Thursday, 28 December 2017

2017: In Review

A busy year of RL has passed by. What has the year achieved as far as the code is concerned?

World Cup Year.

The Good: The number of top tier nations grew as some players who normally turn out for the strongest nations instead took advantage of birth or heritage connections to switch allegiance. This lead to improved knock out matches that were much closer than last time.

The Bad: Nations that relied less on heritage players didn't fare nearly as well and this led to some pool games that were lopsided. The Australian public didn't turn out like they should for such an event (no real surprise there) and the assigning of where games were played was seemingly designed to add to that problem.


The Good: There were so many more of them. New nations are taking up the game and wanting to play other countries. Some of the initiatives have been most impressive.

The Bad: The RLIF has limited resources and some of the countries coming to the game may fold as quickly as they arrived without support.


The Good: Within Europe much effort and money is being spent developing coaching and officiating standards, funded by government and well utilised by the RLEF.

The Bad: The most powerful group within the game now seems to be the professional clubs in Australia. They will look after themselves (very human and very Australian) so that development is a concern.

Professional development.

The Good: North America offers so much and there are people who are keen to start up teams to play (initially at least) in Europe. The money and player opportunities are huge, but it needs managing carefully.

The Bad: The lack of any expansion or vision within the professional scene in Australasia for some years now continued unabated. It relies on its existing popularity but isn't growing as it should be.

Summary. While the good and bad may appear about even, in terms of the points raised, overall there is more good than bad going on...for now. The lack of funds to expand and at times the lack of will by those with the most power is a concern. The Southern Hemisphere is where RL is strongest but the Northern Hemisphere is where the most exciting potential is. It's up to NH RL to make sure the staid, self absorbed SH doesn't hold it back.

Monday, 25 December 2017

UK Elite Teams By Season : 2006

For this season, Les Catalan from Perpignan in France and Castleford Tigers were promoted at the expense of Widnes Vikings and Leigh Centurions. The French side were exempt from relegation this season. A surprise was seeing Wigan miss out on a finals spot for the second consecutive year, unusual for such a successful club.

The League: St Helens RFC took the league by eight points From Hull FC (40 points), Leeds Rhinos collected 38 pints and the Bradford Bulls 32. The yo-yo team of the time Castleford came second to last but had to go because of Les Catalan's exemption.

Challenge Cup: In the quarter finals, Leeds got past the London team the Harlequins 36-18 and Hull KR defeated Warrington 40-36 in a high scoring game. It's not often a non top flight side makes it through to the semi-finals but Hull KR managed it in 2006. The Huddersfield Giants bowled over Warrington 44-14 and St Helens overwhelmed Les Catalan 56-10.

Saints impressive form carried over into the semi-finals with a 50-0 thumping of Hull KR. In the other game Huddersfield upset Leeds 30-12. The final showed just how good St Helens were that year when they took the trophy with an impressive 42-12 victory over the Giants.

Saints defend in the final 
Finals: The elimination matches were first up and had the Warrington Wolves squeak past Leeds 18-17 while Bradford demolish the Salford City Reds 52-6. The winners then came together in another sudden death game and Bradford was too strong for Warrington, winning 40-24. In the other semi final which decided who went straight into the grand final, St Helens defeated Hull FC in a tight game 12-8.

Hull then had to play in the last elimination game to see if they could overcome Bradford. This they did 19-12 to have an appearance with rampant St Helens. The final wasn't as close as the previous encounter, Saints too good in taking out the match 28-6.

Summary: St Helens took the treble in emphatic fashion. Hull FC and Leeds were the next two best sides but were unable to do anything to stop the Saints juggernaut.

Rk Team Rnd Fnl CC Total

1 St Helens 20 20 20 60

2 Hull FC 18 16

3 Leeds 16 4 12 32

4 Bradford 14 12

5 Warrington 11 8 6 25

6 Huddersfield 8
16 24

7 Salford 12 4 6 22

8 London 10
6 16

9 Hull KR

12 12

10 Catalans 5
6 11

11 Wigan 9


12 Wakefield 7


13 Castleford 6


Total 136 64 84 284

For the 2007 season, please click here.
fore the 2005 season, simply click here.
Picture source: BBC.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Queensland State Championship : 2004-07

In 2003 Brisbane Wests pulled out of the competition, replaced by Brothers-Valleys, who only lasted a season. The Aspley Broncos (a feeder club to the Brisbane Broncos) joined in 2007 and the Toowomba Clydesdales left, who were the previous feeder club. The comings and goings were still quite high.

2004: Burleigh Bears won the league from Redcliffe Dolphins, both finishing with 22 points. The Ipswich Jets and Wynnum-Manly both gained 31 points each.

In the playoffs, Wynnum eliminated Toowoomba 42-38 and Easts defeated Norths 35-18 to gain an advantage over them. Brisbane Norths then lost 18-36 to Wynnum and bowed out. Burleigh went into final when it overcame Brisbane Easts 17-16. Easts then thrashed Wynnum 50-24 to join them there. Burleigh then secured the double when it won the final 22-18.

2005: Only 11 teams competed this year. North Queensland was the top of the league with 34 points, from Norths (31), Burleigh (30) and Redcliffe well back on 24 points.

First up in the finals Redcliffe eliminated Toowoomba 23-22 and Burleigh accounted for Brisbane Norths 26-18 to jump a round. Norths again lost at the same point as last year 10-33 to Redcliffe and ended their season. North Queensland went to the final with a 22-6 win over Burleigh, so the latter had to beat Redcliffe 24-19 to also book a grand final berth. NQ won that 36-6.

2006: Toowomba was top dog in the league in what was to be their last season, with 32 points. North Queensland was second (30), and Redcliffe (28) third.

The elimination semi final saw Easts prevail over Tweed heads 12-4 while the qualifying s/f had Redcliffe defeating North Queensland 22-8. The next eliminator match involved Easts winning against NQ 22-8. The other game catapulted Toowoomba into the final at the expense of Redcliffe 56-22. Redcliffe had to make the final the hard way, beating Easts 30-16. Redcliffe got their revenge in the final, 27-6 against Toowoomba.

2007: North Queensland continued a good run with a first, second and now a first place in the league for 2007 with 34 points. Redcliffe was second (32), Tweed heads and Ipswich both procured 31 points each.

Ipswich avoided elimation by inflicting it on Easts 18-16. Redcliffe then edged past Tweed heads 22-18 to jump a round. Tweed bought a lifeline when ending Ipswich's season 40-14. Redcliffe made the final in defeating North Queensland 28-18. Tweed made it two losses for NQ when it won 34-10 and got to the grand final. In a shock result the NSW team Tweed heads took the final 28-18 over Redcliffe and took the title south of the border for the first time.

Summary: For the period, North Queensland (108 points) narrowly was the most successful from Redcliffe (107). Burleigh and Easts then came up behind them.

Year '07 '06 '05 '04
Rk Team TOT Rd Fls Tot Rd Fls Tot Rd Fls Tot Rd Fls Tot

1 North Queensland 108 20 12 32 18 8 26 20 20 40 10
2 Redcliffe Dolphins 107 18 16 34 16 20 36 14 12 26 11
3 Burleigh Bears 93 10
10 11
11 16 16 32 20 20 40
4 Easts Tigers 81 12 4 16 12 12 24 9
9 16 16 32
5 Tweed Heads 73 16 20 36 14 4 18 10
10 9
6 Norths Devils 71 9
9 10
10 18 8 26 18 8 26
7 Toowoomba Clyd 70

20 16 36 12 4 16 14 4 18
8 Wynnum Manly 51 8
8 8
8 11
11 12 12 24
9 Ipswich Jets 43 14 8 22 6
6 8
8 7
10 Central Q'sland 29 6
6 9
9 6
6 8
11 Souths Logan 27 7
7 7
7 7
7 6
12 Aspley Broncos 11 11

13 Brothers-Valleys 5


Total 769 131 60 191 131 60 191 131 60 191 136 60 196

For the 2008-11 years, just click here.
For the 2000-03 years, simply click here.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

The RL Farce

USA has won the rights to co-host the RL WC in 2015. The organiser wanted to have a game in Denver, Colorado, USA in an international window in mid 2018. The game was to be between England and New Zealand, with a substantial sum of money for each team. Most of the players are involved with the Australian NRL competition but as it is two weeks between games, that was not seen as a problem.

It would be an excellent opportunity for the promotor to start building interest in a sport that the USA knows nothing about. It's being fully underwritten by the organiser and money paid out to the teams. It's exposing the USA to a new sport. Sounds a no-brainer, right?

However, the pro clubs in Australia don't want any of their players to go and in effect are killing the fixture. They will sanction a game played in Sydney. The NRL clubs are dictating who can play internationals and where they are played. It's reached a point where if the NRL competition says jump, the rest of the RL world jumps. The tail is wagging the dog!

In Soccer they have international windows. It may involve friendly games in South America, Africa, Asia etc. Clubs in Europe who have paid huge sums for these top players release them. If any come back injured, the clubs accept it. Jet lag? Whatever. Why? Because the big European competitions don’t run Soccer, FIFA does. When FIFA says jump, they jump. If RL wants to learn from the most successful sport in the world, then maybe RL will stop being the tiny sport that it is.

The current situation is Australia runs RL internationally with both England and NZ kowtowing to them because it financially advantageous. RL around the rest of the world is largely ignored, with lip service paid to growing the world game. Only with an international body with power above individual nations will international RL have any hope of growing. The NRL, SL and any national body must accept the international body as the leader of the the game. They cannot dictate to the RLIF, it's has to be the other way round. What a farce!

Friday, 22 December 2017

France Elite Teams By Season : 2007-08


For the season, there were eleven teams in the Elite 1 competition. Racing Club Albi XIII replaced Villefranche XIII Aveyron. Villeurbanne had only been there for one season too. SM Pia had won everything for the past two seasons, so could they make it a treble?

League: FC Lézignan ended Pia's dominance by winning the league with 56 points and just two losses. SM Pia did come second not too far behind with 52 points. AS Carcassonne was third (45 points) and Limoux Grizzlies fourth (44 points).

Finals: In the elimination round, RC Saint-Gaudens were too good for Toulouse Olympique XIII, winning 40-10. Meanwhile UTC ran away with the other game 31-8 over RC Albi. In the quarterfinals, AS Carcassonne prevailed 30-22 over Saint-Gaudens and in the other match Limoux Grizzlies were victors 34-18 against UTC.

The semi final games arrived and SM Pia were too strong for AS Carcassonne with a 38-26 scoreline the outcome. In the other fixture FC Lézignan defeated Limoux Grizzlies 25-18. In the final, Pia had a shot at redemption with FC Lézignan after coming second to them in the league. However, it wasn't to be as again they were second best (26-16) at Béziers where over 9500 came to watch the game.

Lord Derby Cup: In the quarts de finale, second division side Montpellier XIII Diables Rouges were eliminated, along with Toulouse, Lyon Villeurbanne Rhône à XIII and Saint-Gaudens.

The demi-finales RC Albi defeated FC Lézignan 24-20 and Limoux ended Pia's hopes of a trophy with a 36-14 triumph. The Finale was finally between Limoux and Albi, the former winning a tight contest 17-14. 9,000 were there to watch at Carcassonne.

Summary: Pia may have won everything for two years running but couldn't quite win anything in 2007-08. FC Lézignan was the best side with with league and finals trophies. They ended up with 52 points. Limoux's winning the cup and Pia's consistency had them both on 46 points each.

Rk Team Rnd Fls LD Tot

1 Lézignan 20 20 12 52

2 Limoux 14 12 20 46

2 Pia 18 16 12 46

4 Carcassonne 16 12

5 Albi 9 2 16 27

6 St Gaudens 11 6 6 23

7 St Estève Catalan 12 6

7 Toulouse 10 2 6 18

9 Lyon Villeurbanne 8
6 14

10 Carpentras 7


11 Villeneuve 6


11 Montpellier

6 6

Total 131 76 84 291

For the 2006-07 season just click here.
For the 2008-09 season, please click here.