Set of Six: Would golden point extra-time work in Super League?
By Tony Tighe and Louise Warr
Last Updated: 30/03/16 10:31am
Should Super League introduce golden point extra-time? Unsavoury scenes for Salford and a binman's NRL debut also feature...
20 years of Super League
It is exactly 20 years ago since almost 18,000 supporters attended the first ever Super League game between Paris St Germain and Sheffield Eagles.
The switch to summer rugby started in style as Arnaud Cervello's brace clinched a famous victory for the Parisians.
That was about as good as it got for Paris, who finished second bottom of the Super League I table and dissolved in May 1997, but the competition itself has gone from strength to strength.
"The sport now enjoys more spectators and viewers on TV," said Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington, who was in charge of Sheffield Eagles for that opening game in Paris.
"There has been a big transformation both in the way the game is played and how it is seen by spectators, and all of those changes have been for the good.
"Of course, 20 years ago people were dreaming about Super League being played in Madrid and Barcelona and a whole range of European cities. That has never materialised and the Paris club only lasted two years, but they have been replaced by Catalans Dragons, who are one of the strongest clubs in the competition.
"The creation of Super League 20 years ago brought a lot of uncertainty to the game. Established clubs like Widnes, Hull and Hull KR weren't part of the competition but they are now.
"The traditional clubs very much make up the Super League and the Championship is a very vibrant competition, as well as the community game below that.
"There has been a lot of advances in the sport and we have now got a lot of stability and structure, and a platform to move forward."
Tune into Sky Sports 1 HD at 10.15pm on Tuesday March 29 for a special programme celebrating 20 years of Super League.
It is a shame that Super League's 20th anniversary has been overshadowed by the trouble that marred Salford's victory at Huddersfield.
Shortly after the Devils had beaten the Giants 26-24, photographs emerged on social media of some of Salford's players appearing to fight some of their own supporters in the away end of the ground.
Pictures on Twitter showed winger Justin Carney and centre Junior S'au involved in heated exchanges, with one particular photo showing New Zealander S'au appearing to restrain a fan on the ground.
Marwan Koukash claims a child was hospitalised during the incident and although Salford issued a statement of apology, the owner has promised the strongest possible action against anyone found to have caused trouble.
"The minority who caused the trouble, who I called thugs, will not be associated with our club or the sport," he said.
"We will make sure they never attend a rugby league game again."
Smith slams schedule
We were treated to 93 tries across the two rounds of Easter fixtures in Super League but the quick turnaround between games continues to divide opinion.
Warrington head coach Tony Smith is not a fan. He believes two games in four days is unfair on players and the competition.
Smith's Wolves side went in to the weekend unbeaten, their best start to a league campaign for 66 years, before opening up a two point lead at the top of the table with a Good Friday win over the Widnes Vikings.
Speaking ahead of their Easter Monday clash with Hull FC, in which his side slipped to a dramatic 26-24 defeat against Hull, Smith voiced his opinions on the schedule stating that it left teams with no time to adequately prepare for the matches.
"We'll watch some video of Hull but in terms of tactics and honing in specifically on things about Hull, you can't really do that" he said. "That's why you often get poor-quality games on Mondays. You just can't do the preparation. The players can't lift themselves.
"We have got to get to the stage - and we say this every year - where we all decide we are going to have a home game this year and away the next year over Easter.
"When we do that, I think our players will survive better and we probably won't get as many injuries after the Easter period."
Binman makes Roosters bow
Trent Robinson called on a binman in a bid to end Sydney Roosters' rubbish start to the season.
Eloni Vunakece, who works full-time as a garbage collector, came off the bench against Manly on Saturday for his NRL bow.
The 28-year-old Fiji international became one of the oldest players to make their first-grade debut, gaining 60 metres from five carries and making 15 tackles during his 26 minutes of action.
'It is pretty crazy when you think about it," said team-mate Dylan Napa. "He goes to work as a garbo, gets up at quarter to four and goes to work then comes to training at nine, does his own warm up and slots right in. Then he will go to his night shift and do the same.'
Unfortunately for the Roosters, Vunakece was unable to prevent them from suffering a fourth successive defeat. They outscored the Sea Eagles by four tries to three but 10 points from the boot of Jamie Lyon saw Manly run out 22-20 victors.
Golden point drama
Almost five months after their memorable Grand Final clash, North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos were at it again on Friday as they served up another golden point thriller.
Johnathan Thurston looked to have broken Brisbane hearts yet again when he crossed in the corner during overtime, but the try was ruled out for a knock-on in what has been the most controversial decision made by the video bunker so far.
Anthony Milford slotted a 40-metre drop goal with seconds remaining in the first period to exact a small degree of revenge for the Broncos.
Golden point has proved a hit in the NRL, producing some dramatic finishes. Should Super League follow suit?
Change in fortunes
The action-packed Easter weekend saw a change in fortunes for the teams at both ends of the Super League table.
After a superb start to their campaign, one that even drew comparisons with the story of Premier League front-runners Leicester City, Widnes fell to successive defeats against Warrington and St Helens, handing the top spot over to the Wolves, while also being leapfrogged by Wigan.
At the other end of the table, Wakefield completed the Easter double over fellow strugglers Huddersfield and reigning champions Leeds to lift themselves off the basement and in to ninth, leaving the Giants languishing in bottom spot.
Chris Chester could not have asked for a better start to his tenure as Wildcats coach and he will hope to build on those victories when Salford visit Belle Vue on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
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