SO SUPER League’s ‘New Beginnings’ is underway after the 2019 season kicked into gear.
And aside from the sub-zero temperatures that noticed many journalists’ knees chattering and a contest to see who wore probably the most layers (I reached 5), the early indicators are encouraging.
Two of the three matches this journalist attended – St Helens v Wigan and Warrington v Leeds – felt like genuinely large events.
The opposite, Huddersfield v Salford, noticed a crowd enhance of greater than 1,000 on the corresponding common season fixture final season.
Most spectacular efficiency got here from the Wolves, who despatched Leeds 26-6 as new Rhinos boss David Furner came upon simply how far they need to catch as much as be really thought of title contenders.
That match additionally noticed the perfect particular person efficiency of the spherical in Stefan Ratchford, who was wonderful at full-back as he ended up with a 14-point haul.
Largest affect from a newcomer? St Helens will probably be delighted with the way in which Kevin Naiqama slotted into their facet and together with Lachlan Coote, ought to greater than compensate for the lack of disgraced Ben Barba.
And they’re the one individuals to profit for the full-back’s shameful alleged assault that noticed him sacked by North Queensland Cowboys, de-registered by the NRL and successfully informed by the Rugby Soccer League to not trouble on the lookout for a route again over right here because the switch charge had already been banked.
However like so many issues in rugby league, the fast query is, ‘What subsequent?’
Tremendous League boss Robert Elstone talked about sell-out crowds and a file mixture attendance at Easter. He didn’t get any full homes – the closest to at least one coming at Hull KR v Hull FC – however SunSport has had its calculator out.
Take the six video games in 2018 and examine them to 2019 and 68 fewer individuals got here via the gates this yr.
Nevertheless, examine the identical common season matches to final yr – changing Widnes v Wakefield with London’s good win over Wakefield due to the Vikings’ relegation – and there is a rise of 222.
Now the onerous work actually begins as a lot of those that had been away are actually at dwelling, notably Wigan, Hull FC, who play Castleford tonight, Catalans Dragons and early leaders Salford.
A lot is manufactured from the Purple Devils’ supposed monetary issues – ie, they don’t have any cash – however to say persons are working onerous behind the scenes is doing them a disservice.
They’ve moved their dwelling matches to Sunday which will not be helped by Manchester Metropolis’s sport with Chelsea being moved to 4pm for TV however the AJ Bell Stadium is 9 miles away and, apologies any Blue who lives spherical there, in a United heartland.
So something above three,200 for the match in opposition to London will probably be simply reward for the onerous work that goes in, typically thanklessly.
Tremendous League virtually grew to become in peril of breaching buying and selling requirements because it was something however. Nevertheless, with the kick up the bottom it sorely wanted having been delivered the primary impressions actually provided hope.
However issues are really judged on extra than simply first impressions.
London Broncos’ Eddie Battye turns into social media hero with hilarious gif
London’s Mark Ioane admits Super League will be like school against Bill Tupou
REEL GONE KID
Warrington ace Josh Charnley is more likely to fret about fishing than rugby
lowered the bar
Rugby league star Barba ‘sacked after attack on mum of his four kids’
Hull FC boss Lee Radford’s head is on the chopping block before Hull KR derby