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Ray Cashmere

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Everything posted by Ray Cashmere

  1. All this after major investment in the playing squad, a youth system producing some genuine top-level talents and incredible value season tickets. I wonder if Ken Davy is one of the chairmen to have sneered about the value Toulouse will bring to Super League (that's the Toulouse who got nearly as many fans through the gate last night as Huddersfield managed in their first 4 games of 2021) because they won't fill their ground for them...
  2. Thunder apparently signed Pauli Pauli and Alex Foster for next season. That doesn't scream bottom of the championship to me...
  3. It's a discussion for a different thread but I'd suggest the SL2 concept has been shelved given Betfred have signed a 3 year extension to their sponsorship of all comps and the Premier Sports tv deal for the Championship is 2 seasons.
  4. They've talked a big game so basing these names on the hypothesis that they will spend the full cap and may even recruit a marquee. Hopefully they go for a strategy that balances star NRL names (Mitch Pearce & Tariq Sims probably the standout options rumoured available atm), solid & dependable SL players (a la Hankinson), fringe Catalans players (Seguier/Jullien and maybe Laguerre/Chan on loan) and some younger talent from down under (agree with the Emre Guler shout above). The major problem IMO will be the 'solid, dependable SL players' category as a lot of the names you would suggest will probably require fees at this stage.
  5. Catalans are East Stand tonight's winners are Stretford End
  6. Without wanting to turn this into another tedious discussion about structures I have to agree that neither of these clubs should be able to operate in SL with a part time squad. The ambition has to be for a competitive Championship with these big, historic, but part-time clubs like Batley, Fax and Fev battling it out whilst continuing to be sustainable.
  7. Leeds need Prior, Oledzki and Tetevano right on top of their game to win this. Those 3 have the ability to win the arm wrestle but Tetevano is yet to show it for Leeds and Oledzki didn't look fit last week. Saints by 14.
  8. I don't buy the idea that bigger stadia automatically makes SL a better product. As a TV viewer, I'm much more likely to become interested in a game when there is a ground that is largely full, is generating a good atmosphere and *looks* up to date. TW Stadium, Halliwell Jones and Headingley might not be as big as the DW/John Smiths/ KCOM but they make for a much better TV product. Whilst Moor Lane obviously has its challenges, seeing it 80%+ full under the lights with a proper atmosphere will make it a much more attractive proposition than a third full, soulless AJ Bell.
  9. Which is fine, but that comes to my second point of it being a very difficult job telling a Batley, Whitehaven or *insert established championship club* that they're no longer a Championship club. Also, is the plan for SL2 to be fully professional, on a club-by-club basis or solely part time? The former is a big financial demand whereas the latter two either: i) distort the competition or ii) further reduce the number of full time sides in this country. I'm unsure how either benefit the 'product'.
  10. The biggest problem with 2x10s for me is The biggest problem with 2x10s for me is the point on selecting the 20. If we rely solely on league position then that likely excludes Barrow & Crusaders and definitely excludes Coventry- all clubs outside of the heartlands that are slowly and sustainably building something. And what if London and Sheffield have bad seasons? Are we seriously going to effectively remove our presence from two major cities that will have just hosted England World Cup games? Alternatively, how can you prevent established Championship clubs like Batley or Whitehaven from being included if they have similar seasons to this?
  11. In amongst all the waffle, the line "I've got plenty of ideas myself but we'll keep them on the shelf" really does stand out in a stark and sombre way given that providing direction is (or should be) so obviously inherent within his supposed role Maybe he's already auditioning for Poet Laureate...
  12. Completely agree re lack of player/ lower league involvement in this working group but I am clutching at the silver lining that the CEOs involved seem to be more progressive and ambitious than some of the other possible options.
  13. I've been critical in the past of McNamara's use of French players but their increased use this year has directly led to their success this year. Bousquet and Goudemand have had by far their best seasons, Dezaria has been a bit of a revelation, Garcia is probably the best 13 in the comp outside Knowles and then you've still got Baitieri and Jullien filling in as well plus the likes of Le Cam and Chan starting to become involved. Granted, there is more work to do in the backs but Yaha is consistently reliable, Mourgue has delivered several key moments (but needs to become a starter next year) whilst Rouge and Laguerre have looked like future stars when they have had minutes. There's a difference between wanting them to bring through French players (which this season they undoubtedly have) and expecting them to be the French XIII by proxy. My one big disappointment is that they haven't done everything possible to bring Fages home.
  14. There are two different issues here following the new TV deal: i) Can we support 36 clubs within a structure ii) Can we support the existing structure For me, the answer to i) is yes, absolutely. However the answer to ii) is evidently not. We have to make a decision as a sport about the role of the 36 clubs within our game. Some are fantastic, semi-professional community clubs which can continue to thrive in a competitive League 1 and Championship, investing most of their energy in supporting grassroots RL in their local communities rather than chasing a SL pipe-dream. Others are either established SL clubs or Championship clubs with the ambition, resources, potential and commercial value to benefit Super League as full-time clubs without the cliff edge of relegation threatening their progress. This is not to say it is my ideal scenario but, unfortunately, it is reality. Failure to accept it will damage clubs of all sizes imo.
  15. I did think about Coventry as it would be great for the Bears and Midlands RL overall but unfortunately the ground is miles out of the centre and it's a terrible night out (which, like it or not, matters to people). Has to stay in Newcastle for the foreseeable (ideally until Thunder are an established SL club) and then I'd be looking at Sheffield, Cardiff or London (if the Broncos still exist by then).
  16. London finally have a Super League stadium for the medium to long term in an area they have the potential thrive in. Whether that happens time will tell but there is a community and partner football club waiting to be engaged with. Crowds at Trailfinders are a bit of a red herring as, even from South West London, I found it an absolute nightmare to get to.
  17. From what I've read and how the clubs have conducted themselves York, Newcastle, London and Toulouse aren't short of money. Granted Coventry and North Wales are further behind on their journey but there is a lot of optimism around the Crusaders again which is good for the game. Personally, I hope Catalans go on and win the GF and France give England a competitive game in the Autumn so we can recognise what expansion can do for the game when it is done correctly. Their introduction to Super League should be used as a model.
  18. I completely agree and that absolutely should be one of our main priorities. But so would a strong Newcastle, Toulouse, London, York, Coventry, Crusaders. It's this desire to cut teams and cut Super League by some that is unhelpful not the desire for more (sustainable) expansion.
  19. Fantastic news and hopefully the first step towards regaining an academy. Would love to see this formula replicated in other parts of the UK (and Ireland?) although obviously the challenges in terms of existing RL infrastructure are different.
  20. It isn't an either or though. Wanting Newcastle, London, York, Toulouse etc to grow and succeed should add more quality, diversity and competition to the established elite, not detract from them. Just look at Catalans... And (unsurprisingly) I agree with your point re Salford. Our crowds aren't remotely good enough but we've had recent success, look to be doing some very good work with Wales RL regarding pathways and are based in a major city. I'm an expansionist myself but it should be about raising the floor and expanding its area than creating 'us' and 'them'.
  21. This is exactly it. Structure and re-structure is all well and good but until we, as a sport, can have a vision and purpose behind it we will continue to be in a repetitive cycle. For me, the priorities of the sport's structure at a professional level have to be: - Expanding the sport geographically in a sustainable and focused manner - Supporting a consistent, competitive international calendar in the northern hemisphere that can act as a flagbearer for the sport - Striving to raise the floor of professional rugby league rather than holding down the ceiling What shape and form that comes in I am completely receptive to.
  22. There were signs in the loss to Catalans that our attacking structures were starting to click so today wasn't a total surprise. Well, apart from the fact we didn't give away a penalty for a high tackle for the first time this season. Another positive is the continued improvement of Sam Luckley. He's fully earnt his chance to run out at St James' next weekend and I hope Sky/RFL socials give his story a bit of a focus. Also, any news on where Ken Sio is off to next season? He walks into every side in SL bar St Helens and Catalans.
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