Sport

Nothing to watch in one-sided World Cup final

THIS year's Rugby League World Cup has come and gone, and all I can say is thank goodness for the State of Origin series.

These games combined with the local NRL premiership competition should give us some decent games to watch.

While Queensland has been dominant in recent years, at least the matches have been close and hard- fought affairs.

The same cannot be said about the World Cup when Australia won the final, convincingly, 34-2.

While some commentators were suggesting that it was a closer contest than what the score indicated the fact was New Zealand was totally outclassed.

A number of basic errors by Australia saved the Kiwis the further embarrassment of an even higher winning margin.

The organiser cannot be blamed for the one-sided contest in the final, but the Rugby League International Federation can cop some flak for some other decisions.

Number one on the list is the decision to play the final at Old Trafford also known in the round-ball as The Theatre of Dreams.

It is hard to imagine how anyone in their right mind would have dreamed up the idea of playing the final of the World Cup at this ground.

The playing surface is 105x68m, with very little room at each end before the electronic signage on a solid wall.

Even the soccer players have trouble stopping before the signage so it was always going to be dangerous for rugby league players with an in goal area of just 4.5 metres.

With defenders trying clear the ball or attackers attempting to ground a rolling ball, how a player wasn't injured badly was only good luck.

There are certainly other grounds in England that would have been far more suitable for the final.

Both Wembley Stadium in London which has a capacity of 90,000 and Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, 72,000 are better suited for either of the rugby codes.

If the game had to be played in Manchester there is the City of Manchester Stadium which was used as a Commonwealth Games venue.

The Federation also named a "world team" but couldn't find a spot in it for Johnathan Thurston who won the man of the World Cup series award.

They named their nine best players in each position and while Australia was dominant they could only get four players named.

New Zealand had three nominated best in a position while England and Scotland one each.

So I suppose that like all federations and the like, made up of different countries, there has to be some horse trading so someone who is not really the best gets chosen.

Topics:  opinion robert edgar rugby league world cup



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