Luke Gale’s View From The Pitch: Why delayed RL World Cup is still something to aspire to

IT’S REALLY disappointing the World Cup won’t be happening this year.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 9:11 pm
Big miss: Leeds Rhinos forward Mikolaj Oledzki. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.

The organisers have worked hard for four years to produce the biggest, most inclusive rugby league tournament ever.

I know how much time and effort the chief executive Jon Dutton and his team have put in and being involved in the England set-up as well, we were really keen to get into it and try to win a World Cup.

I am involved with the ‘Created By’ scheme, which has been set up to make sure the tournament leaves a lasting legacy.

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Big miss: Leeds Rhinos forward Alex Mellor. Picture: Steve Riding.

That’s been responsible for handing out grants to the grassroots of rugby league and I have seen first hand how much good has been done by that.

We’ve given out over £1m of grants for refurbishments and new pitches and so on and that shows how much good work is being done around this World Cup, aside from the actual competition.

The positive is it has only been put back a year, rather than cancelled altogether.

Nobody knows what the picture will be like in 12 months’ time, but I am confident it will happen in 2022 and it will be a great tournament.

Big miss: Leeds Rhinos forward Matt Prior. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.

I am a rugby league fan and I was looking forward to October and November, whether I would have been involved or not.

It feels a bit like Christmas has been cancelled this year, but it does give everyone something to aspire to next season.

Personally, I will be 34 when it rolls around and I had this year’s World Cup earmarked as possibly the last time I could play for my country.

It is always a great honour to pull on the England jersey and I’d love to be involved in 2022, but I’ll have to see how the old legs are.

I wish it was happening this autumn, but the postponement might be for the best.

Covid was bad for our sport last year, but it has been even worse this season.

The whole comp’ has become a bit of a nightmare, with the fixture congestion, track and trace, matches being called off and so on.

Hopefully that will all be long gone by next year and we can get back to being proper rugby league players.

At the moment, it is a case of play one week, off the next - especially when you get daft bans in between!

Hopefully it’ll be on next year and we can get a long lead-up to it and none of this stop-start nonsense. Speaking of daft bans, I’ll be raring to go for Rhinos on Friday against Leigh.

All being well, it will be the first time I’ve played alongside Rob Lui this year, which will be good.

Last week against Castleford was disappointing and we want to get out there and right some wrongs.

I didn’t think we were great against Cas. It looked like the break they’d had did them a massive favour and I don’t want to use our fixture congestion as an excuse, but we were low on energy.

Cas came out with plenty of intent and they got the better of us. We will have to play a lot better this week.

Leigh will be highly motivated, as are every team, but we’ll just focus on what we need to do.

Regardless of whether you are playing Leigh or St Helens, you know if you turn up and you’re not on your game, you will get beaten.

We’re doing it tough without Mik Oledzki, Matty Prior and Alex Mellor, who’ve been great all year.

But you get injuries at this time in the season and whoever comes in will have to step up to the mark, but I’m confident the team we will have out on Friday will be good enough to get the job done.

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