, but want to make sure the timing is such that all clubs are best placed to benefit from it. Of course, whether things will be any different in a couple of years remains to be seen. We've certainly seen a more level playing field this year for the most part.

A couple of years may be two years too late though; players are leaving for the NRL and RU now... Now don't get my wrong, I am not in favour of throwing silly money at players for the sake of doing it but I genuinely believe we don't have any balance over here in the UK between expanding the growth of the game and stability; to me this down to a lack of strategic direction from the top and we are suffering for it.

As for McManus, I don't think he has the best interests of the game at heart; it's more of continuing the status quo. If the big clubs genuinely wanted an even playing field, they'd be giving teams like Wakefield more SKY funding than themselves and they wouldn't be hoovering up the best players and junior talent from the smaller clubs. Salford under MK are a genuine threat to the big clubs as MK is not afraid to ruffle a few feathers and challenge the hierarchy. He also isn't the only one with the same opinion about the direction off the game in general, which for mine is very telling.

So I guess my point of this post and the other before it is there must be a balance between growth and stability. Whilst the extra SKY money is a blessing, it isn't a solution and neither is simply investing in youth for the future. We need to retain the talent we already have, attract better quality from overseas to boost the game's profile whilst expanding the player pool we develop talent from. At the moment, we are barely achieving the first and failing miserably on the rest as we are lacking in any leadership or ideas other than gimmicks.

#2959060 RLEF Chairman Hails European Rugby League Growth

Posted by GeordieSaint on 14 July 2014 - 04:56 PM

I think the Aussies have declared that any country who are not a member of the RLIF will not be allowed to compete for a place in the next World Cup so it behoves the USA and Italy to resolve their splits and become RLIF members asap.

Whilst I agree with the sentiment, what gives the Aussies the right to declare anything about International RL and who is eligible and who isn't?

#2959057 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by GeordieSaint on 14 July 2014 - 04:50 PM

Absolutely VW, I couldn't agree more. We have two opposing viewpoints here. One is from a man who in his 12 highly successful years in the game has saved a club in serious financial trouble, stabilised it, and hopefully made it viable for many years to come. The other is from a man who's come charging in over the last year like a bull in a china shop, and has moaned frequently because he's not been allowed to have everything his own way. I know which of the two I'd prefer to trust with the future of the game, and that has nothing to do with me supporting Saints.

For what it's worth I'm glad that Koukash has come onto the scene. There's little doubt that he's good for the game, and it is in need of more people like him. I think he needs to show some more patience and understanding though, as well as a little more respect for the playing field which he's willingly got involved with. It's great that he wants to be part of the game, he's very welcome, but he needs to remember that the game doesn't belong to him.

To flip that argument around, it doesn't belong to McManus et al either so to belittle MK if the other posts quote is correct is rather silly in my opinion. McManus has clearly done a great job off the field with Saints but there is the counter argument that he, like the rest of the powerbrokers, in the sport have gone stale and that is causing damage to the sport already. At times, it requires an outsider to develop a business or a sport in order to ensure it drives forward and remains competitive. Lewis whilst not everyone's cup of tea was an outsider and arguably the game grew under his tenure. Now, we are back under the control of more traditional minded RL folk and it is weaker in my opinion and facing real threats from the NRL and RU, which we are not combating. I'd argue MK is wrong in calling for the abolishment of the SC but arguably right about a marquee player.

We are treading water here in the UK at the moment and diverting extra TV monies to the SL clubs won't develop the game in the way it needs to. We are still left with the same issues of a diminishing player pool, bad corporate governance, a decreasing media profile and arguably as lack of commercial appeal. MK is certainly not the saviour for the game but he is bringing much drive, enthusiasm and challenges to the established order. We shouldn't waste it and ridicule him as the game would be a whole lot worse off without his presence.

#2958761 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by GeordieSaint on 14 July 2014 - 08:10 AM

He also said something along the lines of, "I am not going to take any lectures about RL from someone who just 12 to 18 months ago thought that Sonny Bill Williams was a country and western singer".

EM has got this whole thing spot on. Let's get our own house in order in this Country. Make sure that every SL club is financially stable and THEN consider the marquee signing rule. We have to invest in youth first (at EVERY club) and make sure that British player's (at EVERY club) stay in our competition.

If McManus said your initial quote, frankly that is fairly pathetic and is a measure the game's hierarchy thinks if you haven't been involved in the game since birth, you opinion doesn't count. It was the same with Richard Lewis who was consistently seen as being an outsider... A local game for local people.

McManus' interest in this whole matter is to keep Saints where they are, not the wider interests of the game. Salford and Koukash are a real threat to the status quo. You cannot remove an element of risk in the running of sporting clubs, especially if you want clubs to grow and develop whilst retaining or attracting the best talent in the world. Rugby league in this country is fast becoming a home of mediocrity rather than excellence as we are doing nothing to stop it.

#2958459 5K run on a treadmill

Posted by GeordieSaint on 13 July 2014 - 04:12 PM

Keep running, keep posting and most of all keep enjoying.... Thanks for your posts, helps motivate me.

Broke the missus today; did an off road 8-miler and sadly the track was a bit overgrown making the run hard work. A combination of that and probably a slightly fast pace from myself resulted in her being sick around the 6-mile mark back at the car... All credit to her, she did push on and complete another mile but wasn't massively impressed!

10-miler next weekend; I'll be making sure the route selection and pace setting is a bit better...

#2957332 5K run on a treadmill

Posted by GeordieSaint on 10 July 2014 - 10:39 PM

Good luck, I'm hoping your training programme will kick me up the backside.
Just done another 3 miles tonight with her indoors.
Hot and sticky evening.
Have fun

My missus is doing the marathon in October too; something she's wanted to do once... However, done a couple of runs with her and it has actually been enjoyable! I'll have to run separately as the distances increase in training otherwise I'll be going too slow but enjoying it while it lasts; I'll be getting the cold shoulder until at least Christmas post-marathon as it will be my fault... :)

Keep up the good work... Despite my job, I am inherently lazy so setting little challenges or entering events is ultimately the best way to motivate myself; doesn't work for everyone but certains gives me a kick up the ######.

#2957039 5K run on a treadmill

Posted by GeordieSaint on 09 July 2014 - 11:25 PM

Hope everyone is happy with their training plans... If not let's help motivate each other !!

Marathon prep is in full swing now. Running every weekend and Wednesday with stretching sessions and conditioning during the rest of the week. Trying to run no faster than 7mph otherwise I'll implode at the 20-mile mark on the last marathon I did. So last 3 runs over the week have a 'hilly' 6-miler, 7 on Sunday and a 5-mile today where I felt low on energy (must eat more!). I'll push out the miles to 8 this Sunday.

#2956863 So, this World Cup thing, then...

Posted by GeordieSaint on 09 July 2014 - 02:24 PM

I remember reading an article last year (or so) about how having "England international" seems to double and sometimes treble the cost that an English club would need to pay to get them from another English club.

Lallana has cost Liverpool £25m and Shaw has cost Man Utd £30m. What have they achieved? They are clearer good players but the money in question is extortionate. Ross Barkley is rumoured to be available for £45m, which again for someone who has achieved nothing yet is ridiculous.
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#2956859 The best investment the RFL/SL clubs could make is ?

Posted by GeordieSaint on 09 July 2014 - 02:16 PM

Maybe raising the limit of the U19s league to U21s or even 23s to give players more time to bloom would be better. Plus better links & investment in local youth clubs is a necessity.

What is the rationale behind the current youth/Academy system? Why U19s and nothing above? It doesn't make sense considering they have an U15s, U16s etc. It would make sense to me to develop players through the schools system (town rep levels against other town teams) until school leaving at 16yrs with professional coaches. Then on signing professional after school, develop players at U18s through the local college systems (again through professional coaches) before moving up into the U21s at club level. The benefits would be a reduced impact in the community game, retaining players with the education system so allowing them to build up qualifications outside of the sport, and keeping young, developing players in the game longer rather than binning them off at 19. I am sure utilising the education system would open up further funds for the game to use...