First of all, I might be biased (but I’m not) because, through the Hull KR Supporters Trust, I own about 0.01% of KR.
I’m not a big believer in tradition. One of the main reasons Brit RL is, generally, rubbish is that decades of decisions have been swayed by tradition. When you see Wembley full (not really because it works like the SCG, where thousands of tickets are held by members who don’t attend) and all the ceremony it seems very impressive, like a big day out.
Ultimately that’s what it is: a big day out in the big city for all those Northerners to pack buses full of their collective inferiority complex and rub it in the faces of the Sarfers. (people from “darn Sarf” or Southerners.) This CC even fell on the exact 120th birthday of the Northern Union, which, in England and some other countries, is celebrated as the birth of RL. (I dispute this and believe RL was really born in 1906 when they scrapped the lineouts and reduced teams to 13.)
They always sing “Abide with me” before kickoff. This year, because the singer’s husband had died during a Third Division game it may have been relevant but can you imagine an NRL crowd singing a funeral hymn before a GF? Iraised this on a Brit RL forum. I’m not worried about the religious or Christian aspects of the song, just that it is only ever heard at funerals.
The answer, of course, was “tradition.” It is seen as a British Ruby League tradition but they actually copied it from the FA, who used it in their big Wembley final or whatever they have. The English writer Warren Ellis said, “Tradition:’ one of those words conservative people use as a shortcut to thinking.” And what’s worse than tradition? Borrowed tradition, like Australian kids wandering the streets on Halloween, providing a smorgasboard for paedophiles.
I could go on about the tradition but I’ll leave the last word on that to Mark Twain: “The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it”
As for the game itself, I’m sorry to say it was an utter failure on several fronts. Firstly, if you understand the relationship between RL and TV in England, you will know that, apart from a few internationals and half the Challenge Cup, it is all on Pay TV, SKY Sports. This final was their big chance to get the game out to a whole-England audience and what did we get? 50-0
Then there was the winner. Leeds may not have won the CC since 1978 but they have won the SL GF but they have won 5 of the last 10 SL GFs. There are really only 3 teams that count in English RL: Leeds, Wigan and St Helens. Since SL started in 1996, only 4 teams have won. The same 4 teams also won 14 of the CC Finals during that time. It’s now down to 3 teams because Bradford’s financial problems have seen them relegated. SL may be a “league” but calling it a “12-team competition” or calling the Challenge Cup an “88-team competition” is really stretching the English language.
Long post, I know but I spend a lot of time on Brit RL forums and you can’t criticise their traditions unless you’re prepared to wear every troll north of the Midlands abusing you.