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First Impressions


MZH
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So the first week of Super League action is done and dusted. I didn't watch every match live but I have now caught up. It was great to have it back and on the whole I enjoyed the action and Sky's coverage of it.

I know a lot of people on here will have also watched all of the games. Did you see anything that might have made you rethink your pre season predictions. Did anyone surprise you? Disappoint you? What were your impressions?

I think personally I was surprised by how well Castleford performed. In many ways I think they are the hardest team to pick this year, but most have got them in the bottom half, myself included. I thought they looked impressive yesterday though. Evalds will be a quality addition.

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Firstly, I was quite impressed with Saints. Without Coote and Knowles, two key parts to our spine, we adapted quite well. Fages stepped up with his kicking game, with us scoring off a couple of his kicks, and Welsby did okay at fullback. The new lads looked good, too. Joel Thompson looked a handful and got over the line a few times, though was held up. Iggy Paasi looked good till he went off and Sione Matautia did well, too. 

As for the rest of the teams, the teams most perceive to be clubs in a relegation battle impressed me. Hull KR were desperately unlucky to come away with nothing from the game with Catalans, Leigh started brightly and showed some good signs but faded and Wakefield gave Leeds a scare. Cas and Warrington was very interesting and Hull got off to a good start against a fancied Huddersfield.

The average winning margin was 9.83 this weekend with 4/6 being single digit margins. 

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First impressions...

... Warrington won’t get within a sniff of beating Saints or Wigan on that showing. Hull looked the most likely to compete...

... the relegation battle will be really interesting if Leigh can perform to that level every week.

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My first impression, which then developed into a lasting impression, was that once again rule changes that allege to clean of the PTB are once again nonsense. The ball not being played with the foot honestly looks horrendous when compared with the NRL. 

Plus side of the weekend was there were no crazy blow out scores and Leigh look more than the weakest link on that showing - a vast improvement on last year's promoted side. 

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1 minute ago, hunsletgreenandgold said:

My first impression, which then developed into a lasting impression, was that once again rule changes that allege to clean of the PTB are once again nonsense. The ball not being played with the foot honestly looks horrendous when compared with the NRL. 

Plus side of the weekend was there were no crazy blow out scores and Leigh look more than the weakest link on that showing - a vast improvement on last year's promoted side. 

On that subject, I don't really like the new ball steal rules either. I think it's just going to create more confusion.

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3 minutes ago, hunsletgreenandgold said:

My first impression, which then developed into a lasting impression, was that once again rule changes that allege to clean of the PTB are once again nonsense. The ball not being played with the foot honestly looks horrendous when compared with the NRL. 

Plus side of the weekend was there were no crazy blow out scores and Leigh look more than the weakest link on that showing - a vast improvement on last year's promoted side. 

I take your points

I thought the whole stripping of the ball a joke.  Still seemed to be some clear head high tackles which were ignored.  Undoubtably we will get some contentious marginal ones given next week.

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The teams that everyone expects to see toward the bottom of the table will definately have a few shocks in them. 

Whilst I do wonder how they'll go without the emotion of a local derby and as fatigue and injuries work through the squad, Leigh were impressive. 

Tom Johnstone will win games for Wakefield on his own.

Hull were impressive but then, Hull were impressive in round one last season.  

Despite the poor start, I think Warrington will have enough about them to avoid the drop.  

Fitness is an interesting one for me. A few teams seemed to be struggling for match fitness and it showed at the end of a few games (possibly due to a lack of pre-season warm-ups) and more teams than usual seemed to be coming into the first round with a number of injuries. 

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I am always excited by the impending resumption of SL, with a possible consequence that it can seem a bit anticlimactic when it actually happens.  That was how I felt after the first two games, to be honest.  I subsequently realised that I probably was being unfair because I wasn't making any allowance for some pretty grotty weather on opening night.

I much more enjoyed games 3 to 6.  Like Cumbrian Fanatic, I enjoyed the number of wide, running moves there seemed to be. 

That said, being a fan of Les Dracs can be a frustrating business, and I couldn't fathom why they seemed to stop using wide passing movements so much, when the tactic had brought them early success; early season energy conservation, maybe!  On a positive Catalans note, although I don't hold the view of some on here that there should be a prescribed number of French players in their match day squad, it was good to see that six of the starting line-up and three of the four subs were French.  It will be important not to exaggerate the achievements of newcomers, whether local youngsters or imports, in any team.  In Les Dracs' case, Matthieu Laguerre had a very good game; that does not, in itself, mean he is the next French super-star in the making!

The Sky TV coverage was OK.  Unlike many on here, I never get too bothered by the commentary team, for whom I think Brian Carney as the anchorman and Jon Wells as the analyst are the best.  My gripe, such as it is, is with the producers and, specifically, their obsession with showing action replays of comparatively trivial moments, such as knocks-on, at the expense of live action, and an assumption that a commentator's reference to one of the coaches means that we must cut to see what they are doing, which is almost invariably watching the game, as I would like to be doing!

I am too lazy to have done the requisite research, but my suspicion is that, in most seasons, what, in due course, will seem to have been 'upsets' tend to occur most frequently in the opening two or three rounds.  So, for instance, it will be interesting to see how Leigh do in due course against their nearest and dearest from Wigan; will it be so close again?

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3 hours ago, MZH said:

So the first week of Super League action is done and dusted. I didn't watch every match live but I have now caught up. It was great to have it back and on the whole I enjoyed the action and Sky's coverage of it.

I know a lot of people on here will have also watched all of the games. Did you see anything that might have made you rethink your pre season predictions. Did anyone surprise you? Disappoint you? What were your impressions?

I think personally I was surprised by how well Castleford performed. In many ways I think they are the hardest team to pick this year, but most have got them in the bottom half, myself included. I thought they looked impressive yesterday though. Evalds will be a quality addition.

Cas were better than I expected too. Okay, Warrington weren't exactly on great form, but even so.

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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3 minutes ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

 My gripe, such as it is, is with the producers and, specifically, their obsession with showing action replays of comparatively trivial moments, such as knocks-on, at the expense of live action, and an assumption that a commentator's reference to one of the coaches means that we must cut to see what they are doing, which is almost invariably watching the game, as I would like to be doing!

 

This is the thing that has he shouting at the television, the BBC are guilty of it too for Challenge Cup games

100% League 0% Union

Just because I don't know doesn't mean I don't understand

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Great start to the season, lots of entertainment. A few points to point out

1. I liked Wigan’s blue shirt more than I thought I would

2. Loved Leigh’s shirt, and their level of fight. They still may prove a lot of people wrong.

3. I’m confused by the new ball steal rules, so I’m pretty sure the players are, prepare for a whole bunch of mistakes in the coming weeks.

4. Injuries and squad depth will be key this year, some positions in the table could boil down to who has 17 fit guys

5. Still not convinced by Steve McNamaras coaching

6. If Tom Johnstone was an Aussie, he’d be built up as a superstar, he deserves more recognition by a wider audience.

7. Of course it’s Warringtons year, until it isn’t!

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1 minute ago, Cumbrian Fanatic said:

This is the thing that has he shouting at the television, the BBC are guilty of it too for Challenge Cup games

I suppose one explanation might be that they have been brought up covering the dark side code, in which the frequent stoppages need something to cover them, so a recent error or smart - but not scoreline influencing - move could be a godsend.

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2 hours ago, GeordieSaint said:

First impressions...

... Warrington won’t get within a sniff of beating Saints or Wigan on that showing. Hull looked the most likely to compete...

... the relegation battle will be really interesting if Leigh can perform to that level every week.

No matter what their form is it is always different when playing Wigan or Saints. 

If you look at Hull they regularly have an impressive first outing, the proof will be as the season progresses. 

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57 minutes ago, City RL said:

Always annoys me though is players not playing the ball with the foot and moving off the mark.

Agreed on both . I have no issue with the ball steal rule . It’s the 4th season with it in the NRL and I don’t think it’s detracted from the game over time . It’s a contest for possession and if you can exploit it as some do better than others than it’s to your credit 

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26 minutes ago, graveyard johnny said:

tom johnstone played a full game without getting a bad injury - great start to a season

Two young outstanding wingers have had their last few seasons marred by injury, Johnstone and Manfredi, those two fit would give England international class wingers. 

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