Rugby League talking points: Refereeing controversy, Super League’s relegation battle and Bradford Bulls’ Odsal goodbye

Scrutiny of both the images Super League’s referees, and the final game of Odsal all attribute this week.
It has been a challenging week for the game officials, that possess a thankless enough task of Super League they have faced from some quarters.
On Friday, St Helens proprietor Eamonn McManus caused a stir with his remarks Concerning the appointment of Robert Hicks to the Challenge Cup final and some of the decisions the Saddleworth referee made for the match against Castleford Tigers, in his notes at Wembley.
Those comments have observed McManus – who released a statement on Sunday through the site of the club reiterating his views – known to the compliance group of the RFL.
Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester did not hold back on Sunday either, was left fuming from the circumstances which resulted in Liam Marshall scoring a try at Sunday’s 24-16 defeat at home to Wigan Warriors.
Referee Scott Mikalauskas failed to ensure Wigan winger Marshall exploited the ball to the appropriate mark from a restart his second try of the game – .
“You have got a referee who is on the place and only let Liam Marshall tap wherever he desired,” Chester said post-match.
“I don’t know if the rules have changed, but it’s only a disgraceful telephone, a disgraceful call. It’s a phone you should not secure wrong.”
That conquer as a member of three groups matches left in the time Wakefield, that have just two wins in their previous 13 Super League games.
A 24-6 success in Perpignan over Catalans Dragons watched while Huddersfield Giants did by winning, Hull Kingston Rovers remain in that group.
It means side London Broncos must win their remaining games away to Rovers – that will be live on Sky Sports that Friday – to have any hope of staying up following a defeat at home to Leeds Rhinos on Sunday.
The Broncos have defied many naysayers to become still in with a chance of avoiding the fall and head coach Danny Ward has supported his team to rise to the challenge again.
“The boys are devastated because they know they’ve not performed well and they have lost, but it is a brief turnaround and we have got to win another two,” Ward said.
“They’ve been in this situation before and hopefully they could draw on these experiences. It’s must-win time, it is black and white so it depends upon how the boys react to that and they deal with that pressure and it will get the best out of them.”
Catalans’ defeat to Hull KR eliminated them in contention for a spot in Super League’s top five, leaving four teams jostling for standing behind League Leaders’ Shield winners St Helens.
Castleford Tigers are two points beyond the play-off areas after last Friday’s 4-0 defeat away to Saints, while Hull FC Warrington Wolves along with Salford Red Devils are locked on 30 points.
Nevertheless, it is now the Grand Final champions win off to Wakefield of year.
The Warriors are presently on a run that has seen them endure just 1 defeat – against rivals St Helens – into their 10 matches since losing to Warrington in Magic Weekend.
Head coach Adrian Lam knows the job isn’t done yet, but is thrilled with the way his side have seen their groove since the year builds towards the business end.
“The dressing room’s quite excited at the present time,” Lam said. “They understand, they have been prepped along how significant this was and also the travel that we’ve been around to get here.
“I didn’t need to mention the other side when we had of missing, a possible likelihood of missing out about the five collectively. That it is.
“Everyone’s worked really hard and I believe we’re in a good place at the moment.”
It was an emotional weekend for the players, staff and supporters of Bradford Bulls because they bid farewell to professional rugby league in the city, home to Odsal since 1934.
The ground that has hosted global Tests and after saw over 100,000 fans cram into it to get a Challenge Cup final replay will now have its own doors closed after getting prohibitively expensive to the club, together with all the Bulls moving 11 miles away to ground-share at Dewsbury Rams’ Tetley’s Stadium for 2020.
The 7,531 crowd in attendance Sunday watched Bradford sign off at the ground in a top chairman Andrew Chalmers has vowed the town will be returned to by the club and since they defeated Sheffield Eagles 30-10 from the Championship.
As yet, however, there are no firm plans as to where or if this is.
“It is sad, but I really don’t understand the financing in ultimate detail so we’ve just got to keep this team alive and kicking and progressing,” Bulls head coach John Kear said following the win over Sheffield.
“That’s what we will be trying to do Dewsbury next year before finally we come back someplace in Bradford that is befitting of a group that is difficult for Super League or is in Super League.”
Finally, spare a thought for Barrow Raiders, who had to confront the might of Toronto Wolfpack in Canada on Saturday with only 14 players.
The Raiders’ squad has been decimated by injuries lately anyhow and the had several players that were unavailable to create the excursion.
Given those conditions, the 62-8 defeat – with Barrow’s points all coming from Jamie Dallimore within his 100th appearance for the club against the fulltime leaders isn’t a disgrace.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, that reduction supported that their relegation to League One following two years back at the second tier. However, there is place to be at least one Cumbrian representative at the Championship next year.
The 74-6 triumph over the weekend of whitehaven means that they need to prevent away defeat to Coventry Bears on Saturday to seal marketing.
Neighbours Workington Town may be coming up as well if they can successfully navigate the play-offs after falling out.

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