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RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD - THE GRAND FINALS ISSUE - OUT 17 OCT OR DOWNLOAD IT NOW!
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Posted by John Drake on 24 August 2014 - 10:59 AM
If you don't normally go, start planning your trip to next year's final right now, and make the difference in reducing the numbers of empty seats yourself. There's loads of time to save up, loads of time to persuade others to join you, you'll get to pick where you want to sit and how much you want to pay (you'll get some good early bird deals as well) and you'll have a great day out at one of our sport's biggest and best showpiece events. Even getting there and back doesn't have to prove that big a deal if you plan it early enough.
I'm not lecturing people from the position of having a media freebie here either. I bought and paid for my own tickets (got £32 tix for £22 on one of the RFL offers several months ago), drove myself and friends down there early yesterday morning, sharing the £40 worth of petrol it cost between 3 of us, took sandwiches to save on food costs, parked up at Hillingdon tube station which cost £2 all day, 23 minute direct tube ride to Wembley Park and there you are. Gentle stroll down Wembley Way enjoying the sights and sounds of Cup Final day and bumping into a few old friends along the way, then into the stadium to watch the curtain raiser with a bucket of tea that cost £2.
There's even now a decent shopping mall right next door to the stadium, with lots of food outlets, even a cinema, for something to do after the game without trekking into Central London.
The Cup Final is what we as Rugby League fans make it. The game itself is almost incidental to that. Some years it will be great, others it might be a bit average, but you can have a great day out at the Cup Final regardless. The players provide the main event, but the fans can lift them to greater heights as well.
So basically what I'm saying is: don't waste energy complaining about empty seats at showpiece events like Wembley, or finding reasons not to go (there will always be reasons not to go if you look hard enough to find them regardless of anything the RFL may or may not do to market it) and don't wait to see which teams get there before deciding to go. Commit yourself to the project now, make sure at the very least your own bum is filling a seat next year, then we'll all have less to complain or fret about when the official attendance is announced.
And the more non-Club Wembley seats we fill between us, the more exciting and unmissable an event our Cup Final will start to appear to those who have, but currently choose not to use, their Club Wembley seats on RL Cup Final day.
Posted by Gerri Monside on 30 November 2013 - 10:31 PM
It's been a dream. A long, deep, pleasant, wonderful dream. It started weeks ago - or to be fair it started on Christmas Day 2012. Santa dropped a gift to me. Two tickets to the World Cup opening ceremony in Cardiff. With accommodation thrown in. And in this dream I thought - "it wont work", "it'll be rubbish"", "the media will laugh at us", "the fans wont show", "Bristol? Bristol? Seriously?". And then I returned to my dream. And then it was October and we were on the train to Cardiff. And we bumped into Stevo & Nobby. And we had a laugh. And the opening ceremony wasn't rubbish. People came. The dancing was great. And we met some great people. And for 20 minutes we had Australia on the rack. But it wasn't to be. So we stayed back and did a Mexican wave. And watched Italy beat Wales. Then it was the long journey home. And we rushed to watch New Zealand v Samoa as Warrington rocked. And then we discovered the delights of Premier Sports and Andrew Voss. Then it was Monday and for a brief moment the dream relented as work took over. Then it was 8pm and Ireland faced Fiji in Rochdale. And the ground was full. And the people were happy. And we thought, "It might be good". Then Scotland went toe to toe. Then USA took out the Cooks. In Bristol. In front of a packed crowd. And we all thought that we were dreaming. And it got better. Huddersfield sold out. Workington sold out again. Leigh sold out. Matches were full of drama. People who had never been to a game wanted to go. And we thought "this is good". And then we had some bell-ringers of matches. And grounds packed out. And we came together. And we went to Wembley. And they needed more tickets. And for 79:38 we thought it was ours for the taking. But it wasn't. We came up so tantalisingly close it hurt. It hurt down to the core of our soul. And we cried. We cried "why. why isn't it us". But we went back into ourselves. We regrouped. And we went to the Theatre of Dreams. And we were treated to a masterclass in how to play a final. And we experienced a record crowd - at the end of a record tournament. And we look back on it all and celebrate the fact that we were there. And four five brief, magical weeks we all agreed on what we all knew already. This is the greatest game. We are the greatest fans.
And tomorrow, I'm going to wake from this dream.
And I don't want to.
It's been too good.
I don't want this to end.
Posted by Kenilworth Tiger on 23 November 2013 - 07:21 PM
So all i will say is this....
Today I witnessed one of the best sporting spectacles I have ever seen in any sport, met some first time RL fans from all over the country and been involved with a team of volunteers who have given up time and money to support our game.
My overriding emotion, soon after complete and utter heartache, was sheer pride in our great game and squad of players who went toe to toe with the world champions.
No one player lost that game - as a team we never closed it out, simple as that.
I am proud England Rugby League supporter tonight
Posted by Auntie Linzi Morris on 28 July 2014 - 08:12 PM
I have maintained all along that the RFL wanted the Broncos and the Catalans out of Super League. That in my opinion was why they brought in the 2 team relegation in the hope the Broncos and the Catalans finished in the bottom 2. They got half their wish. The RFL would love Super League to become a M62 corridor competition.
Is it little wonder that we get less print inches in the national papers than we did 15 years with such insular thinking.
There's an awful lot of nonsense written on rugby league internet forums and I've lost count of how many times I've shaken my head in disbelief when reading comments over the last few years.
But this, by some considerable margin, is in my opinion the daftest piece of ignorant and ill-informed nonsense without any foundation or basis whatsoever that I've had the misfortune to chance upon.
Posted by willy on 24 December 2013 - 06:16 PM
What holds RL back is its outdated view of itself and its backwards view of the sort of person that would enjoy it
The RLWC showed there is an appetite for it outside the flat cap northern enclaves of working classishness!
But as ever no one wants to support a losing team, or one that struggles, or one that comes in for so much stick from others within it
Geographically we have a large spread across the UK at semi pro level. That needs feeding
Its no accident that there are Romanian/polish/Nigerian etc kids killing it in the London academy - absolutely no baggage, don't care about where they play, nothing to do with the good ol british preoccupation with the class system, they just want to play a fast exciting sport
So please stop eulogising/patronising etc the London area like it is even remotely the same as anywhere in the north, it isn't.
We want success in London? Let London drive it. The problem with that of course is a Londoners priorities making a successful team in a London environment will be a lot different to that in the hinterlands of the Midlands and the North and sadly requires a lot of money and media presence, which don't actually go hand in hand but to a Northern audience seem to
The Money because its twice as expensive, the media because large sports concerns across London (soccer etc) blanket the media every single hour of every single day.
In my experience Londoners LIKE RUGBY LEAGUE
They respond to it, they appreciate it, they even admire it but it has no social or environmental context in their day to day lives
Media and Money all else follows
Grass roots development? Community ownership?
Outdated and outmoded in a city like London where the big sports clubs have overdrafts that dwarf the whole income of RL in one team alone. There is no such thing as 'local' development there.Name one London team of any sport in the spotlight that has 90% London born players?
RL should play to its strengths, it is egalitarian in nature, always has been, a mongrel with a rebel spirit. On the frontline of expansion even more so than PNG or Samoa or the USA or Canada, London should be a flagship outpost and should always have had dispensation to sign above the salary cap with extra income from the RFL
Same as half the teams in the USA football leagues when the franchises move geographical locations and the top Aussie RL side in the NRL outside of the East coast or the Super 14 RU teams etc etc
A level playing field is level only if the context is the same for each club, it isn't ever that simple, never was, and you reap what you sew.
London was not allowed to invest properly when it could, now it cant it never will unless the cap can be altered to assist and hopefully another money bags hits the scene to allow this to happen. Otherwise we are lucky to have a London team with no ground of its own, no money and no way to access a level playing field in the first place.
Posted by Griff9of13 on 14 October 2014 - 10:09 AM
In answer to the question in the OP, it may be more in how the incident is dealt with as much as the incident itself.
For me these are the positives we can take from it so far:
The referee acted swiftly and decisively on the spot to dismiss Flower. There was no histrionics from players of either side to try and influence his decision making.
The remaining players from both sides immediately and without question accepted his decision.
Flower walked without even glancing at ref.
The game resumed and was played in reasonably good spirits with no further recriminations from players or spectators.
At the end of the game the Wigan and Saints players mixed and congratulated one another in the usual good spirits. Saints, deservedly, celebrated their win and Wigan quietly left them to get on with it. (this, and those above are nothing less than I'd expect from our game in any circumstances, but maybe should be contrasted with other sports)
Wigan and Flower issue a comprehensive apology as soon as is practically possible. This apology contains no excuses or attempt to mitigate any disciplinary action that will follow.
The RFL announce the charges to be brought and when the disciplinary hearing will be held. Demonstrating that the game of rugby league has a transparent disciplinary process.
Lance Hohaia makes a statement to say there are no hard feelings. Saints say publicly they have no desire to press criminal charges.
The whole fuss being made about this clearly shows that this sort of thing is far from common in the sport of rugby league.
Posted by RSN on 14 June 2014 - 12:39 AM
He is the example of how every sportsman should live their life. He's had so much success but showed so little arrogance. He tries his hardest every week, sets an example for the younger kids and has a massive professionalism about how he acts. .
I don't rate him as a international standard player, but for professionalism as a top level English sportsman and how to set an example would I give an MBE? Most definitely.
Posted by grimesy on 29 November 2013 - 11:23 PM
“...BUT will enthusiasm for the game last beyond the tournament?”
So asked Katherine Downes in a BBC sports feature on the eve of the Rugby League World Cup Final. Of course my selected quote was preceded by a positive introduction on the fact that the final was a sell out. It went on to interview players from both New Zealand and Australia as well as an amateur player from Goucester All Golds. Katherine was introduced by Katie Gornall who asked had the World Cup caught the imagination of the wider public.
Following this clip I routinely did my daily scan of my preferred RL forum site. There was one comment that expressed a favourable view in the media coverage section. Fair enough. But I began to reflect on this tournament. Not about the games, players, tries, crowds etc etc – you will find them elsewhere (though you may have to dig a little). On the opening day of the tournament I went down to the Sports Club in my local village to watch England frustratingly, though not without promise, lose to the greatest rugby team in the world. They are not a brand name – rugby league doesn’t do that. Maybe it should. Well it sort of does. My comment about the greatest rugby side in the world comes naturally and without any hesitation. At the time of writing they are not even the reigning world cup holders. My current favourite band in the word is The Bitter Springs yet no has heard of them. They don’t sell records (they’ve been around a long time). They are not a brand. Yet they have considerable talent. And passion and integrity and honesty. Yes – honesty. Rugby league is an honest game. I grew up watching Wigan beat everyone and anyone – except Australia. I was at Central Park in 1994, 1990, 1986 – we couldn’t quite beat the ‘Unbeatables’ or even, I recall, in 1982, my dad coming back from the match whilst I was at my Auntie Mary’s on a cold dark Tuesday night saying the referee Fred Lindop had robbed us by denying a try by Wigan’s Glynn Shaw and then going on perversely to award Wigan a penalty. My dad said that was a pivotal moment in the future as the Kangaroos went on to literally be “invincible”. Still to this day I fear the green and gold jersey (I sense no fear when I see a black one, with or without any white). Funny as there is a family photo in my dining room on the wall and my wife is wearing it. She is from Sydney. We are all going to the final tomorrow. She says she’s wearing it. I’m wearing my All Golds top. It just seems right. Even after the semi final.
There was only one regret after that first game. Not the dropped balls or the decision about Charnley’s foot in touch or not. I hadn’t gone to watch it with my dad. He has Lewy Body dementia now and is in a nursing home. The last three live matches we saw were Wigan winning the Grand Final for the first time in 12 years, losing to St George in the World Club challenge and beating Leeds at Wembley. He was very poorly by then. A day or so later I did some work on the laptop and put 5 live extra on and listened to NZ v Samoa. Something did happen then. I don’t know what. Dave Woods doesn’t usually get me too excited. Maybe it was the Wire crowd. But something happened. And then I discovered I could actually watch the World Cup on Premier Sports online. So I subscribed. And was transfixed. It was breathtaking. It was exciting. It was brutal. It was honest. I wasn’t surprised. It was rugby league. And we all welcomed the Australian commentator Andre Voss into our hearts as he articulated the spectacle before him in a way we have been aching for – for, well, ever. He bellowed that Danny Brough is a “SUPERSTAR”. I cried laughing at "He's left 3 of his ribs on the pitch......somebody cook them up for me with some BBQ sauce....". But he cared. He did. He joked about the pub grub but he went in those pubs and talked to folk.
It was just great. The game was alive. I watched the first half of the England v Fiji game with my dad. I should have stayed for the second half. I formed my own opinions about the half back pairings and the rest of it. I read all the comments on the forum. I didn’t join in though. I took my two little kids to England v France. They loved it. Their mother has the temerity to suggest they are half Australian – thus it is my job to brainwash them. At one point I turned to the bloke sitting to the right of my little girl and had a rant about the half backs and the omission of a certain player. He nodded and agreed. I had another rant about something or other. He leaned over and said “I’ve never been to a rugby league game before”. It was brilliant. I said I hoped he enjoyed it and that he would come again.
I watched the semi final with my dad. All of it. I got him a beer and had to stir some thickener into it as per orders from the nurse. He didn’t know what was going on. I made the usual mistake of course. I got too excited. I should know better. We were at Elland Road three or four times. The one that stands out was 2004. I was convinced it was our time. Lockyer destroyed us. I still haven’t got over it. To be honest I haven’t got over Devereux’s missed tackle from ’92 at Wembley. But I still love it. Every month I have to change my password at work. November has been ‘daretodream’. I still will. After the semi final I just kissed my dad and told him I loved him. I couldn’t speak for two days after that. A week later at least I can say I watched it with my dad. That feels good. Better than good. Just like this game.
“Will enthusiasm for the game last beyond the tournament? Has it caught the imagination of the wider public?” I’m not going to try and answer these questions. I think they are irrelevant. To be frank they are hypocritical questions from the BBC. It is about more than ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘imagination’ and ‘the wider public’ – whatever that means. To me it’s about heart and courage and belief and spirit and honesty. And that’s just the rest of us, not even the players. Oh and a real sense of community. In the attic is a bottle of whiskey my dad and I bought in Western Australia in 2001 – only to be opened the day GB wins the ashes (well ok I’d go for the WC or a 4 nations). I do believe my day will come. The World Cup has confirmed to me what the game is – gold. All gold. 24 carat. Dare to dream.
Posted by Ivarr the Boneless on 01 August 2014 - 04:23 PM
Oxford have openly stated they have no interest in Superleague. They don't think it is financially viable. At the moment the struggle is to be stable at the current level. (We aren't the only KC1 team in that boat.)
Oxford is not a rugby area. London Welsh all but gave away tickets to the home play off leg and still pulled in a disappointing crowd.
The aim at Oxford is to develop good players and hopefully pass the best on to bigger clubs. JJ Baird trained with Wakefield, Sean Morris trialled with Broncos. The number of northern based lads in the squad is down a lot on last season. The likes of Jack Briggs, an RU convert who was sent to learn the game at Oxford Cavaliers, have emerged as proven KC1 players.
There is actually a RL millionaire living near Iffley Road but Ian Lenagan has other priorities.
The key bit is that the likes of Oxford bring new players into the sport, as have Skolars who have seen several juniors turn pro at Broncos. That is how the sport can win.
Realistically, if Oxford have a future, it is as a development club. That doesn't bother me. I went to one game last season and fell in love with the place. Nice place, nice ground and 17 blokes who tried. As opposed to 5 or 6 who just tried my patience at recent seasons down Broncos. I have watched Broncos this season, both home and away, but enjoy watching Oxford more. Southern RL desperately needs a decent London club and academy system to draw juniors in though.
What Oxford are not is a future SL club, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
Posted by Kevin Nicholas on 20 April 2014 - 09:31 AM
Posted by Dunbar on Yesterday, 08:13 AM
The problem with Rugby League is that on the day before the major international tournament of the year begins the journalists and fans all start a chorus of international league is dead or dying. I cannot think of another sport with so much inherent negativity or pessimism
People cite the lack of GB and England competitiveness as a reason why League is failing internationally. While I admit that the single biggest boost to the international game would be a win for England in a major tournament the lack of success should not limit the spectacle of the international fixtures
Let me provide an example. Ireland have never beaten the New Zealand All Blacks at Rugby Union. That’s right, never beaten them. And yet when this fixture is scheduled, do we hear great cries of Union journalists and fans saying the game is a waste of time or the Union world cup a meaningless tournament. Of course we don’t, we hear that International Union is the pinnacle of the sport and a gladiatorial contest etc etc
Tomorrow sees the start of a month of great international Rugby League and I can’t wait for 7.00am tomorrow morning
There are clearly things to improve and I agree with many of the points in the article but I really do wish RL fans would say something positive about the sport every now and again
Posted by The 4 of Us on 14 September 2014 - 09:41 AM
That's your problem right there. The upper echelons of the RFL knowing which side their bread is buttered on. Instead of leading the game and having a plan to develop it like the NRL they see their role as not upsetting anyone in the north and maintaining the status quo.
Unless the governing body is willing to take a lead what chance strangers to the game being pursuaded to part with their money.
I'm not sure those as the top have any leadership qualities as they seem to be used to pandering to the lowest common denominator.
Posted by Nick07 on 08 September 2014 - 03:10 PM
Let's summarise the situation:
We made an error not knowing the rules in the first place. We subsequently broke the rules, and the club have admitted that. It was their responsibility to be aware of playing rules like this, regardless of the RFL sending reminders. This was poor on the part of the club, and in fairness Kevin Nicholas has held his hands up to that.
We did not however deliberately cheat. Do you really think if the club had been aware of the rules (as they should have been) they would have risked all this. Jacob Fairbank is a decent player, but not Billy Slater and with the greatest respect not worth risking punishment for. We played well at Sheffield. and the Eagles were poor, so personally I dont think he influenced the result. Yes he scored a try, but a try that any of our other second rowers was capable of finishing off IMO.
We had 3 points deducted, which was one of the potential punishments available. Not the only one though. Would there have been such resentment if both ourselves and Doncaster had been given a fine (one of the other available punishments), or the same warning that the clubs from last year recieved from the onset. Very unlikely. In fact it would have almost been forgotten by yesterday, and all that would have mattered was what took place on the field. Which is how it should have been.
No one can blame KN or our club though for challenging the punishment, when so much was riding on it. Especially when there was clearly evidence to show the same rule had been broken last year by several clubs, with only warnings meted out. These warnings should have been made public at the time. Then there would have been a template in place for any future offenders. And a consistent template that no one would have been able to argue with. There cant be different punishments just because the affecting outcomes have changed, i.e. introuduction of P&R and prize money format. The fact that the RFL overturned the original decision within days/hours of submission of appeal seems to indicate that they felt the case against them was pretty substantial. They've lost face as it is, and clearly reversing that decision meant they would have lost a whole lot more, as has been seen subsequently, which is hardly great for a governing body. They wouldnt have made that decision lightly and would I presume have taken legal advice too.
So clearly both ourselves and Doncaster had a strong case, with supporting evidence. I can understand the resentment from other clubs, but at the end of the day every club would have done the same in that position, and as much as I feel sorry for Keighley, a traditional community club who suffered with us in 95, relying on another club being docked points and this being upheld to remain in this division, does seem a little shallow. What's also to say that Batley's onfield performances werent affected too by this rigmarole as we were just building up a head of steam when it came to light. And then went on a losing run, which included a few very poor performances. Impossible to say either way isn't it. Keighley had enough chances on the field to make themselved completely safe, including losing at home to a relegated club (NWC). 3 points from that and yesterday would have been a dead rubber for them.
If we were in the same position I would be gutted, no doubt about it. Not at Keighley though, but at the RFL. For their inconsistent application of rules, the ridciulous management of this case (first review and then appeal), and the way it has affected what should have been an exciting last few weeks, decided on the field solely. They've not done themselves any favours at all and lost a hell of alot of respect and goodwill in the process. I can't blame the Cougars for looking at legal options, but at the same time they need to take some responsbility themselves too for their own demise.
Yesterday was an amazing day and the whole club shone. The only way it could have been better was without the whole mess of the last 6-8 weeks. We've escaped and hopefully moved forward as a result. Lets be thankful for that, but lets not gloat at the same time as we would the first to condemn other fans for it. And understandably.
It's a sorry mess sadly caused by the RFL. If they had been consistent all along it wouldnt have happened. Had they imposed penalties on the clubs who broke the rules last year, and then applied the same to us and Doncaster, we would have had no right of appeal. Sadly they didnt, and now they have to sort this out somehow. Whatever they do, some integrity has been lost and this season part tainted. I just hope it doesnt result in clubs (and fans) having vendettas against each other, as in our own ways the fans of all clubs involved and affected have suffered at some stage of this. We came away smiling after a month of turmoil. Sadly for Keighley, they didnt. I do hope they bounce back straight away next year however.
Posted by Tom Coates on 03 August 2014 - 05:28 PM
Aside from the lads who earned a bonus point today, there's somebody else who deserves a lot of credit.
James, who posts on here as Netherton Ram, spent hours of his own time this week sourcing photographs and liaising with clubs, and then, despite being a Rams fan of 20 years, volunteered to miss today's game at Fax to run a full scoreboard service for the Women's Cup Finals.
Since near the start of the season James has run the scoreboard on match days single-handedly, including starting and stopping the clock to make it a great service for supporters.
He also liaised with the manufacturers when it wasn't working for the Crusaders match and came down to the ground in his own time during the week to make sure it was repaired and working correctly.
And while I, and others in the control room, have buggered about at weddings and holidays on some Sunday afternoons, James has run the scoreboard at every home match this season.
Today he went the extra mile for the four competing women's teams and hopefully this won't have gone unnoticed by the RFL. I believe it's the little bits of extra effort like this that really showcase the stadium as a venue for these kinds of matches.
A state of the art scoreboard is no good if there's nobody there to give up their time to run it, so well done James.
Just another example of volunteers giving up their time to help the club be better.
Posted by Segovia Carpet on 10 July 2014 - 10:39 PM
Dr K could buy every club and have change. His point is very simple. To attract more fans to every club we need STARS - no - not journeymen - STARS. Billy Slater at Leeds. SBW @ Huddersfield. Jonny Wilkinson even @ Widnes. Greg Inglis @ Saints etc etc . We need to show the world that RL is THE game. Somehow we need to pull out of this lethargic situation which employs 100+ Jobsworths at Red Hall and put the money into attracting NEW fans to this great game. A revolution is required & Marwan is the man to lead it.
Posted by Honor James on 04 July 2014 - 10:22 AM
The RFL is delighted to announce that Coventry Bears will enter Rugby League’s semi-professional Kingstone Press Championship One competition in 2015. Formed in 1998, Coventry have grown to become one of the sport’s most successful community clubs and will play their home games at the 4,000-capacity Butts Park Arena.
They were invited to play in the competition at a meeting of the Kingstone Press Championships clubs in Leigh this week. RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Coventry Bears to the Kingstone Press Championships. It adds another refreshing dimension to the Championships at a time when the sport is approaching an exciting new era with the introduction of a new league structure in 2015. Following on from the success of Oxford, Hemel Stags and the University and Gloucestershire All Golds in introducing Rugby League to a new audience of players and spectators, Coventry Bears will enhance the competition and the sport.
“Their entry is the latest result of our long-term commitment to introduce new clubs into Championship One from new geographical areas and I am sure Coventry Bears will receive a warm welcome from everyone in the game.”
Coventry Bears Managing Director Alan Robinson said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to join the Kingstone Press Championships and are looking forward to playing our full part in the competition. The club has worked really hard to establish good working relationships in Coventry and across the Midlands and we now have the partners in place who can help us realise our ambitions.
“Making the transition from being a community club to the professional ranks has been, and remains an exciting and fulfilling journey.
“Our geographical location allows us to ‘bridge the gap’ between clubs in the South and North and creates rich potential for us to succeed.”
Coventry Bears will officially launch their entry into Kingstone Press Championship One in 2015 with a media event at the Butts Park Arena, Coventry, on Friday July 18 (12.00pm) when Alan Robinson and other clubs officials will be available for interview.
Posted by nec on 11 May 2014 - 07:35 PM