BBC BLOGS - George Riley

Archives for March 2012

Rugby League rallies round wounded Bulls

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George Riley George Riley | 10:38 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2012

If I were a Bradford Bulls fan or player, I would be frightened and furious. So many questions to be asked, so few answers available.

The response from the rugby league community to Bradford's desperate plea to stay alive has been incredible, with over £100,000 raised in the first 48 hours of the £1m rescue bid.

But how can a club that won every trophy going in 2003-4 be close to losing everything?

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Did St Helens rush into Simmons sacking?

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George Riley George Riley | 17:21 UK time, Wednesday, 21 March 2012

If St Helens were Chelsea and Royce Simmons was Andre Villas-Boas, I would not have raised an eyebrow at his sacking.

But this is Super League not Premier League, a competition and sport where loyalty and faith normally extend beyond the opening weeks of a season.

Trigger-happy chairmen don’t tend to exist. Quite simply, a coaching dismissal during a season is exceptionally rare.

Saints’ sacking of Simmons – the club say they “parted company” – shocked many. Before Easter, and seven games after a sixth successive Grand Final, Simmons is sacked.

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St Helens stutter in season start

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George Riley George Riley | 22:42 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A prolonged St Helens stutter is like a badly timed Manchester United title push - it just does not happen.

Yet as a shock home defeat to Hull FC extended the beaten Grand Finalists' winless run to four games, the concern around Saints's sparkling new home was audible. It takes an absolute madman to write off a side that shared a decade-long domestic dominance with Bradford, but this weekend those two sides lock horns at Odsal without a Grand Final win between them in six seasons.

Royce Simmons was particularly scathing of his side after last Friday's Langtree Park defeat. The Saints coach claimed that so clueless were they with ball in hand that even he had no idea what they were doing. So how can Saints, having contested the last six successive Grand Finals, be firing rugby league blanks?

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Broncos face usual battles on and off the field

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George Riley George Riley | 09:52 UK time, Thursday, 8 March 2012

Relaunched and rebranded but running on empty...London Broncos' second coming has scarcely drawn a second glance.

Despite a huge summer of rebuilding, an array of impressive recruits and an encouraging opening against St Helens, London's travails just won't go away.

Sparking life into the fortunes of the capital's rugby league club was never going to be as simple as binning the Harlequins branding - but the opening month of Super League has hit London hard.

Last weekend's 44-12 thumping by Salford was a fifth successive defeat for Rob Powell's side, whose very Super League future was under threat amid poor attendances and financial upheaval in the run-up to last year's licence renewal.

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