Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 RL Season In Review

NRL: The best pro comp in the world just got better in 2021. The standard was high and despite Covid, went off better than could be expected. The NZ Warriors were most affected and got respect for the sacrifice of locating in another country to fulfill their match schedule.

The Penrith Panthers (in black, above) were outstanding all season. The Melbourne Storm was just behind them and were both worthy grand finalists. The more experienced Storm took out the big one.  

Super League: The northern hemisphere's pro comp continued to lose ground, standard-wise. It even managed to bleed the Toronto club dry, which has now been thrown on the scrap heap. This was a golden opportunity to expand the game, not advance self interest. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

As for on-field success, the Leeds Rhinos won the cup, Wigan the league and St Helens the grand final. Nice to have the trophies shared around. 

The team to replace Toronto could have been a second French side but instead Leigh did. In case you don't know, its located within the Wigan metropolitan borough. Pull up the drawbridge lads. On a more positive note, a team from Newcastle is moving up a division to replace Leigh in the second division Championship. 

Player welfare: Rugby league is a tough sport, not helped by the huge, rapidly repeated impacts players subject each other to. Reducing the defensive line from ten to five metres would lessen the jarring. Also, taking a much stricter stance on late tackles after a player passes the ball is a must. The whiplash is damaging to the brain. 

As to why nothing has been done is apathetic to say the least. I wrote to the RFL in England some years back, warning them of future lawsuits if nothing was done. I heard nothing back and nothing changed. I think litigation is just starting and those in charge can only blame themselves. 

True, the fans want action but player welfare comes first. Often a series of changes are required, as one in isolation can adversely affect the game greatly. I put a series of suggestions which can be read by clicking here. They are a framework only but I tried to seek a restructuring of rules in a way that reduces brain trauma while retaining plenty of action.

2021: The World Cup is scheduled to be played in the UK, but the way the Covid virus is persisting, I don't think it's a given. Empty stadiums aren't right for such an event. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Best of the Australasian Elite 1995-2020

I wanted to show the historical best NRL sides as far back as possible. Unfortunately, prior to 1995 there were upheavals as team came went and amalgamated. It's been more settled since 1995, so the last 25 years will have to do. 

Changes since 1995: 

Melbourne Storm: Arrived 1998, Wests Tigers: Formed 1999, North Sydney: Left in 2000, South Sydney : Absent 2000-2001, Gold Coast Titans: Arrived 2007.                         

Points are allocated not according to participation, but rather, success. Only teams near the top of any given season are given points. There are two columns, Aus for domestic points and WCC for the World Club Challenge, pitting the top Sides from the two pro competitions. I haven’t combined them.

The Melbourne side is still top although missing a few years. They were stripped of some titles for financial irregularities but no side took the mantles vacated. If a title is going to be stripped, then those below should move up. Either that or future punishments should be enforced, which happened as well. Seeing as the whole thing was so badly handled by the NRL in my eyes, I counted all titles won. 

Clubs from Sydney have fared better due to less travel and wealthy Leagues Clubs to back them. The NZ side has often been disadvantaged, typical of the way rugby league handles expansion. The club more recently been treated better but the ownership of late hasn't been as it should. 

Regionally, NSW has chalked up 60.7% of the points, with Queensland dragging up the rear on 16.3% They do have less teams and only one has performed well. In between them comes the Rest category, covering a club from the ACT, Victoria and NZ. Those three outfits took 23% of the total, thanks mainly to the Storm. 

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Best of the UK Elite 1961-2020

This is a very brief overview of RL in the UK over the last 60 years. If points are allocated based success and on not just participation, which teams have been the achievers? Within the UK game, St Helens narrowly takes it from Wigan. If the World Club Challenge is added, amazingly Saints and Wigan can't be separated, with 463 points apiece. 

Moving across to counties on the right of the chart, Yorkshire is the most successful with 44.4% of the total and 1,153 points. Yorkshire has more clubs so are ahead by virtue of that. Lancashire comes in on 40.3% and 1,047. Cheshire would be top if it was done as an average per club. For a small county not known as a RL hotbed, Cheshire has done well. 

France, Cumbria and London have yet to make a significant mark on a game based along the M62 motorway which traverses west to east across the north of England.