The Exiles are here

So it’s Friday and today is the inaugural England v Exiles game, for some reason I mistakenly thought that meant a Super League week off but it doesn’t, we have a full round of Super League as well. My enthusiasm for the Exiles game has grown and waned throughout the period since it was announced. The RFL have done reasonably well as far as raising awareness in Rugby League circles, the initial shrouded in secrecy teasing announcement, the drip feeding of the exiles squad helped heighten the anticipation and I have to agree McNamara’s lack of imagination or forward thinking kind of dampened it all. Still I think it will be a good game this evening and I’ll certainly try and watch it, but it’s a little disappointing to not have seen more promotion outside of Rugby League circles, I doubt there’s a lot of people who aren’t already quite interested in the game who know this is happening. I have also seen some comments about the fact that it’s at Headingly I assume they wanted to try the concept out in at a league heartland venue, maybe they looked at other venues but they were having their pitches reseeded, and maybe that also lead to the low key promotion outside of the game? Prove the concept with a good game and turnout from within league first?

 

Which brings us nicely to something that could be titled (in best Harry Hill jingle style) “Rugby League cock up of the week” which I’m sure you all know about is the now infamous “Castlefax” incident. Maybe not quite as much of a comical farce that those kicking up a twitter fuss made about it but a bit of a farce none the less. I know there were attempts to get #castlefax trending and I’ve no idea how it did.

Picture @hgvwolfie

One thing that really puzzles me though is why Castleford had to change kits? As I understand it Huddersfield switched venues to The Shay to allow the pitch at The Galpharm to be resurfaced and were therefore the home team, then for some inexplicable reason turned up with their away kit, which clashed with Castleford’s away kit which you would obviously expect them to turn up with. So after interrupting Hilda the Halifax kits ladies gardening she brought the keys and got out an old Fax kit which Castleford were made to change into. Why couldn’t Cas wear their away kit? After all they’d brought the correct kit surely Huddersfield should have changed? Talk of both teams being fined is ridiculous and if Cas are fined I’d seriously expect them appeal.

Sheffield are also having to play some games away from Bramall lane whilst the pitch is re-seeded, the best they could fine was a school field with some grass banks and rightly Dewsbury were a bit peeved. But why is this happening? I doubt you’d see the groundsmen kicking out Wigan for a few weeks whilst they re-seeded the turf, is it simply the fact that these teams are considered second rate to football by the management at the venue they use?

I’m still amazed sometimes that people manage to turn up on time to games at all, in fact Barrow coach Nigel Wright sometimes doesn’t, on top of having to get out the map to find St Mary’s college the kick off times always seem to be changing. Here at Love Rugby League I check the fixtures at some point at the start of the week and by the time the matches come around a kick off time or two will have moved.

Not to worry though I still manage to get my picks in on time, and as predicted my two week 100% run fell apart last week, Catalan giving Wigan a lesson and the decent Salford turning up, being my down fall. With players obviously playing tonight if they do run out on Sunday then they’re going to be more than a little tired, still lets see how I reckon this weekend will go.

Catalan 22 – 8 Crusaders – Two teams without a single player in the exiles game so should see a good fresh encounter on Saturday. After a home win against Wigan last week Catalan should be able to see Crusaders head back home with nothing to show for their trip.

Castleford 10 – 32 Wigan – Hopefully sporting a more familiar kit I wouldn’t give Cas much a hope here but well you never know I’m sure there didn’t seem too much chance for Catalan last week although they are a team on better form. The reverse fixture is the one in hand from the world club challenge and Wigan would surely like to lay down a marker for that.

Wakefield 8 – 40 Huddersfield – Huddersfield look like a more and more solid prospect every week in contrast to a Wakefield side with one win in the last 5. I’d expect a strong performance from the Giants here, they should be ok whatever kit they turn up in though, there shouldn’t be a clash.

Warrington 56 – 6 Salford – Whilst the Jekyll and Hyde nature of Salford continues through the season I doubt whichever version turns up will struggle against a free scoring Warrington side who are currently averaging 39 points a game so far this season, I’d put them down to notch their 7th fifty pointer of the season.

Hull FC 22 – 8 Harlequins – I’m sure there are many questions floating around Harlequins at the moment, they can’t get a win for love nor money, they haven’t won a league game since they beat Saints on the 11th March, it really isn’t looking good for them at all. Hull win this weekend I think unless someone at Quins find a magic potion.

Leeds 20 – 6 Hull KR – I initially looked at this and thought hmm KR could have a chance here before realising that they currently boast the worst away from in the league, both KR and Quins have lost their last 6, that quickly put me more in the Leeds win frame of mind.

Bradford 20 – 30 Saints – Saints struggled a little at the start of the season and amongst the doom mongers were plenty saying you never write Saints off, which they have proved quite clearly you don’t. Bradford also used to be a team that you could cast a statement like that at but sadly that appears to have lost a little for them in recent seasons. Whilst Saints have 6 players tied up tonight to Bradfords none, they will be glad to have the likes of Jonny Lomax fresh for their game on Sunday and I’d point to a Saints away win.

 

So there you go, my picks for the week and well, nothing at the end of the post because I’m a but slack and I forgot about writing this. Oh go on there, here’s a good oldie from youtube, and just to finish off an Exiles win by about 8 – 10!

 

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