Do you want another bit of opinion on the International origin? Well I don’t care you’re getting one. I thought the game was good but the atmosphere was quiet, nobody seemed too interested and it had the feel of a friendly, however I feel there may be mileage in the concept. I was personally surprised by the booing of Sam Tomkins, this is an England game, you don’t boo your own team. Apparently some people felt mixed allegiances watching the players they cheer week in week out playing on the Exiles team – really? How many football fans support other countries against England because their favourite club player is playing for them? When Ronaldo played at United were United fans cheering Portugal to knock us out of the world cup? I don’t think so, it’s a weak excuse for some stupid behaviour. Fair enough boo Tomkins when he turns up to Headingly in a Wigan shirt but when he pulls on that England jersey give it a break. I also saw some people suggest the idea of the Lancshire Yorkshire war of the roses game like it was a new concept. I can only assume some of these people have short memories, the quote on the wikipedia page for the fixture kind of sums it up,
“the tournament was then rested due to apathy from rugby league supporters”
Would it work now? Has that much changed since the last game in 2003?
It’s been a great week though to look back at the game, framed by Wednesday’s Australian Origin match, a game with passion and a feeling that the players and fans truly care (I didn’t watch it, some people have things to do on a Wednesday morning, I am trying to get round to getting a copy to watch though). By naming the game the International Origin I think the RFL hoped to piggy back some of the enthusiasm for the Australian concept and also set out their stall with what they hope for the future of the fixture. Unfortunately though it draws many unfair comparisons with how far short it falls from the game down under. This is what people are focused on, it’s what they always focus on, there’s a large problem running through rugby league about knocking everything that’s done, the biggest voices of dissent come from within our own game. But it’s hard to strike a balance, we don’t want to have a sport where nobody can speak up when they feel something is wrong but I feel at the moment it is just far too popular to lament the problems in the game. I for one had a few complaints about Millenium Magic and was told I was being too negative but I tried to frame my comments constructively and pose my questions in a way that I thought would at least give some debate as to how we can fix something, I was also keen to point out what I thought were the positives. It appears though many people would rather live in the rugby league bubble and be happy with league as it is. For example people bemoan the lack of media coverage but then are quick to complain about expansion and attempts at growth, and the kit problem at Halifax was approached by some people like it was the biggest farce ever seen in sport.
If all current fans do is complain about the problems then what is there to attract new fans to the sport? Or do these people have a point? Is there that much wrong with rugby league and the RFL’s policies?
But that is enough of that for this week, and onto the tips. It appears last week I massively underestimated the effect of the international origin game on the weekends fixtures, not one of the top four teams recorded a win. I imagine it will be business as usual this week so here’s my predictions for the weekend.
Crusaders 22 – 30 Leeds – This took a bit of thinking, Crusaders could easily sneak a point or two here, I just wasn’t quite confident enough and I’m sticking with Leeds to pick up an away win.
Salford 20 – 10 Castleford – No disrespect to Salford but had Warrington not had so many players in the Exiles game I really don’t think they would have picked up a victory at the Halliwell Jones, fair play to them though as they did and you can only play the team on the pitch on the given weekend. I’m sure they’ll be keen to extend their winning streak to 3 and I think they could certainly manage it at home to Cas.
Saints 22 – 18 Wigan – The big game of the weekend without a doubt, I’ve not checked but I would imagine a sell out at Widnes for this one. Wigan picked up the points in a close result at the DW earlier in the season and I fully expect a Saints team who are looking better than earlier this season to return the favour with a close win at home.
Quins 10 – 18 Wakefield – It would take a brave man to predict a Quins win against anyone at the moment, that isn’t me. 8 points in Wakefield’s favour in the capital, a result which would see Quins drop to next to bottom.
Huddersfield 8 – 16 Catalans – Huddersfield have had a few hiccups in recent weeks, not least losing Danny Brough to injury, where as Catalan are on a storming run topping the form table and on a 3 game winning streak. Whilst it has to end some time I can see them putting pay to the Giants wherever the game Glapharm? The Shay? Make sure you pack both kits.
Hull KR 10 – 32 Warrington – No doubt smarting from last weeks loss to Salford, Wire will be back firing on all cylinders with a proper week off. I very much doubt it was more than a blip in the Wolves current good form and I expect them to be travelling home with another win under their belts.
Bradford 20 – 8 Hull – It remains to be seen how serious a challenge either of these teams can pose when heading for the top 8, with only one point between then in the league. An important game though for deciding the lower play off spots and I reckon on a Bradford home win here.
So there ya go, this weeks predictions and feel free to leave any comments below. I will try and steer these pages back round to the light heartedness I often promise so if you’ve seen any comedy moments or rubbish look a likes feel free to get in touch with me email@example.com.