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!
My first positive note this week comes in the form of Toronto Wolfpack, after they announced their first ever game will be against Challenge Cup 2016 winners Hull FC. With all the signings, announcement of live home games on Premier Sports and buzz around the club, it’ll certainly be worth watching out for the Canadian-based club over the next few years.
With all good things, there’s always the bad and ugly and we’ll get to them. But it’s set to be a massive year for Warrington youngster Declan Patton in 2017 after it was announced Chris Sandow has had enough of the Wolves and won’t be returning. We should focus on the bright notes of departures such as Sandow, Todd Carney and the possible exit of Denny Solomona. I don’t believe for a second the Wolves will have less quality without Sandow and that’s largely thanks to the determination of Patton and their youth setup.
Australia were simply brilliant against an out-of-sorts New Zealand outfit in the Four Nations finale; outscoring them 34-8. It was the first half that saw them destroy any hope the Kiwis had of retaining their title and remaining top of the world rankings, as Australia were just too good throughout the whole tournament.
There have been plenty of bad things knocking about rugby league this week: sudden departures, boring predictability and more rumours of negativity.
The merry-go-round of imports exiting Super League after such short stints has started again with a number of players opting out of our competition and their contracts for different reasons. I suppose the lack of quality in the 2016 Super League season wouldn’t have helped matters, but you would expect players to at least have the decency to honour their contracts. Like I mentioned above, there are some great positives from a so-called ‘quality’ talent leaving Super League, so lets hope we can keep it that way.
The boring predictability is up next, and it wouldn’t have taken a genius to predict the outcome of the Four Nations with Australia way too good. It’s not a question of England not wanting to win as much as Australia, but more lacking the composure and overall quality to get over the line. I can’t even say I fear it’ll be the same at the World Cup 2017, because there’s a very high chance it will. No friendly against Samoa is going to change that.
The rumours of more negativity reared their heads again. This time it has been reported across the pond that Leeds star hooker James Segeyaro is ready to walkout on his deal with Leeds to join the Cronulla Sharks due to homesickness. This is the last thing the Rhinos need before the new season, but I guess the imports must have drank from the same fountain as they have/or want to leave!
I almost had nothing to write in this section until Chris Sandow showed utter disrespect to the Warrington Wolves, their fans and the Super League competition. You can’t just decide not to return to a place you’re contracted to and has invested a lot of patience – if nothing else – as they threw Sandow a lifeline after his sacking from the Eels. I sincerely hope Sandow gets what’s coming to him, and struggles to reboot his career back in Australia. Super League may not be the best competition at the moment, but we still deserve respect and a ton of loyalty, especially from those who came to the competition on a ‘last chance saloon’. If anything can be learned from this experience as a competition is that loyalty is greater than the greatest talents.