Where to next for the WCC

23/02/2014

Where to next for the WCC

There has been a push from the UK to extend the World Club Challenge to incorporate a three or four teams’ competition. At avenue to be selected somewhere in the world to provide 3 or 4 nights of back to back challenges – you get it NRL top 4 ranked teams team versus the Super League’s equivalents meeting on consecutive nights for a carnival of televised footy in both hemispheres sometime in the near future.

Unfortunately the previous attempt at this grand style of presentation failed terribly during the Super League revolution. Lopsided scoreboards depleted any confidence in the concept for ever – until recently.

There are some great reasons to re-create this biggerhemispheric contest but initially it would be about boosting thestandard and profile of our game in the northern rather southern half of the Rugby League world. But it might provide the catalyst for real growth that in my lifetime neither the English nor French have been able to generate or sustain even when it’s had a bubble.

My question is did Wigan do enough to demand that the powers of footy look more closely at this suggestion?

The Roosters were underdone in preparation but completely dominated the scoreboard – 36-14 is a thrashing at that level.

But Wigan while never looked like winning the match they never stopped competing. They really made the NRL champs play hard to win.

Sorting out the direction of Rugby League’s best future includes some broader thinking. Short term thinkers will want any decisions to be best for the NRL while others may see that having quality international competition requires some consideration for our northern competitors.

Conclusions from this game about the two teams:

Wigan – likely to get another crack at WCC at this time next year. I doubt that they will lose too much confidence despite their disappointment. Their desire to be “rated” by the world of rugby league by winning the WCC and the budget to go with that dream may not be equal. In any case they seem to have an effective if horribly narrow and boring attacking plan that they believe in because it is enough to win in Super League and a tremendous group of local talented kids that could well dominate that comp.

 

Roosters – looking pretty well prepared for another red-hot-crack at the NRL title. This match will give them a distinct advantage on previous NRL WCC competitors as this fitted perfectly into their trials routine. And no trip home again with jet lag and refocus issues. The game itself for its intensity looked to me like a way better hit out than Souths (their round 1 opponent) had in the Charity Shield.

Bits and Pieces

A couple of minor but important points from this game:

A comment from Gus and Rabbits during the Roosters big winwas way off the mark from my point of view. I know Dylan Napa from my coaching days and to the best of my knowledge I would strongly suggest that he is a very tough player who has a very tough attitude but in no way does he need to “hate everyone” as the Channel Nine veterans suggested. He does enjoy the physical battles and he will not be intimidated by some of the more experienced tough dudes in the comp as one or twohave found out. He is quite a calm character on the field; it’s just his job that he does and enjoys. For those of you of my vintage or well-read on footy, he is very much like the ultra-quiet but deadly hitter Charlie Frith, ironically (or maybe not) a Queenslander too!

 

While on commentary did you enjoy the Auckland 9s commentary of Andrew Voss? I sure did. That must have been so difficult to continue the enthusiasm and quality of calling each individual match for 2 days with the rest of the Fox crew too of course. “Vossy” still maintains his quirky style, which is my preference but maybe not everyone’s. What can’t be denied though is his attention to detail – the preparation he must do to be able to recall events of relevance, players personal as well as professional achievements and characters as well as his actual knowledge of footy rules and tactics is amazing. Humility and respect for everyone he works with and talks about shines through all with an air of fun. He really is a footy man who I believe does so much good for NZ rugby league in his latest career opportunity calling Warriors matches. UK Super League would do well to poach him and attain the much needed boost for “ROOGBIES” audiences  on the TV as well as at matches.