5TWLTW: Wembley awaits, naked Charnley, shambolic London and more

Neil Barraclough has his weekly look at what we’ve learned about rugby league over the past few days.

One – Wembley awaits – and what a match it should be

Rarely can a Challenge Cup final have promised as much as this year’s, with Wigan and Hull set to relive that 1985 classic in front of a national audience.

And if Hull defend like they did in beating Warrington, they’ll fancy their chances of another upset.

Liam Farrell v Gareth Ellis; Blake Green v Daniel Holdsworth; Josh Charnley v Tom Lineham and Michael McIlorum v Danny Houghton. What’s not to get excited about?

 

Two – Speaking of Josh Charnley

Once the genie’s out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back. That’s the lesson Josh Charnley has learned today, just weeks after George Burgess was forced to confront the same issue.

The sight of Charnley ahem, standing proud, has been doing the rounds all day on Twitter and will now live forever on the internet.

We’ve all done things that are stupid in our early 20s. Thankfully not all of them will still be available to see when people Google you in 50 years’ time.

Really, just how difficult is it to resist the temptation of taking naked pictures of yourself?

 

Three – Women in league

Interesting read in the Independent on Sunday, where Sally Bolton (general manager of the Rugby League World Cup) is interviewed alongside Debbie Jevans (chief executive of the Rugby (Union) World Cup 2015).

Bolton suggests that 200,000 tickets have already been sold for this year’s World Cup, with the target of shifting another 300,000 before the start of the tournament.

She also claims that a “significant proportion” of current sales have come from outside rugby league’s ‘traditional heartlands’.

But it’s the following quote that suggests Bolton, perhaps more than any other rugby league administrator in the UK, understands what drives elite sport in the 21st century.

“What the World Cup offers is the opportunity to raise the sport beyond what it currently is. Nothing else will get you the profile the way international sporting competition does.”

Now, go buy your tickets.

 

Four – London – what a pitiful, shambolic mess

When all your eggs rest in one basket, you’d think you’d care a bit more about them.

Unfortunately, London played like they couldn’t care less for large parts of their semi-final shambles against Wigan.

True, they were up against a ruthless Warriors side. Yes, they were playing only a few miles down the road from Wigan.

But London are a full time team, doing the same weights and same training as every other Super League club.

There are reports owner David Hughes left at half time. Nobody could blame him.

 

Five – RIP Graham Murray

Awful news coming out of Brisbane, where Graham Murray has died aged 58.

More than anyone, it was Murray who inspired me to fall in love with rugby league.

I didn’t start working in the sport until just weeks before his time at Leeds came to an end. I never dealt with him, never interviewed him, but the impact he made at Headingley in 1998-99 was incredible.

The tone he set, the qualities he promoted and the way he seemed to engage everyone around him was an example to us all.

Condolences to his family and friends.

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