There’s life in the old (new) Bulls yet
What a terrific occasion Hull KR’s tense win over Bradford was. Roared on by thousands of fans at both ends, it was a credit to the Championship and rugby league. There was a fear before kick-off that it would be an embarrassing one-sided game at the showpiece event.
How wrong we all were. Bradford put in a brave and outstanding display that will surely act as the springboard for the remainder of their season. They are still eight points adrift from safety, and while a defeat does nothing to aid their survival hopes, the manner in which they took Hull KR all the way will give them hope.
For all the off-field nonsense that has followed the club around for several years, the fans all turned up in numbers and surely provided significant inspiration to a team that was guided masterfully around the park by Dane Chisholm and Jordan Lilley.
If they can’t take anything else from the weekend, they can take one thing – hope.
The Championship must be on TV every week
It’s been rumbling for a while, but a serious campaign now needs to be mounted to get the Championship back on our TV screens.
At the risk of sounding repetitive. There really should be a way to secure Championship RL regular tv coverage. Great value #SummerBash
— Gareth Walker (@garethwalker) May 27, 2017
Sky Sports have the rights, but are apparently reluctant to devote any air time or resource to televising the second tier.
Given the technology available, surely something must be done to at worst, live stream a Championship game each week, perhaps through a partner (yes Neville, that is a hint, if you’re reading).
What rarely gets mentioned regarding this issue is how the lack of TV coverage affects clubs in terms of their commercial clout and the benefits they can offer their sponsors. With the increased coverage and eyeballs a proper TV deal offers, commercial managers at clubs will be able to generate more much needed revenue for their clubs.
France are producing
The most accomplished performance of the weekend was perhaps that of London Broncos, who comfortably brushed aside a disappointing Featherstone Rovers, losing for the third successive Summer Bash.
Broncos scrum half William Barthau was man of the match and inspired his side to victory, off the back of a great platform laid by a couple of strong forwards.
There are a sprinkling of French players dotted around other clubs who are catching the eye. It makes you question the policy of the struggling Catalans Dragons, who have let go of the likes of Barthau, Morgan Escare and Toulouse half Stan Robin in recent years.
Given the priority of the Dragons initial inclusion to Super League was to develop the French national team enough to compete with England, perhaps they ought to be giving their own professionals a bit more of a chance in the top flight.
Championship is the saviour
It was pleasing to see several young players have good games at the Summer Bash – players cut adrift by Super League clubs at the tender age of 20 due to the inadequate system for those below first team level.
There must be plenty that are lost to the game, but at least the Championship is there to provide opportunities to others.
The likes of Matty Fozard, Chris Atkin and Scott Leatherbarrow are just three examples of players who perhaps would have had nowhere to go in the game.
They are three examples of why the Championship must be supported properly by a broadcast deal to enable increased revenue and remuneration for these players to develop their talent.
Crusaders still flying the flag
The Summer Bash opened with a terrific League 1 Cup final that was won by Barrow Raiders, who were pushed all the way by North Wales Crusaders.
Those Crusaders fans have been put through the wringer in the club’s short existence, with a couple of ground moves, the controversies in Super League, the collapse of the Super League franchise and then the creation of the new club.
But still there is a hardcore of fans following them about that make more noise between them than thousands of others. Who knows where that club might be now if they were allowed to continue on an organic growth, rather than artificially catapulted to an environment in which they struggled.
Photo courtesy of Richard Long.
Did you go to the Summer Bash? Let us know what you thought about the weekend in the comments below.