Is everything in rugby league just an afterthought?

Is everything in rugby league just an afterthought?

I’d like to start with a small apology. Not for my second rant in one day, but because of an article I wrote last month where I put much of the blame for the Challenge Cup’s demise at the feet of the fans.

However, after today’s semi-final announcements, I realise that the RFL more than play their part too, and today’s probably the first time it’s been so blindingly obvious to me.

It all started when I saw the comments from fans on social media after the two venues were announced. Now, usually I’m quick to jump in and tell fans to stop moaning. After all, if social media’s anything to go by, then most RL supporters are never happy.

But today was different, and for once I’m completely with the fans who are complaining. For the record, I don’t have any issue with the two venues themselves and I don’t think the Wigan fans are being hard done by in any way by having to go ‘all the way to Doncaster’. With attitudes like this, it’s obvious why the game never grows.

However, where I do sympathise with the fans – all four team’s – is having the venues announced just a few weeks before the games. In one sense, there’s plenty of time to make arrangements, but in another, it’s just the RFL failing to plan ahead and expecting fans to just blindly follow their club wherever they’re playing.

Why didn’t the RFL just get the two venues sorted and announced before the start of the season? The optimistic – or naive – part of me wonders if the RFL had them booked well in advance but were just waiting to announce them.

However, the far more logical – and perhaps cynical – part of me strongly suspects the RFL didn’t have a clue what they were going to do until after the quarter-finals were played and then scrambled around for two venues.

Either way, it’s a failing on their part. They’ve either failed to communicate with fans or failed to plan ahead. And sure, if they’d announced the two venues before the season kicked off, fans still would have moaned, but at least the RFL would have done their bit and been organised.

It’s this lack of attention to detail which keeps biting them on the backside and makes the game look amateurish.

So once again, apologies to the fans. We still need to play our part to help the Challenge Cup survive, but the RFL aren’t doing us any favours.

Darren Notley

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