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  1. You got me. Registered on a rugby league site for six years, faking following the sport and making up an allegiance to a team in order to promote rugby union in one in every 500 posts. How embarrassing for me...
  2. This news has come as a real surprise. Without wanting to me negative, you would think the offer would be small, maybe C4 will cover all the broadcast costs and set up etc, but not actually pay for the rights. Even if it is, the increase in sponsorship and exposure may be worthwhile. And post 2021, it is widely expected that there will be a big drop off for the Championship clubs in Sky money. Rugby Union have got a great arrangement with C4 & C5 in that BT have the main broadcast rights, with some big selected matches on free to air. I'd like to see something similar with Super League. I would be surprised to see a weekly Championship game on C4 main, it will probably be on a channel such as More 4, but it's free to air nonetheless. Certainly good content for a Sunday afternoon in the summer, where there is less sport. I wonder if C4's proposed move to Leeds has influenced the interest? Whatever the reason, it's positive news.
  3. Very pleased with last night and the last three weeks as a whole. To face 2nd, 3rd and 4th place in the league, two of which were away from home and to win all three (two convincingly) should give us a lot of confidence. I did worry in the week building up to the game that it may prove one game too far for us, but less so when I saw the two teams. Whilst Partington and Smithies look to be great prospects, it was a big ask for them to start in a derby. I also felt that we had the advantage on the bench. The game started similar to the Warrington one, with Wigan throwing everything they had at us and we held firm. As referenced earlier, Wigan's decision to kick a penalty at 6-2 was strange. They had a decent amount of pressure on our line at that point, and taking the two released it. Saints' weakest period of matches this year has been between minutes 20 and 40 when Walmsley and Thompson are rotated. If anything, we stepped it up in this period this week, Amor in particular was outstanding. His best performance for us for many years. In that period we really pressured Wigan, who did a lot of defending. We only got the one try to show for it before half time. That took it out of them by the second half and we cut loose. As for the last 20, it was very odd for a derby that it reverted to an exhibition-style match with both sides throwing caution to the wind. It made for good viewing though. A word for James Bentley too. He's really growing despite not playing in his natural position. He is making it very hard for Holbrook to drop him when Roby comes back and I anticipate he will get a bench spot until at least such time that Taia returns from injury in early to mid August. After a tough (yet excellent) 3 weeks and an upcoming semi-final, we will probably make wholesale changes for London next week, Coote will almost certainly miss out after pulling up. I imagine Welsby, Swift, Costello, Richardson and maybe even Batchelor may play next week.
  4. Wigan are in their best form of the season. But their wins have been against Hull KR twice, Leeds, Huddersfield and Salford, who Wigan would have to beat if they are to make the play offs. That is not a slant on Wigan's form, which has improved, but playing Saints is no question a step up. We have played 2nd, 3rd and then 4th in consecutive weeks, so we've not had it easy. It may be that this is the week that we come unstuck. But if we do win, then it is a significant statement of intent. We have an unbeaten home record this year so I would expect us to be determined to keep that and especially not to lose that to Wigan. It's going to be a tough game and if we do get the win, I think it will be really tight as equally Wigan will want to lay a marker down. Another point, we are on for a sell out crowd tomorrow whilst we're not on Sky, when the game in the grand scheme of the season isn't critical. By comparison, last August when we played Wigan where a win would have given us the League Leader's Shield we got a crowd 4,000 short of capacity.
  5. An outstanding game with an outstanding finish. I found it frankly bizarre that after such an incredible ending the first thing commentators wanted to talk about was how many penalties there were in the second half? We witnessed something incredible, yet we want to talk about referees for no real reason. Odd. The game was everything great about the sport. A huge crowd, colour, a game going one way then the other, with a skilful try rewarding brave play to win the series. It was magnificent.
  6. As has been pointed out previously, investing in sport is not a wise business decision. You don't see up and coming businessmen investing in clubs. Especially in rugby league, people do it for the sport itself rather than financial gain. Look at David Hughes at London and Ken Davy at Huddersfield. They don't do it for a profit, they do it for the sport and the team. Even Eamonn McManus at St Helens, he came in to the club in 2002, saving us when we were in dire financial straits. It certainly wasn't to make a bit of money. This is where the unnamed private equity company will be different. They will interested solely to make money. I can't claim to know much about the financial world, but to a layperson there is one obvious positive and negative. The positive is that they see the sport as a worthwhile investment, something that they can make money out of. As a broadly loss-making sport, that would be a significant show of confidence in our sport's health. The negative is how they intend to make money from us. How much control would they have? They may want to make significant changes to the face of the sport and how it's run from top to bottom. They certainly aren't going to invest out of the goodness of their hearts to plug a gaping hole in a club's overdraft.
  7. A good set of announcements for Wigan. Hastings is a big upgrade on Williams in my opinion. I wonder if Wigan will sign another centre, or maybe shift Burgess in field? Wigan fans seemed dead set against Lam earlier this year, but I would guess that this appointment has been more well received considering the upturn in form. Interesting that Hastings has a get out NRL clause after 12 months. In some ways, if he is still at Wigan in 2021, that probably means he wouldn't have set the league alight?
  8. Some encouraging crowds this weekend. 1,000 + at Hull FC, 913 at Wakefield and 738 at St Helens. Considering the women's (football) Super League average is around 800, that's really positive!
  9. I do understand why more and more clubs go to Friday, as it leads to less disruption if Sky then choose the game for broadcast. If your regular gameday is Friday and the match is selected for TV, you have a 50/50 chance of it being moved. If you play on Sunday and your game is selected for TV there is a 100% chance it will be moved. Also, if you have a Sunday home match and your fixture the following week is on Thursday, the previous Sunday match will then move to allow a longer turnaround. Of the teams that have Sunday as a regular matchday, I would guess that their fixtures get moved a lot more than teams that have Friday as a regular matchday. As it looks like Thursday's are here to stay, I wouldn't rule out a few clubs (especially teams that traditionally play on a Sunday) moving their regular matchday to a Saturday, particularly during the football off-season.
  10. I don't know the practicalities, but considering the heat, it would make sense for Toulouse and Catalans kick off times this weekend to be delayed until late evening when it is cooler.
  11. The introduction of GDPR last year may have reduced the database with consent now needed to retain data. But it is worrying that the Rock's mailing list couldn't fill Wembley twice over. Any mailshors they send involve fishing in a very small pond!
  12. I agree with an earlier point raised in this thread. The decision of whether to kick the two or risk going for a try is part of the tactical consideration of winning a game. Sometimes going for the two works, other times it backfires. It makes the game more interesting having that variance. To go against the grain of this thread, I think that kicking penalties is vastly underused. In a game earlier this year against Catalans, Saints were 8 points down with 3 minutes left and declined a penalty kick under the posts. I called for us to kick it, get back within six points and launch one last attack to snatch a point. The alternative was to score and convert a try, then launch an attack and realistically have to score another try as Catalans discipline would be tighter with two points the gap. We often see sides turning down kickable penalties. On some occasions they may score a try and miss the conversion, giving them a net gain of two points. I would like to see the statistics of how often a kickable penalty is declined and a try is scored from the ensuing play, I would guess it would be a low percentage. I also disagree that goal kicking is boring, going back to my point about managing tactics. Games that are low scoring and have a lot of penalties can be good. The Warrington vs Saints game last week was a case in point. It took 61 minutes for the first try to be scored but the game didn't suffer as a result. In fact, it enhanced the match as sides had to work so hard to break the other down and made every try feel more important.
  13. Hull KR vs Huddersfield now confirmed as the Friday match.
  14. I said last year we would have been better of playing France at a strategic area for growth last year, such as Coventry, Newcastle, Middlesborough or London last October instead of Leigh, which attracted a 5,000 crowd on a Wednesday night. We can no longer accept that any fixture involving the national team drawing this sort of crowd.
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