First off I have to admit, I really enjoyed the World Club Series, I had been looking forward to it for a while as a big fan of the NRL as well as Super League. Some people may say they were only friendly games or what’s the point? Or they might not of had much knowledge of the Australian teams, or one which I really couldn’t understand but I have heard a few times, that they only came with their reserve teams. It seemed to me like most of the start players were there and I presume the ones that were not, were injured.
There were many positives to be taken from the first two games, yes the Super League teams did make silly mistakes and the NRL sides were more patient but surely with more exposure to games like this, they will learn to cut out the mistakes and take the intensity of their own games up to the required level to win these games. This can only benefit the England team in the long run and also the Super League as players reach higher levels of concentration and intensity in their own games.
One of the most exciting parts of the weekend was seeing George Williams provide the kick through for the first try and his composure for the second, how long have we watched English halfbacks display poor kicking in internationals and a lack of creativity. Williams should grow as a result of this game in confidence and hopefully will be creating tries against the Australian side for many years to come. John Bateman was a colossus throughout and never took a backward step, constantly looking for work and been aggressive towards the big name Broncos players. Joe Burgess did make early mistakes but showed the character and speed needed to make the initial break very late in the game and finish the move off. Burgess and Hall together will give England excellent options on both flanks in the future.
Warrington were very unlucky, two Dragons should have been sin binned and some more composure would have got them over the line, again this is something they will learn from and help to develop their team. Kevin Penny was excellent and goes to show that it can take years of hard work to reach the top, a shining example to the Super League teams to keep persevering. Hill, Westwood and Harrison played well and took it to the Australians in a game that really could have gone either way.
The less said about the St Helens performance the better, though it should be noted that Rabbitohs are an excellent side who played very well on the night. They beat the Bulldogs convincingly in the NRL final and will beat many teams this season in a similar fashion. There were great crowds for the games and Russell Crowe and Samuel L Jackson watching, not something that happens every week in Super League. With the change in the league structure designed to make games more intense, hopefully next season the Australian sides will get a shock and we will reverse the result of this year. All in all it was a good weekend with the Rabbitohs showing all teams, not just Super League what they have to aspire to if they want to be the best.