Tanya Arnold and guests reflect on the 2012 Stobart Super League season. With a profile of England captain Kevin Sinfield and highlights of the best moments from all the clubs.
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SUPER LEAGUE SHOW ERY C999K/01 BRD000000
Hello, the Super League trophy is once again spending its winter
months here at Headingley.
It was deja vu in 2012 as the Leeds Rhinos
ended as champions for the fifth time in six years.
We'll be looking back at an eventful season which
culminated in a sensational Grand Final at Old Trafford.
The nerve-tingling entrance of two sides seeking one prize.
Rugby league's title is up for grabs here again tonight.
Here's Richie Myler with the only try of the game.
Takes it on to Ablett who looks for support
and he's got it in the shape of Kevin Sinfield.
Ben Jones-Bishop has shrugged off two to get over.
A scorer from a seemingly impossible position.
Briers with the ball.
What a pass from Lee Briers.
Joel Monaghan with a catch and a finish.
Adrian Morley, what a collision that was.
He gets up and gets on with it. Astonishing.
Clash of heads.
The clash of heads.
Hodgson goes left and Atkins is in.
Ryan Atkins is in!
Look for the short pass and Carl Ablett!
Ryan Hall back corner.
Ryan Hall could possibly win it.
It is Leeds' year again.
And what an impressive magnificent performance they put in tonight.
The Leeds Rhinos have just written
another chapter of rugby league history.
Just a few weeks after their grand final success,
the Rhinos coach, Brian McDermott got together with his old boss Brian Noble in the
Headingley dressing room to reflect on another title-winning season.
It's remarkable some of the things that have happened over
the last ten years.
But within that ten years, a fifth title in six years,
I'm not sure it'll be done again.
The club will endeavour to continue to try and be successful
but it's a big achievement.
To find yourselves fifth again after the regular season,
to do it from fifth again,
they're certainly not doing it the easy way for you, are they?
It was an interesting route, wasn't it? We...
There are lots of similarities between this year and last year,
but last year we found form probably for the last eight, nine, ten games.
Where this year we had indifferent form right up to
the start of the play-offs.
This year we've had some great wins, we've had some sensational wins
and some really big performances.
The Challenge Cup semifinal against Wigan,
that will go down as one of the biggest wins that we've
had in my time as a coach cos of where we were
and where Wigan were at the time in terms of form.
But we have been scratchy at times and very good at times
and we went into play-offs we were a little bit not sure.
Last year, we went into play-offs we were confident,
we had a fair bit behind us, we had a Challenge Cup loss,
but we performed really well and had a run of momentum behind us.
But this year, we pretty much didn't have too much momentum.
And the run that we had in the play-offs,
it makes it even a bit more...
It gives you a sense of achievement because of the tough route
we had in play-offs.
Do you see in the Leeds team, something that you saw
when you were the Bulls' coach,
that when Brian was playing that you sometimes get in sport, this
special group of players that come together when it really matters?
Yes, is the short answer to your long question.
A lot of similarities character-wise.
Differences in styles of play, things like this at times.
But the Bradford team used to consciously six or seven weeks
out pull in the oars,
if you like, make sure for the next seven weeks, we're fully committed.
To do that, you've got to have a core of players that
absolutely believe and dedicate themselves to the task at hand.
That's obviously very, very similar.
But the manner in which Leeds did it.
Again, going back to the Catalan.
I was in the airport straight after the game against the Catalan
and I saw the vinegar and the brown paper and the sticking plaster
and the bodies lying around and I thought, "No chance next week."
Then I thought, you're a bit silly here
because you've been in situations yourself where you thought...
You quietly question yourself and you think, "Do you reckon?"
"Can you believe it? Can you sniff it?
"Have we got the gameplan, have we got the tools?"
That confidence grows.
This might sound strange and Brian might disagree with me.
-I probably will.
-We usually do.
But the final for me was probably the easiest task,
if that makes sense, because along the way in the play-offs, if you'd
given yourself a challenge from outside those top two,
there's going to be a pivotal game where you're quite worried
and they bring it out of the bag.
It might be one player or one break, you know.
I remember the Ryan Bailey break down in Catalan
when he went nearly the length of the field and you thought,
"Yeah, this could happen again."
And absolutely there are similarities to the team.
The Leeds fans look like
he Bradford Bulls teams and vice versa.
I think the point is and I don't think for a minute you're
-saying that this team replicates Bradford Bulls.
-No, I'm not.
But it's about people.
I've been saying since I've been coaching the team, sometimes
it's not about technicalities, it's not about your tactical game plan.
Sometimes you can actually get that wrong.
But the players drag it out the bag for you and I'm very fortunate
the team's got some people who've been there, seen it and done it.
But it doesn't mean much if they don't still have it under there.
It's the people that make this team special,
the players themselves, not how they pass and kick and tackle.
It's who they are as people
when they walk around away from the club that make this a special team.
If you talk about great characters,
you have to talk about Kevin Sinfield.
He put in another "man of the match" performance in the Grand Final.
The Rhino skipper lifted the trophy for an unprecedented sixth time.
It's another Grand Final win for Leeds
and yet again we need to talk about Kevin.
An extraordinary performer at the heart of an extraordinary team.
The Leeds Rhinos have just written
another chapter of rugby league history.
You get better at it every year. They get better every time
and we thought last year was special coming from fifth.
But to be able to do it a second time and if you look at the
opposition we faced in the play-offs and where we had to go,
we made it a bit more difficult for ourselves
this year and thankfully we were good enough on the final day
and we got another win.
The Leeds success over the last ten years or
so has been a lot down to Kevin.
He's a fantastic leader and even more just a great professional.
When I joined Leeds, I really saw how to become a professional
rugby league player and Kevin Sinfield was at the head
of that watching him how he conducted himself on and off the field.
How he trained and how he ate.
Every little thing that he scrutinises rubbed off on me.
He's one of the players that can guide you through big games.
You can have all the flair and the passion and the enthusiastic youngsters,
but what Kevin's got of experience in big games,
he never fails to deliver.
This is a potential match-winning moment. Who can bear to look?
How many big occasions has he found himself in this
situation in these colours?
A kick to potentially win the game
and take Leeds back to the Grand Final.
Here comes Sinfield.
The champions are hanging onto their prize and they will not let it go!
And Kevin Sinfield is their hero again.
There are no better blokes to go out there and lead a team.
Even when he's on the field, nowt flusters him, he'll just
direct us round the field without getting his head in a muddle.
He's got a clear head.
Sinfield went in where it hurts to find success in 2012.
He was man of the match in a grand final that he might not even
Ooh, a clash of heads. The clash of heads.
Boy, do Leeds need that player.
I never doubted that he wouldn't carry on.
It would take a serious injury for Kev not to carry on so
when he got up on his feet,
I weren't shocked and he went on and had a fantastic effort after that.
I've not had a chance to watch the game.
I'm sure there'll be some point in the off season
when I sneak a look,
but it probably did me some good, knocking me out,
Monaghan knocked a bit of sense in me.
Of all the sportsmen I have ever seen,
this guy is the most impressive.
They tried to knock you out,
they tried to kick you where it hurts, you got up, you kept going.
That was immense.
Big team effort.
It's obviously nice and really humbling that people say nice things about you.
But, for me, it was all about the team and I play a team sport
and I feel so fortunate I play for a fantastic club with some great
players and throughout all that time I've made some great friendships.
I've played with Danny now for maybe 12 or 13 years and along with
Jamie Jones an Rob Burrow and Ryan Bailey.
We've seen everything that's happened since 2004.
Kevin Sinfield with a kick that could nail it.
It'll be an eight-point game if he puts this over.
Why ever pose the question of if when Kevin Sinfield
is kicking for goal on these big occasions.
Of course he nails it.
He's actually got a bit of OCD. He sticks to his rhythms.
It probably shows in his goal kicking.
It's the same routine every time.
It's the same routine when he gets out of his car.
There's a red light that flashes on his car when he locks it
and he has to watch it until it completely blinks out
and then he'll try the door even though he knows it's locked.
He has some strange little things.
He likes to play the odd joke or he definitely don't forget things
when jokes are played against him.
He's really serious throughout the game,
but in the changing rooms, the pranks go on.
If you ever get Kev,
you know you're going to get done 100 times worse straightaway.
No middle ground with him. So you regret doing that straightaway.
There's a lot of great kickers in rugby,
but I wouldn't swap any of them for him.
He's Mr Cool and he always delivers.
Maybe at the end of his career, he might have a look back
and give himself a pat on the back.
Everyone else does at the moment, but hopefully
he can realise what heights he's hit throughout his career.
I love playing, so the more games the better for me.
My body's all right so I'm looking forward to next year
and the challenge ahead for both club and country,
so it should be exciting times.
Can you sum up what Kevin Sinfield is as a captain?
-He seems to have been so phenomenal.
I won't be able to sum it up in words. He's clearly an exceptional player.
He has some traits about him that make him a good player on the field.
He can read a game, that's the thing with Kev.
There's quite a few players that can pass and kick and step and make
breaks and are physically very good as players,
and Kev's got a fair bit of that, but he can read a game.
He knows when it needs to be kicked long,
he knows when he should go for the attacking kicks.
Some of that leadership stuff, it's usually what he says
but sometimes what he does.
It's hard to put into words, but I think the single biggest thing with
Kev is him as a bloke,
him what he's like when he's not got a Leeds Rhinos top on and
when he's away from the club, how he lives his life.
He's a fairly strong character.
He's got a bit of an edge to him, Kev,
which not many people see and I'm very fortunate that I see.
If something's not right, he will come straight up to you and say it isn't right.
Whether he's saying that to the head coach or to my assistant or
to Jason Davidson, the conditioner, or just to some players in the team.
It's a really uncomfortable moment when that happens, but it needs to happen.
If something isn't right and we're in this environment where
we get judged every single week and people make judgements about
whether we've done good or bad, usually the people at the top cop
for the flack and Kev's at the top and he usually cops the flack
if the team goes really poor.
So he has this very demanding nature about him
of everybody that he works with. If it's not right, he'll tell you.
It's hard to encapsulate it,
but it's a whole range of things about why he's special.
You probably see all those traits when it gets tough.
It's easy being great when you're a good team
and winning every week, but to be great as a player
and great as a leader when it's tough, that says more about him.
By the end of that Grand Final, Kevin seemed to have almost taken on legendary status.
It must have made it an easy decision for Steve McNamara to make him the England captain.
Well, not easy, but I'm sure he rang Brian and asked him his traits.
But he certainly led the Leeds team magnificently towards the back end.
But, like you said, that honesty and trust, he has both with
the players and the coaching staff was there for all to see.
I like the fact that people are feisty, it means they care.
That care will reflect in his team and give him the direction
and the authority on the field to be trusted to implement ideas
and actions that Brian and James put into him.
That's the quality of the man because he also can play as well,
which helps. He can change a game himself.
If it's not his kicking game, it might be a short pass or
an offload or the direction he gives his team.
So it probably was a no-brainer for Steve McNamara to pick him because
of the form with him and the absolute outstanding characteristics
he showed going up towards the final. In that respect, it was a no-brainer.
But you also have to play.
You can't rest on your laurels as a leader,
you also have to play silverbacks, the senior,
sometimes junior, if they've got a senior mind, in your team,
are out there doing it week in, week out.
As much as he likes to think he's still out there, he's not
and so you need that fresh information coming in all
the time, but actually what it's like out there.
And that honest feedback is invaluable.
He has improved as a player.
I think he's improved over the years and become a better player,
which means he is absolutely in the frame for international selection.
To be selected as captain was probably
the easiest part for McNamara.
There's been lots of plaudits for Kevin Sinfield,
but it was Wigan's Sam Tomkins who was named Man of Steel.
He is simply one of Super League's most exciting talents.
Tomkins. It's a cheeky little dummy and then off he goes!
Look at the pace here.
Has support on the outside.
Been nominated in the top three. I was happy with that.
But then to pick up the trophy was a massive honour.
It just means a lot because it is voted for by other players.
If you ask any player who he wants to impress most,
it's your peers, people you play with and against.
I don't like playing against people like Sam.
He causes that much damage to the team.
He rarely has a quiet game.
Every time I've played against him, he's caused havoc.
He is very quick, he is very strong.
Nobody likes to play against him, let's be honest!
You get a headache because you don't know what to do for the best.
Sometimes he makes you look silly.
He'll just run past you with ease.
A big forward's nightmare actually.
So nimble, good on his feet. He is a world-class player.
You don't become Man of Steel for nothing.
Thoroughly deserves it.
He's an incredible player, incredible skill and talent.
He is only young as well. so he has got at huge future ahead of him.
He is really elusive. You know, he's only slight.
People expect to grab hold of him, but he is really strong.
He's real agile, so it's very difficult getting hold of them.
He could be a once in a generation type player.
Great work off the field as well.
He's somebody everybody gets along with.
Some of the stuff he does on of the field is so different and freakish.
Like I say, he could be one in a generation.
There are not many superstars in our sport.
Sam is certainly one of them.
Someone we can base the England team around for many years.
But he's also, you know, Super League is the figurehead really.
So it's important he stays fit and healthy and carries on doing what he is doing.
I want to be successful with Wigan.
We will remember the semi-finals from the previous season
and think about how much we wanted it.
We got the League Leaders Shield.
We were the most consistent team all year.
But we don't kid ourselves into thinking it's equal to a Grand Final.
That's the big one for us.
The Grand Final is what we wanted and the Challenge Cup as well.
But not a lot will be changed.
Sometimes it's the bounce of the ball.
You know, it's things that are very fixable.
There'll be no drastic change in preparation.
We prepared perfectly well for the semi-final.
Things didn't quite click on the day.
The bounce of a ball, a knock-on, an error, a penalty,
it can cost you a big game.
That's the lesson we've learned this year.
Brian, Sam Tomkins is a very special player, isn't he?
He has shown it week-in, week-out.
The true test of greatness is we'll put some game plans in,
put him under pressure, kick to him this way, that way,
and he comes up with something.
His physical prowess and athleticism is there for all to see.
But he can play, he can see things.
Some people are visionaries. He can see things other people can't see
and comes up with a game-breaking play.
Every team likes that element of X-factor in there.
It frustrates you a bit sometimes cos you..."Oh, do something!"
And then... But he produces pretty much week-in, week-out.
That is the mark of quality.
Probably the mark of, going forward, greatness.
I am sure he'll want to be respected as one of the greats as he goes on.
But it's pretty much doing the right thing at the right time.
You had Zak Hardaker come through from a Featherstone, young player of the season.
You've had Chris Hill at Warrington who's come from Leigh.
How important for players outside the top flight to see
these guys from the Championship can make it at the top level?
Yeah, it is. I would say that is a significant part.
There are quite a few players in the Championship...
that could handle Super League week-in, week-out.
We sometimes draw Championship clubs
in the Challenge Cup early in the year.
Sometimes it's...unfair to make a judgment that they are miles off,
Championship's miles off, it isn't.
There's quite a few players that probably just need a chance,
they just need an opening at a Super League club.
Zak's done incredibly well.
He came from Featherstone and had a bit of a bedding-in period with us.
Not just the actual standard or speed of the game,
but the lifestyle of a full-time rugby league player.
I should imagine Chris Hill's had a period where
he needed to bed in at Warrington.
But both players, especially Hill at Warrington, has done really well.
Hill in the internationals has stepped up, not just being a Super League player,
but an international player and has shone within that,
all in a really short space.
Not long ago, he was playing in the Championship.
There are quite a few Championship players
and if I were to give them advice, it's don't give up, keep trying.
It's up to Super League clubs to not look to overseas too often.
Although that will always be the case and is probably needed.
It's up to Super League clubs
to try and find the gems that are in there.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane had big boots to fill when replacing Michael Maguire at the start of the year.
But the local hero steered his side back to the top of the table.
At times, Wigan were breathtaking,
none more so than their 50 point hammering of Leeds.
What a night it has been for the side in cherry and white.
Rhinos' revenge came first in the Challenge Cup semi-final
and it's fair to say Wigan never really recovered.
A record-breaking Super League comeback was needed to beat Hull KR,
a result which clinched the league leaders' shield.
We won the shield. It's what I wanted to do.
I wanted to win the Premiership and show consistency.
But the manner in which we did it today, I'm still disappointed about.
Wigan had to negotiate the play-offs without the suspended Michael McIlorum.
George Carmont's hat-trick helped them pass Catalan,
but without the injured Sam Tomkins,
it was again the Rhinos who blocked Wigan's road to glory in 2012.
The Challenge Cup was again claimed by Warrington,
a third Wembley win in four years for Tony Smith.
He followed up, leading the Wolves to their first-ever Grand Final.
We had a pretty good year in total. We were in both finals.
Managed to win the Challenge Cup. We come a bit short in the Grand Final.
But we're pretty happy with the way the season went.
It was the first time the club has ever been there.
So I suppose you can see it as a positive.
Try and take what you can out of a negative.
It's only made us stronger to strive to get back next year.
We want a bit more to push that little bit further.
Hopefully next year we will have the chance to do that.
Obviously, the likes of Brett Hodgson has had a great season.
Lee Briers has been very good through the season.
We've got to look at a few, but Benny Westwood is good.
Benny is an incredible athlete. He defies logic really.
He's not the best trainer and hasn't got the best attitude.
But come game day he's an absolute machine.
This year has been probably one of his best years.
I mean, he's incredibly consistent.
But this year he's really upped his game.
When we lost Louis Anderson to Catalan at the start of the season,
people thought we might not be able to fill that void
of that left back row player.
But Trent Waterhouse coming in, I thought he was outstanding for us
in his first season. He has a young family as well.
He has brought them over with him and settled in really well.
He has had a tremendous season.
St Helens had a new home.
The spectacular Langtree Park finally opened its doors
at the start of a new era for the club.
Coach Royce Simmons oversaw a difficult start to the season.
Saints won just two of their opening seven matches
and the Australian left the club after just over a year in charge.
Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham took control for the rest of the season,
conducting an impressive revival.
That's Lomax. They're going again here, it's another for Wellens.
One of the key players this year has been James Roby.
He's been phenomenal all year for us,
he consistently does the same things every week,
which is so good to have in your team.
You know he's going to have that consistency of performance.
Another one is a guy probably coming towards the end of his career, Paul Wellens.
I think people have been so quick to write Paul off
as being in the twilight of his career.
I think this year he has been one of the stand-out full-backs
in the Super League.
After Sam Tomkins, I would say
Paul is up there with the best full-backs in Super League.
He has been great for us this year.
And we have got so many guys in good form.
One of the exciting things about St Helen's is that we have
a number of young players coming into the team.
The development of young players at this club has been great.
If you look at Tommy Makinson on the wing, he's been a revelation.
And Josh Jones, a young player.
For me, I get excited
when I see these young guys come into the team and performing.
They not only perform week-in, week-out, but in the big games.
Those guys have probably been the most pleasing part of the season for me.
Not too many teams return from the South of France with two points in their luggage.
Only Saints and Wigan won there during the regular season.
Dreamteam listed Remi Casty and Scott Dureau inspired their side to some memorable moments,
aided by the experience of Leon Pryce.
Steve Menzies became Super League's oldest ever player.
He'll be back again next year, but the Dragons simply ran out of steam in the play-offs.
A heavy defeat at Wigan was followed by a bruising one against Leeds.
Safely enough by McGuire.
Oh, and Bailey has made the break.
Taking on Greenshields. Simply runs through him!
Bailey's still going and now has support from Danny McGuire
and McGuire will streak away for an easy finish.
Plenty have left the Dragons over the winter,
including coach Trent Robinson, who's headed home to the NRL.
We have had snowstorms in Salford,
sun in the South of France, and anyone who was at Wembley
will remember the torrential downpour during the Challenge Cup final.
But one thing has been a constant in every match, and that is tries.
Here are some of the best.
Well, we certainly saw some cracking tries throughout the season.
But in terms of quality overall, was it a good season?
I think I'd say probably not as good as it has been.
That doesn't mean to say it's not good.
It is a great, great product is rugby league.
But I think we have to look at the quality of the game week-in, week-out.
And probably not so much the quality, the intensity of the game.
So it's important that the people who make those decisions can look at how we achieve that.
They are looking into the game. There's been a big report
by Maurice Watkins. What would you like to see happen?
Gosh, it's going to need better brains than mine to change it around.
I certainly think they've got to look at the import structure,
whether we're getting the right quality of imports.
Is there another place where we can get more players from?
Probably South Africa is an example.
Do we need to release players from there?
Are we over-burdening our young players to get them
to the highest level quickly, and there's a fallout rate there?
There's no doubt a lot of clubs are producing a lot of good talent.
But it's getting them through to the highest standard
and finding more players, mechanisms to find more players
if we're going to stick with 14.
Otherwise, I feel, to raise the quality and intensity,
we've got to reduce the amount of clubs in Super League.
But none of the Super League clubs will vote for that.
That old chestnut - promotion and relegation - would you like to see it come back?
It depends under what guise it comes.
The psyche of this country revolves around promotion and relegation.
You have to look at the mechanisms as well.
My belief is it should be a two-year process
so we don't get the yo-yo effect.
That's one of the reasons we went to franchising.
Obviously, to improve the standards of the game,
to improve the amount of money people are investing,
however, promotion and relegation destabilises that bottom end.
It's hard to plan to achieve anything and you need time.
We should look at a mechanism whereby
either a playoff happens so you stay in or go out
or you look at every two years.
A season of great contrast for Huddersfield began
with a surprise win over Wigan on the opening weekend.
After 13 rounds, there was no stopping the table-topping Giants.
This is good. Here comes George now.
George looks on his inside. George is after it.
And will score!
To keep getting better and competing in big games.
It's about consistency.
The top sides, like Leeds,
who've won grand finals or Warrington, who've won
two or three trophies or Wigan, who've won trophies,
they do it over long periods and that's the key for us.
Consistency never awry for Nathan Brown.
The coach took early leave on his way to St Helens,
Paul Anderson taking over earlier than expected.
Huddersfield won just 4 of their final 14 games
in the regular season.
A campaign that promised much, ended up in a play-off defeat
at Hull FC.
Peter Gentle brought smiles back to the west side of Hull.
There was a derby double against their city rivals
and a rare win for the black and whites against Leeds.
A little offload and they've got the numbers here,
including Sharp on the far right-hand side.
And Will Sharp's in!
Hull made it through to the second-round of the playoffs
but there will be new faces at the KC next year, including Gareth Ellis.
People spoke about Hull for years, how much potential they've got
but they've never come through,
in my first year at Leeds when they beat us in the Challenge Cup Final,
people thought that might be a turning point for the club.
It never happened.
They've been happy to make the playoffs
but not make much of an impact.
From what I can take from speaking to Peter Gentle
and the coaching staff is they are a club that wants to go forward.
Hull Kingston Rovers had the new management signs up too.
Craig Sandercock failed to guide Rovers to the playoffs.
But a run of four wins had the Robins smiling for a short while.
Withers at the heart of so much. Good work for Rovers.
This is Hall running for space.
Round the outside to cap this one off.
Four wins on the spin for Hull Kingston Rovers.
That was as good as it got for Rovers in 2012.
Lessons will have to be learned from some narrow defeats
towards the back-end of the season.
The supporters with the most to smile about in the second half
of 2012 were those from Wakefield.
The Wildcats have the green light for a new stadium.
Guided by Tim Smith, they had a season to remember
on the field as well.
Seven straight wins took Wakefield into the top eight.
A squad that barely knew each other at the start of the season,
made it all the way to the playoffs.
Play to go in the set of six, back to Paul Sykes to kick.
It's on its way. It's there!
Paul Sykes has nailed it from 20 metres!
There's ten seconds to go. It's Wakefield 33-32 St Helens!
Back inside to Sykes. Sykes has done it again!
Hull Kingston Rovers 30-31 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
We seem to have found a formula that works,
particularly in attack, for ourselves.
There again, our defensive structure has enabled us to do that.
We're all thrown together, not just to play inside but
the new coaching staff - Lee Smith came in and Paul Sykes -
so it's not been a settled squad throughout the season,
which is the encouraging thing -
we've come together, worked hard together.
That's one thing we wanted to do - work hard as a group.
As the season has evolved, we've learned more about each other.
We've reflected that in some of our performances.
The exciting thing is when we have a full pre-season next year,
who knows what could happen.
We've moved on to Odsal where they'll probably be pleased
to see the back of 2012.
The Bradford Bulls financial problems cast a shadow over
their entire season and Super League as well.
Good morning. A West Yorkshire rugby league team
is on the verge of going bankrupt.
The Bradford Bulls could go bust unless they raise £1 million,
half of it by the middle of April.
One of the most famous teams in rugby league is on the brink
Bradford Bulls say that their match against Leeds on Good Friday
could be their last unless the raise £500,000
to solve their crippling cash problem.
Got a plan to tackle it. We need support from out stakeholders -
supporters or sponsors -
in the near future.
The response we've had so far has been fantastic.
It's a serious situation.
Crisis is not over-exaggerating it.
An iconic team in rugby league. It would be sad if it goes under.
80 there with the hand.
An auction of memorabilia, including Grand Final winning shirts
and rings, raised a further £28,000 in their bid for survival.
Right up until kickoff, buckets were being rattled.
For the fans, uncertainty about the whole situation.
We get to find out what's happening behind the scenes.
We only get what we're told.
We don't know what's going on half the time.
I've been coming here since I was 12. I'm 29 now.
It's heart wrenching.
A club like this has been around for so long
and you don't know what's going to happen. It could go either way.
The perilous state of Bradford Bulls' finances has come to a head
with the news that the club is in the hands of administrators.
We were told the business needed £1 million.
The tremendous efforts of the supporters has raised
half of that money, prior to change at the top taking place.
We came in, believing that £500,000 was what was required
to match the magnificent effort by the supporters.
Within 24 hours of getting in through the door,
the position worsened by 360,000.
It means the club has run out of money
and the directors have been unsuccessful
in raising finance to enable the company that operates
the Bradford Bulls to continue.
I've been appointed administrator
with a view to finding a buyer for the club.
The news tonight is that Bradford Bulls have made
16 members of staff, including their entire coaching team, redundant
as they look to stave off the threat of liquidation.
For the whole coaching staff to be
told they're redundant was extraordinary.
The majority of the staff in the office were told they no longer
have a job.
It's disappointing to say the least.
We can't believe what you've just said.
You've sacked our coach cos you've got someone who will do it for nowt.
I've got no choice. The cuts I need to make
to reduce the amount I've got to find, HAVE TO fall on senior staff.
The mood is very mixed.
Everybody is feeling frustrated.
Quite emotional, loss of friends and staff yesterday.
We're very close. It's bad to see people lose their jobs.
They've got families to provide for and to see that happen,
to your friends is hard to take.
There were emotional scenes at the end of Bradford's game
Mick Potter and a number of the Bradford employees have returned
in order to get the game on.
16 members of the club's non-playing staff were made redundant
as the club tries to stave off the threat of liquidation.
In Super League, Bradford Bulls have been handed a points deduction.
It's the expected punishment for the club having gone into administration.
They've been hit by the maximum six-point penalty
with immediate effect.
As soon as I found out what was going on,
the team has stuck together and we've said
there's nothing we can do other than playing as well as we can.
There's been a dramatic development in the long-running saga
over the future of the Bradford Bulls.
Local businessman Omar Khan has confirmed to Look North
that he's the club's new owner.
Bradford Bulls fans are being told to relax a bit
now the club is out of administration and has new owners.
In a strange kind of way, it's been good.
It cut a lot of the peripheral things out and focused everyone
on the rugby and the training.
How we were going to get the points.
There has been a lot of players shown a lot of character.
A lot of will to play for the club
and the fans because the fans have been terrific this year.
Hopefully, they'll want more of that.
That has to be the standard from now on.
I'm joined by the Honorary Chairman of the Bradford Bulls,
Gerry Sutcliffe. You looked on from the outside.
Why did you decided to get involved?
This is a great club, in a great city.
It would have been a travesty had it gone under.
It's not just about the rugby club. It's about the city
and the regeneration of the city. I felt it was an important part
of the city's heritage to keep the Bulls going.
I'm glad Omar Khan agreed.
As somebody who has come from outside rugby league,
what can the sport learn from the plight of the Bulls?
There's a big issue, not just for rugby league but for other sports
as well, about how you have to be professional in terms of
the governing body. They have to learn lessons about
how sport is moving forward, how spectators expect a good product,
expect to visit a ground that has the right facilities.
It's also got to make sure the competition
is a good one, that people can play a fair competition,
that you don't have a small elite at the top and the rest suffer.
We can learn some lessons in terms of the game itself.
I also think in terms of financial management,
rugby league gave this club a Category B licence for Super League.
The problems were undoubtedly there at the time.
There are issues around that the game has got to learn lessons from.
We're waiting for the administrator's report.
I believe that will show some real problems
in terms of how this business was run.
Do you fear other clubs might be teetering on the brink?
I don't know. We're concentrating on this club.
I suspect there are similar issues around other clubs.
The time is right to sit down, take a root-and-branch look at the game
cos I think it's a fantastic game and we will see that here next year
when people will come back to watch a great product.
But the game has got to learn the lessons.
Salford face an uncertain financial future
after a difficult first season in their new home.
The influence of new coach Phil Veivers and assistant Sean Long
was clear in the opening rounds.
Good hands. Along the line. Good offload for Broughton!
I tell the boys, "Do a bit off the cuff
"and we'll call it ad-lib footy."
We score some real good tries.
One of my favourites was the first game
of the season against Castleford
and the conditions, we played against tough opposition,
bad conditions, about three inches of snow.
We probably scored one of the tries of the season.
It went through the hands in our own half
and then Matty Ashurst got it and scored in the corner.
It's our team tries. It's not individual -
we've not got a load of individuals.
We have to play as a team to get where we want to be.
Castleford ended the campaign with just six wins to their name.
A disappointing first year in charge for Ian Millward,
despite an impressive start at Salford.
Castleford, one final chance. Lovely little kick.
Chased and scored by Adam Milner!
2011 man of steel Rangi Chase was at the centre of everything for Cas,
on and off the pitch.
Wins against Wakefield and Huddersfield
provided rare memorable moments for the Tigers in 2012.
London coach Rob Powell failed to see out the season.
Tony Rae returned to the renamed Broncos and had
an immediate impact on results.
The long-term future of the club is clear.
The owner is investing at the levels compared to everybody else,
the intent is clear.
The reason I'm here is that intent hasn't been delivered.
There doesn't seem to be a problem with liking each other
and morale. There is good agility, good energy there.
Got some good playmakers that can make some good decisions.
The shell is there just needs pointing in the right direction.
Support to his right hand side. His fourth try of the match!
And eight in two games, it is going to be 38 unanswered points
in this second half by London. Astonishing.
Four wins from their last five matches brought the smiles
back to London and kept them off the bottom.
Returning to Super League for the first time in seven years,
it was a steep learning curve for Widnes and coach Denis Betts,
whose six-week wait for a win ended in dramatic fashion against Wigan.
O'Brien now at dummy-half, back it comes to wide.
Two goals for the one pointer. And incredibly, Widnes lead.
The real positives of this year have been that we have got better.
We've seen the rewards in the work we have done.
We have stayed true to what we were working on.
We haven't broken up when we were getting beaten heavily.
We had a belief in the way we wanted to defend
and the way we wanted to attack.
It took a bit of getting connected to each other
and a bit of experience of working with each other as a group,
and we stay true do that.
That has been a real positive about what we have done this year.
To see ourselves actually grow as a team.
We are getting closer to where we want to be.
We want a couple more quality players next year
to push our standards up again.
Plus, the season behind us, their experience,
that will help us next year.
There were plenty of candidates for match of the season.
Catalan's dramatic victory over St Helen's,
and a bruising battle between Leeds and Wigan
in the playoff semi-final spring to mind.
But in the Manchester sunshine, there was the Hull derby.
A game that had just about everything.
Martin to his feet. Here's Seymour.
A little pass to his right which was taken on by Lynch who loves to
get the left arm free and offload it and keep Hull on their way here.
Tickle has done well to keep it alive. A super pass between the legs.
Here is Jordan Turner. Turner's away, has support from Sharp.
Well recovered by Kris Welham. Dobson is down there as well.
It is a penalty.
It is a yellow card. It is a yellow card!
Ten minutes played and Michael Dobson is sin-binned for holding down.
It seems more than a little harsh.
But a penalty for Hull.
A try by Tickle. Here's Danny Houghton.
Seymour! Tearing it in. Driven forward by Sam Moa.
This is Houghton! This is Seymour! Through the gap!
Where Dobson might have stood had he still been on the field.
Hull get first blood.
They will be anxious that they don't concede any more points
while Dobson is still in the sin-bin of Hull Kingston Rovers.
And if they could add some of their own,
that would be a real bonus.
Here comes Craig Hall! And away he goes!
He is a classy player, is Craig Hall!
It is going to be one of those days.
Dobson back on the field.
Happy that his side are still at parity.
Six points apiece. It's a good pass to...
Hull back on the inside for Shannon McDonnell!
Good effort from Craig Hall. McDonnell anticipated it.
The Hull defence is beaten again.
It has been a tough old battle.
25 minutes played and it is as you would expect,
two sides who are giving nought and taking nought.
Martin has support on the outside from Tom Briscoe!
Who again has support from Richard Horne!
Hull FC looking to pull it level again,
with one of the tries of the games so far.
Danny Houghton. Seymour.
Taking it in the tough way.
Brett Seymour has kept it alive well enough.
Well, they are getting close.
It's Westerman, Seymour, a little chip by him.
Willie Manu playing and catching
and putting a smile on the face of his coach.
They are threatening here but Hull's defence is hanging on.
Lincoln Withers is the man at dummy half. Left it goes.
Dobson. There's the overlap. Here's Hodgson!
David Hodgson in at the corner.
They are almost giving the ball away there, Hull FC,
but keeping it alive.
Turner stumbles. Dobson's onto him.
Four gone, a couple to go here.
Seymour. Dummys to Warne, then spitting it out to Willie Manu.
The excellent Willie Manu.
Again draws his man. Here's Tony Martin! Between the two defenders.
Hull stretching their lead.
They are loving every moment of this, the black and whites.
Manu is eventually held.
That's Danny Houghton scooting away from dummy half.
Trying to get them going again. Houghton, Seymour,
Seymore with a little kick. It's allowed to bounce awkwardly!
Has he? All eyes on the referee, he's giving it.
Steve Ganson gives it. Surely Hull are turning the screw.
40 minutes to play. 14 points the difference.
Hull Kingston Rovers not giving this up at the moment.
Scott Taylor, put down.
Lincoln Withers. Spins it out.
Wide it comes. Lovely flick again. Sam Latus is in.
They haven't given it up.
There is still a semblance of belief.
Here's Withers. Eight minutes to play.
It is getting a little desperate at the moment in attack and defence.
Here's the last.
Big tackle here. Hull holding out. You feel they've won the game.
Spinning it to Dobson!
Back to Lovegrove.
Rhys Lovegrove pops it up. Dobson.
It's in! What a dive! And what a score!
And what a game we have got now!
Dobson's goal will put Hull Kingston Rovers within two points of this.
An excellent anticipation here. Lovegrove.
It is forward.
And it is forward by a distance.
What a stroke of luck that was for Hull Kingston Rovers.
About a minute left to play.
There's a frenzied atmosphere around this stadium.
Two points in it. These are the dying seconds.
Here's Dobson. Quick hands away by McDonnell.
Taken by David Hodgson. He's got the outside of Will Sharp
and David Hodgson is away!
What a finish! What a win!
Absolutely unbelievable! As good a try as you will see all weekend.
It is a try that wins the game in the most sensational of circumstances.
Hull FC cannot believe it.
Some super wing play by David Hodgson.
Good play in the build up.
He stands up Seymour, he stands up Sharp,
he has the pace to go all the way.
Hull Kingston Rovers - absolutely unbelievable.
Heartbreak for Hull FC.
With me is Eorl Crabtree from the Huddersfield Giants.
Have there been enough great moments this season to make it a great season?
It has been a fantastic season. Some really good moments throughout.
I wouldn't say great. I think there is a lot more to come from Super League.
Especially next season. I think it will step up yet again.
Going into the World Cup, there are a lot of players
trying to put their hands up, trying to get into the World Cup squad.
I expect a better year next year.
A couple of teams disappointed last season.
Would you expect them to make strides forward in 2013?
Yes, one of those is probably ourselves, Huddersfield Giants.
We had a very disappointing season, started very well.
There's a few of us as well. Hull were showing a lot of promise
but did not quite get as far as where they wanted to.
Probably a few more around that mark as well.
It will be interesting to see where these teams come next year,
especially the lower ones to see if they can progress.
The Magic Weekend will be back at the Etihad
for the next couple of seasons.
-Is that something you welcome?
It was a fantastic experience playing there.
It is a venue that as a player you would love to play in.
I've been fortunate to play and scored a couple of tries there
on the day as well. I was very happy.
It was absolutely red hot.
Not looking forward to that. I hope it is a bit cooler.
But the crowd was amazing.
Hopefully we get a few more people down there
and they buy into the product that we've got.
2012 is almost done and dusted.
What will the new year have in store?
There's already been some interesting transfer business.
And at the end of the season, the World Cup.
There is a massive carrot dangling in front of everybody.
Everybody wants to play in the World Cup.
There is nothing better than to have it in the UK.
It is that huge opportunity for everybody.
It is an opportunity for us as the national side to stamp our authority.
For too many years we have been chasing the Aussies and Kiwis.
I think we're bridging that gap. We always perform best on home soil.
If we're going to win a World Cup, this is the one.
Eorl, it has been a long season.
2013 will be even longer.
The World Cup does not finish until 30th November. Is it too much?
Every year I do talk about the Easter period
and also the extra game at the Etihad.
It is very demanding on the players,
especially when you get to the end of the season.
For me personally, I needed three operations at the end of the year.
That is a testament to how rugby players play.
People do not realise how tough it is.
Going into next year it will be tough again. It probably is too long.
But the lads will want to play in the World Cup.
That is what is most important.
None of us will moan about that fact
but it probably needs to be addressed in the future.
It is so enticing to be part of that World Cup squad.
You had to sit and watch England this year. What did you make of them?
They look very good, actually. Very well organised
and they seemed to gel together.
Also, the younger players coming through.
A lot of talent coming through.
It is not the old faithful that we've had to stick with throughout the past,
where they've not achieved what we wanted to achieve.
A lot of lads knocking on the door. That is what is exciting about rugby league in England at the moment.
You have been banging the drum for the World Cup? What has been the reaction?
It has been fantastic.
Everyone's talking about it, and this is our opportunity
as a rugby league nation, to make it so high profile,
make people take notice of this product that we keep talking about.
It is so exciting. Everybody wants it to do well.
But we can't get to where we want to be.
This is the opportunity. Everyone's really excited.
Going down to Downing Street was a pleasure for myself.
One of those things I was grateful for having the opportunity to do.
Hopefully we keep taking it forward and it just gets bigger.
There have been a few high profile signings. Quite a lot of movement between the clubs.
Any moves that have particularly caught your eye?
There have been a few decent moves.
Stuart Fielden coming to is another interesting one.
We've had Ukuma Ta'ai as well. Gaz Ellis going back to Hull, I think that's a fantastic one.
No one probably expected him to go there.
That shows the ambition of Hull and where they want to go themselves.
What about your own fitness?
You had three operations. Are you going to be all right?
Yes, I am. I am looking forward to ripping back in again.
It is just maintenance at the end of the year.
A couple of clean outs and I will be raring to go
in the first game of this season and looking forward to another good year.
And then making the world cup squad at the end of the year.
My thanks to Eorl Crabtree. We will see you next season.
Let's leave you with some of the defining images of 2012. Goodbye.
MUSIC: "Some Nights" by FUN
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Tanya Arnold and guests reflect on the 2012 Stobart Super League Season. Leeds Rhinos defied the odds to win the Grand Final for the fifth time in six years. Wigan claimed the League Leaders Shield and Sam Tomkins was named Man of Steel. The programmne includes a profile of England captain Kevin Sinfield and the best moments from all 14 clubs.