Dave Craven: Blank weekend a missed opportunity for Summer Bash

Leeds Rhinos played Catalans Dragons on Friday night.
Leeds Rhinos played Catalans Dragons on Friday night.
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IF you scan the rest of the rugby league coverage in today’s The Yorkshire Post the eagle-eyed among you will note something amiss.

No, not one of my imbecile errors – they are, of course, standard weekly occurrences – but rather the lack of any Super League previews whatsoever.

Yes, in a strange occurrence that I cannot recollect happening before (in recent years at least), there is not a single top-flight game being played on Saturday or Sunday.

The fact that is the case seems bizarre, particularly as the media-hogging domestic football season finally drew to a close last weekend, as did the Aviva Premiership rugby union campaign.

For once, rugby league would have had a fine chance to gain some much-needed coverage – well, there is Murray Mania a little earlier than normal and the predictable blanket England Euros football – but you get my drift. However, last night we saw fully five Super League fixtures played on the back of Thursday’s Wakefield v Hull KR game so there is not a jot to look forward to.

Some people think the sport has missed a trick here but, in all honesty, what could have been different?

Looking at that list last night Leeds Rhinos, who hosted Catalans Dragons, traditionally play their home games on Friday evenings as do Hull FC who faced Widnes Vikings while St Helens versus Warrington Wolves was an obvious pick for Sky Sports’ live coverage.

Admittedly, Huddersfield Giants do not normally play at the John Smith’s Stadium on a Friday as they did last night but that mainly at their opponents Castleford Tigers’ request.

Castleford host Widnes next Thursday so were within their rights to ask for the Sunday game at Huddersfield to be brought forward to allow them extra preparation time. But what of the other fixture – Salford Red Devils v Wigan Warriors?

Salford, in truth, do not have a definitive regular home fixture slot so possibly there is no great argument for that match not shifting.

Then again, can you imagine the powers-that-be at the RFL picking up the phone to Marwan Koukash and asking whether he might switch their game to Saturday or Sunday to boost the sport’s profile? Exactly.

Wakefield and Hull KR both traditionally play Sunday afternoons but, again, Sky had them marked down for broadcast on Thursday.

Essentially, then, this blank weekend for Super League appears to be solely down to a simple quirk of the fixtures.

Granted, hopefully it won’t happen again as it is an opportunity wasted and perhaps the fixture planners before the season starts can foresee such perfect storms coming together to create such a black hole in the calendar.

That said, though, it does all mean I get down to Odsal tomorrow for the first time in too long.

Yes, it’s Bradford Bulls versus Dewsbury Rams for me, and a glimpse into what some of Super League’s lesser lights may be facing in a few weeks’ time.

Which brings me on to another point - given there’s no Super League this weekend, the real missed opportunity is that Summer Bash, the Championship’s own Magic, was staged a week ago in Blackpool and not over the coming two days.