French Rugby League was doing really well until a bit of money started to be generated by it and the French game was infiltrated by English coaches and officials. These leeches walked into a growing area that was showing great promise and started to tell the French how to become even more competitive….like England.
It took all of about 4 years, but now France is basically back to square one, having had a disastrous World Cup and now coached by a bloke who wouldn’t get a job coaching a pub team.
A lot of really good suggestions tend to come out of England, and one the back of destroying French Rugby League, now the Poms have another beauty, a Super League All Star team that will actually give them a challenge!
Now keep in mind that England is good, really good. I mean, this is a side that went to Australia last year and managed its only win against a PNG side who has players in it that earned $12 a week. Having said that, I think the referee screwed PNG out of a couple of tries that would have given thema convincing victory.
So this idea is that this amazing English side would play against a bunch of overseas players from Super League clubs (Is there any other kind?) and it would make for some amazing spectacle that in now way has anything to do with the envy they have about State Of Origin.
The idea is that a bunch of old NRL players, who are just looking to fluff their nests with a bit of extra cash at the end of their careers, will be up for a game against an English team that is hopeless unless its playing the 10th ranked team in the world.
Lets look at it though, if only for a laugh. Lets pick an All Star team of our own.
League Freaks Incredibly Committed Super League All Star Team
1. Brett Hodgson
2. Matt King
3. Paul Whatuira
4. Matthew Gidley
5. Amos Roberts
6. Greg Bird
7. Michael Monaghan
8. Jason Cayless
9. Mark Riddell
10. Paul Rauhihi
11. David Solomona
12. Tony Puletua
13. Steve Menzies
14. Brent Webb
15. Sione Faumuina
16. Shaun Berrigan
17. Luke Williamson
Now, far be it from me to suggest that this side would kick the ever loving shit out of the team that Andy Wilson named in his article in the Guardian (which by the way included no less than 4 players that are not in Super League!) but, my team would kick the ever loving shit out of Andy Wilsons side.
So you get my team together, and you throw on a jersey and make up a logo for them to play under. You give them some money to compensate them for their time and make them feel special.
They run out mid week against a bunch of Pommy players they know well. They play them every week in Super League. They have trounced them at Test level, seen them go to water at the first sign of trouble against decent opposition.
They are playing for a nothing team. The officials are all against them, heaven forbid England gets thrashed by a bunch of semi retired players, they have already been paid so its not like a half hearted effort would see them lose out, and they have a game on the weekend that might actually mean something.
Phone it in!
So we see a bunch of uninterested players against England. England want to win because, without made up contests, English sides don’t win anything else. So these former stars of the international game get to watch England in a big circle jerk, Eddie and Stevo are caressing the English ego with tender loving care, and Jamie Peacock holds up some made up trophy and gibbers off some garbled rubbish in which the only word you understand is “Pride”. Although he might be requesting Pide…no one can tell.
Does anyone honestly think this is a good idea?
Does anyone think this would stop England being thrashed when they face Australia?
See, this type of fantasy talk always happens around State Of Origin time. The Poms look over and see this amazing, high quality contest between two sides that want to die to win. They see the best players in the world bash each other, and while they would never claim to be envious, they wish they had something similar.
They tried Yorkshire vs Lancashire a few years ago, and that fell flat, possibly because that rivalry stopped meaning anything a few hundred years ago.
Then you see people trying to draw lines and make clubs All Star teams…..missing the point completely.
The real problem is that all the best international teams in the World are in the Southern Hemisphere.
New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and PNG on their day would easily account for England.
Still I think English likes being in a position where their only challenges are against at best semi professional teams like France, Ireland or Wales. I think they like to feel special once in a while, big fish in a small pond. It makes a difference from when they play true test nations and get thrashed unmercifully.
Then when England actually decide to leave their shores and face one of these Test nations, they get destroyed by 50 points, of course, thats all a one off!
There is no hope for England. Make up any games you like, the English game is dying and no one cares, not even English fans.
If they don’t care, why should any of the rest of us?
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com