My name is The Glorious League Freak and I am about to take you on a magical mystery tour of international Rugby Leagues biggest tournament, the Rugby League World Cup.
During the World Cup you will get to see many players you know and love, also Paul Gallen, playing for the nation of their birth, or choice, or that they read about in a magazine once, as they strive to win the biggest trophy Rugby League has to offer.
The Rugby League World Cup was first played in 1954. The trophy used in the World Cup is still in used today. Of course, it went missing for a few decades along the way. Someone stole it out of a hotel, eventually it was found in a ditch, and now it has been restored to its former glory!
Australia and England have dominated most World Cup competitions. New Zealand got in on the act in 2008, and who will ever forget that! It is interesting to note that only Australia has ever managed to win back-to-back World Cup competitions though.
So what can we expect from the World Cup of 2013?
I think one day we will look at this World Cup as the moment pacific islands nations showed their growing influence on the game. The likes of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji should do well in this World Cup while I think the likes of Wales, Scotland and Ireland will struggle.
This is a key competition in the history of English Rugby League. With their domestic competition in a state of decay to the point where civil war has broken out among clubs, England really need to be successful in the World Cup to drive the game forward. Unfortunately for England they have had a catastrophic breakdown leading into the World Cup. They already seem doomed.
As all of this is going on, the silent stare down between Australia and New Zealand continues. Both teams continue to praise one another. Both know they will contest the final.
The Kiwis want to keep the World Cup trophy in their possession. Australia are looking to win back the trophy they believe belongs to them.
Australia is being driven by a generation of players who have tasted every success the game has to offer, except a World Cup win. If Australia does not win the World Cup we will see a generation of great players that will not be able to claim they won every trophy the game had on offer.
Trust me….the Rugby League history books don’t take things like that lightly….
While desperation is driving the Kangaroos the current world champions are looking to stamp their authority on the international game. Their record in big tournaments over the last decade is outstanding. They have beaten Australia in three major finals, two of which were on Australian soil. The other? It was also played in England.
When people look back on the history of Rugby League they are inevitably drawn towards what happened at international level at any given time. International Rugby League is the proving ground of the truly great players in our game. It is a battlefield where salary caps and player recruitment do not dictate the outcome.
The World Cup is a moment in time that will make or break the reputations of some of the games best players. In just weeks from now history will have judged the games best, and there can be only one nation that will claim the glorious trophy one lost in time.
So welcome to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. As Arthur Beetson once said to me…..enjoy the game!
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
Jan 20, 2020 0