Saturday, 12 February 2011

Returning to Action

When I commented on the need to be bold and consistent in trading yesterday, I did not expect it to be tested so early on in the season as it was following St Helens’ stunning comeback against Wigan to cap an excellent first day of the Rugby League season.

At 16-0 down, I had developed a very green position on both St Helens and the draw – at the maximum my green was showing four figures for a very small liability on Wigan. However, this was very much an unintended position. Unintended in so far as I was not entering the trades with a view of Saints making a miraculous come back but rather looking to trade the market to keep building profits.

Now I am a firm proponent that anything can happen in Rugby League, and St Helens have more form in this area than any other side in Super League. However, that form is based on the magic of Sean Long, the incision of Paul Sculthorpe, the brilliance of Jamie Lyon and the endeavour of Keiron Cunningham. However, with all those players having departed the fact was that St Helens looked dreadful and even at 1.02, Wigan looked to be good value given the proceedings of the previous 60 minutes.

Therefore, I did not keep the green solely on St Helens but rather kept trading building small gains whilst keeping the green relatively level. Obviously, the game ended as a draw and my profit, whilst still pleasant, was nowhere near as large as it could have been.

However, I believe it to have been Green All Over who said it best when discussing 1.01 and value in his Goal Famine post. A price is and can never be value in isolation. Therefore, despite being Mr Hindsight at the best of times, I am more than happy with the approach I adopted and even happier with the results – for once I feel ahead of the net scoreboard.

In all the games that I traded today as I traded with a conviction and fluidity that, whilst far from perfect, was much lacking in 2010 but more akin to my 2009 performance. Of course, with only four games having been played it is far too early to make any sweeping statements about the performance of either myself or the teams involved.

The markets, the late game excepted, were not overly liquid but were certainly tradable which was far better than I had been expecting and offers hope for the remainder of the season.

As for the games played today, it is more than fair that some of the games may have been of a reduced quality and could have caused much frustration if watched during the middle of the season. However, and maybe because Super League has been a large void for the past four months, all the games were immensely enjoyable.

Huddersfield and Warrington kicked the season off as the Giants completed a victory that was unexpected. However, the major cost for Warrington could be that Matt King, Lee Briers, Chris Bridge and Simon Grix all left the field injured which could test Warrington’s strength in depth should any of the injuries prove to be significant.

Next up was Harlequins who looked to play an expansive game on their way to an 11-4 victory over Catalans. However, despite Harlequins looking solid and providing much endeavour in defence, the Catalans looked toothless in attack and in desperate need of some creativity. It is especially harsh to judge a player on debut, but Scott Dureau was particularly underwhelming and will need to significantly improve should Catalans look to make a trip to the playoffs this season.

Following that was Wakefield v Castleford, where Wakefield’s spirited efforts were no match against the class of Castleford. The addition of Danny Orr in particular freed up Rangi Chase to display the form that made him such a hot commodity in 2009.

Sadly, the main talking point of the match was referee James Childs whose whistle appeared to have got lodged in Mr Childs’ mouth. Personally, I am a big fan of clamping down at the play the ball early in the game, but most of the penalties awarded were little more than pedantic involvement. It is true that you can penalise nearly every play the ball or tackle for something and Childs seemed to be on a mission to do so, calling 37 penalties and ordering 3 sin binnings. One can only hope that he is advised to show more restraint in the future.

Saints v Wigan proved an exceptional ending to the weekend and whilst there were obvious flaws with the scheduling and issues with the seeming decline in quality, there is little doubt that starting the season with such an event is a welcome idea and is an excellent return to action for league fans who have been sober for a very long time.

I can only hope that the rest of the season is as entertaining and that trading wise, my judgement is as sound tomorrow and for the season as it was today.

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