Although we can't get too over excited about the result and I thought the crowd was slightly disappointing we can be very pleased about the higher profile and increased media coverage. I can't remember the last time a Rugby League match was featured on the BBC News on Saturday evening and this alone justified the decision to take the match to London. We must build upon these foundations and make these International RL "events" more frequent. Onwards and upwards.
The game itself was very exciting and just like proper old fashioned test matches used to be. At this level it is all about taking your chances plus minimising mistakes and Australia demonstrated their efficiency. Plenty has been said about the Billy Slater injury and how well Australia adapted but England played for most of the match without three forwards and can enter the rest of the tournament with confidence
Plenty has been said about the referee but I though he was no better or worse then the usual appointments. All referees make mistakes which should even themselves out and I've no doubt that a SL referee would have chickened out of the Williams sending off decision too. He was from a neutral country which is progress in itself but he works (or wants to work) in the NRL so he knows which side his bread is buttered. The criticism of referees by Tim Sheens and now Steve McNamara is a blatant attempt to influence future decisions and this is the real problem which needs sorting out.
A RLIF meeting has taken place where nothing of importance was discussed. They should be appointing referees and standing up for fair play. The silence is deafening.
Why not allow the people who run the RLEF to do something similar with the RLIF? They are doing a great job in terms of increasing participation in Europe and could easily expand their operations to work worldwide. Give them a budget, an office, more staff and more autonomy then watch them go. They may need some ex-political heavyweight to add suitable gravitas and the transfer of power might have to be phased but the RLIF must out rank all other countries. The veto that Australia seems to have in regard to International RL must be removed