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  1. A few general points... 1. The "crazy" system Ian Lenegan has decried this system as crazy, and has also been critical of the Sky TV deal. To the best of my knowledge, he voted in favour of both. This isn't just a criticism of Lenegan as other chairmen are just as guilty. The club owners vote for something, then criticise someone else when it allegedly fails. A striking lack of accountability. The Stobart "deal" probably being the finest example of them all. 2. Self-Interest Can we trust the clubs to come up with a whole-game solution? In my view, no. The Super 8's were brought in to give a mirage of relegation. The Super League clubs brought in a convoluted system where no side automatically went down, as they thought that "all" they would have to do is to beat Championship clubs to stay up. They thought they would as safe as they were in licensing. In 2014, when this was agreed, the gap was too big for Championship clubs to be a threat. In the last few years, the game has changed and there are six Championship clubs that can give the lower Super League sides a game. So we're changing again. Nobody thought Hull KR could go down. They did. Nobody thought Catalans could go down. They were on the brink. Nobody thought that two Championship clubs would go up automatically in 2016 and 2017 and that two MPG's would be all Super League affairs. They were. 9th place are in danger of getting relegated now. But in 2014, this idea would have been scoffed at. The Super League clubs took a calculated risk, thinking it would keep them all safe. And now that it doesn't, they want out. The next system that comes on must be based on what's best for the game, not for the 12 teams who are sitting in the chairs when the music stops at any given time. 3. Less Games The points have already been covered, but I can't see a benefit in reducing the number of games. Would it help beat the Australians? Not in my view. We struggle to beat them as we are a minor sport. The best athletes play the most popular sport, in this country, that's football. In parts of Australia, that's rugby league. Until we address sliding participation figures and have a larger player pool to select from, we'll struggle to get the better of them. Others have covered the replacement of revenue for less matches, and I haven't seen an answer yet as to how that would occur. In the pre-2015 systems, if you missed out on the play-offs in Super League, you had most of September, October, November, December and January without a competitive match. Without the Super 8's, we'll probably go back to that. A lot of clubs not playing a competitive match for over a quarter of the year. How much more do they want off? Matchdays and Sky money are all that many clubs make revenue from. So for 4+ months, they are just getting by. If we up that to 5 or 6 months, how will clubs survive? 4. The Bigger Picture We've had all sorts of different systems since Super League began. We've changed the number of teams, no play offs at first, various different play off systems, P & R has come and gone like the wind. Yet none of these have taken the sport to the next level. That should show the structure isn't the issue. There are underlying issues like poor marketing, poor governance, a lack of accountability, complacency, poor community engagement, a lack of focus on the international game, reducing participation figures, a declining community game are just a few off the top of my head. Pick a structure, stick with it, and deal with the real issues that affect the game.
  2. Chris22

    Feigning injuries

    It's a concern as players are abusing the head injury protocol, which was rightly brought in to protect players. My solution is that where the game has to be stopped for any injury, then the player must either be substituted or must leave the field for 60 seconds for assessment, with no sub coming on. This is similar to what happens in football. When players realise that feigning injury may lead to their side temporarily being reduced to 12 men, you would soon see who was really injured. The game would hopefully speed up too and we could reduce the amount of 2 hour games!
  3. Chris22

    West Wales Raiders

    I don't know how much central funding West Wales get. If we were to assume that this was £100,000 per year, what would you do with this money and how would it improve the heartlands game? I will assume that you are correct that West Wales get poor crowds, but if I read you're post correctly, you seem to suggest that their presence reduces other teams crowds in the heartlands? How so? It's hardly like traditional, lower-league heartland clubs get good crowds anyway!
  4. Chris22

    West Wales Raiders

    How does attempting to expand the game drain and dilute the game, in your opinion?
  5. Another poor start from Saints with a very high error count. Although they've been criticised in their time at the club, you notice the work that Morgan and Peyroux do when they aren't on our right edge. Huddersfield took advantage of our defensive uncertainty on the right hand side with Makinson/Costello/Knowles. They also kicked excellently and changed their approach as the game went on from high kicks at Barba to good territorial kicks to touch and forcing GLDO's. We're having a wobble, and it's a challenge for us now. We've effectively won the LLS and have a home semi-final, so there's nothing to play for until the semi-final. The next six fixtures are just about getting back in form for the semi-final. I imagine next week we will be very conservative, focus on removing unforced knock ons and not making errors like being caught in possession on the last, as happened two or three times last night or dropping the ball on the first tackle when we have a good attacking position, as happened twice. I'm not hugely concerned as every side will go through a rough patch. It's about how we react, and I would advocate a safety-first, more patient approach. A contributory factor to each of our defeats this year has been a lack of patience, particularly with the ball. It's important to win next week for our confidence, as I would worry if we went into the two week break on the back on three losses.
  6. Chris22

    Barba going back to NRL of two weeks ago (i.e. after the Warrington match), St Helens were in no doubt that he would be staying here for in 2019.
  7. Chris22

    Barba going back to NRL

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think where Barba will be playing in 2019 may surprise a few...
  8. Chris22

    SKY Robots

    Someone at Sky must read this forum!
  9. Chris22

    Plan 'B'

    Plan B?
  10. Chris22

    Marwan's fixture proposal

    It's almost, but not quite as a bad as a recent suggestion I saw on RLFANS, which lambasted the RFL for not deciding the play-off structure mid-season to ensure that they can get the most exciting system!
  11. An interesting article. I think it is parts idealistic, but in other ways isn't afraid to address the problems in the sport, and unlike other articles offers practical solutions. The only thing I would add was a greater focus on the international game. Thoughts?
  12. Chris22

    Plan 'B'

    I wonder if this is a Featherstone initiative, or "plan b" in action?
  13. That match was incredibly similar to our 2005 semi final against Hull. It was our worst performance of the season, taking on Catalans best performance of the season. We were never in the match from minute 1, our forwards were decimated by Catalans, and we made countless errors which invited pressure, and Gigot and Drinkwater took control from there. Interesting that the half backs who got relegated with Leigh last year will play at Wembley in a few weeks. For now, I'm willing to write this off as one of those days. All sides will have one over the season at least. Sadly, we chose the most important match of the year to do it. But questions will now be asked. Is Holbrook's same 17 each week approach correct? Has Barba's head been turned? Having lose the last 3 Super League semi finals and 5 Challenge Cup semi-finals we have competed in, do we have the bottle to win the championship? The pressure is now on. Teams won't fear playing us in a play-off semi final now. If we are the champion side that we want to be, then we have to answer these criticisms come October. I do worry that as we have little to play for until October, that this defeat may play on our mind for a while, particularly due to the manner of it. But that is only our third defeat in six months, so I still have confidence that we can win the title. The dream of a treble has gone, maybe today has reminded us why it's so rarely done. Best of luck to Catalans in the final. They deserved their place and it would hopefully boost French RL if they were to win. In some ways, today showed why rugby league is great. A side that was so awful earlier in the year are now the form team in the league, and on the verge of a first ever trophy.
  14. Chris22

    Jet 2 should be ashamed

    I think the wider point is the airport/airlines industries general treatment of people with disabilities, which is very poor. A number of airports have been criticising in a recent report - Whilst many, I am pleased to see, have reported positive experiences with Jet2, the fact is that this family did not have a positive experience, and they are within their rights to criticise. I do agree with earlier views that there is a contradiction with the view that Jack felt humiliated and subsequently publishing the story to the national news. It's probably not something I would have done in the situation, but that's down to the individual. It shouldn't be this way, but complaining, making the maximum amount of fuss and publishing incidents like this one is the best way of ensuring that such an incident is not repeated. I assume that the reason that the family chose to go public is because next time they fly with Jet2, this means the likelihood of an incident being repeated is minimised, and the spotlight will shortly diminish. If that's what is needed to drive up the substandard way in which disabled travellers are treated, then that's not a bad thing in my view.
  15. Chris22

    SL Club Attendances 2018

    I do think we sat our bar too low as a sport at times. For licensing, did you get credit for having a stadium regularly over 40% capacity? That's not something that should be credited. Even in the last two weeks, I've seen RL journalists praise a crowd of 16,000 at Wigan for the match against Saints, and 12,500 for the Saints match against Warrington. Admittedly, they were Thursday's but these crowds aren't worthy of praise. I've been critical of my own team Saints for their marketing recently. At Knowsley Road, we drew crowds of around 8,000 or so for lesser games, and 14,000+ for the likes of Leeds and Warrington, and on a couple of occasions sold out the Warrington game. We now seem to have levelled off, with crowds always around 10,000 for the lesser matches, with crowds of 12,000 or so for Leeds and Warrington. We need to do more to sell them out. Saints, to their credit, did push the Warrington game with cheap family tickets and more entertainment, but didn't get much of a return, so maybe it's a harder sell than I suggest. But there's so much we can do. I use Saints as an example as their my team. This year our first match of the season fell of the 150th anniversary of being established as a town. The marketing opportunities are obvious, but we didn't do anything. As it was the first game, we still drew a healthy 13,000. But tap into that event, and I would hope you could have at least drawn another 1,000 in. There's so much more we can do. We could have a competition for youth teams and community groups. Give them all tickets to sell for the match like Catalans when the away end is closed. The group who sells the most tickets could win a training session with the first team, or the chance to train on the pitch etc. The cost of things like this are minimal, but the return could be large. I'm no marketing expert, but it seems to me that getting people to part with money now is harder, particularly in an era where attention spans are shorter and entertainment is sourced from mobile phones rather than live experiences. We therefore need to try even harder than ever to get people in to our stadiums, and make the sport seem like an occasion that you can't miss out on and something worth parting with your cash and time for.