Dave Craven: No Sky but I definitely subscribe to idea of World Club Series

Rob Burrow of Leeds Rhinos and Johnathan Thurston of North Queensland Cowboys.
Rob Burrow of Leeds Rhinos and Johnathan Thurston of North Queensland Cowboys.
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WHAT a lousy time to finally end my Sky Sports subscription after more than 15 years loyal service.

Having recently moved house and, before you even talk about bricks and mortar, incurred the huge financial outlay that whole saga tends to bring (can someone please explain to me how conveyancing solicitors fees are reached?) I made the very grown-up decision to make some budget cuts.

Nope, the tinnies at home are staying for certain, as are the odd Costa coffees dotted around various M62 service stations.

I always do feel I “deserve” a basic Americano after a strenuous 40-mile or so odyssey from Leigh, Hull, Worsley or wherever even if it does cost £3.40. If I was one of our football writers who ventures away from the M62 to all manner of far off places I’d be utterly skint and totally addicted to caffeine.

Anyway, of my own free will and with no pushing from the wife, I opted to decline on taking Sky Sports with us to the new abode.

I reasoned that I’m at most of the Super League games they broadcast anyway either on a Thursday or Friday night – admittedly not as much, unfortunately, when it comes to Saturdays in Perpignan – and realised that service is not as imperative as it once was.

I struggled to sit through their weekly magazine programme which has essentially bit the dust anyway and, when it comes to maybe watching football, in all honesty, I can’t remember the last time I was able to view a full 90 minutes without having to switch to Paw Patrol or put out the recycling.

Yet suddenly I realise, with most things in the house finally in place, that the first real time I get to sit down and watch the box – and I’m not at a Super League game – the World Club Series begins.

St Helens v Sydney Roosters, Wigan Warriors v Brisbane Broncos, no Yorkshire representation to concern myself with… it would have been perfect Friday/Saturday viewing.

I’m a big believer in the whole concept of giving club rugby league an international feel and the World Club Series is the best way of doing that.

It may have teething problems, it may end in another Super League defeat especially with Leeds Rhinos shorn of so many stars for Sunday’s denouement against North Queensland Cowboys.

But I fully concur with Leeds’s chief executive Gary Hetherington who says elsewhere in these pages that, come what may, the competition needs to be given time to breathe.

It is still in its infancy and, unfortunately, all the English sides have varying degrees of 
absenteeism this weekend, none more so than Leeds who are in real strife when it comes to injuries.

But what underpins the World Club Series – the best of the NRL taking on the best of Super League – is that sense it could evolve into something superb.

Too many times, in British rugby league at least, the sport has been too swift to jettison new ideas if immediate dividends are not seen. It is crucial, then, that the long-game is now played in this particular subject matter.

Thankfully, the feeling is that the NRL are of the same mind-set, so eventually the sport could nurture and develop its own version of football’s Champions League which is just what it needs.

Now I just need somewhere to watch it and am told the new local doesn’t hook up with Murdoch either. I wonder when Costa will branch out a little...