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Methven Hornet

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  1. How do I feel? I wish I could feel shocked and surprised at what has happened in the game in recent times but I can't. I grew up watching the game on BBC Grandstand - the second half shown as a filler before the full time footy results (probably because ITV's World of Sport had bagged the rights to professional wrestling) - but my first live game was Hornets against Trinity in a top 16 playoff game in 1973. Even to a kid it was obvious that the Athletic Grounds, and even the game itself, had seen better days. The action on the pitch was just as good as I'd seen on the telly, though. What I could never understand, when I looked at the league table, was that all the clubs were in the north of England. Was it that northern clubs were just better, and that the southern clubs were in lower divisions? No, what you saw was what you got. Of course, come the 1980s with Fulham and the other expansion clubs, then the promise of Super League and the "global game" in the mid-nineties, I discovered why the game was so stunted in its geographical spread. Any opportunities the game has had have been squandered by a lack of leadership. And that is down to the fact that the game has never had governing bodies, either at domestic or international level. The RFL has always essentially been a club-based competition, a group of professional clubs that takes decisions based upon their immediate interests and not those of the game as a whole. For me there have been highlights during the half century I've followed the game. 1995 was the high point: a professional game with the opportunity for meaningful expansion, a real world cup with a real England side like other grown up sports and, at last, a Scotland team playing internationals. I travelled all over Scotland and the north of England following Scotland teams, would turn up at places like Galashiels and Meadowbank to watch exhibition games, and I even watched the Scottish Schools Cup semi-finals on the North Inch, Perth one year. Gradually that interest waned as I realised that those responsible for overseeing the game didn't believe in it. Or, some did, like those who wanted to affiliate to the GAISF, wanted to develop the game in new countries and, via the 2021 World Cup, establish a bona fide international governing body, but not the people who held the power. I lost interest in "British" rugby league after the debacle over North America (yes, Toronto's replacement choice showed real ambition for the game) but I kept in touch with the Australian game via the NRL and, in particular, NRL WA - a part of the country I'm familiar with. I'm afraid even that has gone now after the NRL's behaviour. Having returned to this board just to find out what was going on regarding the now seemingly lost world cup, I find that the stock of the game here is so low that it is having to reduce its flagship competition to just ten clubs, ideas are circulating about an all-in competition embracing the likes of Wigan, St Helens, Leeds, West Wales, and Coventry - hello late 60s/early 70s! - and there are even proposals for an 8-a-side reserve league. It's come to something when even managed decline descends into farce. A French world cup in 2025 would be something to see but, realistically, it has as much chance of happening as rugby league being included in the Olympics, ie none. As for me? I'm done with the game.
  2. Hot off the press... Saturday's men's 1500 metre final will incorporate Edinburgh Athletic Club's championship between Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr. https://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/66725-2/
  3. My son is a St Johnstone fan but his English team is Man City. As he has just said, signing a £100 million player is nothing in comparison to a battling draw away to Galatasaray
  4. I saw a preliminary round match many years ago between Rossendale United and Chorley, notable for the first sending off of a goalkeeper for deliberately handling the ball outside of the penalty area to prevent a goalscoring chance (the rule having just been introduced). The decision led to a pitch invasion, well, one of two guys walked onto the pitch to remonstrate with the ref. It's a few months until the first round of the Scottish Cup but I hope to watch local Perth side, Jeanfield Swifts, commence their cup journey.
  5. Honestly, I'm convinced I fell into a deep slumber around about January and that I'm dreaming all this. Winning the League Cup, the Scottish Cup and now holding a side like Galatasaray to a draw away from home. It's certainly a great time to be a Saints fan! Someone just joked on social media that you can measure the relative stature of the two clubs by their sponsors: Turkish Airlines v Binn Skips, a local waste disposal company.
  6. And there's your basic problem before we start: a European Championship but you're assuming that France will be in the losers play off. And you would be proved 100% correct.
  7. I get your point, but to be honest I've got more out of supporting St Johnstone these past few months than I have in 50 years watching rugby league.
  8. I've just ordered one for the very purpose: "The History of Australian Rugby League", £19.99 from Amazon. Next day delivery, it just won't turn up.
  9. As for all the various suggestions being put forward for alternative international games and tournaments, presumably restricted to players from just the Northern Hemisphere, you'd be as well holding them behind closed doors for all the attention they'll receive. Building an international game relying on heritage teams, and populated largely by Australasian players, was supposed to be a temporary measure, a stopgap solution which would allow real development in those nations to take place. The NRL providing the bulk of international players not only gave them a power they were always likely to use to their advantage, it allowed the game to ignore the need to build the underlying strength of the game internationally. If any internationals are hastily arranged for this autumn we will be confronted with the results of that neglect. It will be brutal.
  10. What to do instead of the WC? Go and watch some football instead? The West of Scotland Football League is less travelling for me, the tribalism is as intense as anything you'll encounter in RL and, if the recent Auchenleck v Clydebank game is anything to go by, the action on the pitch is just as brutal.
  11. On the NRL Facebook page The Olympics, but it's just #NRL players who are selected Who would you choose for these sports? 100m Sprint Basketball Boxing Cycling Diving Equestrian Golf Gymnastics High Jump ˦ Marathon Rowing Shot Put Surfing Swimming Table Tennis Tennis Trampoline Weightlifting Wrestling https://www.facebook.com/6878248073/posts/10158864584223074/
  12. Strangely enough, I was in Kirkcaldy RU clubhouse a couple of years back for the prize giving for a road race series held by Fife Athletics Club. Again the club had a separate display of RL shirts (both Scotland and Ireland) worn by Kirkcaldy players, and showed a certain respect for the game. Kirkcaldy would have been the venue for the grand final.
  13. When I was a postie in deepest, darkest and very rural Perthshire, I delivered a parcel to a remote cottage. The woman who answered the door was wearing a piece of Warrington Wolves merchandise (a jacket if memory serves...) I asked about her connection, if any, with the club and town. None, she'd picked it up in a charity shop.
  14. Invest from where? Where are clubs getting the extra money from? That issue is not being addressed, other than in vague desires to develop new competitions/international programmes that sponsors and broadcasters may want to put money into. And would culling the two weakest clubs really concentrate the talent amongst the remaining clubs to any discernable degree? How many of the players of the two weakest clubs would have the remaining clubs scrambling to appoint? And clubs going bust in a desperate attempt to escape the drop does not increase quality. It just promotes those smaller, weaker clubs who run a tight ship.
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