That’s how you sell rugby league

If Ryan Hall’s try isn’t used to promote Super League next season, then we’re doing it wrong.

Forget the iron men, forget the cartoon characters on billboards and forget players running through walls in a disused factory.

Rugby league at its finest is played on the pitch, by two teams over 80 breathtaking minutes just as it was on Friday night in Huddersfield.

When Brian McDermott, in the most stone cold professional manner, signalled for Leeds to take the two points to get the draw that would secure them a home semi-final, there will have been groans up and down the country.

How dare he sacrifice the League Leaders’ Shield (surely now, far more deserving than its nickname of the hubcap) to improve the Rhinos’ path to Super League glory.

But all he was doing was following the “Every Minute Matters” mantra that the RFL stuck on their bold new era and to which is increasingly becoming a truth.

As it was, McDermott couldn’t have dreamt of a better script.

His side, despite the hint of a Kevin Sinfield shake on a relatively routine penalty goal, had tied things up at 16-all and knew that they would have the only possession left of the game.

They chanced their arm, Danny McGuire went for a little chip kick, Ryan Hall gathered ahead of a dawdling Scott Grix and the rest is history.

If I don’t see that try at least 50 times before the start of next season, I’ll be disappointed.

Wigan fans will have no doubt been disappointed by the outcome and they’ll have the chance to make their own headlines in the weeks to come, but this was rugby league’s night.

What’s most compelling about the whole thing is that this is just the start of what could be an enthralling few weeks of action.

Next week sees the Million Pound Game, more than likely between Wakefield and Bradford, to decide the final place in Super League next season.

There’s also the Kingstone Press League 1 play-off final, which elevates one team to the Championship and puts them within possible touching distance of the game’s elite, not to mention the Kingstone Press Championship Shield.

You’ve also got the two Super League semi-finals – Leeds v St Helens and Wigan v Huddersfield – ahead of the big one at Old Trafford on Saturday October 10.

The way the Super 8s are played out means that there’s every chance future seasons could see comparable drama at the death.

Now how about sorting out a proper trophy for finishing first?!

 

Over to you, Blake.

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