Sunday, 20 June 2010

Rugby League - The Greatest Game of All.

To anyone who has questioned my love of rugby league, you only need to look at today's games to understand my love for the greatest game of all.

Four games kicked off at 3.00 PM today. Leeds v Crusaders saw last year's Grand Final winners take on last year's Wooden Spoon collectors, who were missing both of their halfbacks. Regular readers will be aware of my 1.0 first half rule, but even I have to say that at 1.1 pre match, I saw no value in the away side. How wrong was I as the Crusaders collected an unbelievable 32-26 victory. I say unbelievable but really, looking at results over the past two seasons, it was anything but.

Two further games this afternoon saw incredible comebacks. Castleford led 22-6 at Salford (1.7 pre match) after 30 minutes only for Salford to come back to level the game with twenty to go before a late Cas try secured victory whilst Hull led Huddersfield (1.7 as well) 18-0 at the break only to lose 32-18. Sadly, twenty two men kicking a ball from one end of the pitch to another dominated the sporting attention of the nature, and there was practically no money matched in these games.

Adding to the above was the main event. Wigan v St Helens on Sky Sports at 5.15. Quite frankly, anyone who reads this blog with a spare 80 minutes needs to watch a replay of this game to marvel at unprecedented levels of intensity, physicality and, above all else, entertainment. As St Helens fullback Paul Wellens said afterwards, "I've been watching the World Cup and some of them are stealing a living."

Now, in the interests of fairness, I need to disclose a pretty big bias in that I am a childhood Saints fan. Growing up, I hardly missed a Saints match home or away but since defecting to the other side of the Pennines, it's fair to say that I've lost interest in terms of following my hometown club as closely as I used to. It's probably also fair to say that the recent dominance of Saints has also eeked my interest away. With ten successive Cup Semi Final appearances and with the Saints always being there or there about, the thrill of winning has really subdued from the initial glory days at the start of the Summer era. In fact these days, you are more likely to find me at a lower division game!

However, today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt sheer delight at the result in what was otherwise a meaningless league match. Whilst even the most ardent of RL fans would admit that the standard of games served up this year has been substandard, this was as good as any game of the recent past. Indeed, watching the game in the pub (a byproduct of still not having SKY installed in Leeds), I could hardly keep a straight face and even felt the need to watch the final few moments infront of the television. What good that would do, I have no clue.

In terms of trading (Hello Betfair Mobile) I made a conscious decision to keep all my green on Wigan despite laying Saints as low as 1.05. (Note, this was another game where a comeback occured (From 1.01 to 1.3) which I didn't predict and believe me, I predict a lot.) It's an interesting fact that whereas most people often look to back their teams financially, I always do the opposite as if to provide a "can't lose" situation but more likely to support my rather general negativity accordingf to those closest to me! The end result was a loss of £1, but the sheer elation of the victory which returned me to such memories like Twickeham 2001, Old Trafford 1999, 2000 and 2002, Wide to West and the Hand of God - Tommy Martyn style was worth far more than my possible monetary gain.

After all, I trade for enjoyment, the challenge and the profit and as the latter is surely to enhance the first and this result unilaterally provided a greater degree of enjoyment than the financial reward could have.

So believe me when I say that my words are insufficient in describing this game and it is a spectacle that you should really look to watch even if you have never watched a RL game before in your life.

Finally, you may note that I only mentioned three of the four 3.00 PM games. That is as the other, Hull KR v Quins was a 1.01 express train although it did see the return to action of Rob Purdham, Harlequins skipper who has been missing on compassionate leave after his brother Garry was one of Derrick Bird's victims in Cumbria.

And if after watching St Helens v Wigan, you feel the need to watch Rugby League live, well there will be no better chance to do so than England v Cumbria at the end of the year in memory of Garry Purdham. Sure the intensity and skill may not be on the same level, but a more noble cause there isn't.


  1. Rugby games are one of the electrifying sports to watch where you can find many interesting events and actions. That's why there are many rugby fans around the world who enjoy watching every game. Even women are hooked up on this sport. Actually, I also watch women's rugby games and they have the same intensity as men's games. The women players of Glendale Raptors are really good in playing rugby. That's why I also wanted to be part of the Women's Rugby League when I was a kid so I can be as good as them.

  2. Hi there!

    I have been an avid viewer of rugby league for a few years now (season ticket holder at Harlequins) and have in the last few weeks started to bet on rugby league.

    I only recently discovered the thread on Racing Traders that you created about trading on rugby league games and am very interested in your approach and systems into how you bet on rugby league games.

    Not knowing too much about trading, can you provide a basic overview if possible in how you look for trading opportunities and whether you use a general strategy for this (ie place a bet before the game then one during or placing lots of in play bets based on the flow of the game itself).

    How many trades do you usually make per game?

    Am really interested in getting into the whole Betfair trading thing and seeing as I watch rugby league every weekend I thought this would be the game to get into!

    Any advice, tips, hints and examples you can give me would be brilliant, thanks a lot!


  3. Hi Chris - Thanks for stopping by.

    I notice you found me on RacingTraders. Unfortunately, I no longer post there but tend to post at The Geeks Toy (and Tradeshark's Forum) as per the above links.

    Unfortunately, the approach that served me so well in 2009 is no longer so easy to replicate. There seems to be a massive decrease in liquidity this year and I've struggled to adapt. Whereas last year I felt comfortable in assigning a points and a stake value to each event (Penalty, knock on etc...) the market these days is a lot less liquid and as such it is harder to conduct such trades without being at great risk of things going very quickly against you.

    However, it is still useful to work out how the market works roughly and so the best tip I can offer is to study the markets, see how they react, see where you dusagree and work out how to profit. The best strategies are those you come up with yourself.

    However, there are some general rules which I can offer which may be of some use.

    Firstly - lay 1.1 in the first half. How many times do you see a side, think they are dead and buried and watch them come back. It happens a lot. Think of Bradford v Wigan this year. 20-0 down, trading at 1.03, and won. Think of Leeds v Catalans. Trading at 1.02, Catalans came back and Leeds reached 1.4. Think of Saints v London. Saints hit 1.03 and then drifted to 1.3+.

    Of course, the difficulty comes in knowing when to trade out. If you traded out at 1.3 in the Wigan game, you'd feel sick, but for a £20 stake, trading at 1.3 in Leeds and Saints, could have earned you £200. Not bad for 25 minutes work.

    Secondly, if you see a price which you think is too good to be true it probably isn't. Yes, fastest fingers do hang around and it is risky but you do get some insane prices. Catalans v Crusaders in the cup. The Welsh side scored first and at 6-0 were 1.2. Why. I don't know, but that was a stupid price. London v Crusaders recently. With 5 minutes gone and 0-0, London had gone from 1.5 to 1.8. They then plummeted to 1.1 before HT! Even last night, with Warrington on Leeds' line, those with strong stomachs could have laid Warrington at 1.34 and watched Leeds go up the length of the pitch and score and Wire drift to 4! (Of course though that was a much riskier strategy given the amount of time left.)

    However, if you understand RL, you will do well if you put in work and trust your instincts.

    Good luck and if you have any more questions, just feel free to ask.

  4. Hi Craig,

    I enjoy your knowledge and wanted to chat about you contributing. What's your email Craig

    I look forward to hearing from you