I couldn’t have been the only one who thought all three of last weekend’s televised Challenge Cup ties were abysmal.
The Wigan – Saints match was the slowest and least exciting Lancashire derby seen for some time. I expected at least one side to fire out of the blocks, having had to put up with the nonsense surrounding where the stadium will be played for nearly a week previously.
Warrington’s trip to Catalan was the most exciting of the three games, however even that turned out to be a game where both sides nullified the other’s attack. There were glimpses of good rugby displayed, but game lacked any atmosphere and excitement that should be present between two sides of similar calibre.
And as for Huddersfield v London, a friend summed it up for me using four words: ‘Like watching paint dry.’
The Leeds and Leigh match, as reports are suggesting, seemed to be the most exciting game and it was snubbed by broadcasters Sky and the BBC.
However a thought has been struck recently and it isn’t a pleasant one. There have been far too many boring games for my liking this season.
Sky usually come out with the usual line that “this is the best Super League season ever” but even I haven’t heard that line come out of Eddie Hemmings’ mouth for some time. Ironically it hasn’t been heard since the 2007 season. (A quick glace at your diary may allow you to spot the relevance.)
Looking back over the games so far this season, there have been some real bore-fests. Widnes verses Wakefield did not live up to anybody’s expectations, with the Wildcats winning with significant ease.
St Helens verses Leeds didn’t prove to the match everyone was hoping for, as red-haired Leeds were left red faced at Langtree Park.
And Warrington fell apart against St Helens at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, so soon after Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham took over from Royce Simmons.
So at the mid-point of the season why is Super League not producing the sort of games were are expected to see?
I have been more fascinated with the Championship games this season, which this season have been broadcast on Premier Sports.
There seems to be real passion for the game in the lower divisions, and I think that’s the problem. The players in the Championship are hoping they will get picked up by Super League coaches (because otherwise they won’t get in), while Super League clubs understand they don’t need to perform to their best until the end of the season when the play offs kick in.
Is there a solution, rather than eradicate the Super League play offs and revert back to the first past the post league system?
One suggestion may be to split the season into quarters, and at the end of each quarter the highest placed team gets automatically entered into the end of season play offs?
The four teams can be seeded based on how well they have performed over the course of the entire season, with four additional wildcards finalising the eight-team play offs.
It’s an idea…?