Talking RL: Major changes next year? Please, someone, tell us...
Denis Betts didn't hold back in his assessment after Widnes' game against Huddersfield last week.
“That was woeful. It was awful,” he said, refusing to clutch at any metaphorical straws like injuries, conditions or Easter.
“It had nothing to do with injuries. People had to pay to watch that and it was dire. They were rubbish, we were rubbish. That’s how bad the game was.”
Sadly, there have been too many matches like that this season.
While we’ve had some thrillers involving sides at the top, there has been some dross dished up at the other end.
Some clubs just don’t appear to have the depth to cope once injuries bite.
Even Salford, who had a solid start to the campaign, look in danger of sliding into trouble.
They are well-coached and, last Friday, their players didn’t lack effort - but they never really had the quality to trouble Wigan.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Leigh beat them in the Challenge Cup tomorrow.
In fact, I’m intrigued how this round of the Cup goes, given the form of the teams at the top of the Championship.
While Toronto and Featherstone may not have enough against Warrington and Hull FC respectively, they should be good games, and give us an indication of how those two second-tier sides may go in the Qualifiers.
I’ve said it before, the teams at the bottom of the Super League are on notice. If they don’t get their act together, they could easily get replaced – providing, of course, a promotion-pathway is retained.
Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan, as well as some other top-flight club bosses, met with representatives of the Championship and League One a week ago to outline some of the “major Super League changes” he wants to drive through.
Given how long this saga has dragged on, the common consensus seems to be that the Super-8s format will be in place next year. Certainly, Leeds CEO Gary Hetherington has previously described some journalists as urine-poor for suggesting there is any uncertainty over the future format of the competitions.
But intriguingly, Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell told the Hull Daily Mail yesterday: “I anticipate changes to the league structure in 2019, which will help give us more stability and a better chance of sustained progress and proper planning.”
No plans have been revealed, and the silence from the rudderless RFL has been deafening, and thoroughly dispiriting.
I applaud Sky Sports for trying new things with its coverage.
And I like the Golden Points segment it has introduced before Thursday games. It’s entertaining and insightful and I hope it is retained.
But at the same time, they need to recognise when things don’t work out as they had hoped.
And this season’s ploy of having an anonymous legend pick a short-list for the man of the match, and then fans vote through the OurLeague app, simply isn’t working.
Harvey Livett was clearly Warrington’s best player in their 33-22 win against Leeds, but he didn’t even make the cut.
And the fact the legend choosing the game is anonymous only makes it worse.
If, say, it was Phil Clarke or Jon Wells selecting the shortlist, then at least we would know who we disagreed with. But we don’t.
Like Clarke’s margin meter – remember that? – it needs to be ditched, quickly.
Wigan are cruising along just fine in Super League and it’s hard to see their Challenge charge being derailed at an injury-hit Hull KR.
“Wigan at home is a straight left and then there’s a straight right if we’re not careful,” said Robins coach Tim Sheens.
I know exactly what he means. I think...