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Just Despair: Rugby League 2019

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    Just Despair: Rugby League 2019

    OK the 2018 thread died on its arse and I was guilty of starting and neglecting it, but I can't let this pass.

    As usual with RL there are simultaneously signs of optimism and pessimism.

    Jamaica have surprisingly qualified for the 2021 World Cup, beating Canada and USA to qualify, and putting the US into a repechage play off. Brazil have beaten Argentina and Colombia to win the South American Cup in Sao Paulo.

    Meanwhile the draw numbers have been announced for the Challenge Cup and taking their place alongside such names as Edinburgh Eagles, Hammersmith Hills Hoists, London Chargers, North Herts Crusaders and Wallsend Eagles - we have Red Star Belgrade (yes, that one), making their debut in the tournament.

    Presumably the RFL have done the maths and assumed they'll get a hiding off whoever they play, and have not asked them for a 750,000 bond in case they have the cheek to reach the final and affect the ticket sales at Wembley. Because that is what they have asked Toronto, Toulouse and Catalan Dragons to pay for the privilege of taking part, following the latter's Cup win this year. This resulted in the lowest post-War crowd at Wembley (51,000) and the RFL obviously took a hit on it, but there must be better ways of managing the risk than this. So Toronto have declined, Toulouse have shrugged (they didn't enter last year either) and Catalans have accepted it.

    Meanwhile at the top level the international game is in disarray, with the collapse of the arrangement for the US to host the 2025 World Cup, and Australia's usual refusal to commit to an ongoing international calendar, despite a recent successful inaugural test against Tonga. Leaving England and New Zealand scouring the globe to find anyone willing to front money up to host them, whether or not they actually have the means to pay.

    Super League are moving Magic Weekend to Anfield, the venue where they ended up basically giving away tickets to reduce the embarrassing amount of empty seats for England vs New Zealand, having been pissed about by the local authorities of the so-called 'event city' who couldn't cope with two sporting events taking place on the same day, causing a relatively late date switch.

    As usual my attention span will be smashed to bits by Easter, but I am looking forward to getting to a couple of the early CC rounds, and hoping one of the Cumbrian sides (or Wallsend) get an 'exotic' home draw. Although any match at Distington, Wath Brow or Kells is exotic enough I suppose.

    #2
    It's rather scandalous, but Toronto Wolfpack seem to be almost welcoming the snub, as it allows them to concentrate their resources on securing promotion.

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      #3
      Tony Adams (yes, that one) will be the next president of the RFL

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        #4
        Adams's role will be ceremonial, a fact which seems to have escaped a lot of people who have commented on social media. Doncaster's Carl Hall will be vice-president.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Walt Flanagans Dog View Post
          As usual my attention span will be smashed to bits by Easter, but I am looking forward to getting to a couple of the early CC rounds, and hoping one of the Cumbrian sides (or Wallsend) get an 'exotic' home draw. Although any match at Distington, Wath Brow or Kells is exotic enough I suppose.
          This ended happily with Red Star drawn at Millom, and on a weekend I can make it, although the chances of the weather playing a part here are high.

          From elsewhere in the wacky world of RL:

          Rugby league in Greece forced to play games at midnight and players risk being arrested.

          The article at least concludes on an upbeat note with one of those sentences that would have seemed ludicrous a few years ago - namely that Greece will play Norway in the World Cup qualifiers in London next year.

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