Take Super League back to Nou Camp, urges Willie Isa
Willie Isa would love to see Super League return to Barcelona in 2021.
The Wigan forward was a member of the Wigan side which faced Catalans at the Nou Camp last year.
A Super League record crowd of 31,555 watched the Warriors’ 33-16 loss to the French side yet, despite that, there has been no talk of a return.
The 2020 campaign was severely impacted by Covid-19 but as officials begin preparing next season’s schedule, Isa would love to see other ‘on the road’ matches factored into the plans.
“One thing rugby league doesn’t do well is, if they do something good, they don’t repeat it - it’s a one-off,” said Isa.
“Go to Nou Camp, they should repeat it.
“It could be another club, Hull FC or St Helens, just keep doing it, once a year, and the crowds will get bigger and we’re touching different fields, people will buy into it.”
Isa was talking to the Football Firsts podcast - listen here - in which he admitted their poor performance that day may have been down to being overawed by the occasion.
“A couple of players were taking photos, sitting on the bench seats, and there was something in me going, ‘Boys come on, stop talking the mick here’,” said Isa, whose partner is England Women’s football defender Gemma Bonner.
“I looked up and thought, ‘Yeah, we’re in the Nou Camp’, so I just got up and walked away. We didn’t play that well which was pretty bad, but Catalans – please get us back there.”
Super League was interrupted for nearly five months during the Covid-19 pandemic and when it returned, games were staged behind closed doors and the season extended until the end of November.
“It’s probably made everyone put things in perspective – not just sport, but in life,” said Isa.
The most challenging thing for our sport, clubs are finding out hard ways to stay alive and keep afloat.
“Players have done really well, at the end we didn’t finish it off, but all in all I’m just grateful to be doing what I’m doing, there are a lot of people in hard situations.”
The Aussie spent time as an NHS volunteer during the first national lockdown.
But he played down his efforts, adding: “You do what you need to do for your neighbours, everyone played their little bit and I just did my part.”
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