General Nz Warriors And Wigan Warriors Partnership

Wane was a former prop who came through the ranks at Wigan and later played for Leeds as well. As a player he was tough as nails had runner with no quarter given or asked for.

He then worked his way up through the coaching ranks at Wigan and coached our juniors to many honours. When Brian Nobel left Wane threw his hat in the ring to become first team coach, and many people sniggered as he doesn't always come across as the most articulate of coaches. When Michael Maguire was appointed instead Wane was his first pick as assistant coach. He spent two years being understudy to Madge, then when Maximus poached him off us Wane was given his chance at the big time.

He coaches like he played. Brutally honest and never makes an excuse. For example when we lost narrowly to Warrington last week with 9 of our first teamers out injured many people said "the moral victory goes to Wigan". Not Wane, he spoke of how pleased he was at the performance of the youngsters and pointed out the areas of defence where we were weakest. Also in a game last season after Josh Charnley got a gash in his leg requiring 5 stitches he commented (something like) "yeah he's been stitched up a bit, but he's a back so he's hamming it up a lot", so he certainly brings a sense of humour.

If he has a flaw its that he wants to win EVERYTHING. He doesn't pick games which he isn't as bothered about (although some people say he rested a lot of players against Widnes because of their artificial pitch... that said we still had 9 players out for the last game). He also isn't afraid to play the kids if there is an injury or a loss of form. Last year Wigan could have been accused of not playing well in the big games, although we were minor premiers. However, we did lose Tomkins for the playoffs and our win/lose ratio without him is a bit embarrassing.
 
It is a junior exchange programme - talk of shipping Locke and other senior players over there like a FedEx wouldn't be so straight forward because they have Managers.
 
How I see it:

The juniors we send to the ESL would be ones who would be playing in the NYC or Vulcans at best. The juniors we send to Britain are going there to play ESL... a massive step above NSW Cup. So yes, it will help their development immensely.

Saying it will take a year to acclimatise our juniors back to NRL level just makes no sense at all - because they wouldn't even be playing NRL!

The intricacies of salaries and such could actually work in our favour too, depending on how we swing it. IE... ESL youth are going to be paid sweet fuck all at home and if any of them turn out to be big performers, we could potentially keep them at a bargain rate for a season or two. So yes, I see possible advantages for recruitment too.

Please remember we are partnering the BEST team in the ESL... not some third rate hick team with poor structures and systems. If Wigan relocated to the NRL, they would be among the top performing sides in our comp.

NRL is of course the ambition, but the ESL and Europe would be a fantastic stepping stone and experience for a young player from NZ. An all-expenses-paid OE to go play sport, lift weights, snort blow and smash slutty girls in England... sounds fucking sweet to me!

Right, so Bell can't recruit Aussies, management can't sign/keep decent coaches, and the NSW to first grade is a step too far - so what do we have? The 'junior exchange programme'. This as I understand it is a straight swap, our under 19's to ESL and their under 19's to NRL. A stint at ESL wont improve our juniors skill set more than the NRL would - wheres the benefit to the Warriors? $$?? A few thousand or nothing (they are juniors) is not gonna do anything but be a drop in the ocean and a step backwards to the ESL for our juniors (sorry Wigan fans but the NRL - minus the dodgy admin - is the better comp). Do we intend to take their 19 year olds and put them straight into our first grade team cos they're gonna be so good coming from the ESL? Is that the benefit? Lets get real, the ESL is not a stable or a Kennards storage facility. And (for shame) if it is a juniors for seniors exchange, then lets call that what it is - the junior exploitation programme. Sorry - we've already got one, its called NRL. And I'm no fool the NRL isn't gonna win this years prize for sport with the most integrity! And if swapping our young unrepresented juniors for their seniors is the REAL reason for this, then I say that is a mongrel dog act and I'd be straight down the road to the Storm because at least all they're trying to do is give out free massages and rort stinking salary caps, consistently, and I can live with that over and above a 17-19 year old exploitation programme. I can just imagine that conversation:

(Wigan) "Alright Deano? We need three nice big darkies next shipment Deano. What's that son? Nah see we're shipping them straight over to France for a nice big finders fee innit? That fullback working out alright son? 'Lovely''. Always a pleasure Deano, always a pleasure".

(Dckhead Deano) "Mrs Whare/Vatuvei/Atuaia its a fantastic exchange programme where they'll be able to experience new cultures and improve their skill set and meet the Queen of England. You'd like that wouldn't you? You'll be able to tell all the whanau/family/village that your Hemi/Manu/Semesi is having tea with the Queen! Come on Mrs Whare/Vatuvei/Atuaia we haven't got all day sign here here and here. What's that? No, no we feel the wealth of experience is far more valuable than your boy actually getting paid. I mean, come on now, he's never gonna be an Accountant/Doctor/Lawyer and you want the Warriors to win a premiership don't you? Sign the form Mrs Whare/Vatuvei/Atuaia . Do it for the Warriors".


Sorry. My imagination, oh the possibilities!
 
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Right, so Bell can't recruit Aussies, management can't sign/keep decent coaches, and the NSW to first grade is a step too far - so what do we have?

The 'junior exchange programme'. This as I understand it is a straight swap, our under 19's to ESL and their under 19's to NRL. A stint at ESL wont improve our juniors skill set more than the NRL would - wheres the benefit to the Warriors? $$??

A few thousand or nothing (they are juniors) is not gonna do anything but be a drop in the ocean and a step backwards to the ESL for our juniors (sorry Wigan fans but the NRL - minus the dodgy admin - is the better comp).

Do we intend to take their 19 year olds and put them straight into our first grade team cos they're gonna be so good coming from the ESL? Is that the benefit? Lets get real, the ESL is not a stable or a Kennards storage facility. And (for shame) if it is a juniors for seniors exchange, then lets call that what it is - the junior exploitation programme. Sorry - we've already got one, its called NRL.

And I'm no fool the NRL isn't gonna win this years prize for sport with the most integrity! And if swapping our young unrepresented juniors for their seniors is the REAL reason for this, then I say that is a mongrel dog act and I'd be straight down the road to the Storm because at least all they're trying to do is give out free massages and rort stinking salary caps, consistently, and I can live with that over and above a 17-19 year old exploitation programme. I can just imagine that conversation:

(Wigan) "Alright Deano? We need three nice big darkies next shipment Deano. What's that son? Nah see we're shipping them straight over to France for a nice big finders fee innit? That fullback working out alright son? 'Lovely''. Always a pleasure Deano, always a pleasure".

(Dckhead Deano) "Mrs Whare/Vatuvei/Atuaia its a fantastic exchange programme where they'll be able to experience new cultures and improve their skill set and meet the Queen of England. You'd like that wouldn't you? You'll be able to tell all the whanau/family/village that your Hemi/Manu/Semesi is having tea with the Queen! Come on Mrs Whare/Vatuvei/Atuaia we haven't got all day sign here here and here. What's that? No, no we feel the wealth of experience is far more valuable than your boy actually getting paid. I mean, come on now, he's never gonna be an Accountant/Doctor/Lawyer and you want the Warriors to win a premiership don't you? Sign the form Mrs Whare/Vatuvei/Atuaia . Do it for the Warriors".


Sorry. My imagination, oh the possibilities!


Haha, I think you should wait and see what the partnership details are before working yourself into too great a frenzy ;).
But you certainly have my nomination for Epic Rant of the Week! Well done!

I don't think we are going to make wholesale trades with Wigan. I honestly expect 2-5 players of each level (junior, Vulcan, FG) to be swapped between the clubs. There's more to it than simply NRL vs ESL quality.

Our Vulcans or juniors may get ESL time while over there, which would be awesome for their development and careers. They'd also be exposed to different systems and lifestyles, enhancing their knowledge and maturity.

And some of them may actually just want to go for the experience of living overseas.

Vice versa, any ESL junior spending time in our ranks is going to pick up valuable skills and experience and maybe even an NRL contract?

I haven't a clue how the partnership / exchange is actually going to work, but I can tell you this: it's being developed by people who are far better versed in rugby league and business strategy than I am! So I am not freaking out just yet.

P.S. we have signed two Australians for next season.

And business always involves a level of exploitation... how else are we supposed to make money haha. Now go chuck your (made by slave labour in China) Nikes on and go for a walk to get some fresh air!
 
The better option would be a partnership for a London based ESL club which could then be the viable feeder club to the Warriors. This clube would:

- broaden our player recruitment prospects past Wigan to include the UK and maybe even Europe.
- be an attractive prospect/pathway for UK players to the NRL if that is what they want
- be an exciting prospect for our Juniors in NZ into a first grade team
- hopefully those players who pathway will then come to the NZ Warriors first
- shorten the gap between the NSW and first grade

We'll still only have one first grade NRL team, but now we will have a first grade ESL team too hopefully helping our prospects as a desirable franchise to prospective players, and giving our juniors another option.[DOUBLEPOST=1373077156][/DOUBLEPOST]
Haha, I think you should wait and see what the partnership details are before working yourself into too great a frenzy ;).
But you certainly have my nomination for Epic Rant of the Week! Well done!

I don't think we are going to make wholesale trades with Wigan. I honestly expect 2-5 players of each level (junior, Vulcan, FG) to be swapped between the clubs. There's more to it than simply NRL vs ESL quality.

Our Vulcans or juniors may get ESL time while over there, which would be awesome for their development and careers. They'd also be exposed to different systems and lifestyles, enhancing their knowledge and maturity.

And some of them may actually just want to go for the experience of living overseas.

Vice versa, any ESL junior spending time in our ranks is going to pick up valuable skills and experience and maybe even an NRL contract?

I haven't a clue how the partnership / exchange is actually going to work, but I can tell you this: it's being developed by people who are far better versed in rugby league and business strategy than I am! So I am not freaking out just yet.

P.S. we have signed two Australians for next season.

And business always involves a level of exploitation... how else are we supposed to make money haha. Now go chuck your (made by slave labour in China) Nikes on and go for a walk to get some fresh air!
I'm not bothered about what the Chinese are doing.
 
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The better option would be a partnership for a London based ESL club which could then be the viable feeder club to the Warriors. This clube would:

- broaden our player recruitment prospects past Wigan to include the UK and maybe even Europe.
- be an attractive prospect/pathway for UK players to the NRL if that is what they want
- be an exciting prospect for our Juniors in NZ into a first grade team
- hopefully those players who pathway will then come to the NZ Warriors first
- shorten the gap between the NSW and first grade

We'll still only have one first grade NRL team, but now we will have a first grade ESL team too hopefully helping our prospects as a desirable franchise to prospective players, and giving our juniors another option.[DOUBLEPOST=1373077156][/DOUBLEPOST]
I'm not bothered about what the Chinese are doing.



I'm really sorry if I am not following you, but these (good points by the way, it reads like Dean Bell giving a recruitment speech to some unknowing Islander mothers in a South Auckland chapel ;)) all seem like things we can achieve with Wigan?
 
I find it a bit of a laugh really, this should have been done in the very beginning, it isn't like we haven't been involved with Wigan and it's players from day 1, they used to play in the winter too..The Warriors hahaha, How many years has Bell been in the club now? LOL, How many years has he been taking a holiday on the club in England?
It's a not a bad idea but how come it has taken this long? It would have been great to see Henry Paul in a NZ Warriors jersey for a season or 2..It's a bit of a bad joke in a few ways..

I struggle with some of your thinking at times, how the fuck can this not happening earlier be Dean Bells fault. What, he's supposed to rock up at Wigan and tell them from now on we're going to be a partnership and the Warriors from NZ want this, that and the other and your going to agree because I'm Dean Bell and said it would be so. Why for example don't the Storm have a deal with the Rhinos or Manly with St Helens, probably because one person can't say whats going to happen. Again who said Henry even wanted to play in the NRL, after all he did go on to play union for England and as far as I know both he and Robbie both still live in England, I'm also have a feeling their parents even moved up. Another mark against your every NZ born player wants to be a Warrior stand ?
 
How I see it:

The juniors we send to the ESL would be ones who would be playing in the NYC or Vulcans at best. The juniors we send to Britain are going there to play ESL... a massive step above NSW Cup. So yes, it will help their development immensely.

Saying it will take a year to acclimatise our juniors back to NRL level just makes no sense at all - because they wouldn't even be playing NRL!

The intricacies of salaries and such could actually work in our favour too, depending on how we swing it. IE... ESL youth are going to be paid sweet fuck all at home and if any of them turn out to be big performers, we could potentially keep them at a bargain rate for a season or two. So yes, I see possible advantages for recruitment too.

Please remember we are partnering the BEST team in the ESL... not some third rate hick team with poor structures and systems. If Wigan relocated to the NRL, they would be among the top performing sides in our comp.

NRL is of course the ambition, but the ESL and Europe would be a fantastic stepping stone and experience for a young player from NZ. An all-expenses-paid OE to go play sport, lift weights, snort blow and smash slutty girls in England... sounds fucking sweet to me!



Nothing is better for learning than experience, so for me I can not believe some don't think getting experience in a completely different system can't be a good thing, hell even if it works out badly in individual cases even that must constitute part of the learning curve, and something that can help the way systems and structures are set up in the future.
 
Haha, I think you should wait and see what the partnership details are before working yourself into too great a frenzy ;).
But you certainly have my nomination for Epic Rant of the Week! Well done!

I don't think we are going to make wholesale trades with Wigan. I honestly expect 2-5 players of each level (junior, Vulcan, FG) to be swapped between the clubs. There's more to it than simply NRL vs ESL quality.

Our Vulcans or juniors may get ESL time while over there, which would be awesome for their development and careers. They'd also be exposed to different systems and lifestyles, enhancing their knowledge and maturity.

And some of them may actually just want to go for the experience of living overseas.

Vice versa, any ESL junior spending time in our ranks is going to pick up valuable skills and experience and maybe even an NRL contract?

I haven't a clue how the partnership / exchange is actually going to work, but I can tell you this: it's being developed by people who are far better versed in rugby league and business strategy than I am! So I am not freaking out just yet.

P.S. we have signed two Australians for next season.

And business always involves a level of exploitation... how else are we supposed to make money haha. Now go chuck your (made by slave labour in China) Nikes on and go for a walk to get some fresh air!

Actually, I completely and utterly take back the suggestion of a Warriors ESL team. I'd rather the Warriors strengthen the local NZ comp. If Wigan want a partnership they can front some money to help the Warriors do that instead. I know plenty of hick town clubs in NZ who could do with some funding and viable professional pathway options. If players and teenagers of NZ in general want an OE they can save up and buy a plane ticket or apply for a working holiday visa like everyone else, not by being a traded Junior for a Wigan senior (if that is indeed the reason for this sistahood. Actually, clarification - would they be sisters or sistas? Is Dean gonna be walking around wearing hoops and chewing gum from now on??) I know the NRL wont win any awards for integrity but don't patronise me, I know exactly how business works and exploits. And p.s. I always wear heels
 
Actually, I completely and utterly take back the suggestion of a Warriors ESL team. I'd rather the Warriors strengthen the local NZ comp. If Wigan want a partnership they can front some money to help the Warriors do that instead. I know plenty of hick town clubs in NZ who could do with some funding and viable professional pathway options. If players and teenagers of NZ in general want an OE they can save up and buy a plane ticket or apply for a working holiday visa like everyone else, not by being a traded Junior for a Wigan senior (if that is indeed the reason for this sistahood. Actually, clarification - would they be sisters or sistas? Is Dean gonna be walking around wearing hoops and chewing gum from now on??) I know the NRL wont win any awards for integrity but don't patronise me, I know exactly how business works and exploits. And p.s. I always wear heels


I actually wasn't intending to patronise, just wanted to include my comment about Nikes! And you should possibly consider mixing up the footwear - constant heel wearing can have some pretty bad long term effects on your muscles and ligaments.
 
I actually wasn't intending to patronise, just wanted to include my comment about Nikes! And you should possibly consider mixing up the footwear - constant heel wearing can have some pretty bad long term effects on your muscles and ligaments.

Speaking to fans of other clubs they all say the same thing - they're interested to see how it goes. I am too but I don't agree with 18 year olds playing first grade is all.
 
Speaking to fans of other clubs they all say the same thing - they're interested to see how it goes. I am too but I don't agree with 18 year olds playing first grade is all.


I see that a member of the coaching staff paid a visit to Man City after Perth. Not quite Man U but close enough.
 
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Will be interesting how this partnership goes or if there seems to be any evidence of it in a few years. I'm pretty sure Souths and Leeds had a similar sister partnership a few years ago. Since the game in Florida I can't recall hearing any interaction between those two clubs.

When I was younger Wigan was the team in the UK I liked so I'm happy we've teamed up with a team with a history of success.
 
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mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Didnt want to start a new thread on it but I think our partnership is looking pretty shit compared to the Broncos new one...
Brisbane Broncos pair up with the New Zealand rugby union

BRISBANE development chiefs have flown to New Zealand to inspect the All Blacks set-up as the Broncos explore cross-code methods to stay ahead of their NRL rivals.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the Broncos have struck a relationship with the New Zealand Rugby Union in a bi-partisan move designed for information sharing and improving development structures.

A four-man team led by Broncos development boss Brendan Barlow attended the NZRU’s headquarters in Auckland a fortnight ago.

It followed an initial visit by the Kiwi organisation’s junior-development staff, who toured Brisbane’s Red Hill training base in May to glean insights into operations at one of the NRL’s most professional clubs.

The Broncos’ recruitment-and-development strategies have come under fire in recent times.

The club has been criticised for struggling to unearth a champion playmaker in an era where a posse of Queensland juniors, headlined by Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Ben Barba, Josh Papalii and Daly Cherry-Evans, have become superstars at rival NRL outfits.

Barlow says the Broncos “aren’t crying over spilt milk”, but the club’s loose alliance with the NZRU is evidence they are leaving no stone unturned to deliver a development bedrock for a return to Brisbane’s glory days.

It was Brisbane’s maiden fact-finding mission to the NZRU and one endorsed by coach Anthony Griffin, who is mindful that NRL rivals such as Melbourne and Canterbury pump millions into footballing resources.

aresources3.news.com.au_images_2013_08_04_1226690_973375_anthony_griffin.jpg

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin. Picture: Jonathon Searle

“That’s the first time we’ve gone over there and I was happy with that,” Griffin said.

“It was Brendan’s idea to visit the NZRU. We had them here early in the year and we were only too happy to go back. It’s an opportunity for us to learn from another successful organisation.”

While aware of the brickbats being fired at Brisbane’s development strategies, Barlow is content to operate in the shadows.

Since 2006, sixteen players have graduated from the club’s development system to play NRL. Three - Josh Hoffman, Jharal Yow Yeh and Gerard Beale - became Origin or Test players.

Others to emerge from the Broncos’ grassroots include Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, Dale Copley, Ben Hunt, David Hala, Corey Norman, Dunamis Lui, Dane Gagai, Kurt Baptiste, Lachlan Maranta, Aaron Whitchurch, Jordan Kahu and, most recently, Corey Oates.

But Barlow is seeking continuous improvement. He sees synergies between the Broncos and All Blacks. Both are respected brands synonymous with success, but with performance comes accountability and crushing public expectation.

“The NZRU do things well, they are a successful organisation and we just found between the two of us it is a good relationship to have,” Barlow said.
“There is a mutual respect there as successful sporting franchises. We have both got barriers and hurdles and we highlighted a few ideas and strategies to overcome them.

“It started informally with a chit-chat and now we look at each other’s facilities and offices with a particular focus on elite player development.

“We’re not in the process of resting on our laurels. Development is an ongoing process. Any successful modern organisation is always looking for ways to improve and we’re certainly no different to that.

“It’s a good opportunity to upskill our own staff and help keep the Broncos moving forward.”

The Broncos spent a week running their eye over the NZRU’s development methods. And while they are happy to swap information, Barlow says there are no plans to exchange talent or pilfer emerging New Zealand rugby stars.

“It’s not like we go there to pick up a heap of kids, it’s not about that,” he said. “We spoke about that with the NZRU, we both understand there are player movements, but it’s not a priority to target Kiwi rugby kids.

“New Zealand won the rugby World Cup and they know they are at the cutting edge of international rugby but they are also looking to continually improve.

“They were honest with how they undertake their business, there was not a degree of arrogance, they were keen to share ideas and that’s great for both of us.”

https://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/b...land-rugby-union/story-fndv2w3r-1226690975701

There was a bit of talk during the preseason that the Warriors should partner up with the NZRU or employ Graham Henry. I know the NZRU see the Warriors as a threat in terms of merchandising revenue but Im sure there are other things they could have picked each others brains about. Our most successful period as a club was when former AB coach John Hart was playing a Director role to both Cleary and Scurrah...
 

Ever Hopeful

Contributor
Information sharing is a healthy thing. The Warriors and ABs ARE in competition. However, this feels traitorous to kiwi sport. There is nothing more kiwi than the All Blacks yet they are choosing to actively support the opposition of another kiwi dynasty. That does not sit well with me. The ABs are big business first, sporting dynasty second these days.
 
Wigan rested Sam Tomkins ( or he was sick , some conspiracy theories on their forum ) for their regular season game against Hull Kingston Rovers.

Tight game , a highlight for me was Epelehame Luaki getting shoulder charged , he stops and points his finger at the offender and remonstrates with the Reff who ignores him.....Lauaki decides to get on with it and fends the player and makes a few more meters.

Hillarious , Lauaki would get crucified by our fans for pausing in the midst of play to blow up at Reff and player alike LOL

Tomkins i notice is starting to get some negative press from a few fans , the effect of leaving i guess.


Anthony Gelling scored a nice try to seal the win.

Watching their Backline move the ball i would love to see a game where we swap backlines and play a friendly........both clubs backing both teams lol

Wigan 21

Hull KR 16
 
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It was an odd match with some odd decisions (one VR reviewed try given when it shouldn't have been and one rejected when it shouldn't have been... at least they evened themselves out) and a tediously slow play of the ball. I haven't noticed Tomkins getting too much stick about leaving but then there's always a fair number of whingers in our (wigan fans) ranks.

Gelling frustrates me, he can be brilliant or have a brain explosion! His partnership with the young winger Burgess (not related to the three at Souths so keep away Mr Crowe) who looked promising,and for a winger on debut I thought Burgess had a very solid game.

Our win lose ratio when Tomkins isn't playing is pretty embarrassing so here's hoping we get over those problems in the off season, and although we won, we made hard work of it.
 
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It was an odd match with some odd decisions (one VR reviewed try given when it shouldn't have been and one rejected when it shouldn't have been... at least they evened themselves out) and a tediously slow play of the ball. I haven't noticed Tomkins getting too much stick about leaving but then there's always a fair number of whingers in our (wigan fans) ranks.

Gelling frustrates me, he can be brilliant or have a brain explosion! His partnership with the young winger Burgess (not related to the three at Souths so keep away Mr Crowe) who looked promising,and for a winger on debut I thought Burgess had a very solid game.

Our win lose ratio when Tomkins isn't playing is pretty embarrassing so here's hoping we get over those problems in the off season, and although we won, we made hard work of it.
Yeah there were some funny bits , but overall I enjoyed the game very much ( especially since We won ! )

Thanks for the tip on Joe not being related to the other Burgess ( I did an online search today and couldn't find any relationship / very little info in general on Joe.
One thing he has in common with all Burgess is he is a monster of a man ( on Telly at least for a Winger ).
Really enjoying the ESL games these days there are some real fiery ( Mongrel is the Complimentary term in the Southern Hemisphere ) players.
By the Way RiddingPie could you explain the difference between the Challenge Cup ( that's the Trophy most Old School Kiwis understand ) and the relevance / timing of the Super League Trophy ?
As I understand it Wigan are already booked for Wembley ( Challenge cup ) but what's the go with the ESL GF ?
Addit : re some fans whinging about Sam.....it's a Gold medal sport at the NZ Warriors.....any time one of ours signs else where they cop a serve.....all part of the deal.
 
Yeah there were some funny bits , but overall I enjoyed the game very much ( especially since We won ! )

Thanks for the tip on Joe not being related to the other Burgess ( I did an online search today and couldn't find any relationship / very little info in general on Joe.
One thing he has in common with all Burgess is he is a monster of a man ( on Telly at least for a Winger ).
Really enjoying the ESL games these days there are some real fiery ( Mongrel is the Complimentary term in the Southern Hemisphere ) players.
By the Way RiddingPie could you explain the difference between the Challenge Cup ( that's the Trophy most Old School Kiwis understand ) and the relevance / timing of the Super League Trophy ?
As I understand it Wigan are already booked for Wembley ( Challenge cup ) but what's the go with the ESL GF ?
Addit : re some fans whinging about Sam.....it's a Gold medal sport at the NZ Warriors.....any time one of ours signs else where they cop a serve.....all part of the deal.

Got to say for his debut the confidence Joe had going for the corner (great tackle by Eden in fairness to stop him) and the chip he tried were both impressive.

OK the challenge cup is a mid season straight knock out competition. it probably doesn't have the prestige about it in the modern era that it used to have but its still fairly highly valued among the fans (except Leeds fans who haven't won it recently and refer to it as the mickey mouse cup). The CC has no bearing on the super league or the grand final, although there are a few weeks off from the super league competition for the CC rounds to be played they are unevenly dispersed through the season leading to the final in late August (which I can't go to this year because my wife is due to give birth on the 2nd Sept so its a bit too far away). The matches in every round up to and including the semi's are drawn at random by a bloke randomly pulling numbered balls out of a bag.

I love the CC final, its always a great day, even if its importance has been sacrificed slightly so the grand final can be seen as more important.

At the end of the regular league season we then go in to playoffs which are similar, but even more ridiculously complex than the NRL playoff's to get to the ESL Grand Final. The top 8 (thats right you can finish below half way down the league and get in to the playoffs!) split in to the top 4 and the bottom 4. The bottom four teams play each other (5th plays 8th, 6th plays 7th) with the losers being eliminated, and the winners playing the losers of the top 4 playoff matches (1st plays 4th, 2nd plays 3rd). The winners of the top 4 playoff have a week off, whilst the losers from their first round play the winners of the 5 to 8th placed playoffs. The winner with highest league position of the top 4 playoff then picks which team to play in the semi final out of the winners of the matches played on the week they had off (in a wonderfully contrived mechanism called club call) with the winners of those matches playing in the Grand Final!

Did you get that? No? Honestly that's the way it works in ESL (although I believe its changing next year) and if you think your head is spinning reading that, when you're team is playing in it its even harder to figure out who you're playing next week.

The club call is usually slightly interesting as it always a wonder who the team is going to pick... that said, in practice they always pick the team left with the lowest final league placing.
 
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