Last Tackle: Time to change Friday nights?

It was a night of incredible drama on Friday.

St Helens’ sensational comeback against Salford must rank as one of the most dramatic finishes in Super League history.

Castleford’s march towards top spot (not that it counts for much) continued against Leeds, while Wigan and Huddersfield battled out a draw for the second time this season, a rarity in itself.

Hull continued to outline their trophy challenging credentials with a resounding win over Wakefield.

All four games happened at the same time, clashing with the TV game (which was Leeds v Castleford).

Friday night games have become more popular across the board in the past decade, partly due to the desire to ensure equal turnaround times, but also due to the relatively recent advent of Thursday night rugby.

However, it seems a little strange that the biggest match of each week, selected for TV to surely get the biggest audience, is robbed of a significant part of its potential viewership due to it clashing with several other games.

National newspaper journalists have also expressed their frustration at the timing of Friday night games, with the game at Headingley not even finishing before the first print run of Saturday’s newspapers – let alone finishing in enough time to give it decent coverage.

In football, TV games are more often than not stand alone. It may be tough for rugby league to get to that point, but I’ll use this as another reason to push my keenness to see more Saturday rugby league, especially in the summer months.

It feels like someone needs to get a grip of things to maximise opportunities for the game with its paying partners (e.g. Sky), its sponsors and the media.

Leigh looking forward

Leigh hit the bottom of the league with a pretty miserable performance against Widnes on Thursday.

They looked out of sorts in attack and lacking leadership, though the smart money is on them keeping big hitters Gareth Hock and Micky Higham back for the run-in.

Having farmed out Martin Ridyard on loan to rivals Huddersfield, who have since left them for dead, they played with Ryan Hampshire in the halves.

They have now moved to bring in Australian half-back Daniel Mortimer to bolster their options ahead of The Qualifiers.

Josh Drinkwater’s short kicking game could be a terrific asset, though clearly a lack of direction from the middle is hampering Leigh’s progress, indicated by the quick breakdown of their unlikely comeback at the Halton Stadium via Corey Thompson’s interception try.

Their first visit to Perpignan to face Catalans next week could be an interesting indication as to where both the Centurions and the Dragons are at as the end of season crunch edges ever nearer.

Give me 10

Bradford finally restored parity to their points total in the Championship, but saw closest rivals Dewsbury and Swinton both win.

But it’s London Broncos who deserve the biggest rap of the weekend, for recording a 10th successive win, a club record.

In League 1, Whitehaven have also notched up 10 straight wins.

Their progress, and that of Bradford, could be impacted by the ongoing talks of a re-structure for 2018, despite the recent meeting of Super League clubs seemingly dismissing any changes until 2019.

2 Comments

  1. Get rid of the Thursday night game. Ignore summer school holidays, it’s a school night.
    Only one game on a Friday, which only leaves five games over the w/e. Sky do not have to show all games live, maybe an in depth highlights show on Sunday or Monday evening. Yorkshire TV, prior to satelite/cable and www, had a highlights show. Much loved in Yorkshire.

  2. Huddersfield could have a problem with Friday nights, with Hudd Town not wanting to play the day after a Rugby game has been played. So it would be back to Sunday for the Giants, which would please me and my family, as 2 of us work shifts and at present miss a few games each season. The fixture planners should be aware of this fact as the football clubs don`t move fixtures for Rugby League.

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