The Dentist’s Diary – 454th

It’s all happening isn’t it?

With no game this last weekend this was to have been a time that offered a real respite from the cut and thrust of the competition, offering as it did a chance to re-group for the players and for the fans a break for a little reflection before we all run headlong into the Super 8’s!

Was it that? Was it hell!! I had the Diary all sorted for this week with a bit from my own personal point of view about changes I’d make to the game and a Codgers Corner from the 80’s. However instead of the expected hiatus we experienced as interesting a time as there has been for ages which led, in the end, to there being no room for the Codgers spot at all this week. Instead below I try to give an ‘average fan’s prospective’ on a defining few days, which for me indicate to us all exactly where our Club is heading and that also points us towards some interesting times ahead!!!

As for Mrs R, well I think she’s losing the plot completely because since Saturday I can’t find a single sharp object in our house!!

However more of all that malarkey later, as next up we have the little matter of the super 8’s and Castleford on Friday! Some I guess are full of hope, (and bless ‘em all, I still meet a few FC fans who feel we can make a big impact in it, but they are certainly a dwindling by the day!) while others like me are, shall we say, a little apprehensive, as we travel to the greatest old ground in Super League to face a Castleford team stinging from a big home defeat to the Wire and still unhappy about their Cup exit at the KC. So there’ll be no motivational problems for Mr Powell there then, will there?

But should we be afraid? Well I’d like to say not, but I think that perhaps we might have to be, because I really admire what the Coach at Castleford has done with a team that is far from ‘stuffed’ with world beaters, but who run on pride and passion and a loyalty to one another. Will the final 7 games be our making, will it surprise us all, will we get to the top 4 and will it be the basis for selling thousands of season tickets or……………Will it be same old, same old once again?

Personally, in the short term I can’t help but think that it will be a tough old few weeks for us all, not just in regard to the games we play, but also to exactly where we as a Club are heading. We can only hope for some memorable moments to keep our spirits up, but with only fourth place to play for and that in itself a forlorn hope, then it’s going to be tough to stop the end of the season being anything more than a damp sqib. With such a daunting fixture list we just have to hope that we can at least get a couple of wins.

So, to that busy week and pride of place has to go to the excellent news concerning the arrival of Melbourne Storms Mahe Fonua, who I have to say, is for me, a brilliant acquisition. It’s not often that I can say to you all that you heard about him here first, but on this occasion you did; in the Whiffs of 5 weeks ago and before anyone else was talking about him! He is, at long last, an Aussie who is a regular in the NRL and one who is yet to reach his prime. He’s also a strong and lethal finisher and I believe just what we need in our back division. Of course one or two say that they’re not impressed, some fans never are, but I have to say that on this occasion I am.

Some people who certainly aren’t impressed however are the fans of his home team back in Melbourne who have bombarded social media with their concerns and sadness about him leaving. One player doesn’t make a team I know, but this is a big step forward. I know that our capture of Fonua has certainly turned a few heads across Super League too while leading pundit Andrew Voss in Australia likened his signing to the time that Castleford got their hands on Justin Carney; that’s the sort of impact he feels Fonua will have and Vossy knows what he’s talking about!! He’s a great signing, a good strike player and well done Hull FC.

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Fonua on his way, to apparently terrorise defences!

On a less positive note however at the Under 19’s game on Thursday night we all heard of the demise of Jordan Rankin and the news that we had told him he wasn’t needed anymore. The bloke, (who has been sat for a while waiting to seal the deal to stay), was pretty devastated by it all and related that to many of us in person via social media next day. I couldn’t believe it myself, although one or two did say to me that perhaps it was the right thing to do and such is the prerogative of fans I guess, because we all pay our money and are entitled to our opinions.

However if I were to nail my colours to the mast I would say that for me, as just an average fan, it’s a bad move. I always look to support the Club and hope that the decisions they make are made with the interests of the ordinary supporter at heart. OK, it’s a bit of a Utopian outlook I know, but I realise as a fan that although it would be nice to think the future will be all about signings like Billy Slater, James Gallen and James Graham, that scenario is a none starter. They won’t be leaving Aus. and even if they were, with us increasingly appearing to be a club struggling financially, it simply ain’t gonna happen even if they had wanted to come….and they won’t!

You might not like that as a fact and you may feel its defeatist because I certainly don’t like to say it myself, but I do think that it’s the reality of the situation we now face as fans and indeed as a Club. If times are hard we may therefore in future have to rely on a deal of heart, passion and the will to get over the line. I know you won’t all agree with my thoughts, that’s what fans do, but for me players like Jordan bring so much to the table in the context of passion and wanting and a bit like our noisy neighbours who persisted with players like James Webster (when they were skint and struggling) sometimes that heart and spirit is all you really want to see in your colours. AND, sometimes once the stars are beyond your means and when you can’t buy a full team, then the bit part players with the qualities that Jordan possess are priceless. There were certainly a few Rovers fans breathing a sigh of relief when the news broke as well because they hated him at Derby games, he wound ‘em up relentlessly and for me that means that Jordan gets it…100%

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Jordan Rankin just as I’ll remember him, indicating that perhaps it was time to “Shove it you Dobbins!”

I love players who want to win for me, who want to give their all and for this fan Rankin has always done that. He’s no world beater, he makes mistakes and gets a bit over zealous and excited at times, but he has the passion and ‘wants it’ as much as we all do. Indeed when I have bumped into him a time or two on Newland Avenue on the night after a defeat, he’s certainly convinced me that he wanted it as much as I did and was as pissed off as I was! So you can understand why I’m sorry he’s going and when you read the dozens of fans on twitter wishing him well and lamenting his departure, then I hope like me you might have a modicum of sympathy for the bloke! We need players who care about us and understand what we care about as fans, I honestly believe Jordan did and he wasn’t a bad player either so, as a measure of the man have a look what he said on twitter on Friday:-

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So there you have it, Jordan comes across as what he is; a top bloke and I think he’ll prove to be a loss. We’ve obviously gone for Naughton and Shaul and in the process ditched Rankin, but decisions have to be made and sometimes they are tough ones to take when you’re just a fan; let’s hope this one is the right one! Good Luck Jordan, you’ll be back to bite us I sure!!

I bang on in here about recruiting at least as well as the players you lose, well Taylor for Paea is fine for me, and Fonua is for me better than Lineham, while Frank the Tank is a massive gain and Carlos Tuimavave although unproven, a bonus and a bit of a project, but Rankin out and (the rumoured) Washy in, leaves me at the very least scratching my head a bit!

Still, we have re-engaged Steve Michaels who is another honest player but paradoxically not one that has impressed me as much as Jordan did. Steve is however staying on for another year and he’s an honest hard working player that for me will do a job without possessing anything that will immediately point to him taking us to the next level. Some decent ball would help us assess him better I guess, but again the decision has been made and he’s here for 2016. One thing’s for sure, he’ll be well rested up for next season, because I can’t see Mr Michaels going home this closed season can you???

As for Sentimata Sa, we’ll I’ve spoken to him several times at the gym and he’s a really nice guy as well, but in his case I really do believe that his time was up and reading what he had to say, after the news of his departure broke, I think he realises that it was the only course of action that the Club could take. I’ll always remember the way he had Danny Brough in his pocket during that great first game of the season at Huddersfield, but otherwise memories are few and far between and for me, if I’m honest, he’s been a disappointment. As early as last April there were rumours about that his legs had gone, but then again he was always going to be a risk when he came and he was one we now know, that didn’t really come off! It’s a shame really, but good luck to him, but we as a Club and Sa as a player have I guess to now move on!!

One player looking to stay at the Club is Feke who told the Mail last week, “I definitely want to stay at the club and play for at least another season. I love it here. The club has been great to me. Only two years ago I was running round in the French league. This club brought me back when nobody else believed in me. I don’t want to retire. If the contract is there I want to stay. I think I’ve still got a good couple of years left in this old dog” For me I’d definitely consider keeping him if we have the cash available, for he has the passion, dedication and most of all loyalty that we need. If we are to continue with the current coaching regime and thus persist with the issue of us struggling mentally as a team again next season, a self motivated focussed individual like Feke who with the greatest of respect, won’t be expensive, is worth keeping I think! Top bloke off the field and in the community too! Let’s hope he stays!

All in all however, although I am disappointed about Rankin, I feel thus far our recruitment has been good/very good, let’s just see how the last couple of pieces of the jigsaw that are expected soon, fit the bill shall we?

Of course then there was the other news that broke through a Club Statement which indicated that from next season, the North Stand will be shut for all games except Derby’s. Early this year Adam told everyone that he was having to pay a considerable sum to keep the North end open in this our 150th year and now it appears he has been threatened by the SMC with the closure of the South Stand too and so he’s decided to subsidise that being kept open while forgoing the away end for next term. The Management Company is even threatening to close the West Stand upper for City games! My Thoughts about a subsidy were born out by James Smailes, who said on Twitter that he believed Adam was to now ‘pay out to keep the South end open’ and it appears once again that we are under real pressure from our landlords at the KC.

What a set of awkward buggers they are, you’d think they would be working with us to improve gates and thus catering, drinks and ticket office income; all of which benefit them. However instead they just close stuff and look on as the Stadium and the two resident Clubs go backwards. We’ve fallen a long way since the day back in 2003 when the then Lord Mayor described the new Community Stadium as the ‘Peoples Palace’ and “A gift to the people of Hull from the people of Hull!” Now half the place will be closed down on match days and with all the pictures provided in the first place by the Council depicting our Club having already been removed from the walls, our Beer prices are higher than at football games and only half the hospitality suites are open on match days! The SMC should be bloody ashamed of themselves and instead looking to help us get more folks in, not to put them off, unless of course there is another agenda altogether here. I feel for those who sit in the north end of the East Stand who will be now expected to sit somewhere else to accommodate the away supporters. But why should we be surprised eh?

Well on Thursday night I went along to Bishop Burton to watch what was the last ever home Academy Derby. It was a sort of sentimental journey really and many I spoke too were there for the same reason as I was. It was a great occasion although if the game proved one thing, it was that if the first team can play really well one week and poorly the next then the Under 19’s can go one better and do it in the two half’s of one match. The first half saw a controlled yet exciting display of power rugby from our lads which resulted in total domination and a 20-0 half time score line, but the second half when we conceded 3 tries and scored just one, was a bit of a dour and uninspiring affair to say the least.

There was obviously a lot at stake as we fielded both Abdull and Logan who are now fixtures in the first team. Both did really well in that first half and looked to be a class apart from a poor (and what looked to me to be, a badly conditioned) Rovers outfit. In addition I was again impressed with the performance of prop Matongo, boy he’s got some promise, while Callum Smith on the wing did really well too. Prop Ross Osbourne impressed me coming off the bench and Jack Downs still runs some amazing lines. I’ll tell you what too, I’ve been mightily impressed with young 17 year old hooker Jezz Litten every time I’ve seen him this year; he’s one to watch! In that first half we shifted the ball left really well and looked like scoring every time we did it, but for some reason in the second half we persisted in turning the ball back inside and got bogged down in the middle of the pitch. However with over 700 points scored in 19 games against the best there is in the country, one would find it hard to be too critical of our academy under Richard Horne this term.

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A lot of talented kids, who had a scratchy second half but got home 24-18. And it was bloody chilly watching too!
Most of all on Thursday it was just great to meet so many old pals and diary readers, to exchange stories from the past and generally ‘grieve’ about the demise of these fixtures together. If the Club has one challenge then it has to be the need to somehow get some morale back into the fan base. Walking around and talking to so many familiar faces who have been around the terraces for years, it’s apparent that everyone is pretty disenchanted and feeling a bit disenfranchised too. Still on the field it was another two points and with just two more games at the YPI ground and a final match back at Bishop Burton, you really should go along to see the lads before it’s all too late and they are as an FC team, no more!! Despite a patchy showing last Thursday they are obviously playing with a lot of pride and indeed playing for their futures! Next up Saints at YPI on Saturday at noon!

Liam Watts in biting shock!! Well all I’ll say about that is that it’s taken bloody long enough to get that out and if I were the Club I would major on the defence that he is innocent on the pretext that after two and a half weeks of biting a Rovers player he has shown no symptoms whatsoever of food poisoning!! Rugby League, Its players and officials, the drama’s and the judiciary; you just couldn’t make it up really could you??

Now a lot of the pundits are hailing the new ‘Super Eights’ structure as an unmitigated success and you can certainly see their point can’t you? There’s lots’ going on and for most, lots to play for too! The fact is however that when you look at our plight and indeed that of the Catalan Dragons it’s obvious that for our two Clubs ‘every second’ certainly won’t be counting, as by game three it could well be down to a bloody miracle for either club to be anything but also ran’s in the final 8 play –offs and if Huddersfield win their first two games it will be all over before that. If that’s the case, then we really have nothing to play for but pride, but let’s look on the bright side, because where there’s life there’s always hope!!

However if I’m being a bit too sceptical about our prospects it seems that Sky Sports don’t think we are going to be pulling up any trees either as they announced the games that are televised and we feature just once!! Some people where complaining and ‘cancelling’ their Sky subscriptions and as it’s so costly these days, who can blame them, (although I have to admit that in my efforts to wean myself off worrying so much about Hull FC, I am quite enjoying the cricket on there!) Our showing against Wigan indicates that at present it’s hardly looking like most of our games are going to be anything but ‘difficult’ and after Wigan you can understand the broadcasters thinking can’t you? So, if we are to do anything at all to keep our fast declining season alive, we simply have to win at Cas! There’s no point in saying there’s always next week, because in reality there isn’t anymore!

I’ve banged on for ages in here about the fact that any Clubs recruitment for next season is greatly assisted once you’re definitely confirmed in the top 8 and thus have your future secured. The continuation of Super League contracts with relegation ‘get out’ clauses means that players won’t sign for you if you’re in the middle 8 and indeed any out of contract players that you have on board, (like for instance Danny Washbrook at Wakey) will be looking around to a more secure future as well. Why should they hang about or sign on when at the end of the season their contract for the following year could well be null and void anyway and they are subsequently left high and dry without a Club.

That situation was confirmed last week when Lee Radford said, “The certainty of playing in Super League is a massive coup for the club in terms of recruitment, speaking to one or two players who are playing for other clubs in the middle 8s, they are uncertain about their future; where we are is really relieving from a recruitment point of view,” Yeh, I can see what our coach means and the certainty provided by scraping into a position that guarantees Super league rugby is a good thing, but it’s hardly a ‘massive coup’ Lee is it? We are getting very good at Hull FC at setting our goals too low and then celebrating mediocrity; well too good for my liking anyway! I struggle as an ordinary fan to see where we have improved at all this season, because we are still as inconsistent as ever and on three occasions at least have shown just a glimmer of hope before that was dashed on the rocks of not being mentally tough enough to see it through in the next game!

So I guess we have to look at what might just fire a last spark of enthusiasm in the rank and file of the fans. We could get a new Coaching team, but that ain’t gonna happen is it? Lee has delivered survival which we have since discovered was our first objective for the season, so well done to him, it wouldn’t have been my objective but what do I know? We have made some really good signings too, but the general belief of the fans at present is that our target setting is best encapsulated in the title of that famous book, ‘Aim Low: Quit Often, Expect the Worst, and Other Good Advice’.

In the game in general we get told that everything is rosy by the RL and the TV companies but of course we know it isn’t. With viewer figures for Sky well down of late and Thursday night rugby
being shunned by the masses, not everyone is convinced and so it’s even more worrying to hear of a once famous Club having to tout themselves around their neighbours looking for a home! Wakefield can’t come to an agreement with their landlords and so have served notice that they will quit the grand old Belle Vue Ground at Christmas. What a shame it is that the place can’t be done up, or that Wakey can’t continue their plans to build a new home.

It was however interesting to read in the Wakefield Express this week that Dewsbury Rams chairman Mark Sawyer has confirmed that his club has entered in to discussions with them concerning a possible ground-share at The Tetley’s Stadium in 2016. He said: “I would like to inform our sponsors, supporters and members of the media that the club is currently in negotiations with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats regarding a ground-share for next year. The Wildcats are considering possible avenues for a playing venue for next season and they have ear-marked The Tetley’s Stadium as a serious option” So if Wakey survive the League of Death then we could all be going back to Dewsbury next year. I always enjoy a visit there and remember with a lot of affection a couple of reasonably recent pre-season games there, which we played in driving snow!!

Now, for a bit of light relief and you’ll remember last week I promised that I would have a quick go at giving some solutions to the issues I constantly raise in here that are a bone of contention for regular attenders and often a thing of mystery for potential new ones and indeed the uninitiated. This is just a bit of fun, and none of my suggestions are offered too seriously but even if you don’t agree with any of them at least I think they would help a game that needs to become more entertaining again. So please don’t be inundating me with complaints, I just got to trying to think radically about what could be done. So here goes.

Firstly, let’s face it to the newcomer rugby league is a complicated old game really. There is little doubt that we need to simplify things a bit because even for the regular attenders there are too many instances and issues that are open to the interpretation of the officials. Fundamentally I guess the only way to solve the ‘was the ball knocked on’ arguments that rage on the terraces is to make every dropped ball a knock on, but of course that isn’t ever going to happen so it’s down to the referee’s interpretation as to whether it’s gone forward or backwards and there’s little we can do about that other than disagree about the decision……vehemently!!

Next up it has to be that other issue that will never be solved satisfactorily the forward pass and the incessant shouts of ‘FORWARD!!!!’ that ring round grounds and living rooms every time a game is played. The referee is rarely in line with them to judge anyway, he can’t be, but I think that with all the technical gubbins available these days it should at least be possible to define whether a pass is forward or not. You couldn’t use it throughout the game, but there must be a virtual lining devise that can be used on review to define whether in the play before a try a pass is forward or not. However that would depend on video referees being in attendance at all games and that’s probably where I’ll start my more radical suggestions.

We now have two off field officials, because the old system, where decisions were handed on for a single video referee to make a ruling, wasn’t effective and too many mistakes were made. But despite two heads being better than one there is still a problem with the long delays it sometimes take to come to the eventual decision, they break up the action and are boring for television viewers and fans on the terraces alike. For me the video refereeing system has stopped being a way of assisting the referee in defining the outcome of occasionally difficult decisions and has become a TV gimmick and an integral part of Sky’s presentation. We go to them far too often, even when the referee and the touch judges all agree it’s a score; perhaps at times just for the hell of it!

The commentators are in fact most disappointed when the video referee hasn’t been involved. However unless we bring video refereeing facilities into every Stadium it’s not a level playing field at all and why should Catalan have that facility at every game when everyone else just has it at British televised games? It’s even more unfair when because it’s all about the TV product the fashionable Clubs who feature more on ‘the box’ get the advantage of the virtual scrutiny a lot more regularly than the less fashionable ones.

All that is old fashioned isn’t necessarily bad either and back in the days before Video referee’s it was left to the match day official to decide. We’ll never go back to that because we have seen the future and it’s on a pitch side touch screen. However back then we just took the referee’s decision on face value, there were big mistakes made and the fans grumbled, but we took the verdict and moved on. Back then it was about the game not the decisions that had been made and the official that had made them. These days we invariably leave matches discussing the referee as much if not more than the players. So in the case of video referee’s in an ideal world I’d either go for them being in attendance at all games (and indeed have them intervening more in general play with ‘in the ear’ advice to referee’s on scrums that are obviously given the wrong way, fouls and off the ball incidents etc) or go back to how it was and scrap them altogether.

However we’re stuck with the video system and so simply put, for me as far as video referees are concerned it should be all or nothing!

While we are on the officials, I’d also go back to a bigger pool of referee’s who are part time rather than full time. Why do I say that? Well the quality of officials is a big issue for many fans and it’s a fact that a lot of extremely talented referee’s who have come through the ranks fail to get to the top level, because they don’t want to give up their careers and day jobs for such a short term ‘gig’. I also feel that having full-time officials hasn’t improved standards and seems to give certain referees the impression they are the stars of the show. In any sport the official should not be the centre of attention and indeed in the past the best ones have always been those who let the game flow, only intervened when they had to and who you didn’t notice. In other words they should be effective but not get in the way of what we have all come to see…the rugby. It certainly doesn’t mean that they have to be the centre of things all the time. Some to me give the impression that at present that’s the role in which they see themselves. That’s the problem with referees really because they will always be a bone of contention for the fans simply because the rules of the game are far more complicated and open to interpretation than they are in say football; but how you solve that one I have no idea at all.

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Give me time, I’ll be a lot better when I can count to six!!

Next up I’d make the disciplinary system more transparent. I would insist that the panel stick to the sentencing tariffs laid down for offences and that the RL open up hearings to the media, so the whole process is transparent for the customers; us lot the fans. I also think that the introduction of the putting on report system was ridiculous because rather than giving the benefit of the doubt it was a cop out and gives a distinct disadvantage to a team that has a player laid out and taken from the field after a ‘perhaps’ illegal tackle. The perpetrator and potential transgressor stays on the field while the injured player goes off and weakens his team.

Every game is closely scrutinised by the review panel so why did we bother putting a player on report to them; it’s a nonesense. Therefore to redress that in-balance, I think that if a player is suspended, one game of his ban should be served against the team he was facing when the offence occurred and if the offence is in a Challenge Cup tie, the guilty player should miss his teams next match in that competition, even if it is weeks in the future.

Now a few little things I’d change that concern stuff that baffles the uninitiated fan watching perhaps for the first time. Look for instance at the bizarre situation of putting your foot over the dead ball line to make a catch go dead which for me just penalises good kicks, I’d scrap that or at least reach the half way house of a rule that stated if the ball was on the full then a foot over killed the ball, but not if it was a bouncing ball. Then there’s the double movement rule which I know baffles the uninitiated completely. If a player is hauled down near the line and makes a super human effort to get his arm out of the tackle why shouldn’t he be allowed to reach over? It’s almost impossible in those situations to decide whether the tackle is complete anyway so if the ball ends up being touched down over the line it’s should be a try! The game used to be all about scoring tries, now it seems to be all about finding ways to prevent them. Introduced that would make it a lot easier for the on field official and cut out some difficult and controversial video referee calls too.

Then while I’m on a role I’d sort out the obstruction fiasco that currently blights our game and simply say that an obstruction should only be an obstruction if somebody is actually ‘obstructed’. Let’s stop penalising players that accidentally get in the way without blocking a defender or impeding him. What’s even more worrying for me is the scenario whereby too often defenders making a bad read, stand there waving their arms around in an attempt to con the ref, they should not be allowed to get away with that at all.

Next up what about charge downs, which I don’t think should restart the tackle count. For me charging a kick down is a brave thing to do and a skill in itself, but one which the current rules tend to punish rather than reward. If a defender manages to get his body in the way to prevent a drop goal, for example, why should the attacking team get another six tackles to try again? If a ball is charged down and the kicking team gets it back I wouldn’t wipe clean the tackle count. And while we are on kicks let’s go back to the old hard and fast rule that if a ball hits a player on the way into touch from a kick its head and ball to the kicking side. There is too much controversy around whether a player has ‘played’ at a ball or it has simply hit him. Back in the eighties and nineties it was a skill for a kicking half back to hit a player as the ball went into touch and indeed one for the defending player, of trying to avoid it! I’d go head and ball to the attacking team if it hits a defender and to the defending team if it doesn’t.

Next I’d most certainly bring the Challenge Cup final forward to its traditional spring – late April or early May slot, with the earlier rounds played in pre- and early-season. The Challenge Cup has been in decline ever since the final was moved to August a decade ago. That would also give it a place in the season away from the Grand Final and also telescope the fixtures in a bit and get rid of the long breaks that often see a couple of months between rounds.

Finally a lot that is wrong with our game is to do with image and the one that we portray on TV is that the game is a cross between the toughest game in the world and a comedy show. For me the second thing I would do is get rid of Stevo and Eddie. They see themselves as the chuckle brothers of TV rugby and really do devalue the wonderful sport we support. However the first thing I would do is get rid of Cummings. What other sport would have a senior member of the commentary team that is there to do nothing but evaluate the performance of the officials. It’s like test match special having a commentator there all the time just to assess the performance of the umpires. It just wouldn’t happen would it?

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Time for a change me thinks!

So that’s my angle on things but now were off to Castleford for a really tough game, but then again ain’t they all from now on in? Of course we will all show a healthy interest in the start of the Middle eight games too and you’ll remember that I have referred to these matches ever since we heard of the new structure, as the Group of Death and there is certainly a lot to point to the fact that perhaps I got it right. To put things in perspective Widnes along with Hull KR, Wakey and Salford, are in the middle 8’s for a reason; because they failed. While Leigh, Bradford, Halifax and Sheffield are in the middle 8’s for the opposite reason because they have been successful.

Every game the ex Super League Clubs play, they will be fighting for their very survival and to get back up into that League. Every game the Championship Clubs play will be for promotion to Super League and in the cases of the ones against the big boys, to show the rest of the RL world what they have been missing after all those years in the wilderness. They have everything to gain while the ‘big boys’ have everything to lose. As of now in that league the participating Clubs are neither Super league Clubs or Championship Clubs. They are just all now in the middle 8! It should be interesting and thank goodness we ain’t in there!!

I met a couple of readers last Wednesday in the Drum and Monkey who reaffirmed to me just how much feeling there is about the state of the Club and the current merger suggestions and quite frankly I just don’t think the Club realise quite what they are doing to the quiet, unassuming and yet almost obsessively loyal older fans of the Club. The recruitment this year has so far been very good indeed but announced early and so it will lose its impact by the time that season tickets go on sale and with some injuries, a potential season ending ban for Watts, a hard 7 games to come and that merger stuff lingering on with a lot of fans, the Club have a tough task on their hands to convert this year’s subscribers and to persuade them to ‘go again’ next season!

You have to laugh sometimes and my pal Kathy Kirk who I often quote in here because she comes out with some gems, sent me a great E Mail this week which said, “I keep reading about a Dentist killing a protected Lion when we all know that the only thing the Dentist would kill would be a Robin!!”

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So there we are I’ll see you all at Castleford as the adventure begins again and it will without doubt be a great occasion. Will we win? Well let’s hope so eh. Thanks so much for sticking with the Diary and my cranky ideas about improving the game; crap aint they? But they are just intended as a bit of light relief really and to get you thinking.

Let’s get into the old tin stand again on Friday, get behind the boys and sing our hearts out for them, it will be a great night at the Jungle!

Come on you Hulllllaaarrrr!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

Oh and well done to Luke and Tommy on Saturday it was a great showcase for the City!

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Boxing clever that!!