Paper Talk: Play-off semi-final change precedent, ridiculous double header & NRL defend blow outs

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Here’s what rugby league related chatter is going on elsewhere in this week’s paper talk.

Play-off semi-final venue move?

As we reported last week, there is an ongoing situation regarding the play-off semi-final schedule.

Though St Helens should get the first semi-final on the Friday night, both Wigan and Huddersfield are unable to play on the Saturday due to the town’s respective football teams having home games scheduled.

But as noted in League Express, there is a precedent to play-off games having to move venue.

Back in 2008, with a similar football-related clash, Wigan were forced to move their play-off tie against Bradford to Widnes, winning 30-14.

There were a number of blow out scores in the NRL at the weekend, forcing bosses to highlight its the exception rather than the norm.

MORE: Play-off run-in: Could Leeds, Cas or Salford pinch a top four spot from Catalans?

NRL blow outs

Games over the weekend were won by an average margin of 32 points, the biggest in the competition’s history.

After Penrith beat Souths 26-22 in a thriller on Thursday, six heavy scores were dished out before Canberra edged Newcastle 28-22 on Sunday.

Sydney Roosters racked up 72 points over Wests; Melbourne hit Brisbane for 60; and North Queensland, Parramatta, Cronulla and St George-Illawarra all hit 40 points or more.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley told Daily Mail: “We’re seeing more points scored, you will see margins get wider as that happen.

“But if you look at the length of time that games are competitive before they really start to blow out, beyond that point where a team can’t really drag it back; this year at 65 minutes, on average, teams are still within that two converted tries.”

Ridiculous double header

Super League players are preparing themselves for another double-header weekend, which St Helens coach Kristian Woolf calls “not smart”.

Despite injuries, suspensions and worries over player welfare, clubs will play two games over the Bank Holiday weekend.

He told The Sun: “Five games in 20 days sounds like too much because it is too much.

“I feel for players over here who’ll have played as many as 34 or 35 (over the season).

“That’s too many and means some players might not make it to a World Cup through injury.”

Ex-NRL player allegedly “threatened to kill” girlfriend

They’re never too far away from an off-field controversy involving a player in the NRL.

The latest involves former Canberra centre Curtis Scott, who is currently in front of a Magistrates Court.

He allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and later threatened to kill her, according to reports Down Under.

The 24-year-old has pleaded not guilty to six counts including reckless choking, assault occasioning ABH and intimidation.

Leeds still looking for Sinfield replacement

You could say Leeds have been looking for a replacement for Kevin Sinfield for many years.

But a year on from his departure from Headingley, they are still on the lookout for a Director of Rugby, reports Leeds Live.

The door had been left open for Richard Agar to return; but he is off to the NRL with New Zealand Warriors.

Another name linked is former Leeds coach Tony Smith, who is of course the uncle of current head coach Rohan Smith.

Saints no longer in a rut

The new Forty-20 magazine is out now, and the timing was slightly unfortunate for Brian Noble’s column.

Writing prior to Saints’ 60-6 victory at Hull, Noble said: “Are Saints in a rut? I reckon they are. I’ve watched their recent performances and they’re nowhere near where they were at the start of the year.

“If I was facing them now rather than earlier in the campaign, I’d be rubbing my hands because they’ve exhibited frailties that can be exploited, but it won’t last long. They’ll get it together again.”

MORE PAPER TALK: Expand Super League & huge $6m deal for Australia star

Support rugby league in the media and subscribe to League Express & Forty-20 magazine, as well as checking out the regular coverage of the sport in The Mirror, The Sun, The Guardian and other national newspapers; the more you read, the more there’ll be. Rugby league paper talk appears on the site every Monday.

About James Gordon 7161 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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