A Viewing Delight

Whilst narrow-minded fans who are only interested in football, football and oh yeah I forgot football, were either complaining that the ‘dead rubber’ between England and Ukraine wasn’t available on television or frantically looking for an illegal venue to watch the game in, I took in my own advice.

In a previous blog I aired my views that this was a good decision as it would allow fans to broaden their horizons and enjoy the other sports viewings available.

How many listened? Probably not many.

They missed a showpiece final with both Leeds Rhinos and St. Helen’s playing high-tempo Rugby and both aiming to win the final, something seldom seen it major finals in the modern era as teams in most sports are too afraid to lose rather than aiming to win.

The atmosphere within Old Trafford, Manchester was electric with a crowd of 63,259 in attendance despite alleged transport issues in the Manchester area on the day of the game.

I, as previously mentioned, am a keen follower of the Huddersfield Giants and have always taken a keen interest in Rugby League, far more so than the more brutal and less entertaining code of the sport.

I settled down and watched arguably one of the most thoroughly entertaining, atmospheric and incident packed games I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

Leeds Rhinos and St. Helen’s are currently the ‘big two’ in Rugby League’s top elite having contested the previous two grand finals in the sport, but this is a sport that is far from been monopolised, it is just their turn at the top.

Both teams were packed with big name players in the sport and for several of them it was their last match representing their current colours, namely Sean Long, Lee Smith and Lee Gilmour (the latter is joining my team).

With Leeds aiming to win a third grand final in a row, there were so many reasons to watch this final over any of the other sports on offer at the same time and I must admit I was far from disappointed.

Both sides went for the jugular and despite St. Helen’s taking an 8-0 lead, Leeds pegged them back to 8-8 at half time. Although the scores from the second half may suggest to the untrained eye a more one-sided affair in was evenly matched throughout though Leeds Rhino’s ran out winners 18-10 in the end.

Several other aspects impressed me during this final. Firstly Sky Sports excellent coverage, with fantastic use of the video referee by the match official, Steve Ganson but the use of Touch-Line commentators by Sky Sports was fantastic, adding a dimension to the live viewing and offering an expert opinion in a critical area of the field.

Well done Sky Sports and it isn’t often many people are heard saying that!

The other aspect that impressed me was that I always like to find a talent I admit I know little about who is going to be a start in their sport for years to come, but along with William Sharman (110m hurdler who recently impressed me at the World Athletic Championships in Berlin), Kyle Eastmond (pictured below), St. Helen’s half back fits easily into that category.

He was my man of the match despite been on the losing side, scoring Saints only try and kicking the rest of their points at the tender age of 20, the future looks bright for this outstanding talent and I cannot wait to see him perform in the up-coming four nations tournament.

Overall it was a fantastic final, the best team won to complete their hat-trick and the sport of Rugby League will be richer for a final of this quality.

The only concern is how many people could have watched this, but chose not to! Shame really.

Thanks for reading as usual.



P.s. Check out one of the finest finishes I think I have ever seen in a football match. This was scored by Martin Palermo, an Argentine international who recently returned to International football (after 9 years exile) to help them qualify for next years World Cup.

Enjoy! It is superb.

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