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About Mushy

  1. Wondered if Bennett might have been tempted to look at Widdop at fullback for half a game given our lack of other ball playing #1 options at the moment, and his replacement by Ratchford is at least consistent with that approach. Stefan is also a right-sided player, and as we are not exactly replete with these seems an obvious bloke to have a look at or at least provide cover for in the squad.
  2. Just what we need - another left sided centre. Not that I am obsessed or anything...
  3. Also shows the value of a couple ball-players who will roam as required. Wigan looked brilliant a few years back with O'Loughlin and Tomkins doing just that. Maybe McNamara had it right after all with Tomkins Smith and Widdop to give enough balance, even if there were better halves than Smith. So where does that leave us now? Watkins as the only credible right centre, and no top level right sided half backs? You'll be super reliant on a creative full back in that environment and I'm not sure we have anyone who fits the bill who is fit. Personally I'd use the upcoming international as a chance to try out the alternatives - maybe the likes of Shenton and Widdop on the right with Percy and Williams on the left? And with Hardacher our best running fullback maybe look at someone else as a ball player there if we have anyone - would have been Tomkins or Lomax but currently only O'Brien?
  4. Good point, seems obvious but that hadn't occurred to me. After I smashed my right arm I became much better as a left to right passer of the ball, and as a track athlete (running anti-clockwise) my right leg was slightly stronger so I could step better off it too. Not sure what England should do though. Consider switching someone from the left to the right side? Or stick with our limited options and keep people in their natural positions and roles?
  5. Am quite excited about the mid season international given how well the league is going this year and the form of some of our Aussie based players. We have some great centres in Sarg, Percy, Olly, and Shenton - but they are all left-sided players. All with good left foot steps and right arm fends. And in the half backs we have real talent and form with Widdop, Gale and Williams - but they are all left-sides players too. All playing very similarly down the left with the occasional foray down the middle or right only. Even when you think about some of the other options like Brown, McGuire or even Bateman and Currie these too are lefties. So much slimmer pickings down the right with only the likes of Smith, Ratchford and the ultimate curate's egg Watkins. The only ones who can play anywhere across the width appear to be ball-playing locks or full backs. Odd that the game has evolved that way rather than inside and outside players, and I am not sure who of the above would best placed to become either a rightie or a free-roaming player.
  6. I used to be a part time track and field athlete, and competing in a truly national British League at the time frequently had to stay overnight before competitions. Plus we competed overseas a few times too and being amateur paid for flights, accommodation and of course being sensible looked after insurance and everything else. Because it was important to me (and hence my family) we did all this and made it work despite the many sacrifices it required. You did it or you didn't but you certainly didn't moan expecting every morsel to be paid for and all the thinking to have been done on your behalf. If players decide to take a different view (and some genuinely don't have a choice with their work patterns) then so be it, I would have thought plenty others would be available and eager to have an amazing trip and a great experience playing in front of the biggest crowd in their career.
  7. Brilliant, am absolutely delighted. Being a Batheaston resident I'd say this is pushing the 'Bath' moniker a little though! Both Bath City FC and the Rugby Union club are looking to redevelop grounds and getting to use those in the summer would be a fantastic target. The Union club shouldn't be too antagonistic knowing a lot of the people involved but might not necessarily see much benefit either. Then again the ground is on trust land so at least playing on it in the summer without necessarily using all the facilities might not be too tough. Bath City might even fancy a semi pro League club at some point to make better use of the stadium so you should consider engage in with them I suggest. Well done!
  8. You'll have to a bit harder, that was a great game. Do you actually like rugby league? Or maybe you're a Wire fan? Incredible intensity, crunching defence, plenty great players out there. Or maybe you were watching the darts by mistake?
  9. Gale and Williams could be great combined with Hodgson at hooker, and a ball-playing full back (if Tomkins finds form, otherwise maybe Widdop, maybe even Lomax). A good test series together could be the making of them. A total digression but as someone mentioned the junior rules about minimum passes etc, personally I'd limit each set of six to 2 runs from dummy half only throughout the game - it'd encourage better halfback play and generally be more entertaining. Interestingly SL has had loads more runs from dummy half than the NRL for as long as I can remember (although I've no stats to back it up) with the old Wigan, Bulls and Saints sides in particular scooting all the time.
  10. This is quite fun as I'm sure we'd have a load of NRL players in the side, but here goes (based on how I hope they'll be at the end of the year as opposed to form right now): Tomkins Manfredi Ratchford Watkins McGilvary Williams Gale Hill Houghton Watts Westwood Ellis O'Loughlin Bateman Clarke Warmsley Currie Plenty ifs and buts in that team with one player being retired and others needing to find some form.
  11. If Tomkins gets into his stride then his value to England's attack is immeasurable and should be in the side. He's not there yet though. Ratchford is excellent but I wonder if centre or utility is where he is best. Hardaker may yet show he's a great centre or wing in the NRL, and at international level maybe that's his best contribution. Shaul has potential but I wonder if people are seeing things in him that wouldn't get translate to international success and I'd like to see a more rounded came out of him first. Another name to consider is Widdop who spent years as a full back and knows England inside and out. I'd have Gale and Williams ahead of him in the halves so maybe he's a genuine contender for our ball-playing and running full back position.
  12. The game could be doing better, but hats always the case for every sport. It isn't in crisis and isn't going backwards although I bet every single year since its inception people have claimed it was. I don't think everything is brilliant - I think we don't have the super teams we had a few years back and I'd prefer a higher media profile - but I still live the game and can see so many positives. Shame some others on here are ringing the bell for the end of the world.
  13. A quick check on the spread of the voting suggests RL fans were very much Brexit supporters in the main. Looking at other threads this probably isn't so surprising given many on here bring very nationalistic, not wanting anyone born outside of England playing for the country, for instance, and others wanting us to look after our heartlands first and foremost. Being in the construction industry and working all over the world I really hope my colleagues and I are wrong and we don't end up in a recession as a result of the vote for many obvious reasons. Specifically for RL though, it is often our fan bases that are hit first and hardest in recessionary times, so there is likely to be a lot less money around in the game domestically, irrespective of how it affects us internationally, such as the NRL being even more dominant. For me yesterday was a very sad day, but at least we've had some cracking games to lighten my mood.
  14. Finally a few posts at the end talking about the game rather than swearing at each other and calling the sport a disgrace. Given how the vote went yesterday and how RL territories were overwhelmingly Brexit, I thought people would be feeling a bit less angry today.
  15. There's two issues here - player welfare and player performance. Standards and expectations change over time as to what is acceptable in terms of risk of serious injury and death, thankfully in the less tolerant direction, and ensuring our players don't end up cripples like lots of other professional sports people have done will become an increasing priority over the years. As such Eorl is just voicing his views on this and whilst I love the collisions and intensity I don't wish permanent damage on anyone regardless of how tough things were in our youth. Playing fewer games would certainly reduce risk to players, as would ensuring adequate recovery and scheduling of matches. Our current off season is ridiculously short when you consider that this should only partly be about recovery and holiday time, and moreso about performance development. I'd hazard a guess that 5 months training pre-season might be ideal (when you look at athletics for example) to develop skills, conditioning and power, and a meagre few weeks (which is all our international players get) allows for no progression physically out of season at all. You won't get 5 months but 3-4 isn't out of the question. It's not as though the majority of income comes from gate receipts although you'd need to give something else to Sky (more games per week?) maybe to compensate them. So I'd actually be very supportive of having a minimum turnaround between games, a maximum number of games any player can play each year, and a protected minimum duration of off-season for every player. It's safer, the matches would be more intense and our players would demonstrably improve. Maybe we'd even beat the Aussies!