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  1. The RFL are selling tickets for £10 in certain areas for the Bolton match until Monday. If you're planning on going, may be worthwhile looking at this now. £10 for an Australia test match is ridiculous value!
  2. Catalans kits as excellent as ever. Interesting to see no Matty Smith in the squad - I assume he has been released? I haven't heard that he has signed for anyone else, so may be a free agent?
  3. Like the looks of that Hull and Wigan side. I'm not as convinced by Leeds and think it would be a great season for them to challenge for the top 5. I reckon Saints will look like 1. Coote 2. Makinson 3. Naiqama 4. Percival 5. Grace 6. Lomax 7. Fages 8. Walmsley 9. Roby 10. Thompson 11. Taia 12. Peyroux 13. Knowles 14. McCarthy-Scarsbook 15. Lees 16. Amor 17. A Smith I think you will see more Aaron Smith this year with Roby winding down. I don't think Lees will make the start of the year after that awful injury so Ashworth will come in for him to begin with at least. Maybe towards the end of the year, Taia will be phased out for Bentley. Barring injuries, I can't see that Paulo will get many opportunities. Hopefully we see a bit of Welsby again next year and a couple of run outs for Lewis Dodd, a young half back who is very highly rated (hence our decision to sell Richardson).
  4. This was a classic match, mainly remember for one incident, but the whole game was magnificent!
  5. Good article by Dave Woods. It's been pleasing to see articles like these from Woods and similar ones from Brian Carney. There seems to be a greater willingness to cast a critical eye over the sports decisions by our media now. We need that accountability to improve.
  6. Recently retired? Respected by the players? Believes in youth? Involved in coaching with upcoming age groups? Sinfield fits all of those criteria (tongue-in cheek comment!). Someone who does fit all of those criteria would be Rob Burrow! I'm not suggesting giving him the England job, but he does fit the stated criteria! I would ideally like an England coach who doesn't have another full time head coach job, so Wane fits the bill. McDemott would have been good too if he hadn't taken the Toronto job, a wildcard may be someone like Ellery Hanley?
  7. I agree Bennett should go and be replaced. Wane seems the best option at present as he doesn't have another job in rugby league, and I wouldn't be as pleased with the likes of Powell / Watson combining with their club roles. I don't know exactly what Sinfield does, so probably am not best placed to comment on whether he should be retained. Although on the face of it, he and Peacock have hardly excelled! As for a team, assuming everyone is fit, I would go: 1. Hardaker, 2. Makinson, 3. Percival, 4. Gildart, 5. Johnstone, 6. Lomax, 7. Hastings, 8. Graham 9. Hodgson, 10. Thompson, 11. Whitehead, 12. Bateman, 13. Knowles. Subs: 14. T Burgess 15. Watts 16. Clarke 17. Walmsley / Hill / G Burgess / another Now I've put that team together, I do have a few concerns. Hardaker isn't the player he was but is a solid, dependable option. We have little depth in the centres (Watkins seems past his best) and parts of Percival's game does concern me. Half backs are a perennial concern. Widdop has never impressed me at international level. I think Lomax, despite never hitting the heights at international level, would do better at 6 than 1. We have a lot of options for the half back role; Austin, Lomax, Hastings, Gale, Trueman and Williams are all feasible options, but I don't have confidence in any yet. I suspect Trueman may nail down the spot post-2021. The last bench spot is tricky too. Walmsley doesn't seem fit enough for international level, I worry that Hill and G Burgess are no longer good enough for it. Ideally, we would have a player like Smithies filling that spot eventually, but I would be wary of putting a 19 year old in. Hodgson has never been great for England and Clarke has looked better so deserves a more prominent role. I've retained the hookers as they are for now, as I have concerns that Roby is slowing down. Maybe giving Hodgson 20 - 30 minutes at the start and Clarke the remainder would be a better option?
  8. I will 'waste' both my time and money going to watch at least one of the test matches next year. I don't go holding out any hope, even less so in the unlikely even that Bennett is offered and accepts a new contract. Even in the event we lose heavily, I won't turn down the chance to watch world class players especially when it is close by. Also, I have never seen England / GB beat Australia in person and would kick myself if I missed a win. I have been to nearly all of the Australia games at the JJB / DW since the turn of the century and a couple more at other grounds, the one I missed was 2004. I thought that I just wouldn't bother that time, and we won! In fact, reading that last sentence, maybe I shouldn't go in 2020?
  9. Some of the players who played today, played their first competitive game of this season on 31st January. Meanwhile squad member Ash Handley played his first game of the season on Boxing day 2018! The problem is so obvious it does not need to be said. Is it any wonder that our players often underperform come November? That being said, they were stifled by poor squad selection, negative tactics, a lack of mid-season international amongst other things, which lie at the door of Bennett and the RFL. Oh, and this year, players will be playing on Boxing Day again and the Super League season starts on 30th January. And no doubt we'll all be back here next year saying why did it all go wrong in the test series against Australia!
  10. Since 2017, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga have all beaten “tier 1” nations, and in Tonga’s case, have beaten all three of them. For the international game to succeed, it is essential that there is greater uncertainty in results. Whilst often criticised, the NRL’s introduction of an international weekend in June is a huge fillip to the sport. The pacific nations are now bearing fruit as a result of greater inclusion in the domestic Australian game and more regular international fixtures. To remove the Great Britain hat for a moment and place on the whole game hat, this autumn’s internationals do have positives to take from them. But for Britain...yep almost no positives aside from a likely return for a mid season test and more regular in-season camps.
  11. If Bennett's contract ran until 2021, then the RFL could simply take no action, and it would be a little easier for them. As Bennett’s contract has now expired, the RFL’s hand is forced. They must either renew or release. Given the disappointment at this year’s results, renewing his contract is difficult to justify. With tickets to sell for the Kangaroo tour next year and RLWC the year after, it is almost inevitable that Bennett will depart and be replaced.
  12. No apologies for my questions, I hope but do not expect a response!
  13. Toronto are due to unveil SBW tomorrow at the Emirates Stadium in London...I wonder if they may be announcing a couple more signings for next year too?
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