WATCHING the Tri-Nations final at Elland Road was a surreal experience. I had expected a close game, a gripping contest - as had many others. The British press had been rightly praising the national team following their defeat of the Kangaroos at Wigan two weeks earlier. The British crowd around Leeds that day and inside the ground were buzzing with anticipation. And come kick-off time, we got our gripping contest? for all of four minutes!
THERE?S a common saying that goes ?statistics are like a bikini ? they show everything but the important bits?. Other people say that ?statistics mean nothing?, and further still, there are some who believe that you can analyse a game of rugby league by looking at a sheet of paper. This essay will investigate the use of player statistics in rugby league, how much can be inferred about a player from his statistics.
A topic in hot debate at the moment with Warriors fans and not many others, is how the Warriors will do in season 2005. The Warriors have been written off by "those not in the know", even by some die-hard fans. But there are those among us that think 2005 is going to take the Warriors back up to where they should be and that's near the top of the table.
IT?S all back on this Saturday, February 5th at Henson Park, with Newtown taking on Western Suburbs in an official NSWRL Premier League trial kicking off at 6.00pm.
There?s a full afternoon of Rugby League at Henson Park, with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and Wests Magpies clashing in three junior representative competition games starting at 1.30pm.
SOUTH JUNIORS TRIALS
THE Canterbury Bulldogs could be forced to name former Leeds player Bradley Clyde in their team lineup for Friday's Carnegie World Club Challenge against the Rhinos.
UK giants Wigan have welcomed back former centre Andrew Farrar, but this time to the coaching ranks for the coming season. Farrar's most recent assignment was the first grade post at St George Illawarra, but he has been out of the picture for two years now.
THE world's oldest rugby league knockout competition, the Challenge Cup, dates back to 1897. This weekend brings the first round games of the 2005 Powergen Challenge Cup, with the undoubted highlight being the derby between South London Storm and West London Sharks.
FORMER Leeds Akademiks winger Neil Ayres got his new career with London Skolars off to a flying start when he scored on his debut for the LHF National League Two side in a trial game against England Lionhearts on Sunday.
The Nottingham-born flyer has been training with the Skolars since relocating to the capital in October, following a sensational first season in rugby league with the Akademiks. He started on the wing as the Skolars defeated the Lionhearts - the representative side made up of the best players from the Rugby League Conference - 64-16 at New River Stadium.
Ironically, Ayres was overlooked by Lionhearts selectors last season, despite his prolific try-scoring record for the Akademiks. However, his try-scoring debut could have netted him a place in the Skolars' squad for this Saturday's eagerly anticipated derby fixture against his new club's Super League neighbours London Broncos.
Akademiks chairman Jez Shires commented: "It was clear Neil had huge potential when he first arrived at the club from Old Modernians RUFC last May. He has absolutely blinding pace, and is possibly the quickest player I have seen at this level, but he's also extremely tough and committed.
"It's great to see him working hard to develop his rugby league career and I'm sure he will do well."
GREAT Britain stand-off Danny McGuire has been cleared to play in Friday night?s Carnegie World Club Challenge against Canterbury Bulldogs at Elland Road.
SHARKS coach Stuart Raper has named a relatively young and inexperienced team for their first trial match of 2005 against Parramatta this Saturday.
SOUTH Sydney, the famous Rabbitohs in the National Rugby League, has secured Real Insurance, a new major entrant in the Australian insurance market, as its major sponsor for the next two years.
WESTS Tigers Head Coach, Tim Sheens has announced his squads for the Trial Games in Ulladulla, on Saturday 5th February 2005 at Mollymook Oval.
MEET Willie Mason, Mark O?Meley, Sonny Bill Williams,Willie Tonga, Andrew Ryan and the whole Bulldogs squad at the Overflow at Sydney Olympic Park