The SL play-offs are under way and and should be the pinnacle of the UK domestic season. Unfortunately, three out of the four matches played so far have been one-sided non-events in front of relatively poor crowds, with one in particular spoiled by inconsistent refereeing. An obvious contrast can be made with the NRL play-offs which have been wonderful.
Since the SL Grand Final was initiated, only five teams have taken part including the big four of Bradford, Leeds, St Helens and Wigan plus Hull. Three of these teams are still in contention despite the salary cap and licencing regulations which says very little about progress being made. All neutral supporters should cheer for Warrington & Catalans
It has recently been announced that Jack Reed of the Brisbane Broncos and Chris Heighrington of West Tigers will play for England in the upcoming Four Nations along with Gareth Widdup of Melbourne Storm. They are good players and I don't blame Steve McNamara for wanting to pick the strongest team available but these three are products of the NRL and the Australian system which again reflects badly on SL and the UK
Ignoring the recent Crusaders debacle (although what happened to £700K lent to them by the RFL?) teams in the championship are still unsure of the structure for next season and cannot plan for the future. Will Coventry, Hemel etc be admitted as was originally suggested? Are they having second thoughts about another misguided attempt at expansion? We are often told that businesses need to plan
The RFL cannot just sit in an ivory tower passing judgement over others involved in the game. Stakeholders must be able to judge their performance too and they must be accountable. Ideally judgement should be made on or around the field of play and the RFL has been inadequate in terms of organisation, marketing, promotion, player development and income generation. As a paying fan I award them a category Z licence and give notice that I am expecting an improvement
For expansion we should follow the Aussie rules model where new clubs e.g. Crusaders are owned and funded by the RFL until they can stand on their own two feet. This will cost money and highlights the need for the RFL to generate more income and make it available for distribution in an equitable manner. They could make a start by organizing successful domestic and international competitions e.g. the SL play off series