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#3036889 France mid-season test back next year

Posted by Gruff on 24 November 2014 - 02:41 PM

We need to stop selling a game and sell an event.  If I go it won't particularly be for the rugby on display, it will be for an excuse to go for a night out with the lads with some entertainment mixed in.


That isn't going to happen in Leigh, Wigan etc....


For me it should be at Wembley, get a decent curtain raiser (Scotland vs Ireland?) and make a day of it.  I couldn't sell a ticket to this game if it was at a club's home ground, but could easily get a crowd for Wembley.


Announce it now, big up the French team, get it at Wembley with tickets between £20 and £60, and I'll be there along with 40k others.


We can't go backwards

#3031630 McNamara: The Referendum. Vote Now.

Posted by Gruff on 12 November 2014 - 09:28 AM



Stuart Lancaster record as England RU Coach against top 2 (SA/NZ)


 - Played 10, won 1, drawn 1 lost 8

 - Lost 3 games in SH in 2014 against top team by average of 10 points per game


RU fans reaction - positive, see progress, get excited for the next chance to have a shot at them, will attend the next game in their tens of thousands and pay minimum of £60


Steve McNamara record as England RL Coach against top 2 (NZ/Aus)


 - Played 9, won 1, lost 8

 - Lost 2 games in the SH against top teams in 2014, by an average of 3 points per game


RL fans reaction - sack him, we've regressed, he doesn't know what he is doing, might as well give up, can't be bothered going to the next game, why should I have to travel to London, £20 per ticket?????? how much?? It's free on the telly.


Who needs enemies when you have supporters like this...

#3014492 Four Nations: Australia squad discussion thread

Posted by Gruff on 15 October 2014 - 03:28 PM

The Samoans have some very big units as well. isn't that man mountain from Saints in their side.

They have, but guys like Masoe are bash em up merchants who last for 10-20 min.  The difference with the English props are that they are all as big, are at least 60min players and have a wide range of skills; Graham has the full package, the Burgess boys have the footwork and strength, and Hill has the engine.

#3014443 Four Nations: England squad discussion thread

Posted by Gruff on 15 October 2014 - 01:54 PM

Really excited about this - think we have a genuine chance given the make up of all the squads and each game should be a close one.


Looking at the potential spine of each team;


Aus 1,6,7,9 - Inglis, DCE, Cronk, Smith - this is the best spine in the tournament and all played together in a losing origin team

NZ 1,6,7,9 - Hiku, Foran, Johnson, Luke - For me this is the second best purely due to the fact Foran and Johnson have played together for NZ before.  However, Foran has not had the best season and Johnson has flashes of brilliance and mediocrity in similar amounts.  Luke is better playing on the front foot - something I don't think the NZ forwards will give him

Eng 1,6,7,9 - Tomkins, Widdop, Smith, Clark - A new spine who have not played together before.  Tomkins and Widdop are world class, so it is up to Smith and Clark to step up - time will tell if they can.




Eng - Hall and Burgess - Best wing pair for me. Hall is world class and Burgess is world class in the making.  Both still young and Hall has plenty of experience

Aus - Mansour and Tupou - Both had excellent seasons and will be looking to prove something on this world stage

NZ - Nightingale and Vatuvei - both experienced enough but age is not on their side and have dropped down a notch or two, hence I think this is the weakest pairing.




With Hayne's withdrawal this means Aus will probably have Jennings and Walker.  If they decide to go with Inglis at centre then they are undoubtedly the best pairing, but if not then I think all three teams (Aus - Jennings/Walker, Eng - Watkins/Shenton, NZ - SKD/Whare) are on a par.




Eng - Graham, Hill, T.Burgess, G.Burgess are the best prop rotation by a country mile and should get England on the front foot

NZ - Bromwich and Moa are excellent and Matagi and taupau can be class on their day - only second due to the lack of props selected by Aus

Aus - Klemmer and Woods only recognised props - obviously Aus are looking to play a more mobile game, but packing the team with second rowers won't be any good if you can't get on the front foot.  I think they have dropped a clanger here.


2nd Rows


Aus - purely because of the sheer number in their team

Eng - Whitehead and Ferres - personally I believe these two are underrated by many.  Ferres was excellent in the WC and Whitehead is one of the best 2nd rowers in the game.  J.Tomkins on the bench is probably - solid but unspectacular and can cover centre

NZ - Eastwood and Mannering with Proctor interchanging are solid but will struggle to make an impact.  I rate Eastwood but mannerings great season has been down to the playing off Tomkins - either directly or because of a Tomkins dummy run.




Eng/Aus - O'Loughlin and Bird are both class.

NZ - Not sure who they will go for - probably Blair, and whilst he has had a good season is very prone to switching off.


All in all I think it will be close with a Aus/Eng final.  For me it will depend on how much the Kiwi's get up for the first game, and how well Smith/Clark fit into Eng's structure.


Samoa will do ok,will be close for 60mins against England but will fade after that and receive a smashing off Aus, who will be able to rest key players prior to their anticipated final attendance.

#2964745 Rugby League's popularity riding high (Merged threads)

Posted by Gruff on 24 July 2014 - 01:33 PM

If correct, that's pretty impressive. Around 30% up on 2012-13.

 All info here




Don't know why the previous poster used out of date figures to validate the criticism of the RFL's press release, when it would have been just as easy to get accurate figures...

#2964742 Rugby League's popularity riding high (Merged threads)

Posted by Gruff on 24 July 2014 - 01:28 PM

Totally agree with Lord Charles the RFL is all about spin from the senior figures in the game. The truth never gets in the way of self preservation when Nigel Wood speaks.

The game is a business that is being run by people who are out of their depth. Our competitors Rugby Union and the NRL have made massive strides in the last ten to fifteen years. Why? very simple ....... professional leadership.

We are going nowhere with Barwick, Wood and Rimmer. By the way what exactly does Brian Barwick doing on a daily basis?


RU release a statement not long back saying they had a 40% increase of television viewers since moving to BT.  They didn't mention they they actually televising nearly double the amount of games to get this 40% increase.


Guess how many threads from "fans" on popular RU forums, or articles from RU journalists deriding this as spin and calling for peoples heads there were....


Then have a rethink as to why RL is being held back...

#2883611 RLWC 2017 - Winning Bid

Posted by Gruff on 19 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

Would definitely like to see 16 teams, but similar format to last except groups C&D have 4 teams in and no cross over games.


And would also like to see some movement on the eligibility - either have to declare now which nationality you are, or have a rule where 50% of your squad have to have played in at least 1 qualifier.  Whilst USA/Italy did well, I felt sorry for the guys who were usurped by johnny come lately heritage players

#2871737 Sky Sports - New TV Deal (Merged Threads)

Posted by Gruff on 30 January 2014 - 10:07 AM

Latest tweet from Irvine says deal worth over  200 million pounds!

 Wow - that's nearly double what we get at the moment for Superleague.


£40m per year - extraordinary.


Well done RFL

#2839941 23/11/13 - World Cup Semi Final 1: England v New Zealand (Wembley)

Posted by Gruff on 22 November 2013 - 12:23 PM

I agree that JWH has been immense - his attitude has gone from being a dirty dog to a mongrel - hard as nails but cut out the silly stuff.  Definitiely would walk into any team.


Kasaino and Pritchard and good players, but you ask any Bulldogs supporter who is the first name on the team sheet and to a man they will say James Graham.  This seems to have been overlooked by many - the NZ pair may have size, but Graham aint small and his engine, mobility, defence and hands are better than both of them.


SBW speaks for himself, but so does S.Burgess.  


If you could combine the teams to get the best pack, personally I think you would be looking at;














Which pretty much goes to show there will be nothing between these two packs.  Should be an awesome game.

#2837663 23/11/13 - World Cup Semi Final 1: England v New Zealand (Wembley)

Posted by Gruff on 18 November 2013 - 02:30 PM

The Foran Johnson combo is far superior to the Marshall ball hogging one man band Kiwis


I'd argue that till the cows come home . a Marshall team could never construct the fluid back line moves the 2013 Kiwi's are putting together with relative ease.


The only player that the Kiwis are really missing from the comparison between the 08 side is Jeremy Smith.


Smith is New Zealands James Graham , tough.


I can't agree with Westwood being evens with Pritchard. Westwood gives away too many penalties for world class footy , and Pritchard has hand and foot work Westwood can only dream of.

And Westwood puts in the minutes and tackles that Pritchard can only dream of.


Westwood has made on average 30 tackles a game to Pritchards 17.  They are roughly the same on offloads and tackle busts and carries, but FP has averages more metres.


Different players who both bring different things, but as good as Pritchard is in attack, Westwood is in defence, and vice versa - hence they cancel each other out

#2815618 Kangaroo side to face England in World Cup opener

Posted by Gruff on 24 October 2013 - 09:34 AM

Looking back to the 2008 RLWC and it is interesting to see how teams have developed.  I would say that Aus now are weaker than they where then, and Eng are much much stronger.


The changes in the Aus 17 that started the WC Final in 2008, compared to now are (with the better player, if there is one, in bold);


Boyd - Joel Monaghan

Tate - Falou

Morris - Williams

Cronk - Lockyer

Tamou - Kite

Scott - Civoniceva

Bird - Laffranchi

Thaiday - G.Stewart


Farah - Hunt

Parker - Tupou

Fifita - Fitzgibbon

Lewis - Watmough


Both England and NZ have improved their squads massively - we had a back 5 of Wellens, Calderwood, Sykes, Senior and Smith, compared to Tomkins, Charnley, Watkins, Cudjoe and Hall.


This Aussie side is there for the taking

#2814732 Sir Steve NcNamara?

Posted by Gruff on 23 October 2013 - 02:29 PM

if we win it'll be inspite of him not because of him..

hes very good at all the planning and prep work,he'll be a good in a direct of rugby role somewhere..i would'nt have a problem with him staying with england in that capacity after the world cup..

but hes a terrible coach....

So if we don't win, its not his fault either?


Can't have it both ways.


Very much damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.  Poor guy

#2813721 26/10/13: World Cup Game 1 - Australia v England

Posted by Gruff on 22 October 2013 - 01:46 PM



England out fast, getting the first try.  Aus then get the next two (missing one conversion), but we sneak one just before half time to make it 12-10 at the break to England


England to get one straight after the break, followed by a Sinfield penalty to make it 20-12 at the 55 minute mark.


Aus to then score making it 20-22 with 10 to go.


A disallowed Aussie try, followed by a Tomkins/Charnley break in the final 5 takes it to 24-22 to England.


2 tense minutes of praying to god we don't drop it in our own half, and a final Aussie set during which the hooter sounds that sees them throw it around like a basketball until Hall bundles Boyd out 3 metres out just before the try line.


Cue massive celebrations, a lot more beer drunk and being able to actually enjoy a game in the shape of Wales vs Italy.



#2813503 RFL Incompetence.

Posted by Gruff on 22 October 2013 - 10:23 AM

Best. Opening. Post. Ever. Fact

#2812810 26/10/13: World Cup Game 1 - Australia v England

Posted by Gruff on 21 October 2013 - 01:26 PM

He got his squad 100% wrong with all people on here (seems that way)
Where will McNamara go from here after he is sacked after the World Cup? Will any super league club want him or will he have to put up with a job on BBC??

Firstly I doubt he will be sacked - regardless of what people on here think of him his only competitive losses have been against NZ and Aus and last time we played NZ we beat them convincingly.  In the same tournament we lost to Aus by 16 points (conceding 12 in the last 7 minutes, and having a perfectly good try disallowed), and Aus again where we were equal on points until the 57th minute.


In 2011 we weren't far behind the Aussies at all, and much better than the kiwi's


Secondly, the processes and structure McNamara has implemented over the past 3 years are second to none.  Whilst team selection is always going to be controversial, you can't fault the preparation


If we don't win the tournament it's because we are not good enough.