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  1. In advance of SL 1999 there was a call for new franchises. The 3 main contenders (Gateshead, Swansea and Cardiff) submitted business plans that included (reasonably) a fair share of central funding. When the SL clubs decided to give almost nothing to any of these (and the money that they did give was oddly tied to shares in the new club making it hard to get other investors in) the two Welsh clubs effectively withdrew, and Richie and his family stumped up all the money themselves to get Gateshead to the starting line in 1999. They were modestly successful that year, building a good presence in the locality and a solid fan base and they finished mid table. They did lose a lot of money but were able to go around again in 2000 as they would be running a leaner team that year. Then came the shameful shenanigans of merging with Hull - which could have been a positive if Hull KR had let Hull rebuild from the division below SL allowing Gateshead to continue in the top flight - and like that it all ended. That there is a decent club still in the north east and with credible plans for growth after all these years does make me wonder what would have happened had the game actually invested in them from the outset. And the same is true for a South Wales team circa 1996/7 I believe, I think they could have been a success.
  2. Although to be fair Toronto have paid for a lot of this exposure either directly or indirectly of course. SBW doesn’t come cheap!
  3. If you’d had to pay for the positive exposure of rugby league that Toronto have managed to get us, it would probably be of the order of the entire SLE marketing budget for a decade. The elevation of our brand value as a result is hard to quantify but it’s not insignificant. The proof will be in the value of future TV and sponsorship deals across the board of course.
  4. As pointed out above we had the British and Irish Lions which Carney was totally entitled to play for. And in the case of Austin, Carnegie and Hastings I’m pretty sure money didn’t come into it, so it’s entirely different to being bought by another governing body. Whether they should have switched and if we agree with it is another matter. Radradra seems a closer comparison with him probably playing for Aus for the money although the selectors won’t have seen it that way, they just picked who they wanted who was available. I don’t like blanket statements that suggest professional sports people are ok doing whatever it takes to maximise their income in a short career, that’s akin to letting them get away with anything. Suli wasn’t exactly on the breadline, and he’s effectively denounced his country of origin for money and he’s joined a sport with a culture that I’d consider to have been questionable for over a century. I could go and work in Saudi for a load more money or I could have switched sporting allegiance and run for Qatar when I was younger, but in my world that’s just not right and money isn’t the only thing we should be seeking in life. Legally Suli is entitled to do what he wants, but as I said I don’t particularly wish him well and certainly don’t want us to be sending the message out to others in our game that this is fine and encourage mercenary behaviour.
  5. I find it extraordinary that a national team from another sport seeks to recruit a player from another sport AND another country to improve their results. Whilst I acknowledge that nationality is a complex issue, Vuni almost certainly wouldn’t consider himself Australian, and is only going to play for the Wallabies to earn money. What a terribly sad situation and one that League needs to make sure never happens to us. In this context - selling your nationality - I don’t particularly wish him well in his new venture.
  6. I’m liking the look of pretty much all the teams who weren’t in last year’s playoffs, they seems to have strengthened a lot across the board. Adding in the Wolfpack and you’ve got a lot of competition from 2 to 12.
  7. Think you might have made a mistake, I reckon you’ve accidentally included one player from outside the NRL in your top 50 or so players My Team: RTS Addo Carr Wighton Mitchell Makinson Munster Cronk JWH Smith Taukeiaho Bateman Cordner Taumalolo hmm not many SL players there either, but there would be more in the top 5 with the likes of Thompson, Hastings, Roby, Clarke, and maybe even Gildart and Williams being in the mix if they’d toured and played well.
  8. We can actually produce a fair few players with potential in their teens, but not a lot of those end up being the stars we hope they’ll be. Our player physical development is some way behind the NRL’s still, with our lot falling behind in terms of power and agility as they move into the first team in Super League. It shouldn’t be that surprising when you look into it though, ex players end up as conditioners so the same mistakes get repeated as do the same omissions in prep - there are almost no sprint coaches attached to super league clubs for instance, so don’t be surprised that our players end up slowing down so dramatically as they age I think the skill and decision-making development is also really poor, otherwise why would we end up with first team players who can only pass one way and have no idea how to play what they see. There’s a killing to be made if any of our clubs in the UK actually got it right and used the very best development coaches and methods.
  9. I’ve been following England and Great Britain since 1982 and apart from the occasional false dawn I’ve got used to flat performances from teams we think are better than they show. Today’s tactics and execution were something of a nadir though, we had more tackles in the NZ quarter than they did in ours and we only scored because of a bit of a freak offload. I suspect our players aren’t as good as we think, our season is so long our SL lot are knackered come international time, we’ve a distant arms length coach with a boring game plan, and we’ve selected an oddly unbalanced squad. I was chuffed when Bennett became coach. Whilst I’m not sure there’s anyone who can turn us into the best in the world, he’s been really poor for England and particularly for Britain, on and especially off the field.
  10. I watched the World Cup final again a couple of weeks ago. My recollection when I watched it live was that there was a bit of a performance gap between the Aussies and England on the day, and my rewatching confirmed that view. We were clueless in attack and couldn’t sustain pressure, so let’s not get excited that we were brilliant. Our current plan seems to be try to bore NZ and Australia to death and play some footie only in the unlikely event we get on a roll through the forwards. I've digressed a little here, so back on thread I think Handley is an ok player but some way off being international standard. Not sure he’ll ever be either, I put him behind the injured Johnston and Manfredi and Charnley.
  11. Actually it doesn’t suggest that a Welsh winger wouldn’t get a look in. I think all the half options are English anyway so it’s not as though any Celtic ball players missed out - Coote in fact proving the opposite. However it doesn’t look good for the GB coach to be talking the whole he was about trying to boost England’s 2021chances, even if just by having a tour with inevitably mostly English players would help that anyway.
  12. Agree Grace would have been my selection. But it’s ridiculous (and a pretty serious allegation) to suggest someone won’t be picked because they are from Wales.
  13. The new White Hart Lane is the finest arguably the finest football stadium in the world in terms of acoustics, view quality and spectator facilities. But it won’t have come cheap so we’d better fill it. Shame it’s not game 1 there. But wow - a whole year to sell tickets! What’s happening to the international game?!
  14. So GB have a couple of players out of position - I’m pretty sure that this happens a fair bit with other national teams so I’m not going to slate it just for the sake of it. For every Horne there’s also a Gilmour if you want to go that far back. Hardaker will be good on the wing, I’ve no worries there, and Hughes will be a bit part player in the centres like most of those picked before him under Bennett anyway. I see Wayne has been in about the ruck speed (not sure I should be proud he’s agreed with me) as it’s obvious our attack wholly relies on it, so it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in the second test. I hope it’s a more open game, in which case I reckon Britain might just sneak it.
  15. If there were quicker play the balls like in super league or the NRL Hodgson would come into his own. Plenty of GB hookers like Newton and Lowes have also been far less effective at international level than in the club game for the same reason. Our attack for the last 20 years relies on speed of the ruck which we won’t get with a one ref system and the international interpretation of wrestling. In that context I am not sure Clark will be any more effective.
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