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globalrugbyleague - Mon, 12 Mar 2007 01:35:00 GMT
And the forecast for the season is lots of tries with a premiership breeze heading north followed by record breaking temperatures fuelling more on-field frustration and resulting in more League players taking up boxing. Welcome to 2007.

The first editorial of a new season is always the hardest. There are new teams to talk about, records we expect to see broken and half-cocked predictions that will leave many of the ‘experts’ looking for a hole to fit into at the end of the season.

Not all cross-sections of the media were able to attend the trial games to get an in-depth look at how some of the new squads performed right across Australia over a three week period. However with all NRL games being both live and on delayed telecast this season, coverage of the game will be on a more equal level. Nothing will go unnoticed.

The biggest issue of 2007 will of course be South Sydney. As this goes to press, the Rabbitohs remain in contention for the signature of NSW Waratahs winger and former Broncos star, Lote Tuqiri.

The addition of Tuqiri to the Rabbitohs attractive new roster in 2008 would not just be evidence that the crew from struggle street are slowly getting ready to move into Rugby League’s Penthouse but that the game they play in heaven will need a lot more then money to compete with the greatest game of all in the forthcoming years.

Even if they are not successful in securing the Fijian duel international, there are plenty of reasons why South Sydney fans should feel confident. Their for and against in the trials this pre-season was much better then what we saw last year and the club can officially admit they’ve recruited most of the players they wanted, something they were unable to do in the past.

If there was a competition ladder for off the field performances, not only would South Sydney be in the top eight, they’d be unlucky not to book a top four spot. But that’s not going to be enough to draw the big attendances the club wants to get. Success on the field is the only means to finally convince the fans, the media and the players that things can are turning around.

Not all decisions made by the new management have proven popular. Giving the cheerleaders the punt has left fans divided and questioning the logic behind replacing them with a marching band. Unless that band is going to play half-time requests, I doubt it will draw one more person to the game. However if this is the worst problem the management face in 2007, then Peter Holmes a’ Court won’t need to start counting bunnies at night.

If you want to play the numbers game in the lead-up to the new season kicking-off on Friday night, check this out. Up to 11 of the existing 16 NRL clubs will be gambling on a new halves pairing this season while 8 clubs will be hoping their new coach can produce gold at the end of the season.

Interestingly enough, two coaches at new clubs won a title in their first season at their previous homes. Ricky Stuart (Roosters – 2002) and Michael Hagan (Knights – 2001). How thrilling would it be if Stuart finally added a trophy to the Sharks empty cabinet after 41-years? You’d have to have the fire crews ready at Toyota Park.

Unfortunately in Rugby League some things never change and not always for the good of the sport. During the off-season one NRL player was caught doing donut burnouts in a vehicle while another will now have to answer allegations of sexual assault.

It would be preferable that we didn’t have to write about these issues. But issues they are which as a community we must all face. A quick and truthful resolution is what we should all be hoping for on these discomforting matters.

The season is here and I’m sure there are a few disenfranchised Super 14’s supporters as well who have decided to jump ship. Let’s all give them a big hug as they prepare to see what Union hasn't been able to deliver in 2007. - Read More, Here