August 2019 n Volume 9 Issue 8
n It was a terrible look. Scenes of crowd violence at the Stade Gilbert Brutus, Catalans and Warrington fans clashing after a fractious game; an incident waiting to happen.
Hardly isolated, it again raised many questions. Is there sufficient active stewarding? There was none at the point of disruption. Is an appeal for good behaviour via a loudspeaker message sufficient or just an abdication of responsibility by clubs and the governing body? Can league still trade on being a ‘family’ sport, whatever that means?
It also demanded strong, clear, and immediate sanctions, advice to all clubs for the future – not least around the influence of alcohol with the sport's reputation stake.
Instead, an indeterminate independent investigation has begun that according to RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer “might take weeks”. Scapegoated referee James Child was dropped to the Championship, despite a ridiculous assertion from Rimmer that it wasn’t a demotion.
Reaction on social media was predictably strident and partisan, often jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions. But it emerged that a number of fans no longer take their children, as they do not believe it is a safe or savoury environment.
Re on-field matters, there is also clearly a disconnect between the match review panel and the disciplinary. Three Dragons players were initially charged – including Kenny Edwards for supposed incitement - but then exonerated due to lack of evidence.
n Also a concern in France, with the negotiation of television deals front and centre at the moment, is the decision of beIN SPORTS to pull the plug on showing Dragons matches from next season.
They began on the channel in 2012 but beIN paid only ¤70,000 to Super League for the rights, in addition to the production cost.
SL CEO Robert Elstone wanted to increase the price, but the under
Foot in mouth: Jonny Lomax takes one for the team as Wembley-bound Saints and Warrington meet Eddie Whitham
Putting the boot in n firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com n financial pressure Qatari-based channel said that it could not accede to the demands and that it preferred to withdraw.
Super League and the Dragons themselves are looking at potential alternative broadcasters, however the lack of Catalans home games could materially affect those pivotal discussions with Sky about any contract renewal in 2021.
n At least there has been lots of exciting RLWC2021 news lately, not least that eight nations have been revealed as participants in the Women’s and Wheelchair comps.
Hosts England and holders the Jillaroos are joined by Brazil, Canada, Cook Islands, France, New Zealand and PNG Orchids, while newcomers Norway, Spain and the USA make a bow alongside England, Australia’s Wheelaroos, Scotland, Wales and wheelchair champions France.
Confederação Brasileira de RL chief Hugo Froes said: “We are now closing sponsorship deals to support our domestic and international programmes. We receive support from government at national and state level. We’ve become the first Latin American country to have a women’s championship, which has five teams. We have just passed 500 registered players in Brazil.”
Not everyone is happy with the selections, however. Fiji coach Adrian Vowles is to appeal after his Bulikula missed out on a women's berth. His team convincingly beat PNG on their international debut.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Brazil but my belief is you take the strongest,” said the former Super League Man of Steel. “I've a bunch of girls and coaching staff absolutely shattered. We’ve missed a massive opportunity to really push against rugby union.”
RLWC2021 CEO Jon Dutton said: “Ideally we wanted a 50 per cent split between European and Pacific nations after 25 per cent representation in RLWC2017.
“Unfortunately one team had to miss out and you can’t exclude teams like PNG or the Cook Islands who are ranked in the top six.”
As part of their preparations
Destination Wembley 15 Our writers descend on Bolton
Trevor Baxter’s monthly profile Five Drives & A Kick 7 Danny McGuire is signing out just as Tony Adams is signing in The Reality Is... 13 Brian Noble MBE reflects on yet another very busy news month Stand Up for League 18 Ian Boldsworth says more is less Louie the Lip 19 LMS is in the Challenge Cup final Irvine’s Indigestion 20 Chris Irvine’s farewell to August teamsheet
Priim and proper 21 Leeds retain the Women’s pot Championship Chat 22 Sheffield and Widnes celebrate Latham’s Loft 24 Mike Latham has an NU final hero Match of the Month 26 Thursday night at Hull v Wigan Doing it tough 28 Phil Caplan meets Matty English England expects 32 Paul Sculthorpe’s big expectations
Café des Treizistes 34 Mike Rylance’s French report Whither League 1? 35 Leon Pryce ponders the future No Helmets Required 38 Gavin Willacy signs out with USA Footy20 40 George Clarke hits the Gold Coast Pacific advances 43 Joanna Lester writes from Samoa North by North East 46 Anthony Williams in Newcastle Any Other Business 50 Martin Kelner issues a warning
Paramatta awaits... 31 World Cup 9s fixtures revealed