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That Was The Week That Was - 7th February
Posted by southstander on February 07 2005 - 07:30:25

Maurice Interested
by Andy Gilderdale

Introducing a brand new weekly feature for the 2005 season, as Andy Gilderdale takes a sideways look at the wonderful world of Rugby League.

Each monday, Andy will review the previous weeks news and try to expose the truth behind the headlines.

In a week which saw the Rhinos crowned as World Club Champions, and the England Rugby Union side feel the full benefit of their training session with our heroes, just what would Andy pick as his newsworthy items?

The Bulldogs spring a surprise in the press conference for World Club Championship by naming 35 year old former Test star Bradley Clyde in their squad as cover. Clyde is later forced to withdraw, after suffering a hamstring injury in training caused by driving through Headingley. Leeds also have their preparations disrupted, as kit manufacturers Patrick scupper their plans to bring back Garry Schofield to combat the experience of Clyde. A spokesman for Patrick said, "We simply couldn't lay our hands on the material required to produce a shirt capable of holding in his waistline and his ego at such short notice".

Kieron Cunningham announces his return from injury in his testimonial game against Hull FC on Wednesday. Saints medical team put Cunningham's quick recovery down to a news blackout imposed on the playing staff with regard to the World Club Challenge. A source from within the club told, "We were worried that Kieron may suffer a relapse if he found out there was an Australian team in the country".

Wigan continue their search for a new front-rower, having been turned down by both Brian Fletcher and Michael Vella. Maurice Lindsay was reportedly on a scouting mission tonight at Kieron Cunningham’s testimonial, and was thought to have been impressed by “the fat lad who came on near the end for Saints”. It’s not known at this stage whether he was referring to Paul Anderson or Johnny Vegas, but both appear to be ahead of Michael Smith in the pecking order at Knowsley Road this season.

The press office at the Atlantic Solutions Stadium goes into overdrive with a double announcement. Firstly, the club confirm they have signed Australian “bad boy” Julian O’Neill from French Rugby Union. In an unrelated move, the club also releases the news that they’ve scrapped plans to introduce a second match-day mascot to Wildcats fans. “In the light of recent developments, we no longer felt it appropriate for the club to bring in Scorchy the Dolphin”, a spokesman said.

The credibility of the World Club Challenge takes another knock tonight at Elland Road. In front of a record WCC crowd in the UK of over 37,000, the Rhinos and Bulldogs serve up a game containing moments of sublime skill, brutal physical confrontation, classic comedy and high drama. “How are we supposed to keep belittling the concept of the World Club Challenge if teams continue to treat it like this”, bemoaned the Sydney Herald’s Bruce McBruce.

League fans continue to be disappointed at the amount of coverage the British media afford to the Superbowl. In the letters page of the Daily Mail, Freddie Flatcap from “a hovel at side o’ t’A58” writes, “Why has the massive cup tie this weekend for Saddleworth Under 9s been neglected in favour of all this bluddy Superbowl thing? There’s only 800 million folk in 200 countries watch it, we get more than that for t’Corrie obnim….ombi….repeats on a Sunday.” The Mail issued an immediate rebuttal, pointing out that their League coverage more than doubled this week, when the game was mentioned twice as part of their fifteen page Jonny Wilkinson pull-out.

Scientists report significant earth tremors in the West Midlands overnight, after the first two games of the RBS Six Nations brought just two tries between them. Further investigations reveal them to have been caused by William Webb Ellis spinning rapidly in his grave. The RFU Revision of History Unit set to work immediately, claiming that the origins of the game were founded in Webb Ellis picking up the ball and hoofing it fifty yards into touch rather than running with it.

The Week Ahead: Wigan sign a former NRL front-rower who’s spent the last 12 months playing bush league footy and hunting pigs with his mates, immediately proclaiming him the best signing they’ve ever made. The St Helens branch of WH Smith’s sells out of dictionaries as they frantically search for the definition of the word “irony”.



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