The Good, the Bad and the Ugly #6

Zak Hardaker playing for Leeds Rhinos during the 2016 season.

​The Good

Zak Hardaker has stuck up for Super League in a big way by calling out Jamie Soward for his comments about Super League being “ten years behind the NRL.” He called him rubbish and shot at him for not even being one of London Broncos best players, in a season which saw the Broncos fighting for promotion from the Championship.

I believe Hardaker is bang on, and although the competitions are different, it’s unfair for a player like Soward to criticise Super League when he has experienced the difficulties for the sport to compete with the likes of football, cricket and rugby union in England. Soward needs to think about his comments because apart from the NRL, Super League is the only televised club rugby league competition of note anywhere else in the world.

Meanwhile, with all the drama of the Bradford Bulls in full focus, it’s nice to see the Leeds Rhinos players spreading some festive cheer by visiting sick children and Leeds Children’s Hospital. They recently visited young rugby league player, Reagan Tolson, who has been fighting for his life in hospital after a horrific road accident.

Leeds Captain, Danny McGuire, was the main attraction to the young fans as he happily signed autographs and posed for pictures, to help lift the spirits of those in need at Christmas time. It’s not just the Rhinos though, pretty much all our clubs and players having been spreading the positive Christmas spirit in local Children’s Hospitals. It’s just unfortunate stories like this wasn’t reported as widely as the negatives situations currently facing the game.

Leading on from the above, Reagan Tolson has managed great progress in hospital and should be home in no time! Messages from far and wide, from all the rugby league community have really helped the Bradford Scholarship youngster recover sufficiently enough for him to go home; a truly remarkable story.

Another piece of good news is how Wakefield Trinity have handled the departure of Anthony Tupou due to homesickness. This has been discretely and without fuss from the player or the club, with maximum respect for the situation from all concerned, which is a complete contrast to the situations involving Chris Sandow and James Segeyaro.

A fresh approach to the disciplinary review panel for 2017, sees Hull FC’s football manager Motu Tony, Hull KR’s Chairman Neil Hudgell, Wakefield’s Michael Carter, Oldham’s Chris Hamilton, along with the RFL’s Head of Legal Graeme Sarjeant and Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer, on the new panel.

They will review current structures including: how effective regulatory framework is; communication between the stakeholders and the public; and the processes of the Match Review Panel.

The Bad

Denny Solomona’s transfer has finally gone through, and he’ll make his Sale Sharks debut this coming Sunday. It’s horrible that this situation has come to fruition, but at least the Castleford Tigers management won’t let the situation die easily. They’ve commenced high court proceedings against Solomona, his agent and the Sale Sharks.

Regardless if the Sale management believe they’ve done nothing wrong, it still affects both codes massively. A lot of clubs from the 15-man game can’t believe Sale have chosen to do business in such a way that upsets the ties between both codes forever, and questions club and player integrity when contracts and trust is so easily broken.

The same can be said for the James Segeyaro and Chris Sandow situations, as the Rhinos have now accepted he won’t be coming back, and the Wolves don’t seem to care if Sandow does or not. It threatens future relationships between overseas players and their agents. It really could spell the end of so many overseas signings and in truth, in my opinion, that’s a good situation to be in. We should be promoting our academy talent, and it now seems we are forced into doing just that. After all, if we strengthen our youth structures, then we’ll be less impacted by disloyal and dishonest players.

The last bad point sees the Bradford Bulls situation take yet another turn for the worse. The administrators are on the verge of placing the famous club into liquidation. The players have also stopped training after hearing the news and the manner in which the administrator has handled the situation has upset many at the club, as he delivered the potentially life-changing new by phone, rather than in person.

This sorry saga has to come to an end sooner or later, because it’s been five, nearly six, very long years that the club has been suffering. It’s about time the club started a fresh, hopefully with a new buyer – one of two potentially interested.

The Ugly

My only ugly point in this feature is the terrible and disgraceful tackle on a female referee by a rugby player. The tackle was to the back of the official and it was a spear-like motion that caused the lady’s head to jerk back before slamming on the floor. The expected ban is to be at least three years from the sport, however, this player deserves jail time never mind a ban for the unprovoked assault on a referee just trying to do her job. There’s absolutely no place for this behaviour, no matter the circumstances.

*Pictures SWpix.com