Best Season Ever?

But, here we are. Hull KR lie fourth in the league on six points, while Wakefield are actually sitting atop the table for the first time in Super League history, also with six points. To make an interesting comparison, St Helens have only five points to their name, and Hull FC a mere one.

Okay, it would be premature in the extreme to suggest this means the Wildcats will end the season s champions (although, to prevent a flurry of angry e-mails I’m not counting that out either). But this does show that the Super League competition is evening out, and that can only be a good thing.

Perhaps the “big four” is now a thing of the past. Any Super League side can beat any other. This kind of competitiveness has been craved by the Rugby Football League and Sky Sports ever since 1996.

An interesting question is: what should we do now? Perhaps the time is ripe to expand Super League to fourteen clubs. A quick decision could be disastrous, so it would be best to take stock at the end of the year, and consider the move in time for 2009.

Of course, the RFL already has plans for 2009, don’t they? Well, looking at the league as it stands, I’m not sure what the introduction of franchises and the removal of promotion could do to improve matters. Instead, shouldn’t we be sticking with the system that made Super League what it self-evidently is today?

Hopefully people will see the logic behind what I am saying. And, in the meantime,  here’s to another “best season ever”.  

Crime and Punishment

While Terry Newton’s high shot on Jon Wilkin last Friday, and his subsequent two-match suspension, may have made the headlines, the incident paled into insignificance compared to Leigh CenturionsNorthern Rail Cup tie against Widnes Vikings. These are always bad-tempered affairs, but this game saw a terrible violent act on the field.

When Gavin Dodd made a break upfield with the ball in hand, three Leigh players ganged up on Mark Smith and, while two held him, the other began to hit him. This was more than a usual rugby league scrap – this could only be described as the act of a violent criminal. Smith had to have stitches to his face after the game.

In my opinion the three players concerned – at least the one throwing the punches – ought to be charged. While anyone who takes part in the rugby match implicitly consents to being bashed about a bit under the law, this incident was so outside the confines of the game itself, that does not apply.

There is surely enough evidence for a charge of Actual Bodily Harm to be brought against the player concerned (contrary to Section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861). This carries a maximum sentence of five years, and although five years inside may be a little too harsh, some sort of legal punishment is surely required.   

Relegation Dogfight?

Could this weekend’s clash between Huddersfield Giants and Hull FC be seen as a relegation dogfight? In my opinion, seriously, it’s too early for relegation to be talked about just yet. But, nonetheless, the two sides will be disappointed at their lacklustre start to the new season.

Hull will have been looking to build on their Grand Final appearance, as would the Giants with the Challenge Cup final appearance. They will both be desperate to avoid being the last side in the league without a win. We’ll certainly see a dogfight on Sunday, and hopefully an entertaining game as well.

Keep Your Eye On Rugby League

tony.williams@lasttackle.co.uk

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