BBC BLOGS - George Riley

Archives for July 2012

Changes at the top for London and Huddersfield

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George Riley George Riley | 07:18 UK time, Thursday, 19 July 2012

One week, two coaching casualties and neither a massive surprise. Rob Powell has had the look of a man fighting a losing battle at London Broncos for months, while Huddersfield Giants' alarming slump since coach Nathan Brown's move to St Helens was made public has triggered his predictable early release.

There was more pressure on London - and Powell himself - than ever before this season. The club's bold decision to spend up to the salary cap with a host of new signings needed to be justified with an immediate upturn in form.

The hope was that the Broncos' ongoing battle with poor crowds would be boosted by a more successful on-field product - a winning team. Big-name arrivals Shane Rodney, Michael Robertson and Craig Gower have failed to lift the capital side's fortunes and, with just three wins to their name, the writing has been on Powell's wall for some time.

He is one of the good guys in the game, thrust into the spotlight as Super League's youngest coach, but struggling with the size of the task that is assembling a winning rugby league team in London.

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Bradford Bulls cloud hangs over Challenge Cup semis

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George Riley George Riley | 14:33 UK time, Thursday, 12 July 2012

There are few weekends I look forward to more than the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final one.

That's partly because my idiotic mates often schedule their weddings for the weekend of the final itself, but largely because the dangling of the Wembley carrot to four clubs at two neutral venues triggers great sporting drama.

Yet this year more than ever, the magic takes place amid a backdrop of misery over the distinct possibility that one of the competition's most successful teams could soon cease to exist.

Bradford Bulls, five-time winners of the sport's most famous knockout competition, may have been handed another stay of execution in their desperate fight to stay alive. But hope and time are fading.

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Bradford Bulls: No money, no coach, no hope?

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George Riley George Riley | 22:35 UK time, Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Bradford blame game this week intensified as the stricken Bulls edged closer to the point of no return. For any rugby league fan this situation is disheartening, even heartbreaking.

Administration always looked the inevitable outcome, even when fans bent over backwards to keep the club going, even when the Bulls hierarchy stood firm amidst the financial mess over which it had presided.

And so despite the departure of chairman Peter Hood, the half million pounds of fans' cash, and the auctioning of treasured personal possessions from the club's glittering history, the four-time champions find themselves without any backroom staff and without, it seems, any guidance or reassurances from above that they can even carry on.

The same players who found out about the club's uncertain future via twitter on their way to training, this week turned up to a crunch meeting with administrator Brendan Guilfoyle having not been told he had cancelled it.

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