So what is all the fuss about?
Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t there a full consultation over a considerable length of time three years ago surrounding the viability and consequences of the new structure.
I am sure full consideration and a likely autopsy took place after that resulted in the Bradford Bulls and the London Broncos experiencing exactly what Hull KR have all be it two years ago. There is no surprise here or is there?
Perhaps that is actually where the problem lies.
Given the format is in its second year Super League clubs have long known that this was possible but did they ever believe it actually was and in particular by a Championship club rather than one of the relegated Super League clubs.
Many said at the time it was paying the Championship lip service opening the door ajar for promotion with no real prospect of it being pushed right open.
I have to say the panic that ensued and opinions during the week leading up to the Million Pound Game and many made since it that it could be argued that was the thoughts of many Super League clubs.
I can save myself many column inches here by referring readers to Danny Lockwood’s excellent column in this week’s edition of the League Weekly which for me puts a fair perspective on the matter.
This isn’t a shock to many in the sport. It certainly isn’t a shock to me or my coaching team.
It certainly isn’t a shock to the players nor the directors and staff and I dare say it isn’t a shock to many of our fans.
I will take it one further and say I dare say it isn’t a shock to the powers that be at the RFL or even may other Championship clubs and their followers. Indeed let’s face it as a Super League club you had a long time to see it coming.
For a start there were 23 regular rounds which would have given a good indication of where you were and the potential risk ahead.
Having realised that there was the same opportunity to all to add to their ranks if they felt in danger as indeed we did feeling we were in danger of not achieving promotion.
Then there was the second opportunity to avoid the situation.
Seven rounds in the Qualifiers in which the Super League would face FOUR Championship sides whilst the Championship sides would have to face FOUR Super League sides which one could argue is a significant advantage with the addition of the opportunity of creating a significant points difference of the back of it.
Then if that wasn’t enough there was a third opportunity to stay in Super League via the Million Pound Game.
I don’t know any other sport in life that affords the superior club so many opportunities to right what they may have got wrong or been unfortunate with.
Indeed I don’t know many businesses that get so many chances to re-obtain a contract they may have been beaten to or any real concern from the new successful company or indeed the contractor offering the work.
Generally in business in those circumstances the majority of the workers from the losing company apply for the new jobs created in the successful company and I can tell you first hand that is no different in these circumstances.
I referred the other week to agents looking to find security for players in jeopardy and understandably so and has Danny Lockwood pointed out myself and Jukesy were certainly watching closely the possible outcomes and identifying what would attract us in either scenario.
Listen, I am an emotional and caring guy and yes I feel for those who will be affected by this one way or another but when has anyone stopped to think about how I or my players would have been affected had we not been successful.
What is to say that at the end of my commitments at the end of the 2017 season had we not achieved promotion I put the club back to part time status?
Is that not exactly the same where full time big money players would be without a club looking for work.
Had we not been successful I would have had to make the same commitment that Neil Hudgell is no doubt contemplating next year and let’s not forget I made it this year so if Hull KR don’t pull it off at the first time of asking next year will there be the same outcry as they then may have to be forced to go part time?
Unless I have missed it where has the support been for Sheffield Eagles? Is that not a similar set of circumstances.
They have been relegated from the top four of the Championship in essence as a result of which their funding is more than halved similarly to that of the relegated super league team in this instance Hull KR.
This has had a devastating effect on them having tried to utilise the increased funding forming a full time team and now that can’t be sustained the clubs situation is critical as they are not protected as a Super League club is by those contracts becoming void.
You see there is a lot more to life in rugby league than Super League and that is something I will always be mindful of going forward.
I would hope that those at Hull KR who are now to experience it will also gain some respect for it and I have no doubt Jamie Peacock may now regret some of the things he has said and that comes from someone who certainly knows about doing that.
However I don’t think you can be too hard on him as I think it comes back to what I said earlier where people didn’t really think this was ever going to happen.
You also cannot criticise someone for forming a different opinion on something once their circumstances change it is life they must do that to survive although I have no doubt Jamie will be more thoughtful going forward.
I have seen a great figure of the game come under immense pressure that he evidently hasn’t dealt to well with but do we really want to remember Jamie Peacock for that.
He couldn’t have written a better script for his ending with the treble winning Leeds Rhinos last year moving into the role of football director at a Super League club.
Instead some will now choose to remember him for being part of a team that got relegated from the Championship and for me that is rather sad.
He put his boots on to have a dig to lead by example.
Yes you could say they hit the panic button but to me it was a true nature of his fighting spirit and willingness to give everything he could to the situation. For me I will remember Jamie Peacock as a player as a warrior on the field.
I will remember him fiercely defending Stuart Fielden in a selfless act of bravery. I will remember him fighting for our country and leaving everything on the field. I will remember his passion and leadership skills.
Yes I will remember him fighting for Hull KR but that how I will remember it him putting their survival ahead of his own legacy and that for me speaks volumes for him.
For me he is a treble winning champion who deserves respect.
Talking about respect and speaking words one might later regret I noted with interest an article in the League Express written by Gareth Walker regarding one of our players.
Whilst as that article states as a club we won’t comment on what is a confidential matter I feel it appropriate to comment on other aspects of the article.
Many readers may wonder why a newspaper would want to afford such space to a player in these circumstances particularly having had outlined them the potential issues it may cause both them and the player, although Leigh fans will no doubt work that out for themselves.
What concerns me are two comments in the article which are misleading under the circumstances that I am able to comment on.
The player states “I’ve been fully committed to Leigh for three years and felt that the time was right to move on. I think Leigh probably took that a bit personally” - now at the risk of sounding pedantic, it is perhaps considered impossible for an organisation to take something “personal” - the player goes on to state “It’s not the way I wanted it to end at Leigh- I wanted to play out my contract and get into Super League with them.”
Well I am sure many Leigh fans will recall the player signing a THREE year deal two years ago as was agreed with him and his agent.
However the original deal offered had been for two years but in agreeing to an improved counter offer it was agreed the two year extension would be THREE hence the press release confirming same.
However the paperwork hadn’t been amended to reflect the three years and when this became apparent at the beginning of the year the player decided to capitalise on the mistake and not enter into the amended contract that had been agreed.
This was discussed at length with his agent and he was told he could enter into the agreement or capitalise on the situation, which if he did would mean there would be no future interest from the club and he chose the latter.
I think it’s fair to say that this does not reflect someone being fully committed to the club or wanting to see out their contract.
Talking about players wanting to say farewell to the club I am sure one that the fans would dearly and in some quarters desperately like to bid farewell to is the legend FUI FUI MOI MOI.
Fui has been the catalyst for everything this club has achieved.
He is an amazing guy and I have found his departure emotionally hard to take. I don’t want to go into the intricate detail as ultimately I think it was a misunderstanding as right up until now I don’t think Fui fully realises that the opportunity has passed him by as he really wants to stay at Leigh and as much as we would dearly love to have him unless the RFL change the rules it is something the club and Fui will just have to put down to experience.
I wanted to give Fui the big send off at home as I did for the other departing players but he didn’t want that and we respected his wishes but as it transpires that is as he didn’t actually realise it was irretrievably all over and believed that somehow we could change things round.
I am as gutted as Fui and can’t ever thank him enough for what he did for this club.
I have so many memories of him and became very close to him. My overriding memory of Fui is my best memory of the LSV when he ran up the North Stand and celebrated with the fans.
It is also my biggest signing and always will be as at that time it was massive for him to come to Leigh and I put so much time energy and effort into making it happen it will never be beaten from my personal point of view.
Such is the man earlier this year he gave me his Grand Final shirt from Paramatta the one he scored the amazing try in and that is my proudest material possession of rugby memorabilia, and I have tens of thousands of pounds worth, but I will treasure that for ever.
Whilst we can’t give Fui the send of in the way we wanted I am hopeful I can arrange a Farewell to Fui night before he leaves so that the fans can thank him and we can end his time as we started it with a traditional Tongan reception.
I also hope he will attend one of our games so that the fans can sing him off and show their appreciation.
Fui will be welcome at our club and my private home any time he likes. I will never forget him or what he did for this town.
So the bit your all waiting for! What was Portugal like?
Well I can tell you it was a little different to what was reported by one individual on social media who made a complaint to the hotel, although when I got a can of cider put in my hand on the team bus at 4am on the Thursday morning, you might of thought it was going to get messy!
We had a good turn out - a mix of 27 of us with all departments represented, meds, conditioning, coaching, and directors - and everyone was excited at what lied ahead.
I had chosen a five star hotel in an upmarket resort Vilamoura firstly as the boys deserved it, secondly because I like the finer comforts in life and thirdly I thought it had the least risk for any trouble.
After a good drink in the airport bar and a few breakfast barms we had a fantastic flight with an extremely friendly Monarch crew who kept the beer flowing until literally they had nothing left.
Even the punk real Ale went and that was saying something. The plane landed with us all singing the winning song in good spirit.
We arrived at the hotel and hit the pool bar and I think this may be what could have upset a certain individual who was lay there with his rather attractive partner enjoying a quiet holiday surrounded by the older aged golfers around the place, perhaps feeling like top dog with his tattooed body and blonde hair.
I was amused as his partners head was swaying from one side to another as our fine figure of a team made their way to the pool bar and in and out of the pool around them. Perhaps he started to feel somewhat inferior I know I would have.
At 4.30pm I needed a little siesta as I had my mind set on watching the Wire-Saints game that night so I headed of after settling the tab and most of the lads did the same although Steve Openshaw and Richo stayed with the group.
We had a great night that night watching the rugby with a load of chip butties (yes I like the finer things in life) before heading to the harbour where we landed in a bar with a cracking band on.
As I finished my first pint the band played high ho silver lining and you can imagine how that lifted the roof.
I woke rather gingerly on Friday before a champagne breakfast perked me up. I had an email from Laura telling me there had been complaints at the hotel. It turned out it was one complaint and I began to think I know who that might be. There was no substance to what he said.
For starters he complained we were walking around half naked. Now I am not sure how a man can be considered half naked unless he was referring to me as I must confess I have had said to me in jest my chest is bigger than my missus’.
Surely a man is naked or he isn’t? Peeing in the pool? Well if I saw someone doing that I would video them doing it. Speculation as surely nobody is alleged to have stood on the side and peed into the pool? Racist chants! Wow we had an Irishman a Welshman a Tongan a Kiwi and an English black man, I don’t know how multi-racial we could have been.
I checked with the hotel and this was the only complaint they had from a hotel at 85% capacity so they as did I take it with a pinch of salt although the social media tweets were obviously damaging to a club in the spotlight close to attracting a major sponsor.
That’s one for Matt Chantler to pick up which I know he is on with so it may become something the individual regrets.
So a great time was had by all and Friday saw the alleged group of chanting out of control hooligans in a top class marina restaurant at 7pm for a group meal.
As can be seen from the photo everyone is dressed smart and we had a lovely group meal before soberly heading to the Brewery pub to watch the Wigan Hull game which obviously raised some interest.
The big day for me was always going to be the Saturday watching the million pound game and again from the picture you can see we had a reserved area in the brewery bar with outside screens to watch the game.
Me, Jukesy, Cookie, Richo and Opey headed down there after another champagne breakfast taking in a few bars along the way discussing our thoughts on the outcome of the game.
We had a good few beers in the sun and watched on with interest at what wasn’t particularly a great game for the large part of it not considering the Thursday and Friday games we had watched.
We had a right good feed at half time and everyone was set for the second half.
As the game went on and Hull KR got an 8 point lead and pressured Salford’s line with less than five to go I felt really flat as I caught a glimpse of Marwan on camera and started to wonder how he would react under the circumstances as he is a very emotional guy and as calm as you plan to be after experiencing something like that it’s hard to stay cool.
What I saw in those last two minutes will be repeated for years to come you just could not write it.
I don’t really know how or who others were cheering as I was caught up in myself.
I made no secret I was hoping for a Salford win and that would have been the case whoever they played.
When the kick was missed and there was 52 seconds to go with the ball surely being kicked long I did not believe they would score although I lived in hope then again Griffin broke with Evalds coming back inside but when he got tackled I just thought it was over.
Surely he wouldn’t find his feet would be held down or interfered with and with it would go the game?
No the ball moved through hands with a fantastic space finding pass from Flash ultimately seeing Johnson put in at the corner! I was ecstatic it was unbelievable! I really thought that Obrien would kick it and seal the win but little did I know that he would but not how I was thinking.
He missed the conversion and everyone discussed whether that miss had cost Salford their chance to keep their Super League place whilst the players prepared for extra time the waitress perfectly timed delivered a round of drinks.
I said to Jukesy, whoever receives the ball first will win with a drop goal but he pointed out they had to make the yards to the middle of the field first. It looked like they hadn’t done that before BOOM that drop goal WOW what an amazing kick under such circumstances.
It reminded me of neil Turley’s against Whitehaven although this was better, this was massive. It looked like it was still rising as it went through!
I was buzzing for Salford and mine Jukesy and Cooky’s chat became about how that shaped our recruitment options.
I haven’t got a clue what time I left that bar or how much it cost me to do so but we had an amazing day. Marwan phoned me back on his way home in the car and we had a laugh about it.
He was understandably in good spirits and I think this process has rejuvenated his interest in the game which can only be great news for Salford and in my opinion for the game as a whole. Sunday was about getting home and we managed it unscathed without drama all rougher than the justice many argue about the million pound game and the structure itself.
(Note: an incomplete version of this column was posted yesterday, and subsequently removed. Apologies for any confusion caused).