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When does a team become a great team

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Although people will always disagree however you measure it, the current play off system surely provides further room for uncertainty. Leeds winning twice from fifth does undermine the credibility of the current system. I'm not sure whether doing away with the playoffs is the right thing from a financial point of view but if you took money out of the equation, would we continue to have a playoff system?

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When does a team become a great team?

1. When they win major trophies ... Leeds have done this regularly in the Superleague era

2. When they are exciting to watch ... Leeds have done this previously in the Superleague era

3. When you have fears about playing them both at home and away ....Leeds have not offered this for at least four years in the Superleague era

When does a team become a great team?

1. When they win major trophies ... Leeds have done this regularly in the Superleague era

2. When they are exciting to watch ... Leeds have done this previously in the Superleague era

3. When you have fears about playing them both at home and away ....Leeds have not offered this for at least four years in the Superleague era

2009?

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I don't get the argument that Leeds aren't that good a side because they didn't finish top and only won a handful of games at the end of the season to become Champions. The handful of games at the end of the season included three against teams that finished above them, including the team that finished top. If those teams were as good as they think they are based on their league placings, they should have had no difficulty whatsoever in dispatching the team that finished fifth, going on to Old Trafford and winning the title themselves. That they couldn't do that, even with home advantage in two of the three cases, suggests that the league table alone is actually not a foolproof way of demonstrating which is the best team in the land.

Several years ago, when it was either the first or second placed team that always got to Old Trafford and won the title, the argument went that the play-offs were a waste of time and/or boring because no team would ever win from outside the top two. Then Bradford won from third, now Leeds have won twice from fifth. But instead of accepting that the whole thing has got a little bit more exciting and unpredictable, the argument is changed to say that the play-offs are unfair because a team that finishes fifth can emerge victorious. Uh?

I was a sceptic when play-offs were re-introduced to decide the title in 1998, but I've been won over having attended so many great nights at Old Trafford since. It would be madness to walk away from all that in the dubious quest for 'fairness'. I don't write this as a Leeds fan. Far from it, I'm still smarting from Bradford's controversial defeat in 1999 when they finished top but lost to Saints, but that's sport and if you can't win at Old Trafford, then you really haven't proved that you are the best. Winning a succession of league games is only half the job. Doing that, then getting to Old Trafford, then holding your nerve to win in that pressure cooker environment is the true mark of a champion team. Love em or loathe em, that's exactly what Leeds are right now in my opinion.

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Consider the Liverpool side that reached two Champions League Finals, winning one, without even being in the top three sides in England. If they had won both would they have been classed as a great team? I agree that the Grand Final is an amazing spectacle but it's hard to argue that winning it necessarily makes you the best team in the comp.

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I don't get the argument that Leeds aren't that good a side because they didn't finish top and only won a handful of games at the end of the season to become Champions. The handful of games at the end of the season included three against teams that finished above them, including the team that finished top. If those teams were as good as they think they are based on their league placings, they should have had no difficulty whatsoever in dispatching the team that finished fifth, going on to Old Trafford and winning the title themselves. That they couldn't do that, even with home advantage in two of the three cases, suggests that the league table alone is actually not a foolproof way of demonstrating which is the best team in the land.

Several years ago, when it was either the first or second placed team that always got to Old Trafford and won the title, the argument went that the play-offs were a waste of time and/or boring because no team would ever win from outside the top two. Then Bradford won from third, now Leeds have won twice from fifth. But instead of accepting that the whole thing has got a little bit more exciting and unpredictable, the argument is changed to say that the play-offs are unfair because a team that finishes fifth can emerge victorious. Uh?

I was a sceptic when play-offs were re-introduced to decide the title in 1998, but I've been won over having attended so many great nights at Old Trafford since. It would be madness to walk away from all that in the dubious quest for 'fairness'. I don't write this as a Leeds fan. Far from it, I'm still smarting from Bradford's controversial defeat in 1999 when they finished top but lost to Saints, but that's sport and if you can't win at Old Trafford, then you really haven't proved that you are the best. Winning a succession of league games is only half the job. Doing that, then getting to Old Trafford, then holding your nerve to win in that pressure cooker environment is the true mark of a champion team. Love em or loathe em, that's exactly what Leeds are right now in my opinion.

This.

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2009?

I can see where you are coming from, and maybe you are right. However, I think that 2009 and 2010 were both of very poor overall standard compared to the seasons before and since.

In 2009, Hull KR finished fourth, Wakefield finished fifth and Cas finished seventh; none of them were anything other than steady away. We finished ninth and were terrible; it was certainly much easier to beat us then rather than now, and we are still nothing special. Neither are Saints, who have generally been the benchmark.

I

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Consider the Liverpool side that reached two Champions League Finals, winning one, without even being in the top three sides in England. If they had won both would they have been classed as a great team? I agree that the Grand Final is an amazing spectacle but it's hard to argue that winning it necessarily makes you the best team in the comp.

I believe it's pretty well accepted that the 'best' soccerball teams in the world in 1974 and 1982 respectively were the Netherlands and Brazil, and that the 1970 England team were, on balance, better than the 1966 one.

But they didn't win the title so they aren't great.

It's not about being the best on paper, it's about getting your name on that trophy.

John Drake's posts says it all IMO.

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I believe it's pretty well accepted that the 'best' soccerball teams in the world in 1974 and 1982 respectively were the Netherlands and Brazil, and that the 1970 England team were, on balance, better than the 1966 one.

But they didn't win the title so they aren't great.

It's not about being the best on paper, it's about getting your name on that trophy.

John Drake's posts says it all IMO.

I agree although I think it comes down to the overuse of the word 'great'. It's a bit like the word 'hero', which IMO is massively overused as well.

I suppose it comes down to semantics in a way. I totally agree that Leeds are a champion side. I actually attend more Leeds games than any other and I totally respect that team and the club as a whole although I'm not actually a Leeds supporter.

Great? Not for me, not yet anyway. They would need to dominate the competition more than they do over a longer period of time a la Wigan in the Eighties.

Champion side, with balls of steel? No doubt about it.

It's funny isn't it that Drake bloke is quite good at expressing himself. He should think about taking up writing for a living he might be quite good at it.

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They're a great team when you don't think they're going to lose. And when you hear that they've lost you are suprised. The Spain football team are an example of it now, no matter who they play you expect them to win and when they don't you're suprised. You have to achieve this form consistently to be considered a great team, which spain have done. Leeds I don't think they have, like at times this season I expected them to be beaten by Wakefield so I wouldn't class them as a great side.

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They're a great team when you don't think they're going to lose. And when you hear that they've lost you are suprised. The Spain football team are an example of it now, no matter who they play you expect them to win and when they don't you're suprised. You have to achieve this form consistently to be considered a great team, which spain have done. Leeds I don't think they have, like at times this season I expected them to be beaten by Wakefield so I wouldn't class them as a great side.

Agreed

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They're a great team when you don't think they're going to lose. And when you hear that they've lost you are suprised. The Spain football team are an example of it now, no matter who they play you expect them to win and when they don't you're suprised. You have to achieve this form consistently to be considered a great team, which spain have done. Leeds I don't think they have, like at times this season I expected them to be beaten by Wakefield so I wouldn't class them as a great side.

That is probably the best post I've read on this topic.

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They're a great team when you don't think they're going to lose a game that matters. And when you hear that they've lost you are suprised. The Spain football team are an example of it now, no matter who they play you expect them to win and when they don't you're suprised. You have to achieve this form consistently to be considered a great team, which spain have done. Leeds I don't think they have, like at times this season I expected them to be beaten by Wakefield so I wouldn't class them as a great side.

Spain lost to Switzerland in the 2010 World Cup, but still went on to be crowned champions. Leeds are definitely a great team in their ability to work for one another and in their big-game mindset, but may not be a great team when compared to other teams from times past and the present.

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Spain lost to Switzerland in the 2010 World Cup, but still went on to be crowned champions. Leeds are definitely a great team in their ability to work for one another and in their big-game mindset, but may not be a great team when compared to other teams from times past and the present.

I said 'think' though. How many people would of said switzerland too win that match, virtually none. For me great means great in all relevant aspects of the sport, which Leeds arnt.

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Leeds are clearly a very good side. But they are not a great team.

Great teams aren't about winning. Some great teams win nothing at all.

Great teams are about the way the game is played. Great teams come along and change the way people think about the game at a fundamental level.

In RL, the genuinely great teams have probably been Huddersfield in the 1910s, France in the 1950s, St George in the late 50s, Australia in 1982. Maybe a handful of others. Each of those sides left a mark on the game which lasted for decades.

Leeds are a very good side. They play the game very well indeed. But the game is not different in any significant way because of anything they have done. They are not a great side.

Given that almost all innovation in the game for the past forty years has come from Australia, it's difficult to argue that any English team of that period, including Wigan, has been truly great.

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I believe it's pretty well accepted that the 'best' soccerball teams in the world in 1974 and 1982 respectively were the Netherlands and Brazil,

The Dutch in 1974 were a great side. They did not win the World Cup but much of the way football is played now stems from that side.

England in 1966 won the World Cup but changed nothing of note. They are footnote of football history.

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The Dutch in 1974 were a great side.

They were chokers of the first kidney.

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Leeds are clearly a very good side. But they are not a great team.

Great teams aren't about winning. Some great teams win nothing at all.

Great teams are about the way the game is played. Great teams come along and change the way people think about the game at a fundamental level.

In RL, the genuinely great teams have probably been Huddersfield in the 1910s, France in the 1950s, St George in the late 50s, Australia in 1982. Maybe a handful of others. Each of those sides left a mark on the game which lasted for decades.

Leeds are a very good side. They play the game very well indeed. But the game is not different in any significant way because of anything they have done. They are not a great side.

Given that almost all innovation in the game for the past forty years has come from Australia, it's difficult to argue that any English team of that period, including Wigan, has been truly great.

This...

Several years ago, when it was either the first or second placed team that always got to Old Trafford and won the title, the argument went that the play-offs were a waste of time and/or boring because no team would ever win from outside the top two. Then Bradford won from third, now Leeds have won twice from fifth. But instead of accepting that the whole thing has got a little bit more exciting and unpredictable, the argument is changed to say that the play-offs are unfair because a team that finishes fifth can emerge victorious. Uh?

It is nothing to do with finishing fifth , it is the fact that they lost 40% of their matches and yet are still crowned champions that seems inherently wrong...

The fact that they then got to play the 8th best team 1st as a reward for finishing fifth and losing 11 matches , whilst the team that produced a far better league season and finished top has to play a higher finishing opponent and then never receive the second chance they should be awarded as a result of striving to finish top, is unsatisfactory...

The fact that they are unable to complete the league and cup double in an era of only two competitions also does not stand well against other "champion sides" or even nearly "champion sides"...

Leeds are without a doubt a very good team with some very good players but the fact that this debate is taking place after they have won five out of the last six grand finals should speak for itself...

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This is a very interesting thread for once. The debate seems to centre on are Leeds a great team or not. With fans from most other clubs saying they aren't.

For me the difficulty we have comparing teams of long ago with now is the fact that we have a salary cap which for over a 100 years of the game we did not. This changes things massively. In 20 or 30 years time we will be able to look back with far more volume of evidence and look at things with a better perspective. In many ways this could be as big a shift in the game as something like the move from the "dead ball era" to the "live ball era" in baseball.

One thing Leeds have done very very well is manage to keep a great core of players together for a long time (in much the way that Man U have done with Giggs,Scholes,Nevilles etc.).

For mine I have long since admired the Leeds team in the super league era and in my view are the benchmark that I would use if I were setting up a club and how I would run it. The majority of the Super League ere I have spent with my team not in direct competition with Leeds so I have no bias against them. They have produced a trophy winning mainly home grown team and managed to make a profit as well, they are the only club in Super League to do this.

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This...

It is nothing to do with finishing fifth , it is the fact that they lost 40% of their matches and yet are still crowned champions that seems inherently wrong...

The fact that they then got to play the 8th best team 1st as a reward for finishing fifth and losing 11 matches , whilst the team that produced a far better league season and finished top has to play a higher finishing opponent and then never receive the second chance they should be awarded as a result of striving to finish top, is unsatisfactory...

The fact that they are unable to complete the league and cup double in an era of only two competitions also does not stand well against other "champion sides" or even nearly "champion sides"...

Leeds are without a doubt a very good team with some very good players but the fact that this debate is taking place after they have won five out of the last six grand finals should speak for itself...

What speaks for itself is the determination of some Rugby League folk to talk down an achievement we really should be talking up. What Leeds have done is exceptional, unprecedented in the Super League era. Why try and diminish it?

Usain Bolt didn't win every 100m race he ran in 2012, but he won the race that mattered and is rightly feted as a great Olympic champion. Looked at through Rugby League tinted spectacles he could only be feted as a very fast runner who got lucky.

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What speaks for itself is the determination of some Rugby League folk to talk down an achievement we really should be talking up. What Leeds have done is exceptional, unprecedented in the Super League era. Why try and diminish it?

Usain Bolt didn't win every 100m race he ran in 2012, but he won the race that mattered and is rightly feted as a great Olympic champion. Looked at through Rugby League tinted spectacles he could only be feted as a very fast runner who got lucky.

But can we really call Bolt great?

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The fact that they then got to play the 8th best team 1st as a reward for finishing fifth and losing 11 matches , whilst the team that produced a far better league season and finished top has to play a higher finishing opponent and then never receive the second chance they should be awarded as a result of striving to finish top, is unsatisfactory...

You say that as if Wigan had the toughest route of all time to the final - they got two home games and a week off inbetween. They may not have had a "second chance", but if you use that, you forefit home rights in the qualifying semi. If the team that finishes top at the end of the season can't get to the grand final with that sort of hand, then that's the problem of the team that finishes top.

Leeds also had to play Catalan and Wigan away on consecutive weeks to get to the final; hardly a walk in the park.

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I get what a lot of people are driving at. Leeds record in playoffs and GF's is outstanding and probably great.

But my gut tells me they aren't a great side, which I'm not sure really follows. The two main arguments that I think support that are:

(i) they haven't totally dominated the competition - they just do extraordinarily well in the play-offs (the buggers);

(ii) their teams don't tend to be chock full of great individual players.

Leaving Sinfield out of the debate, I don't think many people would argue Brent Webb, Kylie Leuluai, Brett Delaney, Carll Ablett, JJB, Danny McGuire, Ryan Bailey are "greats", but all have been backbone players in the Leeds side. I think Burrow is pretty great though I have to say, and one or two of the youngsters have time to be great yet.

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(ii) their teams don't tend to be chock full of great individual players.

Surely that would make them more likely to be a great team. They achieve more than the sum of their parts

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Surely that would make them more likely to be a great team. They achieve more than the sum of their parts

Right you are. It still feels a bit odd calling a team full of not great players great though, don't you think?

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