BBC BLOGS - George Riley

Archives for October 2010

No conspiracy as both Brians go home

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George Riley George Riley | 17:56 UK time, Monday, 25 October 2010

I always expected Brian McDermott to become Leeds Rhinos head coach but never expected it to happen so soon.

Few would have been surprised at the end of next season if Brian McClennan walked away as Leeds coach to be replaced by his assistant McDermott.

Indeed that appeared to be the plan, with McClennan penning his contract extension back in May, and McDermott agreeing in August to quit as Harlequins coach to be his number two.

Yet this week's timing was sudden, and took me by surprise when we broke the news shortly after 11am on the Victoria Derbyshire show on 5live. Handed a piece of paper by my producer simply saying "McClennan's quit Leeds!", I was still somewhat unsure of its authenticity when I read the story out.

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England make Giants step forward

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George Riley George Riley | 12:34 UK time, Thursday, 7 October 2010

Eighteen months ago, I sat down to write a feature about Huddersfield's new £250,000 youth development programme and the club's commitment to bringing through British rugby league talent.

This week, the Yorkshire club were celebrating having more players in England's Four Nations squad than anyone else. Half a dozen players from the Giants will fly out to Australia and New Zealand to compete against the co-hosts and Papua New Guinea. A couple of years ago, such a scenario would have appeared ludicrous.

England coach Steve McNamara told BBC Radio 5 live this week that he found it "quite difficult" to settle on his final 24 - and he certainly caused a stir with the number of Huddersfield players he picked.

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Too close to call

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George Riley George Riley | 06:56 UK time, Friday, 1 October 2010

Whisper it quietly in Yorkshire but Wigan against St Helens is probably the Super League Grand Final most people wanted.

When I say "most", I obviously exclude fans of Leeds and Huddersfield, who were beaten by the Warriors and Saints in their respective play-off games last weekend.

Saturday's Old Trafford contest is certainly one for the romantics. Wigan against Saints is arguably the game's fiercest rivalry. They are the top two teams, too, having finished first and second in the table over the regular season.

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