The RFL must think we are stupid, but having chatted to a number of Rhinos supporters over the last week, it will be the Leeds club who will be playing the price for the way that the fixtures have landed. Many with whom I have chatted have told me that they don't intend to get a 2007 season ticket (myself included) and that they will probably not be making the trips to Cardiff or to Perpignan.|
Bulls Four Times
The Rhinos, and for that matter the Bulls, start the season with a massive disadvantage over their rivals due to the fact that they have to play each other on four occasions during the season. I can understand the RFL wanting to maximise the number of local derbies, but this kind of fixture tampering makes our sport a laughing stock and removes any hint of fairness that there might have been within an already unbalanced programme.
While the Rhinos (3rd in 2006) have to play the Bulls (4th) four times, our title competitors Hull FC (2nd) play Hull KR (promoted) four times and Saints (1st) play Wigan (8th) four times. How can that be fair? How could such a plan even be discussed, let alone implemented?
These fixtures almost guarantee eight points for HUll FC, mean that Saints will likely get six or eight from their games against the Warriors, but could easily see the Rhinos and the Bulls sharing four each. Before the season starts we have a massive disadvantage!
Perpignan in Winter
After last seasons freezing trip in March, I was really looking forward to a summer months visit to the South of France. When we got the short straw last season we all packed our coats and umbrellas and crossed the channel in great numbers to support the lads. It was hinted then that a winter trip in 2006 would, in the interests of fairness, mean a nice summer trip in 2007. But the RFL have disrespected us again by sending us even earlier in the winter, in February.
I've decided not to go, and I know that a large number of Rhinos supporters will have made the same decision. I'll save my money for a summer holiday (probably meaning I'll miss a home game - and the reason I won't be renewing my season ticket for the first time for 15 years).
Sunday Night in Cardiff
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the RFL have gone and done it again. With the announcement of the 'Super Cardiff' fixtures for early May, the Rhinos have been scheduled to play Bradford in the last game at 6pm on the Sunday night. What this means is that the Rhinos suporters will not be able to get away from Cardiff until around 9pm and will have a long drive home, not getting back to Leeds until around 1am.
I had booked accommodation in cardiff for the saturday night, but this will now be another match that I will be missing as I certainly don't fancy that long drive home at that time of day. I know that the monday is a bank holiday, but some people do have to work!
Saints have once again been favoured with the saturday night fixture (just as they have a trip to Perpignan in glorious August), and ourselves and the Bulls are the ones who have draw the short straw.