We have picked out the five main talking points of the rugby league weekend.
Denver Test did no harm
Players from both England and New Zealand returned to club action on the weekend following the Denver Test and everyone came through the games unscathed.
Kiwi full-back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak scored for Penrith Panthers, while Nelson Asofa-Solomona got on the scoresheet for Melbourne Storm. England stars Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess, Gareth Widdop, James Graham and Elliott Whitehead all returned to NRL action in good form.
All of the Super League players all featured as well, expect Warrington Wolves duo Stefan Ratchford and Chris Hill, who were rested by Steve Price.
The weekend just gone proves the Denver Test didn’t do harm to the players, but whether it will happen next year remains unknown.
Marketing works so let’s have more
Coventry Bears attracted a record crowd of 1,465 to the Butts Park Arena for their home fixture against Bradford Bulls on Saturday.
The Bears do not have full-time staff, they are mainly a club run off volunteers, yet their marketing and promotion work for the game against league leaders Bradford was superb. The attendance figure just proves that marketing does work, but why are some Super League clubs still not doing it? We need more of it.
Poor TV scheduling means poor crowds
The attendance at the DW Stadium for Thursday night’s Super League clash between Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos was 10,645.
To be fair to Wigan, the actual Armed Forces themed promotion of the game was great and without that, there would have been a thousand or two less. Thursday night games aren’t popular amongst fans anyway and it was a poor decision to schedule a game at the same time as England playing in the FIFA World Cup. Sky obviously wanted a Thursday night game, so it had to go ahead. There shouldn’t have been a game on Thursday night seeing as England were in action. No matter who played, the crowd would have dramatically fallen.
Drinkwater signing of season?
Josh Drinkwater has proved to be worth every penny that Catalans Dragons paid for him since his arrival in April and he had his best game yet on Saturday.
The 26-year-old scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked six goals to help the Dragons ease past Castleford Tigers 44-16 in Perpignan. There have been plenty of good buys throughout Super League this season, but you will struggle to find a player who has had a bigger impact on their team than what Drinkwater has had on Catalans.
He is out-of-contract at the end of the season, so they need to tie him down to a new deal as soon as possible.
Toronto steaming into Super League
Toronto Wolfpack faced their toughest task yet on Saturday when they welcomed rivals Leigh Centurions to Canada.
Toronto blew Leigh away in the first half as they took a 24-0 scoreline into the sheds and let’s be honest, the game was done and dusted at the break. However, promotion hopefuls Leigh fought their way back into the game and scored five tries, but the Wolfpack ran-out comfortable 46-28 winners.
Whether you like them or hate them, you can’t deny that Toronto a Super League standard side. They have won 17 of their last 19 Championship games… Could they give Super League a good go? You’d like to think so.