THE GREAT RUGBY LEAGUE SWINDLE!!
Whether you sit in the ‘WE don’t need it’ or the ‘Bring it on’ camp is quite rightly a matter of opinion, but the way that the World Club Challenge has been handled is for many I have spoken to this week, just that… a swindle.
I highlight this at the top this week because so many people have talked to me about it since last week’s announcement. Quite rightly the team that won the Grand Final, takes one place, but the other match has been allocated to a Club that lost that game and the Wembley final and won little else than a makeshift trophy that the Rugby League themselves failed to recognise or award until a few seasons ago. In the mean-time the winners of the country’s other Cup competition, which is possibly the most historically relevant trophy in the world, are ignored and that in a week when another concocted and contrived fixture list for the Magic Weekend suddenly appeared.
Only in British Rugby League eh??
We thought it was all over ……it is now!!!
No games to watch, no trophies to win and because my Mum always said that you shouldn’t mock the afflicted, no Dobbins to bait either!!
But how are you feeling? Well, there is little doubt that after what was the season that none of us expected or could hardly dare dream of, the roller coaster has ground to a halt a bit. There is certainly little doubt that inertia has become the staple diet for most fans while we await the players returning from a well-earned break on the beach, to start pre-season training on 14th November. Some readers contacted me this week to say that the withdrawal symptoms have kicked in straight after our last game, while personally I guess I feel pretty deflated too. But, although designed specifically for such times, I’m also finding it hard to get enthusiastic about the manufactured nature of our International end of season tournaments and there’s more of that one later.
However, all that said, the City’s only Super League Club still had a few interesting stories to impart this week, as the Player of the Year Awards took place, the details of season tickets for 2016 were released, some speculation about future signings continued, that England squad was announced and the media was stuffed with post season appraisals, reflections on the campaign past and some hopes for 2017.
Nevertheless, all that said it’s still a fact that the closed season seems now to have arrived with a bang!
DANNY HOUGHTON – MAN OF STEEL!!!
LEE RADFORD – COACH OF THE YEAR!!!
HULL FC – TEAM OF THE YEAR!!!!
WHEN DID WE LAST SEE A YEAR LIKE THAT?
That’s it, it’s over, the season has finished and Old Trafford remains nothing but a fading dream, as a hugely successful campaign which has been a brilliant ride, fizzled out just as many of us sort of expected it would.
However, who was prepared for the drama that was to follow and oh boy, it made me smile a bit. That said I have some sympathy for any true fans, the Dobbins players, their families and those employed by the Club, however come on, they are our bitterest rivals and have rejoiced long and hard in the past at our downfalls. They’d be dancing on the terraces were it us lot in that position!! And, as for Josh Griffin, well has there ever been such an FC legend before he even pulled on a shirt?
But enough of the championship newcomers, (for now) let’s concentrate on Friday and that superb second half come-back which followed what was a torrid old first 40 minutes and yet saw us fall short at the end.
Regrets? Well not really, except to say that perhaps I let myself get a bit too carried away with it all after Wembley, but sadly the team’s performances didn’t quite match my optimism and in the end it wasn’t so much a disappointing end to the campaign as a flat one! I’d expected it, of course I had, but sport is a strange thing and I certainly hadn’t in my wildest dreams expected what happened next and I have to admit to having perked up a bit by Saturday tea time.
If I had one misgiving about the year of 2016 then it would be that for me Hull FC produced one of the greatest season’s since the early 80’s, without ever actually performing to our maximum capabilities for a full 80 minutes. In the end, perhaps it was that fact and an inability to reach the intensity that the Leeds, Wigan and Warrington’s of this world know you have to attain at this end of the competition, that I think eventually did for us. We won’t be walking out at Old Trafford on Saturday and so the season ends, but…as the old guy said to me last week, “Don’t worry son, that Challenge Cup is still there in the cupboard!”