It’s been a rough off season as far as positive news is concerned, with the Bradford Bulls’ saga taking all the news, leaving very little to be positive about. However, there have been a couple of positive pieces of news.
Firstly, Castleford Tigers’ half-back Ben Roberts will make his long-awaited return to training following a lengthy eight-month layoff. It’s fantastic news, not only for the fans but the Tigers outfit given the impact he can have with his attacking mindset and great ability to break down defences. I’m sure the supporters have missed him too – much like the rest of Super League, a true attacking talent that will hopefully increase the quality of Super League in 2017.
Secondly, David Hodgson will come out of retirement to play for Hull Kingston Rovers in 2017. Not only that, but he could make his return in the Hull Derby this coming weekend, which I’m sure all the fans are looking forward to. He’ll be looking to repeat his Magic Weekend heroics a few seasons ago when he scored a sensational try to steal victory for the Robins.
My final bit of positive news, which has some negative branching from it, is the fact some of the Bradford Bulls players have now found new homes for 2017 and beyond. As much as it’s a sorry sight for the Bulls’ fans and supporters, the players have to do what’s best for them; and moving away from a negative environment where there’s no job security is the best option for all those players and their families.
Well, this would make my ‘ugly’ section, but the Bulls’ plight looks to be resolved by the end of the coming week. A potential owner has been finally found after weeks and weeks of dragging out the situation and even putting the club through liquidation.
It remains a subject of debate whether the Bulls should be allowed to restart as a new club and rejoin the Championship, heavy points’ deduction or not. As it must be difficult for clubs like Whitehaven and newly formed Toronto Wolfpack who have their own reasons to replace the Bulls for the 2017 season. However, every club has now started to prepare for their respective leagues, so to move them to League 1 would mean preparations being changed for those clubs concerned, which wouldn’t be right, even if it feels like the Bradford club is being protected by the RFL because of their history within the game.
My second piece in the ‘bad’ section is the fact Sky Sports advertised all their rugby content with the line ‘including rugby league’. It is somewhat disrespectful to our sport and our history that we’re just a footnote to all the different rugby union competitions in 2017. Despite the Sky deal, surely we deserve better from the hand that feeds us? We shouldn’t be okay with that kind of disrespect just because they fund us and put our sport on TV. It smacks as ‘we own you, and we’ll treat you as we like’, and that’s unacceptable, in my opinion.
Recently there have been some absolutely shocking incidents that have surprised us all; although the news about Chris Sandow street fighting like a very drunk 65-year-old Mike Tyson is something we all find rather funny, and I bet Tony Smith is rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of how right he’s been about Sandow.
However, no one saw the news about former Super League talent Richard Owen coming. He’s due in court to face charges of burglary and shockingly of rape. The 26-year-old, who suffered a potential career-ending leg break a few years ago, was sacked by Wakefield last season. We can only hope that it turns out to be untrue for a lad who had the potential to become a fantastic rugby league player.