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superten

late 80s early 90s

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Am I showing my age but was the late 80s early 90s the golden era of rugby league ? Big crowds in top league as well as good crowds at top of end of division two . More free to view tv games with regal trophy and challenge cup . Scrum down on itv weekly highlights . Big world club challenge nights . Club v tourist games . More trophies on offer . More household known players . The boxing day and Easter big derbies  .  Have we thrown all this away to cheap with the jump to summer rugby and sky . Was rugby league to frightened of rugby union when that sport turned pro . Did we and do we still lack self believe in our game  ?   

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Most clubs were on the verge of going bust with low crowds - only Leeds and Wigan were ‘big time’. We were lucky to be rescued by the Super League war in Australia which resulted in a big tv deal for us here. The salary cap was brought in to prevent the death of pretty much every club except the two previously mentioned, although maybe now it’s served it’s purpose we can revisit the way it works.

Have a look at Widnes post 1992 for an example of the state we were in. ?

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1990 is when I first clearly recall watching a match on TV - GB vs Australia at Wembley. I have a vague recollection of seeing bits of the 1986 Ashes series, and snippets of Challenge Cup Finals from the late 80's, but nothing concrete.

I think I was lucky in that the 1990 series was a belter, so my introduction to the sport was very memorable. Plus the 1st test was at Wembley, which added to how iconic it was.

I tend to find that most of my favourite sporting memories are from when I was a kid, so I'm not surprised that it's the same with RL. The 1990 1st and 2nd tests, plus the World Cup Final in 1992, are among my favourite matches from any sport. Then you can add in the 1994 1st test with Jonathan Davies' try, and the World Cup in 1995.

I can't comment on how the sport in general was back then, but I certainly have fond memories of those games. I guess it helped that things back then were still on the BBC. Even nowadays I still generally prefer the Beeb's sports coverage. Maybe it's partly because they don't need to go for annoying ad breaks, I'm not sure.

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Not quite on topic, but I didn't want to start another thread on it...

Who was the better player out of Mal Meninga and Wally Lewis?

I don't think I ever saw Wally Lewis play, because he was injured for the 1990 series and (I think) retired not long after. Meninga was the most iconic Kangaroo (from my perspective) during the 90-94 period - what with his size and being captain/kicker etc.

But I've just been looking at the State of Origin man of the match stats, and Wally Lewis has 8 to Meninga's 1. Is that any guide to who was the better player, since I'm assuming that Meninga would have played in many of those games too?

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1 hour ago, 17 stone giant said:

Not quite on topic, but I didn't want to start another thread on it...

Who was the better player out of Mal Meninga and Wally Lewis?

I don't think I ever saw Wally Lewis play, because he was injured for the 1990 series and (I think) retired not long after. Meninga was the most iconic Kangaroo (from my perspective) during the 90-94 period - what with his size and being captain/kicker etc.

But I've just been looking at the State of Origin man of the match stats, and Wally Lewis has 8 to Meninga's 1. Is that any guide to who was the better player, since I'm assuming that Meninga would have played in many of those games too?

They were very different players.

Lewis was the master tactician and captain with great all round skills while still having a significant physical presence while Meninga was more of an impact player by nature of his centre (majority) career and his huge ball carrying ability.

They are both in the list of 13 immortals judged to be the best Australian players of all time and so I would have them very much even in terms of standing in the game.

Personally I would just pick Lewis if I were forced to choose, but only just.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Immortals_(rugby_league)

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58 minutes ago, 17 stone giant said:

Not quite on topic, but I didn't want to start another thread on it...

Who was the better player out of Mal Meninga and Wally Lewis?

I don't think I ever saw Wally Lewis play, because he was injured for the 1990 series and (I think) retired not long after. Meninga was the most iconic Kangaroo (from my perspective) during the 90-94 period - what with his size and being captain/kicker etc.

But I've just been looking at the State of Origin man of the match stats, and Wally Lewis has 8 to Meninga's 1. Is that any guide to who was the better player, since I'm assuming that Meninga would have played in many of those games too?

As a Wakefield fan I’m going to be biased but it’s got to be King Wally Lewis.

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52 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

They were very different players.

Lewis was the master tactician and captain with great all round skills while still having a significant physical presence while Meninga was more of an impact player by nature of his centre (majority) career and his huge ball carrying ability.

They are both in the list of 13 immortals judged to be the best Australian players of all time and so I would have them very much even in terms standing in the game.

Personally I would just pick Lewis if I were forced to choose, but only just.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Immortals_(rugby_league)

Indeed , it’s a bit of comparing apples and oranges 

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6 hours ago, Wigan Riversider said:

Meninga

Nah.. Lewis had the RL brain. Meninga had the power with an unprecedented kicking technique.

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We had the best two club sides in the world at that time . I don't think people realised at the time how good Wigan and Widnes were . They were box office . Packed with super stars of the game . I don't think now with salary cap we can say that about any team today . I don't any team has one super star player who you would pay to see unlike then .  

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14 hours ago, SL17 said:

Nah.. Lewis had the RL brain. Meninga had the power with an unprecedented kicking technique.

Both fine players. 

Wanted to watch Ellery v Wally both play at 6 in 1986. Didn't happen as Ellery was injured. 

On Kangaroo tours Meninga toured x4 as well as 1 World Cup tour. 

Walking Wally did 2 and lost his test place as vice captain to Brett Kenny in 1982. Ironically with Wally as Captain in 1986, coach Furner selected Meninga for 1 test only as replacement second row for Noel Crusher Cleale. 

Both Wally and Meninga had winning records as touring captains. Meninga had more longevity and for me was the better player. 

As I posted on other threads, Ellery was incensed when Wigan offered Wally £2000 per game for 8 matches in 1986 announced immediately after the 3rd test at Central Park. Wally never came. 

Wally discovered that taking the law into his own hands against Nick Du Toit was a grave error of judgement too against Wigan in 1986.

Meninga had a magnificent season for St Helens 1984-1985.

Meninga was the better player and statistically a better kangaroo captain IMHO. 

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22 hours ago, 17 stone giant said:

Not quite on topic, but I didn't want to start another thread on it...

Who was the better player out of Mal Meninga and Wally Lewis?

I don't think I ever saw Wally Lewis play, because he was injured for the 1990 series and (I think) retired not long after. Meninga was the most iconic Kangaroo (from my perspective) during the 90-94 period - what with his size and being captain/kicker etc.

But I've just been looking at the State of Origin man of the match stats, and Wally Lewis has 8 to Meninga's 1. Is that any guide to who was the better player, since I'm assuming that Meninga would have played in many of those games too?

When RL journalists choose man of the match, they generally go for either the player who scored the most tries or the player who touched the ball most often.

Mal surely had the greater impact on the field at club and Test level. Wally`s legendary status for Queenslanders is as much to do with his remaining in Brisbane, being loathed in Sydney, and his pivotal role in establishing respect for the Maroons in SOO.

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On 30/05/2020 at 10:47, superten said:

Am I showing my age but was the late 80s early 90s the golden era of rugby league ? Big crowds in top league as well as good crowds at top of end of division two . More free to view tv games with regal trophy and challenge cup . Scrum down on itv weekly highlights . Big world club challenge nights . Club v tourist games . More trophies on offer . More household known players . The boxing day and Easter big derbies  .  Have we thrown all this away to cheap with the jump to summer rugby and sky . Was rugby league to frightened of rugby union when that sport turned pro . Did we and do we still lack self believe in our game  ?   

There was a sense of this era being a good one at the time, but perhaps this was more the contrast with the perceived decline in the 70s. If you look at crowds it`s a mixed picture, but some clubs who have since moved to new stadia (Wire, Hull, Saints) get much better regular attendances than back then. The change from 5m to 10m offside rule came just after this period. Whether or not this was necessary, it`s a sign that administrators were not happy with the state of the game. There was a lot more RL on free-to-air TV, but sometimes with the type of coverage more likely to put people off than otherwise.

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2 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

There was a lot more RL on free-to-air TV, but sometimes with the type of coverage more likely to put people off than otherwise.

RL having being taken off the BBC has forced thousands to be put off it anyway (ie They can't watch it).

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I absolutely adored Rugby League in the 1980's.

Playing for the school or college on a Wednesday afternoon. 

Going to Central Park on a Friday evening for the A team games.

Playing North West Counties junior league on a weekend.

Central Park again for the Sunday... or a trip to Knowsley Road or Wilderspool for an away game.

And of course being first in the queue as the VHS shop for the Micron Video's to get the Winfield Cup fix.

Then the big games such as Cup finals and Kangaroo tours.

Looking back it was all perfect but of course it wasn't. It is human nature as we get older to only remember the best of the years gone by. There were plenty of things wrong with the game back then, as there is now, I'm just happy to take the fond memories and not to try and bring back a past that we can't replicate.

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33 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I absolutely adored Rugby League in the 1980's.

Playing for the school or college on a Wednesday afternoon. 

Going to Central Park on a Friday evening for the A team games.

Playing North West Counties junior league on a weekend.

Central Park again for the Sunday... or a trip to Knowsley Road or Wilderspool for an away game.

And of course being first in the queue as the VHS shop for the Micron Video's to get the Winfield Cup fix.

Then the big games such as Cup finals and Kangaroo tours.

Looking back it was all perfect but of course it wasn't. It is human nature as we get older to only remember the best of the years gone by. There were plenty of things wrong with the game back then, as there is now, I'm just happy to take the fond memories and not to try and bring back a past that we can't replicate.

Well said that man?

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On 30/05/2020 at 15:00, WakefieldCityLoyal said:

Preferred RL back then.

But if it continued on the path it was on there would probably be no pro/semi pro RL now.


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45 minutes ago, Padge said:

But if it continued on the path it was on there would probably be no pro/semi pro RL now.

Personally that wouldn't have bothered me, I would still - as I do now - watch the amateurs. It makes no difference to me if the players are being paid or not.

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Wigan v Manly World Club Challenge, best game I have ever seen live, and it didn’t need a try!

That was a fun period, I used to drive over from Newcastle to watch Carlisle at Gillford Park, the game just seem to have so many more characters then, Carlisle had a whole team of them!

Also remember going to see the Kangaroos play Cumbria at Derwent Park, think it was Greg Alexander kicking bombs up so high it felt they were going to space.

I know many teams were just about bust then, but it seemed a happier time, test matches were important and RL appeared to have a much higher profile then, GB tests were even discussed at my workplace in Sunderland!

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4 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

RL having being taken off the BBC has forced thousands to be put off it anyway (ie They can't watch it).

I know Sky basically saved the game, but once it virtually disappeared from the BBC it became less visible, therefore less relevant. Interestingly here in Canada if you want to watch RL (present Covid situation not counting- since Sportsnet are only covering NRL because they have nothing else available) you pay a premium price to watch on Sportsnet World. Now committed RL idiots like me will do that, but it means that you have to really search, and then pay up, if you want to watch an RL game. Perhaps if the RFL/SL really want to test the market in other countries then they have to find a way of getting a weekly game onto a more mainstream TV Sports channel.

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16 hours ago, RL does what Sky says said:

RL having being taken off the BBC has forced thousands to be put off it anyway (ie They can't watch it).

By the turn of the nineties, after a couple of decades of RL being a staple on the BBC, what did we have to show for it in terms of growth and popularity outside traditional areas? Up to this time Grandstand were still showing only the second half of games that were specifically played on that day for the cameras. This revealed a lot about their view of RL, quite apart from covering it less as a sport, more as a quaint feature of life in parts of the North. Not all publicity is good publicity.

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On 30/05/2020 at 13:44, Cheshire Setter said:

Most clubs were on the verge of going bust with low crowds - only Leeds and Wigan were ‘big time’. We were lucky to be rescued by the Super League war in Australia which resulted in a big tv deal for us here. The salary cap was brought in to prevent the death of pretty much every club except the two previously mentioned, although maybe now it’s served it’s purpose we can revisit the way it works.

Have a look at Widnes post 1992 for an example of the state we were in. ?

You shouldn't believe everything that Maurice said, remember he had already sold his soul to Rupert.

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1 hour ago, unapologetic pedant said:

By the turn of the nineties, after a couple of decades of RL being a staple on the BBC, what did we have to show for it in terms of growth and popularity outside traditional areas? Up to this time Grandstand were still showing only the second half of games that were specifically played on that day for the cameras. This revealed a lot about their view of RL, quite apart from covering it less as a sport, more as a quaint feature of life in parts of the North. Not all publicity is good publicity.

Maybe not  then, but how many people were watching it compared to now on Skly ?  As with all facets of life, things have moved on and when the BBC do now show the occasional RL match then the coverage is better than it was then. It just needs to be more often. 

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