Not 100% sure I’m the correct person to be writing on Rugby League. Although it was my first love throughout my teens and early twenties a career ending injury made me fall out with the game. Growing up in Featherstone in the early 1990’s there was only 2 things really spoken about, they being the mines and Rugby League. It was then inevitable that I would fall in love with one of them and luckily on my part it was the latter. Playing for my hometown junior club was the highlight of many young children’s and my own week in the town. Playing from the age of 6 through to 18 for my hometown club was a joy and only left to play for a different club when I met my wife and moved to live with her. A few years later I had my injury which Doctors told me to take up fishing as I would no longer be able to play. This hit me like a train as it was my only past time, and thus followed my fall out with the game. Trying to watch it on television and my old team mates I quickly realised that I was becoming cynical towards the referees and the media coverage of the Sport. It seemed that in around 2008/09 that you only got on TV if you were one of the big 4 and this reflected in the refereeing decisions which every 50/50 decision going the way of the “big sides”. After a few years I stopped watching all together and have only recently found my love for the game again. I have been assisting coaching at my now local open age side and have found myself getting excited about the sport again. But I have to admit sat watching rather than playing is still a struggle but better than not being involved at all. The thing that makes it even harder is that at the age of 28 I am coaching people quite a few years older than me which makes me think should I put my boots back on?
My first thought has to go out to the family of Danny Jones, What a horrible time for his family this must be. At only the age of 29 it really puts everything into context and I like the rest of the rugby community send my sincerest condolences to his family and friends.
The summer bash in the championship and league 1 is only a few weeks old now and I could spend hours debating for my team of Featherstone Rovers. All I’ll say on the matter as to hopefully not bore you out there is that I don’t think it would of changed the eventual outcome, I have to admit that Leigh were the better team. I believe we need stronger officials to take action on the field. Every try decision was referred up to the 4th official and how is a Striking offence only a penalty? As I said I still believe Leigh would have won but all the controversy of the game could have been stopped at the initial Gareth Hock incident. Although there was a few spectators there I was a bit disappointed with the overall numbers who attended the weekend extravaganza. Is this a sign of things to come for the Lower divisions a direct comparison with the Super Leagues Magic weekend will give us a true reflection.
Total Number at Summer Bash- 15,381
Total Number at Magic Weekend- 67,788
For Super League it was a great show to be seen at St James’ Park in Newcastle. With the record Score for Hull in a derby game to the transformation of Wigan’s defence in just 7 days proves what a sport ours is. From week to week there are upsets on the cards throughout the division. However I don’t understand how a fully professional team can go 13 weeks without a win though. I understand there has been some turmoil at Wakefield over the past few weeks but I still think 13 matches in a row is something that shouldn’t happen In today’s game. Hopefully the experience of Brian Smith will steady the ship. Getting back to the action and it wouldn’t be rugby league without a little bit of controversy and nail biting finishes and the two other games on Sunday gave us that.
All in all I think they have been two successful weekend for the RFL but I am worried with the gulf between the Super league and the lower divisions. Later this year we go to a different league system with the bottom 4 of the super league and the top 4 of the Championship playing each other. How do we expect the part time players to compete with the full timers? I think it will be a good spectacle to compare the 2 but I do fear for the part timers. I think this has been proved with Leigh at the time of writing this being unbeaten in the Championship with a full time squad.
Written by Michael Riley Jnr
Customre Liaison @ mytradetv