What a pity all the positivity engendered by James Webster and the players over the last three months was rent asunder by an abject and unprofessional display last Sunday when seasoned professionals treated the occasion with contempt.
The diminishing band of diehards deserved better and the fact that a significant number of supporters left at half time for the comforts (in some cases) of the Conservative club does not augur well for season ticket sales.
The embarrassing defeat to a mediocre outfit has happened all too often in the last 30 years.
If the coach is accurate in his assessment of the mental attitude ‘not being right’ why were promising youngsters not given a chance? They might have been more positive.
It is time the likes of Crowther and Johnston were given a chance in the first team. Jowitt acquitted himself well on a difficult Super League debut at St Helens.
The PA announcer seemed oblivious to the carnage that was taking place on the pitch. Regaling us constantly of the availability of cheap beer and food in the clubhouse at the end of the match he failed to mitigate the pain of supporters whose idea of ‘a positive matchday experience’ is commitment on the field.
On a general point, RL clubs are paying a high price as a result of the abolition of ‘A’ teams. Too many players are being lost to the game as coaches make arbitrary decisions about the abilities of relatively young players.
Some players develop faster than others and ‘A’ teams help late developers.
When I started watching the game in the 1950s Jack Booth was a paternalistic leader of the young lads in the ‘A’ team. Some went on to star in the teams of the sixties. Some were artificially kept back as more first team appearances meant the club management had to honour signing on terms and conditions.
Some stepped up to the plate when required and acquitted themselves well in big games - Dave Blakeley’s performance in the semi-final at Swinton in the RL Cup semi final against Warrington (1963) comes to mind.
The RL authorities should use some of the increased Sky monies to make sure all clubs have ‘A’ teams accompanied with sound player development schemes.
If implemented correctly clubs could wean themselves off superannuated Antipodeans and give hope to home-grown talent.
Whitehall Road East