Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Super League

The Super League is one of the UK’s best kept sporting secrets. Of course, everybody knows that Rugby League exists but more most of us it is at best a curiosity but more likely to most a complete non-entity. It is as northern as flat-caps, towns named after types of cake and Yorkshire puddings. Rugby League rarely fills out vast 80’000 seat stadiums like its cousin, Union and has very few stars that are known beyond those who already care about the game. This year, despite an increase of viewing figures on Sky TV where most games are shown, the start to the Super League was overshadowed by the Union 6 Nations and will almost certainly be smothered this summer by football and the Olympics.

Which is a shame really, because this season is looking like it’ll be an absolute cracker.

Rugby League is in an odd position right now. Viewing figures are up, yet attendances are way below what they were a couple of decades ago. The truly passionate support is still confined to very small parts of the country: Wigan, Bradford, Warrington... It’s not that people don’t know that the game exists, they are simply not exposed to it enough. Yet take a trip to Wigan on match day and compare the sheer level of support amongst the lads around town and you’ll see a passion to rival and Football club.

I think that people should watch the Super League for two main reasons. First, it is an empirically great game. Second, it is fantastic entertainment.

Don’t believe me then take a look at this:

And whilst we’re at it, did you notice that scoreline? Have in mind whilst you do that tries are only 4 points in League, with a converted try set at 2 and you’ll see straight away what a shootout some of the games are.

Not that shootouts are always great. Some of the greatest games of Football ever have been 1-0.

Yet, for all the media hype over the 6 nations and the supposedly ‘improving’ England team, there surely is only so long somebody can watch sludgy, tepid game-play. Especially when there’s a whole different game of dazzling finesse, brutal tackling and pure entertainment that’s happening right under our very noses.

I implore you. Take the time and watch a little Super League. You won’t regret it.

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