Send for a psychiatrist!!
Recently we’ve been thinking a lot about Fev’s performances in the Qualifiers and, in particular, our performances against Super League teams. They’ve been pretty depressing and that’s not because of getting beaten but the manner of those defeats. For most of the matches (we’re looking at both 2016 and 2017) the team’s performance seems almost unrecognisable from matches against Championship sides. They seem to lack guts and appear to believe that they can’t compete with Super League opposition. We only have to think back to 2012 when we played both Castleford and Wigan in the Challenge Cup, beating Castleford (hallelujah - we still have our match pinned to the fridge door!) and giving a tremendous display against Wigan, eventually losing 32-16 but giving them quite a scare on the way. That team believed that they could compete and went at it for the full 80 minutes.
When we talk to other fans about this a lot put it down to being a part time Championship team trying to play against full-time super league players. However, that is a contributory factor but can’t possibly be the whole story. I say that because our results have been far worse than other part-time Championship sides. In each of the three years of the Qualifiers there have been two part-time Championship teams involved. In 2015 it was Halifax and Sheffield Eagles. Halifax lost their 4 matches against SL teams by 14, 18 and 22 (twice) points. Sheffield lost by 10, 19 and 36 points and beat Wakefield 24-10. Last year the two were Fev and Batley. They lost all 4, by 28, 30, 32 and 40 points. So far this year, Halifax have lost to Catalans by 24, Widnes by 24 and Warrington by 14.
That averages out at SL teams beating the other part time Championship sides by about 21 points, with the highest of those being Batley’s 40 point loss last year. We have been doing so much worse with 4 defeats by a bigger margin than that Batley one. In 2016 lost to Leeds by 56, lost to Salford by 54, and lost to Huddersfield by 46. We did much better against Hull KR in the final game when we only lost by 8. This year it’s been a 48 point loss to Widnes and a 26 point loss to Leigh.
There simply has to be something wrong in the Fev players heads when they go out on to the field and that is why we think that the most important preparation for these matches has to be undertaken by a psychiatrist.
During the course of 80 minutes of hard effort, it is almost inevitable that some players will get frustrated by the referee’s calls. And it happens the other way too, whereby a referee gets fed up with the manner in which a player is behaving both to the opposition and indeed to himself. This is not a rugby league issue but applies to many other sports too. For this reason, it has been a general principle that referees should not officiate too many times in quick succession with the same team. Allow the niggles time to be forgotten!
Recently the RFL referees department seems to have gone bonkers. In the last seven matches (including the match this coming Saturday) we have had James Child, Gareth Hewer twice (in successive matches) and now Liam Moore FOUR times. Other than Fev, the most games Mr. Moore has been in charge with any team is three but this will be his 5th time in charge of Fev. He seems to like trips to France because he is refereeing for our match against Catalans but he was also the referee when we went to Toulouse.