Leeds and Some Other Bollocks

That’s more like it, Wire.

If you had to choose a team to play against to ensure a confidence-boosting win after two successive losses, you’d pick Leeds, wouldn’t you?

They look broken.

We can talk injuries if you want, but there’s enough talent in that side to show more than they have been doing this year. We went through a tough season or two when we lost Lee Briers, Gaz Carvel, Moz and Mick Monnas, but Christ, Leeds aren’t even a shadow of the side that won the lot last year.

They redefined what ‘good’ was over the past few years and they are redefining what ‘bad’ is this season.

And anyone that watched the Leigh-Bradford game at the Bash at the Beach over the Bank Holiday weekend would agree that they are by no means safe when it comes to the middle eights.

Chances are they will be playing against three Super League clubs that have already beaten them this season; a team that pushed them close in the Cup when they were top of the league in Leigh; their biggest rivals, Bradford, who already buoyed by the arrival of their new coach and possess some impact players and would love nothing more than to replace the old enemy in the top flight and that’s not even mentioning the likes of London and Halifax, big clubs in that division who seem to be flying below the radar but are riding high at the top of the division and playing good rugby in the process.

You’ve got to feel sorry Brian McDermott, haven’t you? He seems like a decent bloke, never blames anyone else for his team’s problems and has always took stick from large proportions of his own fan base – even when he picked up all the pots available to him last year the natives weren’t fully supportive of him.

The former London coach looks defeated, his team look devoid of ideas and they appear to lack leadership. It can only be a matter of time before Hetherington has to take action. For all of his trophy-laden years, there has to be a point when the board step in to stop the rot.

The players have let him down massively, with not a single player – and there are plenty of experienced internationals in that team – has stepped up to take responsibility to lead the team.

For all of our sympathy for McDermott, the fans are amongst the biggest bell ends in the game. They can get to fuck.

From our point of view, it’s hard to gauge the improvement on last week – the Cas side that ripped us a new one last week would have ripped Leeds to shreds too.

We looked a lot more fluid with Ratch at full back chiming in with an extra pair of hands in the line.

That pet play were we run an ‘X’ from first to second to third receiver looks far more dangerous whether it’s Stef or Gidley running onto it rather than Matty Russell, who for all his pace and footwork, just cannot pass the ball. The extra pivot gives us far more options, and then with Westerman at loose, it gives the team the capacity to cause problems from either side of the ruck.

Ashton Sims showed up big time on Friday, too. He is a different player from Cox or Bailey, whose job is to smash into defenders and push through the line. Sims’ game was all about sucking in 3 men, finding his front and getting a quick play the ball.

Not as eye catching as skittling blokes all over the show, but every bit as important, especially when we’ve got the likes of Daryl Clark and future England international Brad Dwyer jumping out of dummy half. A quick play the ball for them is like a line of whizz to Kerry Katona, again adding another threatening dimension to our attack.

We’ve not even mentioned the halfback combination of Sandow and Gidley (and that flick out of his arse!) but you’ve got eyes so you don’t need us to bang on about it, especially not almost 700 words in.

Depending on when you read this, the world of rugby league will either be looking forward to or passing comment on the first Origin clash of this season.

Fuck me, we’re excited about it. Like kid on Christmas eve and there’s a present that looks like a BMX behind the Barbeque in the shed excited.

It’s far and away the biggest and best event that we have in our game and probably the only genuine sporting spectacle Rugby League has to offer the casual observer after the Grand Final and the Cup Final.

We should be shouting from the roof tops about it. This is the showpiece that we mither anyone that hasn’t seen Rugby League before to watch and tell them it’s why we think the game is the best in the world.

In short, it’s fucking mint, but, mad as it seems now, people weren’t convinced by the idea initially.

The Sydney comp was far superior to the Brisbane one and everyone in Australia thought it would fail.

The interstate game was on its arse in the late 70’s – crowds were so low that the NSWRL declined to host Queensland at all in 1977 and it wasn’t until former Kangaroo vice-captain Jack Reardon suggesting that Sydney based should be selected for the Cane Toads that it took off and the rest, as they say, is history.

The point that we are fumbling for is that they persevered, adapted and stubbornly ignored the detractors because they saw something that had merit.

We need to look squarely in the RFL’s direction and demand they fulfil the need for a mid-season representative game in this country. Whether it’s an England vs the Rest of the World or a revivals of a genuine Lancashire-Yorkshire series, someone at Red Hall needs to have the vision and bollocks to fill that void and throw their weight behind it to make it work.

We can’t just scrap it because it isn’t as big as State of Origin after two seasons.

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