A light-hearted, alternate view at the RFL/Challenge Cup/Catalans/Toronto/anyone else applicable saga courtesy of Random League, the monthly column in Rugby League World looking at the sport in its own peculiar way
So that’s what it’s all about, the hokey cokey that is Catalans’ involvement in the Challenge Cup is over. They’re in. They’re out. Now they’re back in again, and boy have they shaken it all about.
It all came about after a ‘unique deal’ was sprung, details of which are locked in a box in a chest in a vault in a bunker with the longitude and latitude knitted deep into Ralph Rimmer’s tweed suit. But, it begs the question, what made the deal so ‘unique?’
Was it all just a Brexit conspiracy theory? Is Catalonia now a district of Yorkshire? Or maybe the ‘Dragons for a day’ t-shirt range had broken the Paris catwalks and the RFL could not turn the offer to be a little less tweed and a little more action please.
Sorry Ralph, we’ll lay off you now. But only after claims that a small chef hat-wearing rat controlled him to cook up a recipe that saw Catalans play in the cup. Which could be the plot of a Disney film called Ralphatouille.
Or maybe the RFL Christmas party is now at the Nou Camp? Or Michael McIlorum promised to keep his dog off the Wembley turf. Those suggestions are all clearly off the mark. Australian journalist Steve Mascord did some real digging and offered some more plausible suggestions. Just kidding his were worse…
Firstly, there was his first finding. That Canada were excluded, but Sam Moa has been welcomed with open arms. Or perhaps his claim that Catalans were allowed in and Toronto weren’t because the RFL didn’t want an Asterix in their record books.
Surely Toronto could have mustered up a ‘unique’ offer of their own? Ashton Sims to sign a 10-year deal to be the face of Rugby League? Or Jon Wilkin could always save funds by becoming the first ever player-commentator if the Wolfpack made the final to cover some of the deficit?
Brian McDermott could promise to smile every time he was spotted on Sky to promote the game in better light? Or, solution alert, if the Wolfpack did make the final, just don’t collect the balls every time Gareth O’Brien tries a drop-goal. That’s an easy way to fill seats?
Somewhere, along the line, there was clearly something the Dragons COULD offer, that Toulouse and Toronto, couldn’t. If it was money, then surely Toronto owner Argyle, who’s funding his own Sky coverage next year, could have matched it.
The Dragons clearly had something else. What was it? Answers on a postcard (please pay quadruple postage and some but not all will be refunded if the delivery is successful and please ask the bill payers permission to send.)