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SLXVII - Week 8 - The Twilight Zone
Posted by southstander on March 28 2012 - 08:07:45

It's been the strangest Super league week that I can remember for a very long time.

Topsy-turvey results, announcements of impending bankruptcy to one our our once great clubs, and further freaky outcomes from the disciplinary.

Perhaps it's the clocks going forward, maybe it's this balmy weather that we're having, or maybe we've slipped into the twilight zone.

Read more here....

It was the most bizarre weekend of results with the only real winners being Warrington Wolves as they triumphed in friday nights thriller against the Warriors, and Hull FC who beat basement club Castleford.

Losses for Huddersfield, Wigan, Catalans and most notably the Rhinos, all compressed the middle of the table and showed us that nothing can be taken for granted in Superleague XVII.

What surprises will this weekend coming weekend bring?

Yesterdays' announcement that the Bradford Bulls are on the verge of financial collapse with have shocked many but surprised few. Attempting to tug at the heartstrings of their supporters and past player they claim that the home game against the Rhinos on Good Friday could well be their last as they struggle to meet a 2.5 million a year wage bill on a reduced income.

The sale of the lease of Odsal to the RFL earlier in the year was a clear illustration that the Bulls were in serious financial difficulty and it is widely believed that the money raised from the sale was immediately swallowed up by outstanding debts as the Bulls continued to spend up to the salary cap, luring players away from other clubs with increased salary offers (Scruton and Diskin plus others) chasing former glories.

As Leeds fans we'll probably point to two incidents in which we believe contributed to the start of the Bulls downfall, as they caused us immense distress at the time.

A major financial drain on the Bulls resources must have been the illegal recruitment of ex-Rhino darling, Iestyn Harris, which resulted in a prolonged court case and a massive legal expenses bill for the Bradford club, not to mention his high salary. Harris's arrival corresponded to the start of the Bulls on-pitch demise which has seen them without a trophy since they won the World Club Challenge in 2006.

The second incident was close to the end of the 2005 season when the Bulls brought in Adrian Morley to assist them in their play-off push which saw them reach Old Trafford and beat us, with the ex-Rhino hero as a key player in their victory. This was done at what must have been a high financial cost to the Bulls and caused Superleague to change the rules on late season recruitment.

It is sad to see the a once great club in such a state, but also frustrating that it is self inflicted with a high wage bill, plumetting season ticket sales after last seasons bargain basement give-away, and a lack of on-field success. The next few weeks will determine the Bulls fate, but if they are relying on their fans to all part with 100 each then I suspect that the receivers will be calling sooner rather than later.

Last nights disciplinary committee haven't helped with a return to normality.

After throwing a haymaker which missed its intended target, and laid out a team mate, Ben Westwood was allowed to plead early and get a one game suspension. Epalahame Lauaki also failed to make it as far as the disciplinary after dropping Matty Blyth on his head in Wigans game against Warrington and pleaded guilty early being rewarded with a two game suspension. Both players responsible of causing or intending to cause others serious injury and they get less of a suspension than Ryan Bailey received for trying to move a referee out of the way to effect a tackle.

None of this is making much sense to me.

Am I dreaming? Or have I slipped into the 'Twilight Zone'?

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