League Express Mailbag – Monday 5th April


How good it was to see Mose Masoe on Sky TV, taking part in the pre-game and half-time discussions of the two Super League matches played at the Totally Wicked Stadium. His positive attitude and his cheerful demeanour are a breath of fresh air.

Given the life changing injury Mose suffered last year, his example should surely put most of us to shame when we complain about some of the minor inconveniences of life. I hope that he gets the support he needs, both financially and personally, so that when he eventually returns to Australia he will be able to enjoy life to the full with the support of his wonderful family.

There is one piece of advice I would like to offer the Sky Sports Rugby League team. When Mose joined them on Friday, Mose and Brian Carney were sitting down to talk about the games, in the studio at the ground, whereas Brian more normally stands with his guests. How much better it was, when both presenter and guest were seated.

In contrast, when Brian, Jon Wells, or any other guest is present, the camera angle seems to distort them to a point at which they don’t quite look natural.

Add to that the fact that when there are two guests, they often end up speaking too quickly and shouting, as though they are trying to get a word in, whereas when Brian was speaking to Mose, the tone was much more normal. We might even say civilised, and certainly the presentation was clearer.

I recommend to Sky that they routinely have just one guest with Brian Carney, and that Brian and his guest sit down, rather than stand.  It will make for much better viewing and listening.
Cliff Robinson, Goole



There was an excellent full-page article in the Daily Express about Mose Masoe, and how we could buy a virtual ticket to the weekend’s games by texting. Interestingly, I never spotted anything in last week’s League Express about that. It’s not like you guys not to publicise this event.

Harry Boynton, Leeds

Martyn Sadler replies: I did publicise the dedication of the Round 2 fixtures to Mose, in my ‘Talking Rugby League’ column last week, but I accept that we could have written more.

For more information go to mosemasoefoundation.co.uk



As we enter a new season of Super League on television, it would be remiss of League Express not to pay tribute to the BBC’s talented presenter Tanya Arnold, who throughout the season enchants us with her knowledge, perception and appreciation of our wonderful game.

Allied to this is her amazing ability to recognise the individual skills of the players, and the technical abilities of the coaching staff. The BBC is extremely fortunate to have such a capable sports presenter.

Long may Tanya continue to enhance the BBC’s Rugby League Presentation, and the prestige of Rugby League in general.

Jack Miller, Golborne



I am glad the season is here again, both at Super League level and below. I enjoyed viewing the first and second round of the Challenge Cup, on the BBC red button. As I don’t have Sky TV, being able to view games that way is a bonus for me.

I also enjoy watching the Super League Show on the BBC, but let’s hope fans will be allowed into grounds at some point this season, so we can get our Rugby League fix live again.

League Express gives us great coverage. However, I noticed a Mailbag letter from Alan James (Mar 29) citing the Daily Mail’s not having covered the opening weekend of the season. Oh? Both the Daily Mirror and the Daily Star published pull-outs of the Super League season, and both papers cover our game very well with articles each day.

Colin Wickham, Ashton-Under-Lyne



The six-again law is an unsafe law. It is open to abuse by the referee, as only he and the players close to him know when he has given a penalty.. It needs to be scrapped altogether or at least updated, so that fans also know when one has been given.

Reading the match facts in your paper last week, I noted that three of the four winning teams in Super League had more six-again sets than their losing opposition team, which could be a cause for concern.

l suggest that when the referee gives a ‘six-again’ he should blow his whistle, and also make the player with the ball do a tap restart, so that everybody in the stadium and everyone watching on TV, will know when a ‘six-again’ has been awarded.

G Dawson, Castleford



Is anyone else as disappointed and confused as I am, in equal measure, at the staggering number of injuries plaguing Super League almost before a ball has been passed in earnest?

It’s like a Saatchi and Saatchi queue of walking wounded.

We have ruptured biceps, torn pecs, pulled and tweaked hamstrings plus the ever present, season ending ACL injury, usually the result of nothing more than a player changing direction a la Hall and Watkins.

I know these players have no jobs, and have to fill in their time somehow, but I can’t help feeling that more ball-in-hand than barbells might be beneficial – to clubs, players and spectators alike.

On the subject of on-field injuries, during the Wigan v Wakefield game, the video referee intervened, to reverse an incorrect knock-on decision, yet, when Tom Johnstone was lucky not to sustain a broken jaw via the forearm of Willie Isa, resulting in a failed concussion test, nothing was done.

As Jimmy Greaves once said, “It’s a funny old game.”

Malcolm Bastow, Leeds



Hooray! At last we are up and running again.

We can forget about the politics and Robert Elstone’s departure and concentrate on what’s important, the game. Or, as someone who was probably famous once said but I can’t remember who, “The game sir, the game.”

Some fans will have been happy with Round One and some not, but those who felt a little deflated should remember that it’s very early in the season and nothing is decided yet.

Watching Sky’s build up to the season I was struck by something slightly wrong. Was this ‘Super League, Super Men’? Alright, that’s a few years old and I have no argument with including the likes of Beetson, Boston, Murphy and Neil Fox (bless him), but to include Chris Joynt in such exalted company?

Anyone for Derek Turner, Bill Ashurst and Dougie Laughton? Or perhaps it came from Joynt’s involvement in Eddie Hemmings’ all-time-favourite moment, ‘Wide to West’, with Hemmings nearly choking himself into a seizure. All in fun of course. One man’s meat is another man’s ….. and so on.

Terry O’Connor’s near hysterical reaction to reasonably good wing play by Trinity’s Tom Johnstone was an embarrassment, as was Bill Arthur’s. They should calm down and get a grip.

Chris Riordan, Chorley



Imagine my mixed emotions when, not having bought a copy for some weeks and bursting to read about Super League’s return, I was confronted (full-square on the front cover of League Express, 29th March, by the horrific image of one player attempting to decapitate another.

I can understand that the Wolves’ player in question was grasping for the jersey of his Tigers opponent, but it looked for all the world like a full-blooded punch to the throat.

In an earlier letter to Mailbag I expressed my concern at the rising incidence of player concussion (I hope that measures to increasingly monitor and prevent that are now in place), so it was disappointing that a mixed message should appear on your front cover, especially with an article on page two headlined, ‘Demand rising for 18th man after multiple NRL concussions’.

Stuart Stanton, Leeds

Martyn Sadler replies: I fully recognise the concerns throughout the game about concussions, but the photo on the front page of last week’s issue showed a player grabbing his opponent’s jersey, rather than tackling the head, although I appreciate how it could have been viewed that way.



A great first weekend of the new Super League season was spoiled by the injustice inflicted on Hull KR by the notorious golden point.

Their fightback in the final quarter of the game against Catalans was nothing short of heroic, so to be denied any reward for that by the new ‘drop goal fest’ called ‘Golden Point’ was grossly unfair.

Why do Super League games now use this artificial way of getting a result? What was wrong with a draw? I can see that a drop-goal is one way of resolving a knockout game that ends on level points (although there may be other better and fairer ways), but for league games?

The sooner we end this farce the better.

Mike Worthington, Hexham



Discussions around ‘ball steal or loose carry’ have always been contentious, but it is currently obvious, after only one week’s action, that the attempt to improve matters with a new interpretation of ‘one on one’ is a miserable failure.

A counter-tactic is already appearing: three defenders tackle the ball-carrier, two holding on, while a third loosens the opponent’s hold on the ball, shouts ‘release!’ and then finishes dragging the ball out.

We are creating action in the game that would look more at home in a pantomime than on a rugby field. Sorry, but this ‘improvement’ needs binning immediately.

Stuart Lonsdale, Pontefract



I have programmes from every club, from the 1970s onwards, 7’s competition programmes, Professional v Amateurs Cup game programmes, and programmes from Alliance Cup finals.

I also have numerous books, testimonial brochures, international handbooks, John Player yearbooks plus copies of Rugby League Review, RL magazine, Rugby Gazette, Rugby Today, the Tom Webb record, Highlights, Thirteen, Open Rugby, Rugby League World and the Eddie Waring Annual.

Of newspapers I have League Express, Rugby Leaguer, Rugby League Week, Touchdown Proball, and also some of the Aussie Big League Weekly.

I also have some Aussie badges and tie-pins.

If anyone is interested in acquiring any of these items please contact me on: brianofthebears@virginmedia.com

Brian Middlehurst, Widnes


If you would like to have a letter published in League Express, you can email us at mailbag@totalrl.com. In order to be published you must include your home address and a telephone number on which you can be contacted.