West Country Eagle

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    Interests? I've had a few. But then again, too many to mention.
  1. West Country Eagle

    Regional leagues 2018

    I won't be doing that. If I wanted to speak to him I'd have called him last week.
  2. West Country Eagle

    Regional leagues 2018

    Do you think that they will fund schools and junior Rugby League in Bristol, since that's where a good chunk of their players started playing RL? In fact of those, most started in the Sonics juniors.
  3. West Country Eagle

    Regional leagues 2018

    What a surprise. See above.
  4. West Country Eagle

    Regional leagues 2018

    Well, as far as I understand players (some who joined the All Golds, some who turned them down) were offered various incentives including playing at a higher level next season. One coach in the region with good links there claims players told him they were being offered match fees and a "big bonus" for winning the West of England League. This may just be Chinese whispers and I can't vouch for its reliability, though this particular contact has a very good relationship with quite a few in the current All Golds squad. Like I previously said, the Sonics problems were not wholly down to the re-emergence of the All Golds so they're not to blame for what has happened, but the way they've been operating played a part in tipping the club over the edge.
  5. West Country Eagle

    Regional leagues 2018

    It's not officially dead but seems to be from the various things I've heard. All Golds Mark 2 is not just the Uni set up at all - some Glos Warriors players plus people recruited from elsewhere in the region. Some did play for their CLS side a few years ago but before and since played for other clubs (such as the Sonics, where quite a few came through our junior set up).
  6. West Country Eagle

    Regional leagues 2018

    As far as I know that's dead in the water. There wouldn't be All Golds mark 2 in Gloucester if it was happening. The people behind the All Golds approached the Sonics last year and we discussed working with them, but our belief was that it would be detrimental to the entire region. Our suggestion was that AGs players/those with links to the Uni be encouraged to play for their local clubs around the region in order to strengthen the entire league. Another club official from elsewhere in the region suggested the same but his advice was also ignored.
  7. West Country Eagle

    Regional leagues 2018

    That would be me I assume Sir It is a sad day and as you say I am stepping back from the club for the foreseeable future. I'm exhausted and burnt out after 16 years. The issues the Sonics have are deep-rooted and will take time to solve. We believed we would be able to get through this season, but we just don't have enough committed players. There are seven Bristol-based lads at the All Golds (don't get me started on that subject), one at Swindon, a handful at Bath and a few down the road in Somerset. With access to these players we may well have survived this season. That said, the club's problems were not the fault of others. It was a combination of volunteer burnout, financial issues and a lack of player commitment. Some of those who left pre-season, or at the back end of last year, were great servants. Sadly those players decided against fighting on and helping the club, which is their call. There are still a handful of volunteers - including our founder, Phil Cole - who are keen to rebuild so hopefully this won't be the end. We'll see. All community clubs go through lows - just like at Swindon, who struggled for years but are now a model club that others in the region aspire to. They've done things the right way, unlike one particular individual who seems to cause havoc in the region continuously but manages to con people into thinking he's a champion of development. He was warned that his actions would have consequences but didn't listen. Quelle surprise
  8. I have happy memories of Brisbane in the days leading up to the 2008 final, despite England not being involved. By a stroke of fate the Aussies were playing NZ in the cricket at the Gabba, so we went along for the first day. Australia were not a lot for 2 or 3 but managed to scramble 200-odd. Then towards the end of the day NZ started batting and collapsed comedically. Happily it wasn't an omen for the final, which actually panned out the other way round. I can distinctly remember getting abuse from p*ssed off Aussies after the final. I also recall a load of the bar/club bouncers in Brisbane were Kiwis, so we shared a few jokes with them at Aussie punters' expense.
  9. Pinched from social media. I chuckled a little bit.
  10. All coaches at every level talk about slowing down the ruck and seeing what you can get away with - "testing the ref early doors" is in almost every pre-match team talk I've ever heard. I'm not arguing against that - it's important to slow it down if you can get away with it and we all know why (slighty more time for the game to get set, not allowing the other team to get a roll on etc etc). I'm sure SL coaches do the same kind of analysis as you talk about and different referees certainly have different things they're lenient on or keen on - at an amateur level in the West of Eng;and League, where the Sonics play (see my avatar), we have a small pool of refs. Therefore coaches and players can get used to their interpretations and know what not to do - for example, one particular ref always penalises players for swearing, even if it's not directed at the opposition or the officials, while another is obsessed with differential penalties at the scrum. So I'd agree that Australian players being reffed in internationals by NRL referees gives them an advantage, certainly when it comes to knowing how long they can lie on etc etc. That said, the fact that they're given this advantage at all is ludicrous - after all, refs should be from a neutral country and the international rules (which is what the RLWC is played to, rather than SL or NRL interpretations) should be clear and not favour players from any particular competition. That's another argument though. In the case of Bennett getting in first, Meninga was always going to rise to the bait. History tells us that Kangaroos coaches say similar things before every final, though, and as an ex-Roos coach Bennett knows this. I'm sure he does similar week in, week out in the NRL, too (though I don't follow it religiously these days so could be wrong about that)
  11. No, it's nowt to do with shielding players, it's an attempt from both coaches to put pressure on the referee. It happens at all levels of the professional game but is particularly apparent when Australia play England or GB. There's a long and tedious history of Roos coaches firstly whining to get the ref they prefer and then puttig pressure on to try and get favourable decisions. That Bennett has also done it is good - at least now the ref has two whining coaches in his ears rather than one. It is true that the Roos are masterful at slowing the game down but I'd dispute the insistence that they don't get away with it more. I've lost count of the number of Aus international games I've watched (against England, NZ and others) where I'm screaming at the television or from the stands about their spoiling tactics. Last week's England-Tonga semi had plenty of messing around at the ruck but it was generally a pretty quick game - helped by Matt Cecchin's insistence on a quick PTB and a willingness to penalise both sides if they don't comply. England's scrambling defence was tested a lot because of this. Has Australia's scrambling defence been tested yet? No. Why? No refs ever penalise them for laying on too long, even when its blatant. If both sides get hammered for it, fine. I'd rather that than the usual "ignore Australia and then penalise the other side within kickable penalty territory or on the 4th tackle"
  12. Good work from journalist Jonathan Liew, who has got Jonny Bairstow to fill his ghostwritten column with chat about how excited he is for the RLWC final. See here: Jonny Bairstow: I Can't Wait For The Rugby League World Cup FInal, It's Just a Shame I Can't Watch
  13. No, what the photos show is England putting three men into the tackle, and in one instance (from memory) three on top of a player after a tackle. Without video footage you can say for certain that England were lying on too long. They were penalised once or twice v Tonga, but so were the latter. Fair enough - if a referee pings both teams for it, fine. In the opener a few weeks ago it was one way traffic (I.E lots of pens to the Roos, very few to England). You are right that Bennett fired the first shot by complaining about Australia's "dirty tactics" around the ruck. Personally I have no issue with this - there's a fine tradition of Australian coaches whining about this to put pressure on the referees before Eng/GB v Aus games. I'm happy that for once England has an Aussie in the camp prepared to do this - makes a refreshing change from it being one-way traffic. Bennett is right in this instance - the Kangaroos get away with a lot of lying on at the PTB and have done for years. All teams do it to a certain extent (England included), but on the evidence of game one Wayne was correct to flag it. Meninga's pantomime response was a bit sad, though. Bringing out the photos FFS.
  14. Interesting one, this. If England get it together (IE keep hold of the ball and stop making the kind of idiotic errors that would irritate coaches at community game level, let alone in a World Cup) then they should have enough to win. I'm looking forward to seeing how the atmosphere at Mt Smart comes over on the TV - I'm sure the Tongan fans will make loads of noise. Just one thing to work out beforehand: do I head out and then attempt to stay up all night, or go to bed early and set the alarm
  15. West Country Eagle

    Neutral refs in international RL

    And we also used to get French refs in GB-Aus series in this country. I remember Bozo Fulton giving it the full whinge about "Monsieur Sableroles" (as Ray French called him) after the 1990 test at Wembley. Aussie coaches demanding their own refs has a long and storied history.