To all rugby league players – thank you

What would we do without Rugby League players?

Time and time again these great athletes deliver us a wonderful product at the expense of their health all for the sake of the great game of Rugby League.

This year, their efforts have been unprecedented.

Amid club-wide pay-cuts and a hideously congested schedule they have turned up week in, week out to ensure the sport can survive and strive for a greater future.

And they’ve delivered. Big time. Week after week, month after month, they have provided us with sheer brilliance and the ultimate entertainment during what has been a very glum and dreary period in all of our lives.

Rugby League’s undoubted strength, as a sport, is its on-field product. The spine-tingling drama of Friday proves that sporting drama comes in no greater size than within the confides of a Rugby League theatre.

Unfortunately, Rugby League has, for far too long, been unable to showcase and promote the excellence of the athletes at their disposal.

For too long, the action on the field has been overshadowed by the drama off the pitch.

If ever there was proof that needs to change, Friday’s incomparable, unrivalled Grand Final was just that.

It was sport at its delightful, magnificent best.

34 elite athletes not budging, not giving an inch, right until the death, in the most brutal, most intense of sporting spectacles.

It was a privilege for all of us to witness such an occasion, whether that be in the stands or from the comfort of our homes.

Now, the perennial challenge is to spread our unbelievable sport to the wider masses.

History suggests it won’t happen. But after such a miraculous finish on Friday, maybe there is a glimmer of hope.

And, despite Friday’s Grand Final being the last game of the season, League Express will continue to be published on Monday mornings in the coming weeks.

Don’t think that we will not be on the newsstands just because no matches are taking place.

We’ll be here again next week and we hope you’ll be joining us.

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.