WHILE the rugby league World Cup has been going for a couple of weeks, this weekend will see the competition finally get serious.
I hope the tournament organisers didn't think that any of the totally one-sided matches that have occurred so far were of benefit to the code.
When teams like Australia and New Zealand played any of the minnows of the league world these games were more like training runs.
Many of the weaker teams seemed to be made up of players that didn't have any real connection with that country.
This then takes away the real passion that a player has for playing for his jersey and country of birth.
The early rounds should be contested by the teams of lesser ability, which would mean these games would most likely be closer contests.
While the standard may not be as high as when the top teams play at least with closer results interest for spectators would remain for the whole game.
Winners here would then progress to meet teams that received the top rankings from the previous World Cup.
By creating a more even contest the organisers would be ensuring that spectator interest would be kept to a maximum.
While there are one-sided matches it makes it more difficult for the team management to keep their players motivated.
It would probably mean that players would not be tempted to be out on the town celebrating until the very early hours of the morning.
Therefore incidents such as the one where Billy Slater became involved in a confrontation with an in-your-face member of the public would be less likely to occur.
Many commentators, including the NewsMail's, Tony Durkin, believe Slater was totally in the right to react the way he did.
It appears that money spent on the "One Punch Can Kill" campaign has been totally wasted.
The bloke gave Slater a shove and probably had plenty to say to instigate the incident.
You can be sure if the punch that Slater delivered had caused serious injury or even death the outcome would have been totally different.
Each year in this country there are many killed and hundreds severely injured by alcohol-fuelled violence so one of our champion footballers should have just walked away.
Team management should have to justify why team members were allowed to get in such situation at that hour of the night.
But then they probably think if the swimmers and rugby players get out on the booze when representing their country in the UK it has got to be okay for the league players as well.
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