The Great Reserve Team Fiasco!!!
As Hull FC continue their build up to the new season I guess that last week will be remembered for just one thing as far as the sport of Rugby League is concerned and that is the fact that the principle of reserve team rugby in 2019 and its promised resurgence, has been deferred and indeed fudged once again!!!!!!
As a game we have of late moved to try and get some credibility and a positive image back, with a revised divisional format, some good sensible rule changes, no more long-haul journey’s to away games on Thursday nights, the reduction of substitutions to 8 and the men with the money and the most to lose, the owners, getting more say in how the game is run. However, last week it was business as usual.
The owners had worked hard in loading the gun for next season with some great steps forward which started to see the sport moving in the right direction, before the RL administrators once again, shot themselves and the game in the foot!
It was bad enough when they announced that only 7 teams had agreed to take part in a Reserve’s competition and that only three would come from Super League. However, since then, we’ve seen Wigan wobbling and likely to drop out and Keighley under special measures and so it’s a bloody debacle once again isn’t it? After our club had received assurances with regard to the make-up, structure and numbers in this proposed league and acted on that information, the games administration didn’t have the balls to enforce it. The formula is simple really, if the game is to survive and indeed flourish, its essential that every Super League team runs a reserve team and at least shares an academy outfit, because the risk if they don’t is that the game will implode on itself.
Not only is it the Clubs moral responsibility to develop young players, but in the long run such a structured approach to developing players will benefit them all and indeed build the game in general. Once again my preamble finishes with the well-used expression in here; what a bloody mess!!
In a week when training continued and our last International player, Bureto Fairamo finally finished his 2018 season, there was some good news from the RL about the Challenge Cup and the Magic Weekend and closer to home the new shop in St Stephens is rocking and really impressive! So, perhaps the only real worry for Hull FC fans as they looked around the RL scene this week was the players other Clubs have been signing.
In what we are told is a ‘pretty stagnant market that lacks any depth of quality’, several teams continue to seem to be able to find players that look to be improving their squads. Conversely, we have chosen to get all our players signed up again and to expand our roster with some new faces from the junior ranks and the lower divisions. I guess that we’ll only find out if we have got that right come 1st February at ‘The Land that Time Forgot’! You have to trust Lee and the Club as to whether they have chosen wisely and we have to have faith in their judgement, but it does seem to me that a lot of teams are looking stronger for next season!
Thank you for joining me again as this week when I’ll have a look at that, at why we all feel as we do at present and indeed at everything else that has interested me in the world of Rugby League in the past 7 days.
The Boys are back in Town!
So training has started and we now know who we are playing in 2019 and when! At first glance, it’s a really tough start in a season that dictates that hitting the ground running is a must. If we don’t get a good start and that unenviable losing run continues, then jobs and reputations could well be on the line. Having said all that, the first month of games which was announced in our 2019 fixtures this week, doesn’t look that straight forward to me at all, in fact quite the contrary for it is a tough old start all round.
The fixtures in fact threw up some strange ones for the coming campaign and I’ll have a close look at what I think are the plusses and the anomalies within the new schedule later on in here. In addition, in a busy week we have also opened a new shop, tweaked the coaching side of things somewhat, heard a bit more about the reserve grade, found a job for Gareth Ellis, launched a new shirt, remembered Jack Harrison and those fans that served and gave their lives for their country, plus we’ve also seen the NZ tourists muller England and Jake Connor complete his stint as one of the new golden boys of the English international team. Closed season? It’s never dull is it?
So after a short break, training starts on Monday as already we look towards 2019.
However, what’s unfolded of late has been pretty relaxed, in fact have we ever known a quieter couple of weeks at the FC? With several players not returning from holidays until this weekend prior to training starting again today (Monday), little has been going on and even the guys on the club site have been scratching around for stories. In fact, the usual pre-deadline ticket hype we usually see this time of year has been rather lethargic and slow to get off the ground.
We heard from Jordan Lane on how he will be ‘pushing on’ next season and how Lewis Bienek is enjoying playing for Ireland, but otherwise until Friday and Abdull’s departure, little appeared to be happening, as a shorter than usual post season break saw everyone scrambling to fit their holidays in. Let’s hope they’ve all had a well-deserved rest and are now getting ready for the big push for 2019 which starts this week.
The quieter than usual situation was emphasised as far as the fans were concerned as well when on the invariably busy RL Fans message board, the tumble weed has been blowing about for a couple of weeks now and at one point no one posted for almost 48 hours. Granted several players have been spotted in the gym getting an early start and I was talking with Washy there the other day and he appeared to be raring to go.
Perhaps we are deemed to be doing OK ticket wise, or maybe perhaps we will see more hype this week as the first renewal deadline approaches. None the less it’s certainly been quiet but a big well done to the 5000 or so who have signed up so far for next season and don’t forget if you want to secure your usual place and haven’t yet got it, then this coming weekend sees the cut-off point for a guaranteed seat.