This week I am fortunate enough to be writing this column from my favourite Greek island Mykonos, soaking up the sun safe in the knowledge that Jukesy and the boys have achieved the second of four goals in guaranteeing the club a top two finish.
This secured a fourth home tie in the middle 8s and all with four league games still to go. I must admit with all the turmoil at the beginning of the season, before and after the loss at Batley, I was nervous of the unthinkable happening and not making the top four. This would have been a complete disaster for the club and me personally from a financial point of view. Instead, after a good start during our time of trouble it is our rivals Bradford and their owner Marc Green who faces the precarious possibility of not making the 8s. Now for them that would see a drop in central funding of £587,000 and whilst I don’t know Marc Green’s financial position, I wonder if he would have the appetite to add that to whatever level of investment is currently required from him to operate the club with his current central funding. Bradford are a huge club steeped in history and attracted over 6,000 fans for the defeat to Halifax so it would be a massive loss to the game if they didn’t make the four and weren’t able to inject the cash to stay full time and competitive for a return to Super League. This makes this weekend’s clash with Bradford all the more competitive with potentially so much riding on it for them. Whilst I am sure our guys won’t relax and Jukesy will have them up for it, Bradford will be under immense pressure to claim a victory as a defeat will see them three points short of the top four with three games to go – one of which is against top four rivals Featherstone – and it really would leave Bradford up against it. They showed however at Blackpool that they can get up for a big game against us and arguably it could have gone either way. But this time round we have home advantage and can see Bradford on the ropes. There’s no doubt they will be a threat in the four so to have the opportunity to potentially make that difficult to achieve is something that will motivate our boys to ramp up their game to meet the challenge of desperation. There’s one thing for sure – it will be a humdinger of a game and one not to be missed.
We come into the game against Bradford of the back of a solid performance against London being the only side to take the points from them at home.
There was a massive Leigh following to cheer on the boys which saw a fantastic first half display that must draw the attention from the lower Super League sides. Fui is back to his wrecking ball runs and Gaz Hock and Cory Patterson are showing the class that attracted them to the club. Greg Worthington has really come to the fore of late and seems to be making the most of some early ball which will do his confidence the world of good. He played bust up at the beginning of the season and largely goes unnoticed but he is a quality player and tough competitor. We are sat five clear at the top of the league having scored more than 100 points more than our nearest rival and have the second best defensive record, having conceded only six points more than Featherstone who currently boast those rights. With the potential addition of Kieron to the coaching team for the 8s, the return of Jamie Acton along with that of Willie Tonga, we look like we will be in good shape as we head into the middle 8s. The time out in the season for the likes of Fui, Acton and Hock will mean they aren’t short of energy so I am happy that we have got ourselves in as good a place as we can be and credit to everyone concerned with that.
It’s a good time to be a Leyther.
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This week saw the huge decision of Britain to depart the EU which I have to say came as a surprise.
I was one of those that didn’t vote and sadly talking to my family friends and workforce, those in favour of exiting made the journey to the polling stations whilst those wanting to remain didn’t.
It was very close and I am surprised that David Cameron has accepted it and offered to stand down.
I feel that such a big decision and with such a small margin - I dare say that if the vote was retaken next month there would be a larger turnout and different outcome. But that is just my opinion and unfortunately we must accept it for what it is. So how will it affect rugby league?
Nigel Wood has stated it won’t but I fear it inevitably will.
Take Josh Drinkwater for example. He has a German passport so whilst he is non-federation trained he isn’t a quota player and could come straight over. Surely now unless ofcourse the UKBA change the rules a German person would need a visa to work here and therefore would be a quota player.
The RFL have the ability to change their rules to suit and Nigel has always shown courage to do that in the best interests of the sport so it is for that reason that I am not too concerned about the affect on our game.