13/02/2017 Super League Show


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The long wait is over and raced to the


12 teams have their eyes on this prize.


# And it's safe to say the storm's gone away


# And I'm dancing on the morning after


# Something like freedom, freedom


# My God, I'm breathing underwater...#


2016, Wigan are the Super League champions.


And joining us, we have Hull FC's Gareth Ellis


and Jamie Jones-Buchanan of the Leeds Rhinos.


not just who maybe want to get into the England squad,


but Scotland, Wales and some of the South Sea Islanders


It's a massive achievement to play for your country


and particularly in a World Cup, to go over there and do it is certainly


something that resonates with me over the course of my career.


I think, you know, particularly Scott Taylor coming


back with his first England cap and I think it's sort of gives


a few of the other boys that ambition to get


out there and impress and hopefully get the nod at the end of the year.


There have been calls in some circles for more entertainment.


They want a more entertaining brand of rugby league.


Is that something that you as players have been talking


about or is that very much coming from the outside?


That's a really interesting question actually.


I read a really good article from Dave Woods talking


about needing a bit more dazzle in Super League and I...


I don't know, it's big to call, but I don't know


I think we're playing with a generation at


the minute who know how to play the game


competitions in all kinds of sports where


the taking part that counts so what you find


is a lot of people who were


really good at playing a game such as rugby league, outstanding


players, but there's not that many competitors and I think when I look


back over the years and watch some of the old games, particularly from


the 90s, there are some real mavericks out there, some real


You know, getting some penalties, playing the ball,


looking, thinking about what can I do here?


Just really competing and I think we probably need a few more


So your call for 2017, more mavericks.


Well, highlights from every game in Round 1


coming up, but before we get going, here's a reminder of some of


the wheeling and dealing in the transfer market.


Obviously, you've acquired from the other side Albert Kelly.


Was surprising to you guys that you were getting him?


Obviously, you know, it's not the done thing,


He's really added to us in training and he really could be


the difference between us, you know, winning something again this year.


He's got a really vital role to play in us going forward this year.


When you look around at other teams, is


there a transfer that particularly took you by surprise or


stands out for you as a really good signing?


I think the big one's probably Kev Brown, you know,


Unfortunately, he doesn't play, obviously this week


with his injury, but I think the big scale will be on Widnes and the fact


It's been pivotal around him, their game


plan for the last few years and he will be sorely missed there.


But certainly exciting for Warrington to


get a player of his calibre and that control around the six as well.


Over 21 years of Super League, we've become quite


accustomed to the season ending with St Helens playing Leeds.


They've met four times in Grand Finals, but this year,


the long-time rivals face off on the opening night.


Well, things are starting to get a bit


heated, as it often does between these two.


What a finish to a game that never disappoints.


What a great way to start the new season between Leeds and St


Helens, two of the real big names in Super League, but on the back of


relatively disappointing seasons last year.


Rob Burrow makes his 500th career appearance tonight.


Burrow, switching it away as Leeds try to


find something amiss in that Saints defence,


And a little push away from Moon and Moon might just


Phil Bentham wants a second look here.


And it's a Leeds who have first blood here tonight.


Well, if he's had time to have a look around.


Referee again is going to ask for another opinion here.


Ashton Golding might have done a terrific


Putting himself in a position to stop that


And it is not a try, so full marks to the Leeds defence.


St Helens fans beginning to get a little excited here.


They sense that their side have an opportunity.


Roby goes running away, spinning away and


Golding again, just getting in there, but Walmsley...


Well, from the naked eye, it looked as though it was short.


And I think Golding was involved again there.


There's a couple of team-mates in there as


But it looks as though they've held that ball up.


Can't see any way for that to be given and it isn't.


And Walmsley hurt for his pains as well.


Richardson with a step back on the inside.


Eight strides away from where they want to be.


And the little Frenchman is in to score.


Six minutes of the second half played.


Theo, Theo, is the chant from the stands.


So, Percival with a chance to give his side the


Under the cosh for most of the first half, but they now lead


Here's Watkins looking on the outside.


The athlete of old, the ball inside, a try is it?


What a tackle that was from Tommy Makinson.


If you watch every game between now and October,


you might not see anything as good as this.


Terrific effort and St Helens hang on for a narrow,


Well, given where you were at this time last year, it's a similar sort


of result to the beginning of last year, but did it feel very different


I mean, first of all, for me, it was really exciting.


My 18th year I think going out and playing and the novelty's never


Where we'd been last year, I think that you can work really hard


in preseason but you can't really get a measure until you've had that


So playing away St Helens, a good St Helens side,


is a great measure for us and whilst not happy with


a 6-4 loss, I think it just shows we've come on leaps and bounds,


particularly when it comes to defence.


And watching that Tommy Makinson tackle again, are you


still thinking Liam's going to go over?


I remember being pretty tired and just


giving the ball to Cal there and in a bit of space, Cal's magic.


I'd have backed him all day through this,


but the back three at Saint Helens I think are the biggest


Swift, Makinson, Lomax, were outstanding.


And the real difficulty when you're bringing the ball back, but coming


up with try series like that is what wins you games,


Obviously, presumably part of the game plan for you guys was to


Obviously with Matty Smith out, he was the key man.


Did you expect his energy levels to start to drop at some point?


Yeah, I think he did about 40 tackles.


Anyone would think we were spotting him


and trying to get at him, but


credit to him, I think he stood up to every one.


We had a few good ones, like this one here, stopping the try


With the ball in hand, very, very dangerous.


Got over the line for them and he is a strong


player and a good addition for Saints.


How impressed were you with him, not just with his defence but


also his attack, particularly given he had to be the main man?


Yeah, obviously there were a lot of questions resting on him


Defensively, he built his game around that, he came


on to everything that Leeds threw at him.


He managed to come up with a real pivotal moment in the try


Another man who had a very good game for you guys, Ash Golding.


You know, now he's taken over that number one shirt to have had as good


a game as he had and be as defensively


And, of course, he played for Stanningley as well.


But a lot of people ask me, you know, I suspected


that Leeds might have had a few more signings


this year and you look at


somebody like that, what we want to do is promote from within.


And that talent is there for me, Ashton


Golding, will be world-class in a few years.


I'm sure he'll play international.


And it's not till you actually watch the game back that


He is massive for the forwards and the amount of tries...


I think he had three try saves in that game which is just huge and


You can sign somebody from overseas but when


you've got it on your doorstep, you know, a kid who's saving tries,


winning games and gets you to Grand Finals,


How impressed were you with St Helens, particularly given they've


obviously built their pre-season around around Theo Fages with


Matty Smith, that they seem to cope very well without him but he will be


massive for them, won't he, when he comes back?


He's a massive addition for them this year.


Really steers the team around the field and


he'll be a big asset, but


You plan all your pre-season around a certain combination and


then for that to fall away, moments before


the start of the year, it


would have hit them hard, but I thought they adapted


Safe to say that you guys are feeling in a better place than you


Homeless, apart from anything last year,


Yeah, we spent the pre-season in waders last year.


And it's not an excuse, it's just a reality,


We've got a great new training facility.


We've had a really cohesive pre-season.


Got the young lads coming in and adding some


enthusiasm and I think it showed in that game that we're


in a good place and ready to keep moving forward.


Well, the defending champions of course


are Wigan and they take on


Cronulla on Sunday in the World Club Challenge.


We'll bring you highlights of that next week, but


their warm up was a Super League fixture at Salford.


Your commentator for this one is Tim Steer.


Brilliantly kept in play and Gelling will score.


The referee, Ben Thaler, puts it on report.


Burgess is after it and Burgess will score.


Chance for the break here from Gildart.


It's Gildart and it's a brilliant try for Wigan.


It's been a dominant first half from Wigan.


And George Williams dances his way through.


How many more points can Wigan put on the board?


Well, Joel Tomkins adds another four.


Salford looking for their first points of the game.


Chris Brining goes over and gets them.


Oh, he's done well to get that one down.


Well, it's been a better second half from Salford.


There's plenty of red shirts after this one.


Wigan have dropped it and it's Dobson who is going to


But it will be no more than a consolation and Wigan


We need to be a lot better and we will be a lot better.


We just had to blow the cobwebs off today.


That's the first time we've had that team together really.


So happy with the win but we know there's a lot of work to do.


I feel and the boys feel that an opportunity missed for us


because of the way that we turned out in the first half.


Like, we can put it down to different things saying that we


lost Junior, we lost Robbie, but we feel we're a good


We've had time together to be able to kick


on and we have to do that straightaway from the off, not in a


It's 30 years ago since I've played and it still gets mentioned


to me once a week around Wigan, so it means a lot to our town


and I'll be getting a few of the players in


from 30 years ago to chat to the players this week and make them


understand, if we need to, to understand how


Cronulla are a very good team from a fantastic comp and it will be


How much will the World Cup challenge


have been on the minds of the Wigan players,


however they try to talk it down beforehand?


Yeah, I think you do, as a team, don't you, when


You want to address the one that's right


in front of you but I think at half-time, the job was pretty much


done with the quality that they've got.


You couldn't see Salford coming back from that.


But they certainly would have had one eye on the game


with a pretty much full strength team next week and a few of the old


guys coming back to play in it as well.


I tell you what, there's something about Wigan though.


Tommy Leuluai, obviously was back and Joe Burgess


for them, I mean, it's a nice fit for him, isn't it?


Well, I think there was nobody else he could go play for.


They've got a lot of loyalty at Wigan and they get a lot of their


young guys really putting their heart and soul


I think Tommy Leuluai will be massive for them this year.


I think right back to 2010 when they had Leuluai, Finch and Tomkins


Even though you knew what they were going to


And, you know, there's a bit of their reunion there with Tomkins


back now and I think they'll be really exciting.


Like Gareth says, a winter win this week and all their


focus will be on becoming world champions this weekend.


It was very clear from Ian Watson how frustrated


he was at how they performed first half.


How influential do you think he could be for them?


Yeah, he's going to be another big signing for them.


The quality that he's got, he certainly


But you could see disappointment in the


Salford players and in the Salford coaching staff.


You work all pre-season, you know, and it's a bit unknown.


You want to go out there and prove that all that hard work


And also particularly, they've talked so much,


haven't they, about the culture at the club


and not wanting to be in those million pound game?


Would that have made it even more frustrating,


I think, you know, everyone wants to get off to a good start.


Like I say, you put all that hard work in.


You want to feel as though it's for something and I think they were


really disappointed with how they played


Well, Warrington checked in and out of the south of France on Saturday


without their new signing, Kevin Brown.


The Wolves won twice in Perpignan in 2016


and were looking to start the new season


The commentator for Catalan against Warrington is Matt Newson.


Warrington, Mike Cooper back at the Wires for 2017


He'll come to the right of the ruck here.


It's a lovely little pass and Andre Savelio on his debut for


Catalan trying to get front ball through Bird that time.


Rhys Evans, oh, he's allowed to bounce.


He's flipped the ball to Richie Myler.


Walsh, we've already seen one of these towering bombs.


It's going to come down under Matty Russell.


And Horo is going to try and get the line here.


And eventually, the referee, James Child, has gone


for the sin-bin and it's Tom Lineham who will have ten in the bin.


Catalan forcing the issue around the ten metre line here.


Takes it to the right of the ruck here.


Warrington sniffing a come back here.


And they'll come to this right-hand side once again.


Great tip on by Ashton Sims and it finished by Rhys Evans.


Catalan looking to extend their lead, make sure of the points.


And Catalan have all but sealed it now.


But he has great presence, great power


Catalan make a winning start to this Super League season.


Talking about big signings earlier, how big a signing


could Greg Bird be, do you think for Catalan?


He was big for them when he was there first time round


and he's world-class and his experience and he's been on his


travels and it just shows how excited, not just him but the whole


team were about getting that win in the South of France.


It was a great trip over there, especially for the


fans, and I tell you, I can't make any excuses for Warrington,


they had a few out injured and they had a few


uncharacteristic errors as well looking at it, but let's not...


We've got to give credit to Catalan because not


many teams are going to go over


He signed a five-year contract, Greg Bird and there seems


to be a culture shift of who they've brought


in and an emphasis on families


with people settling a bit more.


Do you think that could be key to them just gelling for a whole


It's great that the club have decided to do that.


It's something that Leeds and Wigan have done very well over the years


Not only on the field but how they behave off it.


And, you know, with Greg Bird, we spoke about competitors.


He'll certainly bring that to Super League this year.


Obviously, Warrington face Brisbane next week.


Will this result worry Tony at all or at least


offensively will he be fairly happy with it an attack to work on?


He's always got his eye a few weeks in front and I think credit


first of Brisbane for bringing a team over and put in that


spectacle on and, you know, Wigan aside, if


there was another team in Super League you'd like to see test


it would be Warrington to chance their arm.


They are mavericks, like Gareth says.


They are full of competitors and as long as you practice, Tony


Smith will let you do what ever you want and I think they'll be


dangerous and it will be a great game.


And for Catalan, do you think that...


Do think the competition needs them to really make an impact?


We all sat here for the first half last year and thought this could be


their year but is it important, do you think, that they make a real


impact at the back end of the season?


Well, I think they've threatened for a few years and


everyone spoke about Catalan being dark horses


and, you know, there's a lot of changes


this year but obviously they've got off to


a great start and they'll be wanting to continue


in that sort of vein of form,


picking up big wins against big teams.


So we are up and running in the 2017 season and it will be


a relief to many to be talking about rugby league.


It's been an eventful winter to say the least.


It's been quite a negative off-season and, you know,


there's a few things going on within our sport.


The Sale director of rugby, Steve Diamond, says they've


done nothing wrong in signing the record-breaking Super League


winner Denny Solomona from Castleford.


The England rugby league team have cancelled


their pre-season trip to Dubai next month.


I think it's been a bit of a time of confusion and at some stage,


we need to calm down and get a bit of calmness about us and a bit of


There are some things that are going really well.


There are other things that aren't going as well so


one of the things that were looking at at the moment is talent


retention, so we're working hard to make sure we've got the best


I think there's been a concern that we've


been sort of losing some of that talent and as a result, the product


We've got to look at what's happening in our competitive


businesses. I don't even call them competitive sports. Particularly the


NRL. We can't let it continue, the gap, financial gap. We've got to


look to incentivising investment in talent but more importantly to


retain the very best talent in this country. I hate the phrase, goat


testers off in the NRL. We should be saying to Australian players to go


test themselves in the Super League expect we are too passive, were not


ambitious. We've already started central player contracts. We need to


look at the next generation of players. The George Williams is, the


Johnny Lomax is because we need them to play in Super League. England's


rugby league side have cancelled plans after eight town versus


country row. We shouldn't just show up and expect everyone to turn over


backwards for you. You have to work hard to have that rapport with the


clubs. And I suppose that is been the bit that has been lacking in


recent times. It's wrong because some of the commotion I think if


there had have beans and better communication between clubs and the


administration and the England campaign, I think we would have


overcome a whole lot of heart ache, if you like. I think we should learn


lessons from this. If you're going to improve your chances of winning


the World Cup, you start for years beforehand. You do start one year


beforehand. You need to get the clubs to buy into the whole


programme. We didn't go ahead with a can. We have streamlined the


training sessions. We have one of the best coaches in the world who


has put demands on the player so it has a real ballot in terms of player


welfare. Our players need rest, not more work because of the demanding


schedules. In terms of resting players, we can't possibly do that.


We need a club, a fan base, a very important competition cold Super


League we should be promoted and strengthened and we should put out


our best players in every single game. We will always do what is best


our players and so if our player needs a rest, we will do that when


we can. That's therefore means we will actually be doing the best for


England to. Start with you as someone who went to the NRL to test


himself. Do you see that Gulf between is getting bigger,


particularly into financially now? I am a big fan of Super League and


when I was out in Australia I thought I was presenting England and


Super League all the time I was there. I can see the Gulf and is


getting bigger and we need to address it and the administrators on


their spoke about bridging that gap and making it more lucrative and


more incentivised for players to want to stay in Super League and


it's a tough task. A tough task. Financially, rugby union has a lot


more money. It seems that rugby league is under attack from all


angles. Yes, the money side of it is obviously big. A big part of what


you do. But there is a lot of incentive to go, testers off in the


NRL, to want to play for England and Rugby union. It is something we have


to address and I understand all the reasons why things have to happen


and the plans that we put in place for England because we all want to


see England winning the World Cup, that would be absolutely magnificent


of our game, but I think there has been a communication breakdown


somewhere between them and the clubs. We are in the final year of


the current structure. They then have 4-mac years to plan for the


World Cup. Being in this country, what would you like to see the next


season of rugby league, would you like it be shorter so that are not


playing as many games as we go towards the World Cup? I don't think


what's out there matters. The only thing that matters is that everybody


buys into the idea. That matters to me. Long-term planning, get everyone


to buy into an idea and let's go for it. It might be a bad idea, but we


don't know it'll be all buy into it. But do you need to play fewer games


to be at your peak in November? I don't really buy into that. I just


think I have always not bothered wasting energy on the things that I


can't control and most of the things that I can. If I have to play 30


games in a season Matt Garrett has to play 30 games, we'll have to play


a lot of games. That's irrelevant. Get on with it. What ever is out


there and what was put in place for us. War that strengthen us as a


nation? If we are prepared to just say this is what we have to do? And


we do it because we are players are we just get on with it, but I think


the NRL, when I was there, in four games we played 70 something years.


They were fresh and ready to go at the end of the year and I will be


honest, I used to get to the end of the year in England and think, I


can't wait for the end because I was that tired and drained and ready for


a rest. We've got to play those


games for the revenue. Everybody is talking


about, there is no money, that is why we have got


to play so many games. This could be


a discussion for the rest It was anything but summer rugby


at Wakefield on Sunday. How difficult were


those conditions? We recognised there


wasn't going to be much opportunity with ball in hand


so reverted to Plan A, stick the ball up the jumper


and take each other on Both teams went hammer and tongs,


it was a close contest. Lee Radford said he


knew this was coming. Earlier in the week we had


rough weather and we had prepared ourselves with a game plan


to approach it in that way and you saw it in the game -


we took two points That was important,


realising any opportunities. What do you make of Danny


Houghton doing that? We saw that a couple


of times this weekend. I have seen it a few


times over the weekend. It is not something


I am a big fan of. But when you are playing in that


pressured environment and winning is all that matters, you


see things like that. But I would like to


see it addressed. Wakefield feel disappointed not


to win the game but what did you Both teams went forward hammer


and tongs and went at They have got some good


combinations in their team now. They will be there


about the top eight. Hungry for more


silverware after what you This for me is our biggest


challenge, hunger, obviously we fell away towards


the back end of the year in the It has been a long time


since the club has won anything, the magnitude of playing


for the first time in a Hopefully we will find


ourselves in that position And I'm sure we'll react


differently and approach that at the back end


of the year in the super eights Fair to say you are looking forward


to the summer and a bit of To Castleford, first


stop on the Super League Back in the top division


for the first time in 12 years This Leigh defence


is doing well so far. Gale, the prop forward,


over to score the game's first McMeeken has been mentioned


in England circles. Working things forward again


here for Castleford. That was roughly


from the full-back and Minikin almost in at dummy


half but that's left instead for Roberts who goes


scampering away here. Weston was lingering


too long in the tackle. Luke Gale has landed


his three conversions. That is a good strong


carry from Jake Webster. Castleford now looking


a little more lateral. Castleford are tearing


Leigh apart in the Leigh under fire again right


at the start of the second 90 seconds of the second-half


played and Castleford Another chance for another attack


at this Castleford line. Any points on the board


at the moment but it might This is an excellent position now


for the Super League That is a lovely soft handed pass


that sees Hampshire through. Lovely from Drinkwater


to set things up. Hampshire, against his


former club, has scored. Nice spell from Hampshire


and a kick on here. Luke Gale will claim that


but there are a few questions The referee will put


the square in the air. All those who chased


I think were behind the The drop before anybody


made contact with him by Hampshire and the grounding


is good and that adds up to what should be


Leigh's pedigree and character really been tested here tonight


against a team who could well be rattling a few tins in Super


Castleford are enjoying themselves here.


He will be enjoying playing against Castleford, the club


that resurrected his career last year.


That is a lovely ball from Drinkwater and a try in the corner


Taken in by Paterson who has got himself to the ten metre mark.


Leigh carry it on and Danny Tickle, his 100th career try, against one of


Too little too late to make a difference as far as


the outcome is concerned but Leigh have something to cheer on their


But it is Castleford and by a distance.


Castleford are being talked about a lot when people


The last three or four years, during Daryl Powell's


tenure, he has just built a club, and when you go there the


I went to the game to watch Leigh and the ground was


bouncing, the fans, the staff, the people who work there.


Watching Castleford running on and off the pitch, really cohesive.


They look like they are enjoying their


They are playing well and scoring lots of points.


They look red hot at the minutes, even


They have been notorious. Their attacking play. Everybody seems to


want to go forward. There has been tough battles against Castleford


over the years. They have players who could throw the ball around and


make it difficult for the defence and defend out wide. Are you doing


your homework on Leigh? What do you make of them? Tough. They have got


some great players. Very physical side. I expect a very physical game.


One of those Games where you can get knocked off the ball, disillusioned,


tables can turn. They have been given a tough set of fixtures. Is it


a case of almost hanging on in there at this point and not getting their


heads drop if they find themselves in a match like that? I think so.


Being promoted it as a new experience for them. A challenge


every single big. Life, sport, it is all about persevering and taking


knocks on the chin. Playing against one of the best teams. The need to


hang on. Throughout this year we will be testing the general


knowledge of some of the Super League's stars in a brand-new


challenge. They have got to complete six sets in two minutes.


First it is Luke Gale. The Darryl Powell, Brian McDermott,


Chris Chester. Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland,


Sweden, Poland. Goldeneye. The man with the Golden


gun. Moon Raker. Casino Royale. Octopussy. Goldeneye.


Elephant and Castle. This is a hard one stop I used to live there as


well. Elephant and Castle. Can I pass?


Frankel. Galileo. Red Rum. Red marauder. See the stars. What else?


Vegetables. Broccoli. Carrots. Partner. -- pas Schlupp. This is


harder than you think. Cauliflower. How many is that? Right. One more


would be... Courgette. Raised eyebrows in here. Courgette


is a fruit. It has seeds. Do not see we do not inform you. Are you


looking forward to doing that? You will be in the hot seat when we come


to your club. Finally, let us see what happened in


the match between Widnes and Huddersfield on Friday. Big changes


at both clubs. They have both been written off in some quarters, how


much will that have motivated them? Hopefully, Huddersfield have never


really lost it to be fair. They have still got all the ambition and


firepower that they have had previously, and some skill. Talk


about attacking teams, Castleford is one. Huddersfield is another. And


they do have that straight power. You had a tough year last year. How


important, so many new players, to get a win? Obviously it fills


confidence. There are a few that are coming back. I do not think anybody


will be looking too far into the future. But to get a first-round


result is imported. Widnes have not have a great record. It will be good


to see them performing again. How much will they feel they have a


point to prove? From the division below, they will want to show that


they are ready for Super League. I am sure they will be ready and


raring to go, and to make the difference that is needed to do


better than they did last year. No Kevin Brown, Joe Mellor out as


well, do they have to learn to live with out them?


Exactly. They have had a few weeks to prepare for this but to lose a


player like Kevin Brown who has been so instrumental for Widnes for the


last few years is going to be a big hole to fill. What are you overall


impressions of the first week in? The thing that stood out was that it


was quite a low scoring week. That is a bit of a leveller. A lot of


teams concentrated big on defence. Looked at the statistic last year,


the Grand Final, the second lowest point scoring, and comes back to


this competitive nature, a lot of teams work on not losing as opposed


to scoring points. We will see. We are underway in 2017. Thank you


to Jamie and Gareth for joining us. We will see you for the same time


next week for the World Club Challenge. Goodbye.






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