Rugby League... The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Well, it’s back!
And the 2020 season hasn’t come without its publicity – both good and bad!
Super League XXV sees the inaugural top flight season for Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack and their marquee signing Sonny Bill Williams. If Sonny thought that joining the billionaire backed club would be anything but a challenge – he was badly mistaken! Two weeks in and the Wolfpack have been given a taste of the big time. First, playing Daryl Powell’s Castleford at Headingley and despite the majority of the Sold-Out crowd getting behind the star-studded side, they were unable to break down a resilient Tigers defence.
Week two took them on a visit to last years surprise grand finalists Salford Red Devils and yet another L on the board. Despite pulling themselves back into the game at 16-16 in the second half, the Devils proved their strength as they scored two late tries to condemn the Wolfpack to another loss.
It’s difficult to see where a win might come for Toronto – with all the sides strengthen well in the off-season – it’s a tough league to break into (even with a $5million superstar). I think that Home advantage will play a big part, with some players likely to be experiencing their first Trans-Atlantic trip when travelling over to Canada.
Catalan Dragons are the other ‘foreign’ club in Super League and have slowly & quietly been building a strong squad over the past few years. With the Tomkins brothers now taking up residency in the South of France, they have been joined by a higher profile signing. Israel Folau is the ‘Marmite’ signing of the 2020 season. His quality cannot be argued, a dual-code Australian international, multiple records in both codes and a try scoring record that any professional would be jealous of.
However, this isn’t what he is most famous for recently. Folau had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in 2019, having made comments on social media regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Many believed his career to be over, but in January 2020, the shock announcement was made by Catalan that they had signed him on a one-year deal.
Safe to say, this wasn’t the greatest news to welcome in a new Super League Season! Various professionals within the game openly slammed the move, with some even raising legal concerns. Nobody doubts the quality of the player however, the negativity which surrounded his termination from Australian RU overshadowed what would have usually been a huge coup for Super League and the English game.
With both the above, only time will tell how the stories will develop. Many within the sport believe that nothing good will come of either – but there are also those who believe that it’s for the future of the sport! One thing is for sure, they have divided opinion in what is usually a united sport.
Rugby League has always been a ‘working class’ sport, with passionate fans and family friendly environments. This makes it a great Corporate Event for all! Prices are much lower than those in other sports – even for the sports biggest events; Newcastle’s Magic Weekend, Wembley’s Challenge Cup Final and Old Trafford’s Grand Final.
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