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Winter Rugby
Post Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:42 am
Posted by Wires71 on Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:42 am
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It's been mooted on another thread. What would be the pros and cons of a move back to winter rugby.

Pros
+Could see increase in talent as 'superstar' NRL players will join for part season on big £.
+Return of Christmas holiday derbies.
+Challenge Cup restored to rightful place.
+Alignment with RU season / recruitment intervals.
+Smell of wintergreen

Cons
-Pitches - always the argument that pitches will be heavy and create a dull spectacle but I don't think this is a major issue with modern day pitch husbandry and we have a dull spectacle now.
-Sky unlikely to be supportive.
-Reduced attendance as summer rugby is alleged to drive higher numbers of families to the game on barmy weekends although this argument falls a bit flat when we have terrible weather and evening games.
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Re: Winter Rugby
Post Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:00 am
Posted by Alffi_7 on Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:00 am
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I don't think you'd get any NRL players coming over, they're scared to death of flying to Denver, they wouldn't be allowed to skip their off season to play in the UK.
Re: Winter Rugby
Post Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:38 am
Posted by the flying biscuit on Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:38 am
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Winter rugby. ...?

What you don't enjoy the season starting in February in snow and freezing blizzards. ..and ending on a miserable rainy October night in Manchester. ..

Imagine having real boxing day and new years day fixtures....oh my..
Or the challenge cup a fortnight before the FA cup final
And the grand final on a barmy may eveming. ....in Cardiff. ..!!
Oh and then Ashes tests in the Autumn...the Aussies touring full on all of them we'd get 60k plus at Wembley ...remember that. ..

Nah....we'll just booty about with the playoffs until the game dies. ...

I'm seriously thinking a switch to winter could be our games last throw of the dice. ...
or I'm just not in a good mood today!
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Re: Winter Rugby
Post Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:08 pm
Posted by sally cinnamon on Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:08 pm
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I would love to turn the clock back, go back to being a child/early teenager again, standing on the terraces in the winter months, watching the greats of the game that played back then: Hanley, Offiah, Davies, Schofield, Edwards. It was an era when I really loved rugby league.

Going back to winter rugby now wouldn't be the same, I would still be approaching 40 and still watching the same players that are around today, would just be colder on the terraces than I am now.
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Re: Winter Rugby
Post Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:20 pm
Posted by rubber duckie on Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:20 pm
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I couldn't wait to get walking and get some feeling into my toes so much approaching the ft whistle.
I was gone quicker than my missus can change her mind!
once a wire always a wire
Re: Winter Rugby
Post Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:58 pm
Posted by easyWire on Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:58 pm
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sally cinnamon wrote:
I would love to turn the clock back, go back to being a child/early teenager again, standing on the terraces in the winter months, watching the greats of the game that played back then: Hanley, Offiah, Davies, Schofield, Edwards. It was an era when I really loved rugby league.

Going back to winter rugby now wouldn't be the same, I would still be approaching 40 and still watching the same players that are around today, would just be colder on the terraces than I am now.


Nostalgia is great, but the reality is often different than the memory. Poor crowds, no atmosphere unless a local derby, and mostly mud bath penalty shootouts rather than quality attacking rugby. I do miss that smell of wintergreen from the tunnel though.

In a few years I think I’ll actually remember the 2000s more fondly for entertainment value. Those Saints and Bradford teams were making me breathless at times, and could be enjoyed (if that’s acceptable) with beer and sunshine on a Saturday evening. Shame we were so rubbish until this decade!
Re: Winter Rugby
Post Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:49 pm
Posted by Wires71 on Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:49 pm
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easyWire wrote:
Nostalgia is great, but the reality is often different than the memory. Poor crowds, no atmosphere unless a local derby, and mostly mud bath penalty shootouts rather than quality attacking rugby. I do miss that smell of wintergreen from the tunnel though.

In a few years I think I’ll actually remember the 2000s more fondly for entertainment value. Those Saints and Bradford teams were making me breathless at times, and could be enjoyed (if that’s acceptable) with beer and sunshine on a Saturday evening. Shame we were so rubbish until this decade!


Some of the rugby we played under Johnson was special - fluent attacking moves.

But yes the Saints and Bradford teams in the 2000's were special.
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Re: Winter Rugby
Post Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:59 pm
Posted by silver2 on Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:59 pm
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Looking at some of the old footage it appears that you only had to sidestep one defender and you were through for a try. There was no cover defence. Now, was that down to poor defensive tactics or did the heavier grounds make defending more difficult?
Re: Winter Rugby
Post Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:17 pm
Posted by Wires71 on Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:17 pm
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silver2 wrote:
Looking at some of the old footage it appears that you only had to sidestep one defender and you were through for a try. There was no cover defence. Now, was that down to poor defensive tactics or did the heavier grounds make defending more difficult?


I wouldn't say that to Steve Hampson. Probably the best tackling full back I have ever seen. He was like a limpet.
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Re: Winter Rugby
Post Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:17 pm
Posted by sally cinnamon on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:17 pm
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easyWire wrote:
Nostalgia is great, but the reality is often different than the memory. Poor crowds, no atmosphere unless a local derby, and mostly mud bath penalty shootouts rather than quality attacking rugby. I do miss that smell of wintergreen from the tunnel though.

In a few years I think I’ll actually remember the 2000s more fondly for entertainment value. Those Saints and Bradford teams were making me breathless at times, and could be enjoyed (if that’s acceptable) with beer and sunshine on a Saturday evening. Shame we were so rubbish until this decade!


In the decade before SL came in, Wigan carried the game to an extent, a bit like the early Tiger Woods carried the sport of golf. Their dominance gave the game a profile in the media and some recognisable faces to the average Grandstand viewer, but also created a great prize of a dynasty to overthrow. I don't know if anyone else felt like this, but for me there was always a secondary interest every season beyond supporting Wire, which was hoping whoever was challenging Wigan at the time would topple them. I used to watch cup finals or the run in at the end of a league season and genuinely be supporting Wigan's opponents. These days if it's a Wigan v Leeds final or whatever I just watch the game and hope to be entertained by the rugby but I couldn't care who wins, but in the early 1990s if it was Wigan v Leeds at Wembley I'd be nervous/excited from the morning of the game as though I was a pseudo-Leeds fan. I remember being made up when Cas beat Wigan in a Regal Trophy final, with Nikau in their team. I even remember being quite pleased when Widnes took a couple of league titles off them! But maybe this is just how it is as a kid, because I used to get a bit like that with sports: I badly wanted Ivan Lendl to win Wimbledon and was gutted whenever he went out.

I think the sport has had two 'peaks' since I've been a fan, first from around 1992 to 1994 and secondly in the mid 2000s probably from around 2003 to 2006. The first peak was because of the quality of players around, both here and in Australia you had a set of all time legends who were mature and in their peak days. That was the high mark of the GB v Australia rivalry, with proper Ashes tours, GB being competitive and taking Tests off the Kangaroos, and a World Cup final at Wembley in 1992 which actually gathered prime media attention and had giant billboards of Martin Offiah advertising it.

When Super League came in the game went through a traumatic period where the game was split by rival organisations, the Aussie national side was not full strength, and in the UK there was a dramatic decline in the quality of players. The greats retired, and that Wigan dynasty finally crumbled, but it didn't feel like it had been replaced by an equal dynasty, there was just a giant vacuum. Bradford went through a league season winning nearly every game with a side that seemed fairly average, and got smashed by Auckland Warriors in the World Club Challenge, who were bottom placed in Aus. Embarrassing. Then in the late 90s/early 2000s, things were improving but the top sides seemed to have a handful of real stars mixing with some very average players. But in the mid 2000s the top teams were really good: Noble's Bradford, TS Leeds and late Millward/especially Daniel Anderson Saints. And I think the quality and professionalism, and especially the defensive organisation of a lot of sides improved in that time. Since the late 2000s there has been a decline in the calibre of player in SL.
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