League Express Mailbag – Monday 12th April


I totally agree with Mike Worthington (Mailbag 5 April) regarding the golden point rule. The match in question, between Catalan Dragons and Hull KR was superb, and both sides deserved tremendous credit for producing such quality play so early in the season.

The Dragons were very impressive in the first half and thoroughly deserved their lead at half time. The Hull KR fight back was equally impressive and the full time draw a fair reflection of what had been a terrific game throughout. To then ask those players, some of whom were out on their feet, to play extra time in order to produce a winner (in accordance with the current rules) was quite ridiculous given what had gone before.

In my view the supporters of both teams were short changed and neutral viewers like me were left frustrated and annoyed that such a brilliant contest should have to be concluded in that way.

This ‘golden point’ is something dreamed up in Australia and slavishly adopted by our own governing body, in the mistaken belief that it makes the game more exciting. In reality it achieves the opposite, and if allowed to continue can only have a negative effect on the way our great game is perceived by the prospective new fans we wish to attract in the future.

There might be an argument for using a ‘golden point’ to resolve Challenge Cup games, as there is no opportunity these days for replays. But I firmly believe that  using a `golden point’ system to determine the result of Super League matches has had its day. It should now be consigned to history.

David Sawyer, Warrington



Congratulations to League Express on its marked enthusiasm for what is happening In France. Even the possibility of a World Cup in France is intriguing. The recent article reflected a growing awareness that Rugby League in France is a much bigger story than just Catalan Dragons, exciting though that is.

Toulouse in Super League could soon be another huge step forward and one other development would be great, as follows. Thanks to modern technology we have been able to watch the French Elite competition for the past few weeks, yet reports on all the matches are compressed in League Express into one rather feeble paragraph

I understand from Steve Brady, who does a brilliant job on insider stuff at the Dragons and is on the spot all year round, that Carcassonne v Avignon is the stand out match next week, with Christophe Jouffret leading the resurgence at the Avignon club.

It promises to be a humdinger. Let’s read all about it in this paper next week please.

Dennis Richards OBE, Harrogate



I wonder how many Rhinos’ supporters share my disappointment at the news that Darryl Powell is going to Warrington.

No disrespect to Richard Agar but he was only a make-shift appointment, and although he has done a very good job I don’t think he is in the same class as Powell.

I really hoped that Mr Hetherington would try to get Powell back at Headingly but he has a history of never re-employing people who have left, whether to go to Australia or to that other game.  Iestyn Harris, Adrian Morley, Chev Walker, Richie Mathers, Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall are a few that spring to mind. All of those players came back to English Rugby League but, unfortunately, not to Headingly.

It does seem rather churlish of Mr Hetherington to not re-sign ex Leeds players who still have playing years left in them, as all of the above did or still do. I am sure most Leeds supporters would rather forgive returning Leeds players than see them playing against us.

It certainly hurts watching Ryan Hall, a Rhino Legend, wearing the red shirt of Hull KR. I wasn’t surprised by Powell’s announcement, just very disappointed

Geoffrey Bagley, Leeds



I couldn’t agree more with Stuart Lonsdale (Mailbag 5 April). The ball-steal play needs to be eliminated from Rugby League as soon as possible.

P Carroll, Ashton in Makerfield



I have to agree that the ‘ball steal’ innovation does our game no favours, encouraging tacklers to keep the ball carrier on his feet with all the strain on knee joints that entails.

It calls on the referee to make an instant decision and so adjudicate on three matters instantly. Most referees can’t decide convincingly on a forward pass.

Another mistaken priority at the moment is a ‘correct’ play the ball. Games I watched over the weekend seem to show that, if a sloppy tackler doesn’t clear the ruck and the tackled player gets to his feet and plays the ball, he is likely to be penalised. The offender then gains a penalty.

I am all for the ball being played correctly but the emphasis at the moment seems to be on not penalising interference by a lazy tackler.

‘Lying on’ is no longer an offence, it seems. How will that play out if we ever get to a World Cup? I shudder to think. Games lose momentum and become stop-start grinds.

Glyn Smith, Runcorn



League Express 05/04/21 offered interesting reading, on the Disciplinary Review Panel’s idea of what a Super League player might expect, as compared to decisions regarding Championship sides.

Very rarely are any strong decisions taken against Super League players and you often see the same players on a regular basis. It is a different panel for Championship players.

One talking point at the moment is the ‘six again’ rule. Most fans seem baffled as to why ‘six again’ is awarded as, logically, the team with more possession will normally win the game; and the ‘ball-stealing’ law seems disputable on the basis of who you support. There are teams who will logically practise ‘falling off’, allowing one player to then take possession.

The referee’s job is difficult, but depending on where he stands it must be difficult to make a decision.

John Barker, Mirfield