League Express Mailbag – Monday 28th June


I expressed concern at the beginning of the season, about the possibility of the ‘Six Again’ rule being abused, by a referee favouring one team over the other. During the game on Thursday 24th June, Castleford Tigers v Catalans Dragons, that concern was justified.

Most of the Catalans’ ‘six-agains’ were given on the fourth or fifth tackle, in Castleford’s ten-metre area. Most of Castleford’s ‘six-agains’ were given on the first tackle, either in Castleford’s own half or in the middle of the field.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out, that the Catalans were getting ten or eleven tackles in Castleford’s ten metre area, while Castleford were  getting only seven tackles in Castleford’s own half. l thought Mr Kendall was a better referee than that but it seems I was wrong.

Two sayings I learned seventy years ago come to mind: “You can’t beat the referee” and “A team can only  play as well as the referee will let them.” Both certainly applied to Castleford in that match. It is said that if someone has a bit of bad luck, they must have killed a robin. If that is true, the way Castleford are currently being treated by the RFL and referees, they must have killed ten.

That said, Castleford were also rubbish, which begs the question, “When is Daryl Powell going to do the honest, decent thing and walk away from the club, so Lee Radford can come in and get his own team sorted, with players who want to play for him?”

Whatever happens to Cas Tigers, Daryl Powell will walk away at the end of the end of the season without a second thought. If his new job, at Warrington Wolves, were available to him now, he would be gone in a shot and no messing, because if Cas means as much to him as he makes out, why is he leaving?

Get out now, Mr Powell. Stop wasting the club’s time and yours, as you are only waiting for your new job at Warrington to start.

Graham Dawson, Castleford



I was sad to hear that Kevin Sinfield is leaving our great game, he is one of Rugby League’s finest ambassadors. We saw at the end of last year how he supported Rob Burrow during a most difficult time, both for him and for his family.

Kevin Sinfield was a stalwart at Leeds Rhinos, playing for them from 1997 to 2015, scoring 176 tries in 521 appearances, and coming second only to Sir Andy Murray in the BBC’s ‘Sports Personality of the Year 2013’ presentations.

Kevin will now go to the Leicester Tigers as their defence coach so, as I also like watching Rugby Union I shall be keeping an eye on Kevin in Leicester.

I hope he does well.

Joe Vince, Colchester



At The beginning of the season, I expressed my concern about the possibility of this law being abused by referees in favour of one team over the other. On Thursday 24 June, in the game between Castleford tigers v Catalan Dragons, my concerns were confirmed.

Most of the Catalans’ six-agains in that match, were given in Castleford’s ten-metre area on the fourth or fifth tackle, whereas most of Castleford’s six-agains were given in Castleford’s own half, or in the middle of the field on the first tackle.

It doesn’t take a expert in maths to work out that the Catalans were getting ten or eleven tackles in Castleford’s ten-metre area, to Castleford’s seven the Catalan’s half. I thought Mr Kendall was a better referee than that but it seems I was wrong.

Two sayings come to mind that I learned 70 years ago: 1) You can’t beat the referee and 2) A team can only play as well as the referee will let them.

It is said that if someone has a bit of bad luck they must have killed a robin. If that is the case, the way Castleford are being treated by the RFL and referees, they must have killed ten.

Having said that though, Cas were rubbish – which begs the question: “When is Daryl Powell going to do the descent, honest thing and walk away from Castleford Tigers, so that Lee Radford can come in and get his own team sorted and settled, with players who want to play for him.”

Whatever happens to Castleford Tigers, Daryl Powell will just walk away to Warrington at the end of the season without a second thought. I believe that if his job at Warrington was available for him now, he would be gone in a shot, no messing. If Cas meant as much to him as he makes out, why is he leaving?

Get out now Mr. Powell and stop wasting your, and the club’s time at Castleford, just waiting for your new job at Warrington Wolves to become available.

Graham Dawson, Castleford



I was so sad to hear Kevin Sinfield is to leave our great game; he is on of the game`s greatest ambassadors. We saw at the end of last year how he supported Rob Burrow during a difficult time for him and his family.

Kevin was a stalwart at Leeds Rhinos. He played for them from 1997– 2015. He scored one hundred and seventy-six tries in five hundred and twenty-one appearances. He also came second only to Sir Andy Murray, in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2013.

He will now go to the Leicester Tigers, as their Defence Coach, and as I also like watching Rugby Union, I will be keeping my eye on both Kevin and Leicester. I hope he does well.

Joe Vince, Colchester



Last week’s Mailbag made interesting reading, particularly Mr Bertram Roberts’ offering (in which he recalled what was possibly Wigan’s finest hour, when a considerably weakened team beat the Australian club champions in Australia to claim the World Club Championship of 1994.

As to Mr Jordan Turner’s complaining of a five day turn-around, may I recommend that he watches footage of Wigan’s “Mission Impossible” games, when over eight matches (I think) were played, in little more than a fortnight. Of course, that was when the game was slow and played by, “pot-bellied players who wouldn’t last more than ten minutes in today’s high speed super skilful extravaganza”.


Anyway, throughout Wigan’s pomp, one player above all often shone out. He wasn’t the fastest or biggest or most skilful yet he was in everything. Watch footage of almost any try scored by those all-conquering sides between 1984 and 1990.

Yes, I know other teams won trophies, beat Wigan, had great players, “ran Wigan very close”, but that player seemed to be ever present; always supporting the play or the try scorer if not actually scoring himself.

He left his hometown club under conditions which, considering his success, were to me disgraceful, yet around eighteen months ago there was a very good chance he would return to coach here, after success coaching in rugby union.

Wigan then proceeded to make a mess of his signing and he was lost. Not only to Wigan but, I firmly believe, to the betterment of rugby league as a whole.

Mr Lam hasn’t been a bad coach, far from it, but I believe his time at our club is up. Not only that. I question the wisdom and willingness of senior management at the club, when it comes to recruiting and keeping many senior players.

It seems George Williams will also soon be lost to us. Has keeping Mr Bateman broken the bank for the moment? Can anyone shed light?

How I wish Mr. Edwards hadn’t been missed (cue the Jacobite lament), “Will you no come back again?”

Chris Reardon, Chorley



It is the norm for the Catalans’ post match press conferences, to be published on their YouTube feed. But why just Catalans? Why doesn’t Super League post all the press conferences on YouTube?

I am not suggesting that Rugby League journalists don’t report these things conscientiously, but I am also aware that political journalists tend to give put their personal slant on Government Covid press conferences.

David Taylor, Kendal



Roland Davis will be eighty-eight years young when he attends his seventy-second Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley on 17th July.

Roland has given long and loyal service to our game, since supporting his local Hunslet club in the early days; his first Challenge Cup Final was the Widnes versus Warrington match in 1950. Now living in York, he will be watching the City Knights in their 1985 Cup Final, as a prelude to the main event.

Roland is a great Rugby League story teller, with a remarkable memory and knowledge of the details of players, matches and events, going back to the 1940s.

He has served the game in many capacities and was finance executive at the RFL from the late 70s through to the late 80s, when David Oxley CBE was in charge.

He is well known for his sterling work as secretary of the Great Britain Rugby League Lions Association and has made a total of five tours to Australia and New Zealand, including as Business Manager with the 1984 Lions.

He toured during his seven years as manager of the GB Women`s team; in the 1980s famously organised historic and nostalgic tours for the former Lions players; and later became involved in an executive role with the now defunct Scarborough Pirates club and additionally served as the chief executive of Scarborough Cricket Club.

Roland, we hope you will have another great day out at Wembley.

Simon Foster, Beverley



I have just read the statement by Adam Pearson, Chairman of Hull FC, and it is extremely sobering and thought-provoking for this sport.

Adam is more or less saying that Rugby Football League is on its knees, and may have difficulty in standing up to the turbulent times we now have and expect to have for the next year at least.

It is very disappointing that our sport, the best sport on the planet, is treated so shabbily by the powers-that-be in Government.

I feel for Adam in his future trials and tribulations, and I hope that both he and his club come through the other side.

Ian Haskey, Castleford



I would like to congratulate you on two articles in last week’s paper.

The ‘Talk of the Town’ story about Chris Thorman at Workington was inspirational. What a job he is doing, and what a job the volunteers are doing!

I wish Chris all the luck in the world in his attempts to get Workington promotion from League One, and I sincerely hope that he achieves his ultimate aim of getting Town into Super League. I’m not sure about sleeping in the office but it shows his level of his commitment.

The second really interesting article was the ‘Rugby League Heroes’ interview with Dick Huddart. I never saw Huddart play, but being a very keen fan of our game I have read about his exploits.

I hope you can get more of his generation to interview as he was brilliant – as they always are. I can hardly wait for his all-time best team, and what else he has to say in part two.

Keep up the good work.

Geoffrey Bagley, Leeds



Looking  at the league tables in League Express, I notice the resurgence of the game in Cumbria, with Barrow and Workington chasing each other at the top of League 1.

Not only has that district produced many good sides over the years but some excellent players as well, so it is good to see the game enjoying a revival there.

I also read the story about Kevin Sinfield leaving the game to become defensive coach at Leicester. Whilst it’s sad to see a League man swapping codes, it is certainly Leicester’s gain.

As the editor of League Expressed in his column last week, many other top players have crossed the divide to provide essential coaching roles in Union. If you watch top Union games you can see the influence these guys have had.

I would like to wish Kevin luck in his new role. Maybe one day he will return to League.

Colin Wickham, Ashton Under Lyne



I read John Ford’s letter in last week’s Mailbag, and felt insulted that he described the Chemics, and also my Swinton Lions, as ‘easy teams’ when referring to them as Toulouse’s  opponents. Whaaaat? I object very strongly to my team being tagged in that manner!

As Mr Ford is from Warrington, I am guessing (though I may well be way off beam) that he is ‘Wire’, and I suspect that he would be greatly aggrieved if a fan of another club came on this page, with mockery similar to his.

We at Swinton staged Olympique’s ‘home’ fixture against Widnes, and our own away visit was switched to Heywood Road due to Covid restrictions – not because we were easy to beat. I was there on both occasions and personally witnessed what superb football Toulouse play.

Sylvain Houles’ men fly in and out on the day, and when they return home their movements are severely restricted, meaning that their social life is pretty much non-existent. That is what I call devotion to the cause.

There was also mention that the Bulls are one of the ‘harder’ teams. Is that the same Bulls’ outfit that my ‘easy team’ ran to just a single-point loss?

Toulouse Olympique are the only team who have yet to play at home in the league this season, but they go about their business in a truly professional manner. They are a huge credit to the Greatest Game on the planet, and it is my sincere wish that, come 2022, they will be ‘dining at the top table’.

John Ford’s pathetic wording, however, fell well short of that accolade.

John Spellman Eccles