Carl Ablett: RFL wrong to gift Huddersfield and Saints ‘massive advantage’

Ben Barba.
Ben Barba.
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THERE WAS a definite drop in intensity in Monday’s Super League games and it will be the same this weekend.

As I wrote last week, playing three times in a week – or just over – is tough mentally and physically.

James Segeyaro.

James Segeyaro.

Backing up from Friday to Monday to Friday is a massive challenge, but at least ourselves and Leigh, who we play tonight, are in the same boat.

It’s not the same for everyone though. Huddersfield Giants were supposed to play St Helens on Monday, but the game was postponed because Huddersfield Town’s play-off final at Wembley was scheduled for the same day.

It has given Giants and Saints a massive advantage, not just this weekend, but for the next three or four weeks.

When everybody else was playing on Monday, they will have been resting and recovering from last week’s game.

And they will have had time to prepare and get ready for this Sunday, which Castleford and Warrington won’t be able to do.

Saints are at Cas this weekend and Warrington go to Huddersfield. They are two massive games and could have a big bearing on the table at the end of the season.

If I was a Cas or Warrington player or coach I’d be fuming. And the teams they play over the next few weeks will still be feeling the effects of three games in 10 days or less, while Huddersfield and Saints are relatively fresh.

It does take a lot out of you. I know the boys who played during the Easter period have only just got over that.

I can understand Giants not wanting to clash with such a huge football match, but there was no need to postpone the game.

They could have played it in the evening, after Town had finished and maybe have pulled in a few extra fans by showing the football in the bars or on a big screen.

Huddersfield and Saints are out of the Challenge Cup so they can play on the quarter-final weekend without being adversely affected at all.

Credit to Huddersfield for spotting an opportunity, but it’s not right. Everybody should be on a level playing field and, in this case, they aren’t. I think the Rugby Football League (RFL)need to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

Speaking of Saints, they’ve got a good player in Ben Barba who they’ve signed as their second marquee talent.

He’s going to add some excitement to Super League and will definitely give them a new dimension on attack, but I can’t understand why there has been a debate over whether he should have to serve his NRL ban over here. Of course he should. He was suspended for 12 matches for a drugs offence last November and, as I understand it, the RFL have said that will apply in this country, but Saints are still clarifying if that’s the case.

The RFL are right. I think both competitions need to support each other and if a player gets a ban in one hemisphere he shouldn’t be able to get around it just by switching to the other.

The NRL said James Segeyaro wouldn’t be allowed to play until he had sorted out his dispute with the Rhinos and the RFL needs to do the same in this case.

I watched a fair bit of the Summer Bash last weekend and it was good entertainment.

There was loads of action and some close matches. The game between Hull KR and Bradford was a thriller and it was good to see the Leeds lads on loan for Bulls playing well.

From what I’ve seen of it, the Championship is a good competition. It’s a real shame it is not televised more often.

The clubs and players deserve more of the spotlight and it would be great if Sky would broadcast a game every week or provide a highlights package.

There’s more to rugby league than Super League and I’d love to see the lower divisions get more coverage.

As for us, we need to get back to winning ways tonight. We had a fantastic victory against Warrington a week ago, but the loss at Widnes on Monday was very disappointing.

We seem to struggle there for some reason, but we can’t dwell on it. We have to get straight back on the horse and make sure we get the two points tonight.

I’ve been training this week and I’m hoping I’ll get the green light. It’s been frustrating missing the past nine games, but I am feeling good and itching to get going again.