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  1. Your 2021 england team

    I take the point but i think most watchers of the youth game had Ben Currie down as a shoe in for a future international from a very early stage, in fact even 4 years ago he was lining up at Stand Off for Ireland against England and Australia in the world cup when he was just 18 years old. Were it not for injuries he would have several caps for England by now I am sure. I genuinely think he's perhaps the best player in the entire England squad currently, and fingers crossed that his knee can hold out so we can see him in action this Autumn - I know that the coaches are giving consideration to playing him at centre.
  2. When do you think the NFL, NBA, NRL, AFL, MLS etc will wake up and realise that putting 1/3 of the teams up for relegation at the end of the year will massively improve their competitions? The purpose of the elite competition should be about more than just giving work experience to second tier clubs.
  3. Worthy point albeit slightly different to the one which was raised which was whether Warrington was sustainable without a private benefactor.
  4. Warrington have recorded only a single year of losses in their accounts since 2011, and have recorded a profit in every other season. This is despite investing significant sums in to expanding their playing, coaching and administrative team and spending a lot more on training facilities and marketing initiatives. Their annual turnover of £7.2m is 4 times higher than the salary cap. I'm not sure this is evidence of an unsustainable club.
  5. The current solution which means only 8 teams are safe from the end of year silly season, means that if one of "the 7" has a poor run or a few injuries and finishes in 9th (e.g. Warrington in 2017 or Leeds in 2016) then they are suddenly at real risk of losing their super league status. Madness.
  6. Firstly, regardless of the rights and wrongs of P&R, having 1/3 of the super league involved in a relegation competition at the end of the season is ridiculous and takes jeopardy way past the point of entertainment. At the heart of Smith's point is the question, if Featherstone (or any other club) don't have a lot of fans, a decent stadium, a good youth system, a well run back-office administration and of course a competitive playing squad, then do they deserve to be in Super League, and perhaps equally important does Super League want to be letting these types of sides in? If the answer is no, then creating some daft 8 team, 7 game scramble at the end of the season is perhaps not the best way to be determining P&R. Smith is very clear that he is not against P&R, he just wants it to be done in a way in which ensures we have the best sides (as defined by the criteria above) in the top division. If we were football and had 50 clubs in the country who could all offer 20,000+ crowds then it would be a different story, but we aren't in that position, and creating a league which places some of our very small number of top class clubs at a high risk of jeopardy is not wise. If we have more than 12 teams that meet all the criteria outlined above then we could always expand to a 14 team competition in due course without having to jettison an existing team. Let's raise the bar and encourage all teams to meet it, rather than lowering the bar and waiting for some disastrous unintended consequences.
  7. Tony Smith leaving Wolves (merged threads)

    Speaking to a young Warrington player earlier this year, it was interesting to hear his view that Lee Briers will never be a head coach. He thought that Briers lacked the dedication that top coaches have, and did not command the same authority as the other coaches at Warrington. Interestingly he also thought that Richard Agar was a fantastic coach, with incredible in-depth knowledge of the game, which is contrary to the perception of most of the fans and perhaps explains the rumoured interest from the NRL. As for Smith, he is possibly the best coach in Super League history and his record at Warrington speaks for itself. Despite this record, I think i will also remember him as being slightly unlucky in big games which could have seen him with an even better record - memories that stick out include: - The very marginal last minute penalty for being offside at a drop goal attempt in the Grand Final qualifier v Leeds which allowed Sinfield to win the game in 2011(?). I don't think i've seen another penalty for being offside at a drop goal attempt since! The Warrington team that season was possibly the best Warrington team in 50 years and had beat everything before it during the season with players like Morley, Monaghan and Briers really at their peak. - The Grand Final v Wigan where Warrington suffered two injuries to outside backs when they had a healthy lead. With no backs on the bench this left them for a period with Briers at fullback and Michael Monaghan in the centres as Wigan sealed the comeback. - The Ben Currie knock on in last year's cup final, as well as coming agonisingly close in the Grand Final v Wigan with Gidley being inches short in the final minute. As for the future, i can't see Smith taking a number 2 job. He would certainly command a top job in Australia if one became available, but the Catalans job is the one that feels like a natural fit for him given their period of under achieving, and the apparent requirement for a culture change.
  8. Betts wants licensing back

    I have no problem with promotion and relegation, however what is ludicrous is a system whereby 1/3 of the league are up for relegation at the end of the season. This is taking jeopardy to a ridiculous extreme and risks the super league inadvertently dumping out one of it's big teams which it can ill-afford to do. Had Warrington or Leeds suffered a couple of injuries to key players at the wrong time of the year then they could foreseeably have been sucked in to a relegation fight over the past couple of seasons.
  9. Not sure he has the pace or skill to be a centre.
  10. Exactly right. Seems like a great lad and he's done really well taking his opportunity for Warrington having originally come on a trial whilst not speaking any English and subsequently signing for a very low wage and living in student accommodation in the town. In a fully fit Warrington side he probably wouldn't quite make the 17 as he doesn't quite excel in any particular area (with the possible exception of some big hits in defence), however he will not let anyone down and would be a good signing for Catalans.
  11. County of Origin Series

    AFL is to a large extent a regional game as well with the majority of teams, fans and players being based in Victoria. The two other states that historically play AFL (South and West Aus) are both much smaller in comparison hence they would usually get beat. In fact the last time Victoria played as a state was against a "Dream Team" where players from other states were pushed together to make a competitive team (aka the Exiles). Needless to say it felt a bit contrived and didn't take off - the parallels are there.
  12. County of Origin Series

    I'd love to see New Zealand coming to England on "International Weekend" to play a match at Wembley or similar in May. Had they have done this, the year after NZ beat England in the world cup semi and capitalised whilst it was fresh in people's minds, i am convinced it would have sold out.
  13. County of Origin Series

    Lancashire take some small county championship matches to Liverpool and Blackpool which are watched by one man and his dog.
  14. County of Origin Series

    State of Origin consists of two (mostly) evenly matched teams from the two states which make up a massive percentage of total Australian population, and in which millions of rugby league followers live. It's not a realistic comparison.
  15. County of Origin Series

    The problem is that there isn't the natural rivalry, passion and competitive edge between the counties, that there once was - or perhaps more accurately, if the rivalry does exist then the fans of the super league clubs that were traditionally in Lancashire (but now Cheshire, Merseyside, Gtr Manchester etc), no longer feel as part of it as they once would have. It's hard to fake the rivalry and passion in these matches as the Exiles concept showed us. North v South would probably work as a rivalry but clearly there aren't enough top drawer players (or fans) from the south to make this work. England v England A would probably get the rivalry amongst the players going, but would be a difficult one for fans to buy in to.