Do you realise that during the Super League era from 1995 onwards, all the major finals have been contested by members of the big four of Bradford, Leeds, St Helens and Wigan except for Sheffield, Hull, Huddersfield and Warrington twice.
Thankfully, as we move towards the business end of this season, things seem to be improving. We are not quite at the stage where a club can finish bottom one year and top the next but it has been a very competitive with eleven teams still competing for the play off places. Bradford are not the force they once were, Leeds are looking increasingly like yesterdays men and Huddersfield and Warrington seem to be emerging as strong competitors. Harlequins and Wakefield have had their moments, even bottom placed Crusaders have been competitive and been very unlucky to lose some close games.
It's good to see some different trophy contenders and all true RL fans must be cheering on the Catalans, Huddersfield, Warrington or any other team from outside the big four. I'm sure all fair minded St Helens and Wigan fans know where I'm coming from although I wouldn't discount Leeds just yet, they have too many star players with big match experience for that
One thing that has struck me throughout the season is the way most teams seem to be coached to get play the ball penalties. These decisions are inconsistent, very subjective, prone to gamesmanship and result in easy yards into opposition territory which often results in a try. This seems to be SKY driven and their TV presenters are continually begging for penalties which often aren't there.
Our sport often resembles basketball with score lines such as 32-28 common. I suggest we take calm down, take things nice and easy and stop penalising players when they are genuinely trying to roll away from the tackled player. I don't condone slowing down tactics but common sense can be used just like in the England v Exiles game and World Club Challenge. Space will become limited, yards will have to be earned and scoring will be much harder. Our players will be forced to rely upon skill and guile rather than the easy piggy back penalty option. This will improve our game for spectators and improve our chances at international level