Mark Offerdahl grew up in Australia, played club rugby in France and Wales, became an entrepreneur in London, and is about to captain USA at a World CupBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkMark Offerdahl will skip…
Category: Super League Rugby
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/oct/17/mark-offerdahl-rugby-league-usa-world-cup-captain-food
It was a season to remember for Leeds and for Castleford’s Luke Gale, while Wakefield bucked the big-spending trend and Toronto Wolfpack showed a glimpse of the futureHad these awards been published a fortnight ago, it could have been so easy to go for…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/12/super-league-awards-complete-review-2017-season
• ‘This is a society issue … I can’t see what Zak Hardaker was thinking’• Depleted England ready to head for Australia on Thursday and World CupSenior members of England’s coaching and playing staff have denied that rugby league has a wider issue with …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/10/rugby-league-no-problem-drugs-england-denis-betts
Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow want to end their Leeds playing careers with another title against their neighbours Castleford at Old Trafford
The home grounds of Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos lie less than 20 miles apart. As local rivalries go, they do not get much more intense. That much will be evident on Saturday night when their two worlds collide at Old Trafford in the 20th Super League Grand Final.
They may be close as the crow flies but the two clubs are a long way apart in many other respects. This is David versus Goliath, played out on the sport’s biggest stage – and, even though the pre-match chatter has been dominated by Zak Hardaker’s omission from Castleford’s squad for a breach of club rules, it still has all the makings of a classic.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/06/mcguire-burrow-leeds-castleford-grand-final-preview
Four years ago the club almost went out of business but they have soared under Daryl Powell and can fulfil the dream of former owner Jack Fulton on Saturday
On Saturday it will be 10 years to the day since Castleford won rugby league’s Championship to earn promotion to Super League. “Ten years? It feels like a lifetime,” says their captain, Michael Shenton, who played in that match against Widnes as a teenager. Before this extraordinary season that had been the extent of Castleford’s recent success but come Saturday night, against Leeds at Old Trafford, the Tigers could be crowned Super League champions.
There are rugby league-mad towns, and then there is Castleford. Only a few miles from Leeds and Wakefield, this little pocket of West Yorkshire eats, sleeps and breathes the sport. They are playing in the Grand Final for the first time – though they will do so without their outstanding full-back, Zak Hardaker, who was dropped on Thursday for a breach of club rules – and the town with a population of only 40,000 will feel empty.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/05/castleford-rapid-rise-unthinkable-grand-final-daryl-powell
• Tigers drop England full-back in run-up to biggest game in their history
• Hardaker had enjoyed stunning season after move from Leeds
The England international Zak Hardaker has been dropped by Castleford for Saturday’s Super League Grand Final following a breach of club rules.
Only 48 hours after finishing second behind his Castleford team-mate Luke Gale in the 2017 Man of Steel awards and with the club’s first-ever appearance in the Grand Final days away, Hardaker has been omitted from the Tigers’ 19-man squad to face Leeds at Old Trafford.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/05/zak-hardaker-castleford-miss-grand-final-breach-club-rules-rugby-league
• ‘It’s all about turning up and playing’ says Castleford coach
• Rhinos’ Stevie Ward ruled out with shoulder injury
Castleford have been the form team all season but their coach has denied that favouritism will make any difference in the club’s first Super League Grand Final.
It is first versus second on Saturday evening as Castleford face Leeds, but Daryl Powell said the Tigers’ priority was “turning up and playing” at Old Trafford, regardless of which side was favourite.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/02/castleford-daryl-powell-leeds-grand-final
The part-time players in the Championship will need to keep their passports handy next year – and that’s before more clubs arrive from across the Atlantic
On Saturday evening we will know whether Catalans Dragons or Leigh Centurions will be playing in the Championship next season. The losers of the Million Pound Game (that name – eurgh!) will go down and the odds are on a spineless Dragons team failing to play to their potential at a hostile Leigh Sports Village. That will be a great shame for Catalans and French rugby as a whole, but there are positives amid the gloom. It would mean two derbies with Toulouse Olympique and both clubs would be expected to challenge Toronto Wolfpack and London Broncos for promotion.
And that, in a nutshell, is the other problem. Part-time clubs in the Championship will have to travel to all four of those exciting destinations, flung far from the M62. Throw in either Barrow or Whitehaven – who meet in the League 1 play-off final on Sunday – and the financial impact on clubs such as Swinton, Batley, Sheffield, Featherstone is considerable. But they better get used to it, as there could soon be away trips to the USA and Ireland on the schedule, too.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/sep/27/rugby-league-million-pound-game-catalans-leigh-toronto
• Super 8s: Salford 4-30 St Helens
• Wigan would need huge win to deny neighbours
Whether it is Castleford on Thursday or Leeds 24 hours later in the semi-finals, it is increasingly clear St Helens are in no mood to let this season peter out with a whimper.
When Justin Holbrook arrived on these shores in May and inherited a side whose fate appeared more likely to be in a battle to avoid the Qualifiers as opposed to the race for Old Trafford, few would have fancied St Helens being in this position.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/21/salford-st-helens-super-8s-match-report
• Smith took charge in March 2009 and oversaw huge success at club
• Warrington finished regular season in Super League’s bottom four
Warrington will look to Australia and the NRL for their new coach after the Super League side confirmed they will part company with the competition’s longest-serving coach, Tony Smith, at the end of the current season and by mutual consent.
Smith has overseen one of the most successful periods in Warrington’s history since joining as coach in March 2009, helping the Wolves win the Challenge Cup on three occasions, as well as reaching three Grand Finals.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/10/warrington-tony-smith-super-league-rugby
• Hull KR 12-6 Widnes Vikings
• Tries by Minns and Shaw help ease pain of last year’s relegation
After a testing season in the Championship, the trips to Batley and Dewsbury are now officially a thing of the past for Hull Kingston Rovers, but Widnes will look back on this as a missed opportunity to confirm their own future in Super League.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/09/hull-kr-promoted-back-to-super-league-widnes-match-report
• Super 8s: St Helens 16-26 Wigan
• Wigan still have Grand Final chance
Wigan’s defence of their Super League title they won last October has been littered with suggestions Shaun Wane’s side are incapable of retaining the trophy next month in the Grand Final.
And on occasions that scepticism has not been without reason – but as the calendar ticks over into September Wigan are beginning to peak at just the right time once again. And what a night they chose to prove it, as the Ben Barba fanfare in St Helens was silenced by their fiercest rivals.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/01/st-helens-wigan-super-league-rugby-match-report
• Super 8s: Leeds Rhinos 38-26 Hull FC
• Hull’s brave effort after Wembley final not enough
Leeds moved to within touching distance of a home semi-final in the Super League play-offs following this victory in a bad-tempered contest.
Hull were lifting the Challenge Cup at Wembley five days ago – the scheduling of this fixture so soon after the final attracted much criticism – and they knew two points here were crucial to their hopes of usurping Leeds in second place.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/31/leeds-rhinos-hull-fc-super-league-super-8s-match-report
• Hull want to avoid repeat of last season’s slump after winning trophy
• Victory parade on Monday is closely followed by a tricky trip to Leeds
Scott Taylor has issued a rallying cry to his Hull FC team‑mates to use their Challenge Cup triumph as a springboard for the remainder of the Super League season.
“The double is massive,” said the prop, a Wembley winner with both of the clubs who contested the final on Saturday. “We know we can beat anyone on our day and that’s the goal now.”
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/27/hull-fc-challenge-cup-super-league
• Rhinos surge three points clear of third-placed Hull FC in Super 8s
• Wigan trounce Salford 42-6 while Huddersfield hammer Hull 46-18
The England winger, Ryan Hall, marked his 300th appearance for Leeds with a crucial try to help them get back on course for a home semi-final.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/18/rugby-league-super-8s-leeds-st-helens-ryan-hall
• Castleford 45-20 Wakefield
For Castleford, this was a night many of their supporters – and players – may have thought would never materialise. Many have attempted to devalue the importance of the League Leaders’ Shield as Castleford closed in on the prize in recent weeks, but as the gates were locked at this famous old ground just before kick-off, it would have taken a brave man to try to suggest it meant nothing for a town where rugby league is everything.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/17/castleford-wakefield-super-8s-super-league-match-report