Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mystic Plump

I feel that I can now go public with the amazing prediction given to me by my spirit guide who has been chatting to the late Eddie Waring. England will not win the Four Nations Rugby League competition. I hope I am wrong, but ...

The first round of matches was this weekend and I was at both. Australia comfortably beat New Zealand in a frighteningly tough match at Warrington on Friday. The game was not much of a spectacle. Australia's tactics were dour, grinding out their win without ever displaying the skills that they have in abundance. The most depressing aspect was the use of the latest fad down under, wrestling your opponent in the tackle and on the ground to slow the play-the-ball. This is, obviously, against both the laws and the spirit of the game and negates the speed and skill of backs, rewarding power and strength instead. Disappointingly, it was tolerated throughout by the English referee who let the game slow down to a brutal crawl. Even so, Australia looked awesomely strong and will only get better.

On Saturday, England played the far weaker Welsh side and won comfortably without convincing. The latest move to try and beat the Australians by picking Australians for the English side doesn't seem to have made much difference, even with addition of a scrum half who had previously played internationally for the New Zealand Maoris, but has now convinced the International Board that he is a West Yorkshire Maori. The big test will be Wembley next week, though I won't be going.

The public has supported the games well, both were sell-outs. A full Warrington usually rocks with noise, but it was eerily quiet as the fans were nearly all neutrals. Leigh had their reward for building a smart new stadium, which will also host Swinton's matches next season until our new ground is finally built. They haven't got the traffic management sorted out for big attendances though. I managed to get in to the ground seconds after kick off after taking ninety minutes to travel the ten miles from my home. The Rugby League is hoping for a respectable turn out at Wembley too for a double header and even if England lose they can still make the final by beating New Zealand at Hull. It would be great to get that far, but winning the trophy? If that happens I will eat my ouija board.

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