Rugby league is back – wahey! Though I’m sure you as a Love Rugby League visiter already knew that. I’d be surprised if many people outside of the close rugby league circle know. Whilst I don’t buy my newspaper for news on rugby league it is nice to find some in there and I’ve kept an eye out for a season preview in a few of them. A one page summary finally appeared today, and the BBC on breakfast news paid lip service to the kick off of the season squeezing it between talk of football and the upcoming six nations. Yep some things don’t change, in fact they seem to get worse, and media coverage is one of them. It’s not likely to get any better with top league journalists picking up P45s with one the highest profile, Dave Hadfield, being let go from a permanent position at the Independent.
I’ll admit Widnes hosting Wakefield doesn’t quite hold the same excitement for many as it does for me as a Widnes fan but still some coverage wouldn’t go a miss.
But fear not the RFL have advertising in hand with their new naming deal with Stobart. I have yet to see a Stobart Super League truck but I thought to myself “well I wouldn’t I live outside of the M62 corridor”, in fact I haven’t seen a Stobart truck at all in the past week, . But then part of the point of the deal would be to take the trucks outside of that area otherwise it’s like walking into a pub outside Headingly and shouting at people to watch Rugby League, before realising it’s already on the telly. Yep we need these trucks to be driving far and wide, but then there’s only 100 of them out of Stobart’s entire fleet – come on RFL they’re not paying you anything you could have pushed for a few more than that.
By far one of the biggest aspects of this deal I liked is that it leaves the way open for additional paying sponsors to come on board and sponsor all sorts of areas of the competition – official kazoo supplier to the Super League for example. Which would be great but where are these additional sponsors? It’s good they have the opportunity to put in some extra cash to the sport but it’s no good if they don’t exist.
Another grumbled about change is monday night games, actually do rugby league fans do anything but grumble about stuff? Somebody comes up with an idea, it’s implemented and then half the fans grumble about it and the other half brand them backward thinking flat cappers for not embracing it. This seems to have happened for time eternal in rugby league. But anyway Monday night games, I don’t see them as a bad idea, I used to enjoy Sunday night rugby league before they took that away from me, so I’m sure I can embrace Monday night games. They are carefully selected and, given that the kids have to be home in bed for school, they’ll rely on games with short travel times and strong home support. A lot of people have complained that we are just filling in the gap left by Monday night football – well spotted, but I’m not sure that’s a useful complaint. After all SKY will fill the slot with something and during the summer it’s basically cricket, speedway or rugby league.
With the return of my weekly blog I’m also returning with my tips. I’m no longer going to justify all of them, partly because I’m lazy, but also because justifying my incompetence isn’t much at all – though I did come out with a marginally sub 70% average last season.
Leed 28 – 14 Hull KR
Widnes 12 – 8 Wakefield
London 8 – 24 St Helens
Salford 10 – 28 Castleford
Hull FC 8 – 22 Warrington
Wigan 22 – 10 Huddersfield
Bradford 8 – 16 Catalan
Well there ya go, Widnes to nick a win in the opening game and a few other predictable guesses, after all week one is mostly just guesses until we see how everyone’s pre season went. I’m sure many people will disagree, they always do, but until next week I shall ignore them.
Don’t forget we also have the new Magnificent seven compeition where you can win with your tips.
And so my weekly ramblings return and unlike season I do plan to stick to my more light hearted approach and skirt all the big controversial issues – honest!