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About nathanwood7

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  1. Heighington is a solid club pro and has had an NRL career which he can feel very proud of. Having said that, his previous international experience (when he was also enjoying good club form) was at best ordinary, with his most memorable contribution being an awful one on one miss on Tony Williams for a crucial try v Australia before being dropped for the next game. Whilst he's definitely a hard worker, it's difficult to see how he could ever offer something at international level which makes it worthwhile picking him at the twilight of his career, at the expense of a younger English player with greater potential. The only possible reason i can think of is that he's based in Aus (and i wouldn't agree with this reason), but even if this was the reason, i'd still prefer to pick someone like Greenwood, who whilst not good enough now - has the potential to improve to become an international in the future.
  2. Presumably Sarginson will provide cover for the backs as the back 5 picks itself. Heighington is the standout pick - he wasn't good enough last time round and it's difficult to see how he'll be better as a 35 year old. Having said that, i'd be amazed if he got anywhere near the team, and he should find it even harder to get near it once Currie is back fit again.
  3. It's an interesting topic. I always think of right sided centres as being perhaps slightly more skillful as you tend to get the great silky centres like Gleeson, Gasnier, Gidley etc who have a great right hand carry and can release their winger with a flip of the right hand. It doesn't tend to happen so much the other way, as this skill is a lot harder to perfect with your left hand if you're right handed. Ryan Atkins is a good example in that he'd perhaps be a bit of a waste at right centre as his handling isn't his strength, but he works well on the left as a power player. Same with Keith Senior.
  4. 20 PL teams are making massive profits. Are you sure?
  5. Probably not, which is a shame for Castleford, and we've all welcomed seeing them doing so well in recent years. I would argue that part of the reason Castleford have been able to do so well has been due to the decline of other teams. Do we want to bring the league down to a level where the smaller teams can compete, or do we want to put the onus on Castleford to increase their commercial income, stadium facilities, financial backing etc and become a bigger club if they want to be competitive in a league that contains higher quality players?
  6. If Sunderland can't afford Ronaldo's wages, does this mean Man Utd shouldn't be allowed to sign him? Is creating a highly competitive league of Sunderlands, better than creating a league where you can sign whoever they want but this means that well run, well funded clubs will be able to rise above the rest? Is a league with Ronaldo in it more likely to attract fans, future players, sponsors and press coverage? These are of course extreme examples to illustrate the point, and let's not pretend that this solves all of our problems, but i don't think engaging in a race to the bottom will achieve anything other than perpetuating the slow, demise of the sport in our country.
  7. The level, dimension and exposure of the NRL was good 10 years ago and yet we were still able to attract those better quality players. The only thing that has really changed since then is that we've been stifling wages whilst the NRL has seen massive wage inflation. In addition the exchange rate has moved in favour of the NRL. Financial factors have been the biggest change and so it is fair to think that action in this area may help.
  8. In the short term i agree with you. I love watching our boys compete in the NRL, but in the long term, wishing away all of our best players isn't a sustainable model for Super League.
  9. Clearly, the ideal world is that we have an NRL/NBA/NFL environment where there's lots of funding and a large number of teams can be competitive whilst still spending a fortune on the top players. This isn't an option today. We either have a competitive league full of average teams and devoid of stars (which is what we've been moving towards), or we look to try and raise the bar and encourage the teams to think big. There's no perfect answer, but it doesn't seem right to sit and watch the league dwindle.
  10. As a short term measure that's fine, but longer term the goal has got to be to make the SL competitive with the NRL such that there is no advantage in heading down under and the threat of a talent drain subsides. This can only be achieved by allowing our clubs and our league to grow. Shutting up shop and creating a competitive budget league doesn't seem like a viable long term option.
  11. Off the top of my head Michael Monaghan, Matt King, Jamie Lyon, Pat Richards, and Lesley Vainikolo are all players who came to Super League in the peak of their career, but you would imagine would have zero chance of signing today. At the same time British players including Burgess, Hodgson, Greenwood, Sarginson, Tomkins and Graham moved to the NRL for bigger salaries. This trend looks like it is growing year by year. There is no guarantee that any of these players would stay in super league, or that any top NRL players will come here but i think the trend of a weakening Super League is clear, and it is entirely appropriate to take action which seeks to address this trend.
  12. For the past decade the league has been concerned with creating a more even and competitive league by having a salary cap which restricts the ability of the big clubs to build super teams as we saw with the likes of Bradford and St Helens during the previous decase. There is no doubt that the current league is more competitive, which is a reflection of this policy working as clubs have had to rely on a large number of lower paid, young, British players particularly when filling squad numbers 18-30. This can work out well for clubs if you happen to have some superstar youngsters emerging from the academy and get to squeeze a season or two out of them before they command massive wages (as Wigan have successfully done recently). The number of overseas players has reduced accordingly, with the relative attractiveness of pay in Super League being lower than the NRL. The downside of this strategy is that I would argue it has been mainly achieved by making the big clubs weaker, rather than making the poorer clubs better. It seems impossible to think that St Helens were once able to boast a team which contained Lyon, Cunningham, Long, Pryce, Sculthorpe, Wilkin, Graham, Cayless, Wellens, Gilmour etc all at the same time. We now have lots of teams with solid squads, but few with the fantastic squads we saw previously. In an ideal world then the likes of Widnes and Wakefield would have more money to spend on putting together a better team that could allow the whole league to spend more and be competitive with better squads, but whilst this isn't the case there seems to be a choice - have a more even and competitive league, or have a league that can attract better players (but only at the clubs who can afford to pay them). Previously i was in the camp that wanted a more even league, but i have to admit i do now long for the days when we could see more of the superstar players we have previously seen. We surely can't make the league a race to the bottom, and we have to get people excited about watching the sport. I think these changes are a positive step. The onus should be on the bottom clubs to get better stadiums, increase their commercial revenue, find bigger backers etc (all easier said than done) rather than on the big clubs to sit on their hands and wait for the league to dwindle.
  13. The link doesn't work for me? It's a real tough one. Personally I love the Challenge Cup and i don't think there's anything wrong with the Cup per se but there does seem to be an incredible indifference and apathy to the cup (and play-off games) that is hard to understand. Clubs do not seem able to shift tickets for one off matches (other than for finals) and i dont know why this is - fans too cash strapped? Fans conditioned to season ticket mentality? Blanket TV coverage? Game sold itself too cheaply with bargain tickets which devalue the product and create a reluctance to pay for it? Clubs prioritising league results? Super League Clubs playing each other as many as 5 times a season during the league and playoff campaign leading to overkill of big fixtures? A combination of the above? I'm struggling to think of the answer but the saving grace is that the Challenge Cup final remains a big institution in its own right and therefore there is still a big prize to play for if we can get it right.
  14. Let's hope he can be half the player Sculthorpe was. It's easy to forget when you read about some of these promising 19 and 20 year olds who have yet to break in to their club teams, that having made his debut aged 17 (or 16?), by the age of 18 Sculthorpe was already Warrington's star player (and at times captain), a GB international, and had been selected in the Super League Dream Team. A true once in a generation player.
  15. Can't see Ward coming close to getting picked but maybe give him some experience with one eye on the world cup next year? I'd probably go with the following, albeit there are some tough calls and i wouldn't begrudge Percival, Williams, Brown, Farrell, or Cooper a spot if they were picked. Lomax Hall Sarginson Watkins McGillvary Widdop Gale Graham Hodgson Hill Bateman Whitehead Burgess Burgess Burgess Clark Ratchford