Dave Craven: NRL and Super League title race providing value for money

Kevin Sinfield and Ryan Hall celebrate Leeds winning the League Leaders' Shield.
Kevin Sinfield and Ryan Hall celebrate Leeds winning the League Leaders' Shield.
Have your say

AS a frugal (tight) Yorkshireman, I do love value for money. A proper bargain, as it were.

I have to admit, forking out something like 15 quid for Premier Sports last year, the week before the NRL Grand Final and for the sole purpose of watching that match only, did not, at the time, seem great financial sense.

Granted, Sam Burgess duly produced THAT heroic performance for South Sydney and it was a terrific game, true sporting drama of the highest order.

So, perhaps in the end, even though I watched none of the accompanying NHL, NASCAR or GAA (all the acronym sports there) during my two months’ subscription, it was maybe worth it.

If there was any doubt, however, it was erased the other week when I got one of ‘those’ phone calls.

You know the ones… nine o’clock at night, just when you don’t want to entertain any conversation. For once, though, my interest was soon piqued when the salesperson mentioned the “NRL Grand Final.”

Yes, almost 12 months had elapsed since my original purchase and, so, it is that time of year again – the business end of the Australian football season.

As a previous customer, Premier Sports had decided to offer me three months of coverage, which included all that finals football, for the tiny sum of just £9.99.

I’ve never handed my card details over as quickly and so, even though I still have been able to barely watch any NRL action in three weeks since, I did manage to settle down to watch that thrilling semi-final between Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters yesterday morning.

Has anyone ever seen a more weird start to a game than the sight of Roosters’ Shaun Kenny Dowall, throwing such an absurd, long pass inside from his wing on a kick return so deep inside his own half?

The pass was perfectly placed, not for his own full-back but Brisbane No 1 Darius Boyd who could hardly believe his luck as he intercepted and cruised over.

Trailing 16-0, Steve McNamara’s boys looked gone. To be fair, they came back impressively but were never good enough for a Broncos side that had Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford running the game from half-back and the mountainous presence of Adam Blair up front.

So Brisbane are there and now it’s up to North Queensland Cowboys and Melbourne Storm to recreate some magic of their own in the other semi-final today.

I’ll be tuning in again, getting my value for money. But the most pleasing thing, listening to the Aussie commentators talking about how hard it is predicting a title champion winner from the NRL top four, is that we are ins a similar position here now, too.

Granted, the quality in the Super League still doesn’t run as far down the table as in Australia but if you ask 100 people this morning who they think will win the Super League Grand Final in a fortnight’s time between Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants and St Helens, you would get decent numbers returned on each of those clubs.

It has been a long time since the top four - five if you include Castleford Tigers - has been so tightly fought and as the competition here reaches its crescendo it’s heartening indeed.

Now, what’s my chances of getting that Premier Sports bill on expenses...