Tuesday, 12 February 2019

ARL (Auckland) Grand Final : 2018



I watched the ARL grand final on the weekend between the Glenora Bears and the Pt Chevalier Pirates (rather late repeat showing). I haven’t kept up with the Auckland competition in recent years.

It was played on a wet surface so ball handling was always going to be an issue and plenty of ball was spilled. The fans were keen although not a huge crowd at Mt Smart #2 ground.



What struck me was how different it was from when I was a lad. Back yonder, there were big players and there were small ones, with some in between. In this match, they all seemed huge. It was like sumo wrestling meets RL. They smacked into each other all game with gusto but conditions and perhaps the size of the players meant going through the defence was the only tactic used. It seemed like there were too many players on the pitch.

In the end it was 6-0 but probably should have been 0-0. I can’t say the game was exciting but at least absorbing due to the close scoreline. I thought how a person like me and probably 98% of the population would never make it in Auckland RL now as being of a huge frame with copious kilograms was a minimum requirement.

If RL in Auckland is to return to a game that many can aspire to playing, then something needs to be done. A 5 metre defensive line may reduce the impact of huge players hitting said line with speed. That and a few other tweaks would do the trick. As it is, the game I saw was too predictable in style and very limiting as to what body sizes could play.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

UK Season : 2019 / The teams (3 divisions)

The 2019 season is upon us and one round of both Super league and the Championship have already been played. The first round for League One will be February 17th. 37 teams make up the three divisions. Each list below has the placing the team achieved in 2018. A + means promoted and a - shows sides relegated.


Super League Championship League One





Castleford 3 Barrow 10 Coventry 11

Catalans 8 Batley 7 Doncaster 3

Huddersfield 5 Bradford + Hunslet 7

Hull FC 6 Dewsbury 9 Keighley 9

Hull KR 10 Featherstone 5 London Skolars 7

Leeds 9 Halifax 4 Newcastle 8

London Broncos  + Leigh 6 North Wales 10

Salford 11 Rochdale 12 Oldham 5

St Helens 1 Sheffield 8 West Wales 14

Wakefield 7 Swinton 11 Whitehaven 6

Warrington 4 Toronto 1 Workington 4

Wigan 2 Toulouse 3


Widnes -

York +

Super League: 12 sides again this season (hopefully more next year).  Wigan start with a -2 points for a minor salary cap breach. London arrived as the new side at the expense of Widnes. 

Championship: The number of teams in this competition is up two for 2019. London moved up and Widnes came down. York and Bradford were promoted to this division with no teams being relegated.  

League One: With York and Braford moving up and Hemel pulling out of League One, the number of sides went from 14 to 11. Keighley have been deducted 12 points for financial problems. That is now sorted with a new, committed owner. 

Summary: Each of these divisions brings something different and interesting for the RL fan. My personal favourite this year is the Championship, with a real tight battle at the top end in particular. It's going to be a great season.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

USA RL Club History (Both Comps)

Trying to make sense of the club changes and ultimately competition switch, I put together this chart. The top half is the AMNRL and the lower section the USARL. A '1' shows in which years the teams participated. Some sides feature on both lists as they went to the new competition. There was an overlap of three seasons, from 2011 to 2013.

Philadelphia is the only team to feature in every season. The New York Knights have existed for all the years but missed one season (2014), when that AMNRL season didn't materialise. The most teams playing were for 201 and 2012 when fourteen sides were involved in the two competitions.

I get a feeling that RL in the US is at a crossroads. How it takes the game to another level is problematic. I don't have the answer and I wonder if anyone has. Instituting junior levels of participation is essential as the younger you get into anything, the easier it is to play. Having the northern and southern teams become feeder clubs for two representative sides entering the UK competition would be ideal but costs would prohibit such an ambitious move.

What I can say is that retaining the status quo is a road to nowhere. It will be interesting to see how things develop from here.

AMNRL 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13




Boston Br






1











Boston St 1



















Boston 13s










1 1







Bucks C 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1




Connecticut




1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1




Delaware M

1 1 1 1 1 1











Delaware Vip












1






Glen Mills 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1




Jacksonville







1 1 1 1 1







New Haven







1 1 1 1 1







N Y Knights 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1




N Y Raiders

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1




Nthn Virginia








1 1 1 1
1 1




Pennsylvan 1 1 1











Pittsburgh 











1







Philadelph 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1







S'hampton














1




DC Slayers




1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1







Tot AMNRL 6 5 6 6 6 8 8 8 11 10 10 11 11 6 6 7




USARL












11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Atlanta















1 1 1 1 1
Baltimore Bl













1 1




Boston 13s












1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Brooklyn Ki















1 1 1 1 1
Bucks C
















1 1

Cen Florida















1 1 1 1
Connecticut
















1


Delaware BF















1 1 1 1
Jacksonville












1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
N Y Knights
















1 1 1 1
New Haven












1 1





New Jersey












1





Nthn Virginia















1 1 1 1 1
Oneida FC












1 1





Philadelph












1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Rhode Is












1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Sth Florida



















1
Tampa Bay















1 1 1 1 1
DC Slayers












1 1 1 1 1 1

White Plains

















1 1 1
Tot USARL












8 8 6 10 14 14 12 11

Combined 6 5 6 6 6 8 8 8 11 10 10 11 11 14 14 13 10 14 14 12 11