The Good, the Bad and the Ugly #4

Wigan Warriors v Castleford Tigers

Welcome to a weekly series where I give my thoughts on the goings-on in the world of rugby league looking at the good, the bad and the ugly!

The Good

It was announced recently that Canada and USA will host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup. This is on the back of the rising momentum of the Toronto Wolfpack and could be huge for North America given that, by the time this tournament comes around, Toronto could be very well established Super League team. This is typified by Toronto’s Chairman, Eric Perez, who set a target of winning Super League in five years’ time.

Elsewhere this week it was announced that Wigan’s Micky McIlorum will return from injury at the Leigh Sports Village when the team’s go head-to-head in his testimonial. This is great news, not only for the Warriors fans, but for the rest of Super League as well. He is a player with great quality and has been sorely missed in 2016. The injury he suffered could have marked the end of his career so it’s great to see him back and Shaun Wane will be hoping he is as effective as he was before.

The third piece of good news is that the Bradford Bulls have a few potential serious investors willing to pull the club out of the depths – yet again. On face value this is brilliant for the fans, players and club staff to hear, but they know all too well that the club needs more than lip service from an investor to truly be a force again in the years to come. Let’s hope this is really the start of the Bulls redemption, both on and off the field.

The Bad

The news that Castleford Tigers will go to the High Court over the Denny Solomona saga is both good and bad for the sport. It’s fantastic they won’t let Sale Sharks take one of their star players, whatever the amount of money they are willing to throw around. However, it’s terrible for our game. How did it come to this?

It shouldn’t be allowed to happen. The salary cap in our game is killing the sport, not helping it. Yes, it is meant to help clubs maintain a healthy financial structure, but they are losing all their best players, and some players are treating the contracts they sign as toilet paper. It’s simply not right and desperately needs changing.

The Ugly

Following on from the above, and we have the news that Leeds’ star hooker James Segeyaro doesn’t want to return to the club. He has cited happiness and family reasons as a means to stay in Australia. Now, we can’t hold the fact he misses his family or homesickness against him, but he signed a two-year deal knowing all these things anyway. Other journalists have spoke about how he didn’t seem all that happy after the Leeds-Leigh game. If that was the case, why sign a deal? A week on from Chris Sandow’s departure of a similar nature, and we find ourselves as a sport with our integrity in tatters.

It’s become very apparent that many players feel that they can walk out on their legally binding contracts at will, and nothing will be done. If Castleford lose their fight in the High Court then it only aids Sandow, Segeyaro and any other player wanting to leave without a problem. Super League clubs should just scrap signing overseas players and focus on their own talent; that way we will see more passion for the shirt and greater loyalty in the game.

The situations we have seen over the past few weeks are damaging to the club and the competitions reputation. If a player isn’t happy then let them go. Super League and the clubs involved don’t need unhappy and disloyal players unsettling other squad members and making preparations for the new season difficult. It’s clear something needs to change though to transform player attitudes in our sport.