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Everything posted by Chris22

  1. Chris22

    Lee Radford determined to re-ignite Hull FC

    For Saints: Regan Grace Danny Richardson Morgan Knowles Matty Lees (not in the first 17 in terms of squad number, but 19 appearances last year and expected to be a regular started this year). Jack Ashworth and Aaron Smith are likely to receive more game time this year at the expense of Kyle Amor and possibly Theo Fages/James Roby.
  2. Chris22

    Luke Gale

    Reported to be out for the season. A huge blow for Castleford and also for the competition. This year, of all years, we need our biggest stars playing. Here's hoping it isn't as serious as first thought.
  3. A very interesting debate and one I'm not sure which side I fall on. On the one hand, Wembley is the national stadium and if we don't play the Cup Final there regularly, we lose our only match at the national stadium. This may sound spurious, but it also looks a bit silly having a statue of 5 legends outside the stadium and us never playing there. Sometimes having tradition is a good thing. And losing tradition could be dangerous. We have a routine now. We know where the Cup Final will be played and on what weekend. It's something you can account for every year. Having us move around creates that uncertainty where more people may think "let's not bother". This year was a bit of an anomaly and we would have had empty seats in any reasonably sized ground. I would worry if that final was held at, say Cardiff, and still looked empty and in our panic, we decided we had to reduce to an Elland Road/Ricoh Arena/Bramall Lane sized venue. We would have to be careful not to go down a slippery slop. The design of Wembley doesn't help us. It is a purpose built 90,000 seater stadium, with bright red seats. When sections are empty, it sticks out like a sore thumb. We had 10,000 empty seats at Old Trafford this year, but as that stadium was initially a smaller capacity and built upwards, it's less obvious. Wembley also has the design flaw if it's sunny, which doesn't look great. I don't think we do a great job covering empty seats either, when Tottenham do it (i.e. from the back), the stadium looks a lot more full On balance, my view is that we should stick at Wembley, assess the impact of the move to July and the 1895 Cup and assess then. If we did move, it's not something that should be done lightly.
  4. Chris22

    Barrow Raiders - Kids Go Free

    Rochdale are also running an initiative to get more young people to matches. It does seem that rugby league's appeal, especially at lower league level, seems to be mainly the older generation. Good to see clubs making efforts to bring in younger attendees.
  5. I think it's fair to say that not all elements of our of support base have been too welcoming towards the likes of Catalans, Toulouse and Toronto in to the English game. The almost universal condemnation of the RFL's stance highlights just how unfair this is. I have to say, when Ralph Rimmer spoke about "plan b" in case Catalans got to the final, rather naively, I assumed that this would involve a significant upturn in marketing and promotion as opposed to charging them £500,000 to enter. The principle of the bond is bad enough, but the amount is eye watering. It's around 1/4 of Catalans annual salary cap. That money could pay for 1 global superstar or a couple of very talented players. Yet the RFL propose to spend the money covering their potential losses for failing to sell out, or even make profitable, their most historic and prestigious event. It is almost an admission of defeat, which will be off-putting to both fans and sponsors. I have little doubt that the RFL will back down now they are faced with the prospect of the holders not defending their title. But whether they do or not, their embarrassment will remain. It would be very difficult for Catalans to decline to defend their title, but I agree completely with their decision. It would be both financially and reputationally damaging to pay the bond. The RFL have made positive moves by switching the final to July from next year and introducing the 1895 Cup, both of which should boost the Challenge Cup, and should be credited for them. But to think that charging non-English clubs is lazy. It is not the answer. It ignores the reasons why the final crowd is dropping and does nothing to attempt to address the decline. To be polite, it fails to inspire confidence. To be stronger, it shows that the governing body has a dirge of leadership and foresight. No matter what happens now, this a hugely embarrassing episode for the RFL, one of the most strategically backward proposals I can recall from them.
  6. Chris22

    Lions tour 2019 (Merged Threads)

    The BBC have penned an article about sporting events to look forward to in 2019. No mention of rugby league in it. I would usually be critical, but it's a problem of our own making. What could we put? "The GB Lions are touring for the first time in x years, but we don't know when, where, or the opponents". Our lack of organisation harms our ambitions of growth.
  7. 1. Warrington 2. St Helens 3. Wigan 4. Castleford 5. Leeds 6. Catalans 7. Wakefield 8. Hull FC 9. Huddersfield 10. Hull KR 11. Salford 12. London
  8. Chris22

    St.Helens red v

    An unfortunately placed sponsor indeed!
  9. Chris22

    St.Helens red v

    I've just had a search and yes that is correct. My memory must be playing tricks on me!
  10. Chris22

    St.Helens red v

    From memory I think we had the red band in the 1961 Cup Final, but by the 1966 Cup Final we had the redvee. Not sure of the answer to your question, but the website below should help. Alex Service is the club's historian and his email address is on the website, if you can't find the answer.
  11. Chris22

    Great RL Photos

    There is very little information available via the internet, sadly. This is all I can find: cotton st helens&f=false
  12. Chris22

    Eddie Hearn Interview

    I see one of the Sky Sports channels is rebranding as "Sky Sports Darts" for the upcoming championships. Hopefully, we can push for something similar during the Magic Weekend as there will be six games, plus some NRL in the mornings.
  13. Eden was the top try scorer in 2017 and scored a lot in 2018 relative to the number of games he played. He's got to be one of the favourites again. Edit: Sky Bet are offering 80/1 on Austin for MOS and Charnley for top try scorer, seems decent odds to me!
  14. I've had a go, and it was harder than I thought! Probably plenty that I've missed out. I've tried to keep it chronological (broadly). 1. Coventry hosting Leeds in a pre-season friendly. 2. Bradford's close victory over York in round 1 of League 1. 3. Ben Barba's performance in round 1 vs Castleford. 4. The first ever Super League game in Australia. 5. Leigh's poor start to the season and Neil Jukes' departure. 6. York vs Catalans in the Challenge Cup. 7. The start of the Women's Super League. 8. Catalans terrible start to the season and their signing of Josh Drinkwater. 9. Leeds' fightback against Castleford at Elland Road, where Castleford just hung on. 10. London's defeat of Toronto on Good Friday. 11. Castleford vs Warrington's modern-day watersplash on Easter Monday. 12. Leeds' losing run from April onwards, culminating in Brian McDermott's sacking. 13. West Wales Raiders' fiasco and various other teams not being able to field a 17. 14. Newcastle vs Bradford on the Friday before Magic and Newcastle's season generally with increasing crowds. 15. Magic Weekend - especially hosting a championship match for the first time. 16. Toronto vs Leigh at the Summer Bash. 17. Round 18 of Super League, which included one draw, two games where the sides were separated by a point, one game with a two point margin of victory and one with a four point margin of victory (settle by a last minute try). 18. Shaun Wane's departure from Wigan and appointment of Lam/Edwards. 19. Super League restructure (again). 20. Samoa vs Tonga in Sydney. 21. The Denver test. 22. NSW's origin win. 23. Hull FC's mid-season collapse. 24. The final few rounds of the Championship season with Halifax and London securing a place in the Super 8's. 25. The cup semi-final double header at Bolton, especially Catalans victory. 26. London's victory of Widnes to open the Super 8's. 27. The Challenge Cup Final. 28. The Women's Challenge Cup final between Castleford and Leeds. 29. St Helens winning the LLS. 30. Toulouse beating Widnes and Hull KR at home. 31. Toronto beating Toulouse in the middle 8's by a point. 32. Widnes' relegation. 33. Rochdale's miracle escape. 34. York securing the League 1 title. 35. Toronto beating Leeds at Headingley and then Hull KR beating Widnes to survive. 36. The Million Pound Game. 37. Bradford's promotion. 38. The farcical Swinton vs Workington play-off. 39. Sydney's magnificent play off series - Sydney vs Melbourne's preliminary semi-final, Sydney vs St George and Sydney vs Souths 40. The St Helens vs Warrington play-off semi final. 41. (through gritted teeth) Wigan's fairytale title win. 42. Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary's performance in the NRL Grand Final. 43. Tonga vs Australia. 44. The Anfield test. 45. The emergence of new talent in the England team, especially Tommy Makinson. 46. Jamaica's qualification for the World Cup. 47. Wayne Bennett/Anthony Seibold's job swap. 48. The emergence of PDRL/LDRL 49. Announcement of Catalans vs Wigan at Nou Camp next year. 50. Brian McDemott's appointment at Toronto for 2019.
  15. I'd like to have seen the RFL acknowledge this. A statement along the lines of thanking everyone who has attended a game in the UK this year and how we aim to move higher up the list and increasing the figure in years to come. It's a good news story and we should be publicising it.
  16. Chris22

    Widdop wants UK return

    Could be nonsense, but hey let's add to the speculation
  17. League Weekly reporting Golden Point introduced for Super League next year. I assume this is an Elstone led change. Personally, I don't think it will add much. If two teams can't be separated after 80 minutes, what's wrong with that?
  18. Under the new structure, 7 Super League sides won't play a competitive match during half of September and then all of October, November, December and January. Whilst I accept there are some merits to calls to reduce the season, Super League clubs don't play for at least a third of the year as it is. We can't cut fixtures without financially harming clubs.
  19. I think overall average crowds will go down this year with London being promoted. Hopefully that may be offset by an increased capacity at Headingley. What I think our immediate focus should be is selling out the "big" games. Last year, Warrington got crowds of 11,241, 12,012 and 12,268 in their first home matches against Leeds, Wigan and Saints. Saints got crowds of 11,482, 12,454 and 14,061 against Leeds, Warrington and Wigan (non-Good Friday game). For the games against the "big three" teams, Wigan drew 10,645, 13,249 and 16,047. These crowds aren't good enough and we need to make these big games to be must see events. Unfortunately, these games don't just sell themselves and need that big push, which is probably why we are seeing derby marches to open the season.
  20. Chris22

    Golden Point

    Aside from golden point, I think that the other rule changes are positive. Hopefully it leads to less 2 hour matches and prevents the game from being stopped at every drop out. I did have an thought before though that I'm glad we didn't have golden point in 1996. If we did, Wigan probably would have beaten London and Saints would have lost the title!
  21. Chris22

    2021 World Cup Format

    Whether you have a super-group or a more traditional format, it doesn't take a genius to predict the outcome. But if you extrapolate it, you can predict the final from here. It will involve two of Australia, New Zealand and England. That's predictability. So, to look at it that way, why are we hosting a World Cup, when we could just host a tri-nations some might say? That's not how I see it. The World Cup is about more than just the outcome. It's about the route and developing stories. It's about the fact that we can host a match like USA vs Cook Islands on a Wednesday night in Bristol and it being a fantastic occasion. Whilst I can see both sides of the argument, a competition lacks integrity where one side can qualify from the group stages without winning a match, yet another side can win two out of three and fail to qualify. And if we want to be a serious tournament, a worldwide tournament, we want to meet the targets we've set and grow as a sport, integrity of the competition is more important than whether we get a few more blowouts. There will be some blowouts in 2021, no question. Australia may end up facing Jamaica and posting 100 points past them. Maybe it's naïve, but these groups may see games like England vs Fiji, Tonga vs Samoa, New Zealand vs Lebanon. I don't think games like this will produce blowouts. And I'd rather see these kind of matches, involving teams we don't usually face rather than England vs New Zealand in a super-group - which would feel a bit artificial.
  22. Chris22

    New Grounds.

    Great to see progress at York. Amazing how far they've come since their financial problems of around 2014/2015. Leeds is also looking good too. It looks significantly larger than the old layout of Headingley, yet if I recall correctly the capacity is decreasing? Leeds have consistently had the best crowds in Super League and now with more suitable facilities, hopefully they can grow further and start selling out regularly. Although I have to say, the West Stand looks incredibly out of place now in the stadium and is the only thing holding Leeds back from probably having the best stadium in the country.
  23. It depends what you want out of a Magic Weekend. Personally for me, it's not just about the rugby, it was the whole weekend. That's why Newcastle worked so well. It was well-connected, right in the city centre, plenty of places for food/drink and the ability to move freely from the city to the stadium. Anfield doesn't offer any of those things. So although Anfield is 30 minutes away and Newcastle is 3 hours, I still would have been more likely to go to Newcastle. I anticipate that I'll still go, but probably just for the 1 match and it'll feel more like a regular match than an event. This is why I wasn't as keen on Manchester. Hopefully we'll return to Newcastle before long.
  24. Here's mine: Lomax - 7 - I've never been convinced by Lomax at this level. His best attribute at international level is that he deals with kicks very well, and that continued in this series. But, from the second test onwards, he started injecting himself in the line, causing New Zealand defenders to retreat and used his passing skills effectively. His best performances in an England shirt by a distance (apologies to the Wigan fan on here who seems to think Lomax is the devil incarnate), but still some concerns about his one on one tackling against big men once they break through. Makinson - 9 - An excellent series and well-deserved man of the series award. He took a few huge hits taking the ball out but got up again quickly. New Zealand peppered him with kicks, even though it became clear after the first game that he was solid. His finishing was excellent and absolutely dominated his opposite numbers. He is small for an international winger but his performances belied his size. Connor - 7 - I don't think centre is his best position. We heard a lot about Manu before the series but Connor kept him quiet, which is an achievement in itself. He offered a good attacking threat, scoring a couple of tries, but his highlight has to be that flick pass to Makinson at Anfield last week, which was top class. Gildart - 7 - A good first test, with a brilliant try to cap it off, a defining moment for the series and one that was critical to our eventual victory. He was poor in the second test and non-descript in the third. A decent enough start to his international career though and I'm sure he'll keep improving with time at this level. McGillvary - 7 - A different role for him in this test series. His performances weren't as headline-grabbing as in previous years. Probably not as noticeable as in previous years, but still made some key contributions with his clearing runs from our own line which attracted a number of New Zealand defenders. Williams - 8 - Another that has never impressed me at international level until this series. He took more responsibility with his kicking, with his very accurate short kicking game proving fruitful. Possibly more impressive was his passing game, his pass selection was far improved on what I've seen before. Tomkins - 8 - I was a little worried about running with Tomkins at 7 for the series when he's played at 1 all season. He stepped up though and showed good organisational skills. Graham - 7 - Solid performances without being spectacular. Glad to see him rewarded with the captaincy. Hodgson - 7 - Average at best in tests 1 and 3. Excellent in test 2 and added another element to our performance with a number of precision kicks. He's always underwhelmed at hooker for me at international level and looked better when he reverts to 13. T Burgess - 8 - Leader of the pack. Attracted defenders and made great metres. New Zealand have a huge pack and his starts meant that we didn't often get dominated. Even in the third test, I don't think it's a coincidence that we fell off when he left the field. Whitehead - 9 - Magnificent again. Rightly nominated for the Golden Boot. He seems as though he played big minutes and if I recall correctly won man of the match in game 1, and if he didn't, then he should have! His ball steal in game 2 even caused Wayne Bennett to elicit some emotion, a feat that I can't recall anyone in the sport ever achieving! Bateman - 6 - I was a little disappointed with Bateman, to be honest. I felt that his running wasn't direct enough, was quite lateral and found himself out of position in defence a couple of times.. He certainly showed that competitive edge and ran in to defend his team mates when needed, and made an excellent contribution in game 1 with a fantastic offload to release Gildart. Thompson - 8 - As he always does for Saints, he ran without fear. If you run with that much vigour as a prop, you won't go far wrong. He wasn't intimidated by the big New Zealand forwards. He played in the unfamiliar position of 13, but in a familiar style. In terms of a debut series, he did well. Hill - 8 - I was really impressed with Hill. I think he flourished compared to his club performances, possibly as he wasn't expected to be the leading man as he is at Warrington. He made positive contributions in games 1 and 2 and kept the Kiwi pack working over. G Burgess - 4 - He lost his place for RLWC 2017, and based on his performances this year, I wouldn't be tempted to put him in next year. If Walmsley recovers to normal levels or if someone like Scott Taylor has a good season, both would be better replacements. His go forward was poor and he let himself down with a very dangerous gouge. Clarke - 7 - He made a positive contribution in test 1, and added a lot more speed to the ruck and released Hodgson to play in a more effective role. A shame he got injured which limited his game time. Milner - 6 - Got caught ball watching a couple of times in defence leading to New Zealand breaks. Didn't make too many errors with the ball though and seemed to slot into the side well. Greenwood - 5 - Possibly a harsh score considering he was played out of position. He's far more effective running wider than down the middle, a reflection on how he was played than himself. Myler - 5 - Non-descript. Played to the best of his ability, but he's not international class. Ratchford - 6 - Hard to judge with a lack of game time, didn't have time to make any impact really. O Loughlin - 6 - As above.