Talking Sport: It’s all go as rugby returns with a bang

Trevor Watson.
Trevor Watson.

It’s all go in rugby this weekend with the start of the new rugby league ‘summer’ season and, of course, rugby union’s fabled Six Nations. No prizes for guessing which will dominate national headlines.

Actually I feel sorry for the Southern media mafia when England start their RU campaign in Scotland. If they lose, the critics will have to find somebody else to blame because Sam Burgess, the one player they savaged during the World Cup failure, is no longer there. You can bet there won’t be anything like the individual battering handed out that he received.

Another point is the standard of play won’t be anywhere near as open with New Zealand and Australia not there, let alone Japan. It will revert to the old head-down stuff among giant forwards and occasionally huge backs. We can only hope one of the smaller players shows up best of the lot and he’ll be 14 stone.

Super League’s big question is how Leeds Rhinos will cope without key men, Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock. One thing’s certain, no prop will stay on the field as long as Peacock used to.

With all the comings and goings at clubs, supporters need sharp eyes and minds to find out exactly who’s in their team. It’s nice to note that at Leeds, former Dewsbury Celtic youngster Tommy Brierley has had pre-season games in the first team. His dad Mark will be very proud. Another local product, Curtis Naughton is showing up well at Hull.

At least Batley and Dewsbury followers will recognise the same coaches and well done to the Rams for ensuring Glenn Morrison stays until the end of 2017. He and John Kear at the Bulldogs seem well on the way to gold watches for 25 years service. Do they still give them?

Sad note at Batley with the death of that grand old forward George Palmer at the age of 91. Tea ladies will miss hearing that Hull accent: ‘Save me a couple of them pars love.’ They used to save him two for half-time and two to take home.

George was in the submarines during the war, attended the Cenotaph service and spoke highly of the way the veterans were treated, although no ‘pars.’

Another ex-Batley forward Jim Etty has had an operation for a pacemaker. Jim has been told it will ‘make him a new man.’ His long-suffering wife Joan will be hoping so.

Members of the Ironheart Gym at Dewsbury celebrated five years as owner for Omar Butt and also his birthday. They recently held a press-up competition which was won by Liam Riley with 107.

One member, Robert, who is 24 stone, achieved a remarkable 72. He was annoyed because he took the test half-way through his normal work-out and said he could have done more.

I’m no great fan of Chelsea centre-half John Terry, partly due to his badgering of referees.

After 21 years at the club he’s been told he will not be given another season, so no sentiment there, although some will argue he’s been well remunerated.