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Rhinos to Dance with the Devil
Posted by southstander on January 17 2005 - 18:24:06

Quick Dance!
I'm the last one that wants to be called 'naive or arrogant' by Tony Smith. I have a great deal of time for the guy, and along with most Rhinos supporters, believe that the sun shines out of his proverbial! But I fail to see what we are achieving from our little dance with the devil next week.

The full England Six Nations Union squad is moving to Headingley and Kirkstall Road for a 'mind melt' which is supposed to benefit both squads.

I'm going to join the sceptics!

I don't know whose idea this 'joint camp' is. It could be Hetherington chumming up with his rugby union counterparts, perhaps in the hope of getting his fair share of their sponsorship money or just raising his profile in the Union world.

It could simply be the idea of the England set-up who see an opportunity to improve their skills, and we've chosen to play along rather than give them the brush off. It could be Tonys idea, and with an Aussie background he doesn't realise the implications for Rhinos and rugby League supporters of the quick two-step with beelzebub.

In his defence of the initiative in the YEP, he totally missed the point. Supporters are all for our lads getting experience and knowledge, and improving their all round game. What we cannot stomach is the way that Union is forced upon us from the great and the good at Headingley, and this apparent 'selling of the soul' is bound to upset a lot of league stalwarts who have battled against the media discrimination against our sport for years.

Tony has suggested that the cross-code training camp will help the Rhinos players and that we have a great deal to learn. To be honest, there is very little from that boring code that I'd like to see in the thirteen aside game. Rugby League players have a stronger defence, more detailed planned moves and better ball handling skills than their union counterparts. What we lack is the ability to lift each other up for the ball, stamp on an opponents face in broken play, and all pile into a loose maul.

We are just a fortnight away from one of the most important games in the history of the club, let alone the Rhinos, when we have the chance to become World Club Champions for the very first time. This is where we should be focussing our efforts, not helping England to win the Six Nations.

It will be interesting to see how the Union biased media portray next week. I suspect that it will either be ridicule, or with a blank wall of silence. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

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