Eels and Eagles Lead While Rugby League Looks at History

By Daniel Andruczyk

A few days a go an interesting article caught mine, and well everyone else’s eye, one that will see (hopefully) the ANZACS pay a great tribute to the fallen diggers of Australia and New Zealand. Another interesting article saw some interesting comments coming out of the Rugby Union camp… are excuses already coming out for the World Cup? And there is much more news form the USA and the antipodes.

Cook Islands Championships

So a bit of news trickling through from the Cook Islands. Its hard at best to know what goes on in the Pacific Islands in terms of news, hardly ever do they release any results. However I have been able to at least find through Rugby League Review some news. The Avaitu Eels and Ngtatangiia Sea Eagles lead the competition. both teams have 5 wins over 6 rounds of competition.

Team Pt
1 Avatiu 10
2 Ngatangiia 10
3 Arorangi 8
4 Tupapa 6
5 Titikaveka 3
6 Aitutaki 3
7 Tukuvaine 2


Union Causing Trouble Again?

So there were two articles that I have seen this week, one through We Are Rugby where Bob Dwyer and Mark Ella along with Bob Fulton for some god forsaken reason have tried to resurrect the hybrid game concept. So one comment from me on this: Why, oh why, oh why, oh why! Rugby league does not need changing, I am sorry there is nothing in Rugby Union that can add to any game. Taking the best out of the two codes to combine them, to me just means playing Rugby League and having none of the Rugby Union waffle.

The second article was by the BBC’s “Australian Correspondent” Nick Bryant, who quite literally went on one of the strangest and most bizarre rants I have read yet. I dont think anyone, or he knows what set him off, but it was quite amusing to read. Some quotes I found amusing,

“When played at its highest level, union is not only the world’s most brutal winter sport, but by far its most beautiful”

um I can assure him that everyone I have met that has compared the two codes far prefer league. Its simplicity speed and brutality far exceeds anything Union had. Here in the USA its one of the best test. Everyone I speak to know about Rugby and call it a confusing silly sport, when I show them a game of League (when it on TV sometimes or through my own DVD’s at parties) everyone is hooked and the comment that I get the most if that League is the NFL on steroids in terms of the speed and hits. They are hooked and I tend to lend a lot of DVD’s to people to watch. The second page is quite amusing as well, trying to talk up the muddy quagmire that is the end of year tour by the Wallabies… actually I think this is a Wannabee rant.

Page three sees him go back to what its all about, “But let us return to the battle of the codes”, the title says it all, “This is the year that rugby league will be relegated to second place”, don’t we hear this about every 4 years, and the calling of the downfall of League. Please. In Australia Union is running 5th at best, with League, AFL, Soccer and daylight running ahead. If it weren’t for the old boys club in the BBC pushing the sport in the UK, Union would be struggling. Only France really Does Union still have a massive stronghold over League and potentially rivals soccer. All I will say is which code[s]  is looking at a Billion dollar TV deal? Not Union that’s for sure.

Yet there is a final comment that really makes it funny “Yet with your cricket team in decline, the mighty Kangaroos strangely fallible against the Kiwis and the Socceroos set to remain a second- or third-tier outfit, this could be the year of the Wallaby.” Well I wouldn’t say the Kangaroos are fallible against the Kiwis, the fact that we have some competition now will probably be a boost for the sport in both countries. I bet that the Wallabies and the English wont be in the semis of the world cup. And I bet that Union will continue to trudge on it stale form at the moment.

Its funny how, when ever there is Rugby Union World Cup or the sport is struggling in places around the world that all this rubbish starts to get bandied around by them. As an excuse to try and beat their chest at Rugby league. Usually when these kinds of articles start coming out it means there is something wrong in the world of Rugby Union.

ANZAC Test and Country do it Again

On Friday night the mid-year representative season kicked off. Australia and New Zealand played at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast in front of an almost sell out crowd of 26,300 fans. Some controversy as to why it was not played at Suncorp Stadium, but you know what its nice to have other places get the test matches other than the capital cities. The Kiwis traditionally never do well in the Mid Year test, and this was no different with the Kiwis going down 20-10 to the Kangaroos.

The other rep match is the NSW City/Country Origin match. This is one of my favourite matches in Australia and I hope that one day I will be able to go and see one of these. Its a brilliant concept and in many ways more important for the life of the sport in New South Wales than even the NRL and State of Origin, why it bring top quality games and money and promotion to the country areas of the state, areas which are the beating heart of the game in the state, where many of our top players are produced. This is the real stronghold of the code.

I know many out there think its a nothing game that should be rid of… No way! Two reasons: the first is that it is something for the code in the country areas of the NSW to look forward to , to see the super stars that they produce, to see that they really matter and are vital part of the sport. Its a feel good game for them. Second its a vital rep game where players can be blooded for the NSW team and eventually for the Australian team. Its that next stem up from NRL that gives players that from different teams that vital experience to start making combinations and coaches to plan for the future.

So in Albury in front of 8,056 fans (a sell out I am told) the NSW Country team defeated the NSW City team 18-12. One last comment for me here, is there anyone else that feels there should be a NRL team based in the country areas of NSW?

Also some exciting news this week that the ARL, NZRL are looking at staging an ANZAC test in 2015 in Turkey at Gallipoli. This will correspond with the Centenary of the making of our two great nations when the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps were sent in to the wrong place by our friends and had to fight a bloody battle. But I think this would be a great gesture to commemorate the day. There are some instances of Rugby League being played back then on the beaches between the two nations. However, lets think about this, the English and French were also there, should we also have an English/British and French game there as well?

My Bad!

Last article I made a bit of a booboo. I said that that one of the new teams in the AMNRL was Detroit. It is true that a Detroit Rugby League team will be playing a exhibition match against the Chicago Stockyarders, the team I should have been referring to was from Delaware. So please accept my apologies for misleading you and replace from last article Detroit with Delaware. I have fixed this up on the main website itself already. Funny though the AMNRL really wants to have a “Vipers” team in the comp.

I also had a bit of a whinge that the Midwest Challenge last week was not promoted at all, it was on the AMNRL website but no where else was it mentioned. I have spoken with the Stockyarders and it was cancelled. No reason was given but i suspect that since many of the players may be University students and had finals (exams) all through the last month, so were most probably studied. It was probably hard to get a team up and going. So hopefully once finals are over we shall see some activity from the Stockyarders and I can bring you some great photos, videos and stories.

The Jacksonville Axemen have their open trials this weekend and have players from 6 nations vying for positions in the team. USA, Australia, France, New Zealand, PNG and England will be featured in the tryouts as players try to get positions from the teams veterans. Interesting indeed. Also I am told that soon there will be news about a new team in Florida.

Also the AMNRL have come out with a list of 14 reasons (it being their 14th season) what we should get excited about the AMNRL season this year:

  1. USA Tomahawks
  2. Bucks County Sharks
  3. War at the Shore XIV
  4. New York Knight Anniversary
  5. North American Challenge
  6. Delaware Vipers
  7. Hawaii
  8. East vs. West Challenge
  9. Chicago Stockyarders
  10. Expansion
  11. Eagle Tag
  12. Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers
  13. Bulls, Wildcats, Raiders
  14. AMNRL All Time Team

For me it also provides a list for people to keep track and see how things really do go this year for them with the split.


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