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  1. #1
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
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    Default 2020 Rugby Super League thread

    Strap in, this season is going to be the best season in years.

    Last edited by DIEHARD; 29-01-20 at 12:25 AM.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  2. #2
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
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    Israel Folau: Catalans Dragons sign ex-Australia full-back in cross-code switch
    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-league/51282586

    Israel Folau previously played rugby league for Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia
    Sacked Australia rugby union international Israel Folau has made a switch back to rugby league with a move to Super League club Catalans Dragons.

    Folau reached a settlement with Australia Rugby in December after he was released for writing homophobic posts on social media in April.

    He was sacked for saying "hell awaits" gay people, after previously being warned over his social media posts.

    Folau, 30, has signed a one-year deal with the French club.

    The Rugby Football League and Super League said they "deplored" Folau's previous comments and it was "a difficult decision" to allow him into the competition.

    Super League chief executive chairman Robert Elstone said "strict guidelines are in place" to avoid Folau again making such comments and warned that a repeat would see the player's contract being "terminated immediately". Catalans also face a "substantial fine" if Folau was to do so.

    The first opportunity for Folau to play will be in Catalans' season-opening game at home against Huddersfield on Saturday.

    News of the deal came shortly after an announcement by Wigan Warriors that their match against Catalans at the DW Stadium on 22 March will be "Pride Day".

    The club said they are inviting LGBTQ+ groups to help promote equality in the game.


    'A moral responsibility for the club'

    Elstone added he had sought the opinion of informed voices in rugby league and the majority shared his disappointment that Catalans had chosen to sign Folau.

    "There is a strong feeling that the decision to sign him lets down many people connected to our sport," he continued.

    "I made Catalans Dragons aware of those views.

    "However, Super League does not have the authority to veto the registration of players and is satisfied by the due diligence carried out by The Rugby Football League."

    Keegan Hirst, the first British rugby league player to come out as gay, posted on Twitter that he is "shocked and disappointed" by the deal.

    "Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in. It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity RFL expects from its players, staff and fans," the Halifax prop said.

    The RFL said they do not have the "regulatory framework" to stop Folau from joining Catalans and as such could not "prevent his participation in the sport".

    "The player has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence," an RFL statement said.

    "The moral responsibility for deciding whether to sign a player sits with individual clubs.

    "We have sought and received reassurances from both the player and the club regarding future behaviour."

    Catalans do not 'condone' Folau's comments
    Folau said he "acknowledged the views expressed by Super League and the Rugby Football League".

    "I'm a proud Christian, my beliefs are personal, my intention is not to hurt anyone and I will not be making further public comment about them," he said.

    "I look forward to my return to the great game of rugby league with the Catalans Dragons."

    The signing comes after the National Rugby League ruled out Folau's return to Australia's top-flight competition.

    He had a distinguished career in the NRL with the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos and earned representative honours as a Queensland State of Origin player and Australia international.

    Catalans Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said they "do not support or agree" with what Folau has previously expressed and "do not share or condone those views".

    But he went on to say they "want to give Israel a new opportunity to shine on the pitch".

    How did Folau get here?

    Folau's return to professional sport comes nine months after he was sacked by Australia.

    The former Wallabies star, who was previously one of Australia's highest-paid players, attempted to sue Rugby Australia for A$14m (7.4m; $9.5m) after having his contract terminated, arguing it was a case of religious discrimination.

    The row was followed closely down under, as it sparked debate about free speech and discrimination, but it was also a cause of wider controversy in rugby union as athletes both condemned and supported the player.

    England international Billy Vunipola was also warned by the Rugby Football Union for his support of Folau.

    Folau's return to the sporting arena sees him go back to the 13-man game he last played a decade ago, with a spell playing Australian rules football followed by his high-profile antics in rugby union.

    Catalans Dragons, based in Perpignan in the south of France, are no strangers to making controversial signings, having signed a number of players sacked by Australian clubs, including Greg Bird and Todd Carney.

    It's fair to say that the whole game is appalled by Catalans' decision to sign Israel Folau but they are legally constrained by what they can do.

    Rugby Australia sacked him but had to come to an expensive settlement following a court case.

    The Australian National Rugby League declared that he would not be welcome in their game but as they didn't ban him that has left the RFL unable to prevent his registration here.

    But it's fair to say he will not be welcome at any domestic Super League grounds.

    Wigan's immediate reaction to declare that their home game against Catalans will now be a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community is a reflection of the sentiments of every other Super League club.

    It's rare to see such a united front from both the Super League and RFL in their condemnation of this signing.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  3. #3
    Moderator JunctionBlock's Avatar
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    Wigan, what a bunch of legends. That's the best answer you could ever give.

  4. #4
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunctionBlock View Post
    Wigan, what a bunch of legends. That's the best answer you could ever give.
    Spicy. The drama is on thick this season. I'll be doing everything I can to watch Super League. Well done Wigan.

    And hopefully Folau focuses on his football.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  5. #5
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    Israel Folau v Sonny Bill Williams in blockbuster rugby league return
    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/

    Mark it down in your calendars. Israel Folau and Sonny Bill Williams will go head to head in a massive clash after the controversial former Wallaby confirmed his future.

    The first British rugby league player to come out as gay says he is “shocked and disappointed” at Israel Folau’s signing with French club Catalans Dragons in the Super League....

    Two of the biggest names in rugby union over the past decade are set to face off for the first time in two years, this time back on a rugby league field.

    It’s been 13 years since Izzy and SBW clashed in the 13-man code, but a rematch is on after Folau on Wednesday announced he had signed a one-year deal with Catalans Dragons, as he attempts to restart his stalled professional career.

    Want to watch Folau and SBW? Catch LIVE coverage of the 2020 Betfred Super League on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

    In bizarre circumstances, Folau and Williams will play each other in the English Super League competition, representing teams from France and Canada respectively.

    Folau’s Dragons are due to host Williams’ Toronto Wolfpack on April 12 in a round 10 clash in Perpignan.

    While the pair have clashed repeatedly over the last decade — both in Wallabies-All Blacks clashes and at Super Rugby level — they have only played twice in rugby league.

    Both of those matches came in 2007 when Folau’s Melbourne Storm got the better of Williams’ Canterbury Bulldogs.

    The Storm beat the Bulldogs 38-14 in round nine and repeated the dose in round 24 with a 36-6 thrashing.

    Real news, honest views. Watch Rita Panahi 2pm Friday, Sky News. For more

    Folau scored four tries in those two games, including a hat-trick in round 24.

    But in rugby it was Williams who took the honours. He won two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs, compared to Folau’s single championship in 2014 with the Waratahs.

    While SBW was a mainstay in the All Blacks team that has reigned supreme internationally over the Wallabies, denying Folau and Australia any Bledisloe Cup glory and also winning two World Cups.

    Folau is the latest in a line of former NRL players to link up with Catalans.

    Multiple premiership winner James Maloney has joined the French outfit for 2020 from Penrith, alongside the likes of David Mead, Samisoni Langi, Josh Drinkwater, Sam Moa, Sam Kasiano and Sam Tomkins.

    The arrival of Folau will likely cost Mead, the former Gold Coast Titan flyer, his fullback spot.

    Williams’ Wolfpack includes former NRL players Darcy Lussick, Chase Stanley, Ricky Leutele, Josh McCrone and Bodene Thompson.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  6. #6
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    Super League 2020: 'Two years that will shape rugby league'
    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-league/51290285

    This is not just the start of a new season - we're at the beginning of a two-year period that will define the whole future of rugby league.

    There are television deals to be negotiated, a World Cup to be staged, possible private equity investment to be considered and expansion to be handled.

    If all those hurdles and opportunities are met well, then rugby league has a bright future. If not, the professional game slips deeper into the backwaters of the British sporting psyche and may never recover.

    What happens in the next two years, starting now, could have as big an historical impact on the sport as the original split from rugby union back in 1895.

    But there are reasons to be optimistic.

    The fact that the World Cup comes at the end of this two-year cycle is a tad unfortunate. Because in the autumn of 2021 the game will achieve it's highest profile in a lifetime.

    England will take on Australia in a Test series in 2020, and then there is a home World Cup the following year
    Three World Cups - the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments - will all be staged under the same banner, with a significant cluster of high-profile matches on prime-time terrestrial TV.

    The inclusion of some deliciously unfamiliar rugby league nations in those tournaments, like Jamaica, Greece, Brazil, Norway and the USA, adds extra potency for the publicists.

    And the organisers are confident of filling some wonderful stadiums, St James' Park, Old Trafford, Anfield and the Emirates Stadium amongst them.

    For even the most rugby league-averse, it will be hard to ignore the sport in that condensed five-week period.

    Somehow, the momentum and potential feelgood around the sport that should be generated in October and November 2021 needs to be pre-loaded into the TV contract talks that will be beginning soon, because any new deal will kick in immediately after that World Cup.

    Whoever is televising rugby league in 2022 and beyond, may well be doing so at a time when the sport is enjoying its broadest appeal and cut-through since the inception of Super League and the switch to 'summer' in 1996.

    Finding a broadcaster keen to televise rugby league is one thing, finding one keen to pay a similar amount to the current deal is quite another. And there's a big problem.

    The business model for just about every Super League club, ever since Rupert Murdoch dropped his millions into the English game in the mid-1990s, has been based on that TV income.

    Telly is paying the wages.

    Without it, the game, in its current state, goes bust and will have to revert back to being a mainly part-time sport. Some players would have full-time contracts, the majority wouldn't. Talent drain to the NRL and rugby union would be inevitable.

    So if a new TV contract that matches the current deal can't be found, then rugby league has to look for a plan B, a different way of funding itself, in order to thrive and prosper.

    New revenues, new directions?

    And that's where the prospect of private equity investment becomes attractive - but there are drawbacks.

    The first is that there has to be interest in the game from that source. If private capital doesn't think there's a profit to be made from the sport, then it won't invest.

    Clear that hurdle, and get the investment, and you're then handing over a proportion of control to the money men and women. They will set the strategic direction for the sport to take, watering down the influence of the RFL, of Super League and the individual clubs. And their motivation will be profit.

    That might be a situation rugby league has to take on the chin. It's probably the only way it can achieve the status it desires. But there will be some big decisions taken in that process, bigger even than the potential mergers that were mused over in the mid-1990s.

    The most likely scenario, if private equity is successfully invited in to rescue the professional game, would be a closed shop of Super League clubs, chosen for their strategic value rather than any heritage.

    Think two clubs in France, a London side, Toronto and a second North America club and then pick seven of the current heartland clubs who would be fit for that new era.

    There are several owners of current Super League clubs who would be part of the process of bringing in private equity, and who would know full well that their clubs would have no Super League future, or who would be at best on borrowed time, once that money started to flow.

    Within the next 12 months we should know whether that's a road the game decides to go down.

    Building expansion, broadening horizons, global markets

    The arrival of Toronto into the Super League, with Sonny Bill Williams centre stage, has created a real curiosity that has been lacking in recent years.

    A Canadian side and a French side in the top flight of an otherwise English league is genuinely jaw-dropping for the majority of non-RL fans that I come across. The game can no longer be passed off as that strange pastime that takes place in odd northern towns.

    Incredibly there is, in some quarters, a feeling of resentment towards Toronto. A misplaced sense that somehow the game is wasting money on their presence. Fans of some clubs fear their team could be pushed away from the table because of the newcomers.

    The Wolfpack are self-funded. And the sport should be hugely reassured that a businessman like David Argyle would be willing to plough millions of his own dollars into rugby league, propelling the club through the divisions and into the big time, bringing with them a few thousand new Canadian converts and driving up media attention to almost unprecedented levels.

    Thankfully, the kick-off to a new season means we can, for a while, put the politics (well, barring the salary cap and the arrival of Israel Folau - that's another story) to one side and focus on what we love the most - the game itself.

    The 25th edition of Super League has the real potential to be a golden year.

    Ignoring Sonny Bill, and that's hard to do, there are plenty of other genuinely stellar imports into the competition this year. And a switching of teams by other star names makes for some intriguing scenarios all around the top flight.

    If the rest of the league can reel in St Helens, then the race for the top five could be genuinely compelling. Sadly, with no obvious relegation candidate at this point, the battle to avoid being dumped out of Super League looks set to be as nerve-tingling as last year, and hugely damaging for whoever does go down.

    The game needs to find a way to stop relegation being such a potentially cataclysmic event, but at the same time find a way to keep the dream alive for those on the rise in the Championship and League One. The fact that it hasn't yet solved that problem is an indication of how difficult it is to square the circle.

    On a personal note, I've not looked forward to a season as much in years.

    Prince Harry and Sonny Bill have, in their own unique ways, given the 13-man code of rugby a wonderful, positive profile over the last few weeks.

    Now its up to the players - amid the off-field concerns - to pick up the baton and entertain us as we settle in to the start of this momentous next two years.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  7. #7
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
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    Just over a day until the Toronto Wolfpack play their first Super League match against the Castleford Tigers.

    I'll be watching via vpn https://live.rugby-league.com/?lang=en Which is a subscription website.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  8. #8
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
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    Rugby League World is a great magazine. There is a new issue that previews all the northern hemisphere clubs.

    You can access it easily via an app and subscription.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  9. #9
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
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    Here is a treat. http://www.rugbyleaguehub.com/ is broadcasting matches Sky Sports doesn't, but only into Australia and SEAsia.

    Salford vs Toronto now.



    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS

  10. #10
    Rep Player shamus's Avatar
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    I heard on Wednesday that 2 Catalan players tested positive for COVID. It is more now. I figured that would create havoc. Catalans are all forced into isolation for the next 2 weeks but one must ask the question....what about other super League team players that Catalans have tackled, cuddled, shook hands with etc.

    http://www.catalansdragons.com/en/ar...ame-postponed/

  11. #11
    Administrator DIEHARD's Avatar
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    The Grand Final was an amazing game.

    You can watch it here on YouTube.




    Originally Posted by Moejoe
    REMEMBER!!!! SLIP - SLOP - SLAP in the sun. Skin Cancer is a growing problem. It could happen to anyone!!

    TITANS, DIEHARDS, MAROONS, KANGAROOS
    NUTS


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