Talking Rugby League with League Express editor Martyn Sadler
Thank goodness the Betfred Super League returned to our screens over the weekend.
And weren’t we spoiled, with six Super League matches on Sky and the four Challenge Cup ties also screened live by both the BBC and The Sportsman.
Then of course we have three NRL matches broadcast by Sky, and we can choose to watch all eight NRL matches each weekend if we are so inclined and we wish to subscribe to the NRL’s in-house broadcasting service.
With so much Rugby League to watch, when would we ever have time to do anything else?
I tried to watch as much as I could of the six matches, while at the same time preparing League Express for publication.
And I can tell you it’s not easy. I only wish there was more than 24 hours in the day.
But what can we make of the opening weekend?
On Friday night St Helens had an expected comfortable victory over Salford, with the Red Devils making far too many mistakes for their own good and an injury to new Saints forward Agnatius Paasi that looked horrific to the TV audience as his head clashed with Pauli Pauli’s shoulder.
My best wishes to Agnatius for a full recovery from that incident, and I’m sure we won’t be seeing him when Saints play Hull Kingston Rovers this Friday night.
In the second match on Friday Leigh gave an outstanding performance for about 35 minutes, going into an 18-0 lead before half-time and being well led by their captain Liam Hood. But there was something inevitable about Wigan’s recovery and it was tough on Leigh to finally go down by two points in the end. Given that Wigan were missing Bevan French and Jackson Hastings, Leigh will rarely have a better chance of beating them (and I know they did beat Wigan last time they were in Super League in 2017).
On Saturday we saw two spectacular tries from Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone, which made me wonder whether Martin Offiah was watching the game and could see something of his old self in the Trinity man. I tweeted to that effect, and Martin replied praising Tom’s two scores, which was great to see. But in the end Leeds were just a little too good for Trinity.
The game of the weekend was the Catalans’ victory over Hull Kingston Rovers, which came in golden-point time from a James Maloney field-goal. In that game it was great to see the two young French players Arthur Mourgue and Mathieu Laguerre playing so well, while it was equally good to see Ryan Hall scoring a hat-trick on his return to Super League.
On Sunday Hull FC were just a little too strong for Huddersfield Giants, with Jake Connor outstanding and the Giants missing their influential Aussie halfback Aidan Sezer.
And the second game on Sunday saw Castleford Tigers get off to a flier with a convincing victory over Warrington Wolves, with their young halfback Jake Trueman having a blinder, their fullback Niall Evalds also outstanding and Jordan Turner chiming in with two tries. The Wolves will be hoping for much better things from their next game this week against Leigh Centurions.
This weekend’s second round of Super League will be dedicated to Mose Masoe and the Foundation he has established to raise funds to help relieve the financial and mental hardship of players who suffer spinal injuries affecting their welfare and quality of life.
It’s a fantastic cause and I would urge all readers to check out the Foundation website at www.mosemasoefoundation.co.uk.
Remembering Jeff Grayshon
Bradford Bulls and Dewsbury Rams will celebrate the life of the late, great Jeff Grayshon whenever the two clubs play each other in future.
The two clubs will play for a perpetual trophy in Jeff’s name.
Jeff died recently and we have an obituary of him on page 30 of this issue.
He was a star for both clubs at different times of his long career and I’m delighted that he will be remembered in this way.
Congratulations to both clubs.
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