How super is the Super League? Six first impressions

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The Independent Online
Nic Grimoldby

Chair, RL Players Association

From talking to our members, I know that everyone was quite excited about the prospect of Super League. So far, it has lived up to its promise, with the crowd figures from the first weekend the most encouraging thing of all. There is a definite air of excitement about it. I'm concerned about some aspects, like rushing South Wales in long before they are ready, and I think players want the security of knowing what's going to happen at the end of the season. We don't know about the Australian play-offs and there are some doubts about the way promotion and relegation are going to work.

Kath Hetherington

President, Rugby League

I'VE always been a big advocate of summer rugby. It isn't even warm yet, but already it's caught the imagination. From the point of view of Sheffield Eagles, where I am a director, the first night in Paris could have been better, but for rugby league as a whole, you couldn't have improved on it. About 17,000 new people were introduced to the game that night and, when warm evenings arrive, they will fill the place. In cities such as Bradford the interest in the game has been rekindled. The only thing I would say is that not all clubs have got people in place they should have. They need to - things don't happen by magic.

Peter Fox

Former Bradford, GB coach

I AM NOT sold on it entirely, but I don't mind giving it a chance. Paris beating Sheffield Eagles a week last Friday was a great night and the right result for rugby league. What I have been concerned about with some games is that the skill content isn't there. Hard running and swift movement of the ball aren't everything. If we lose the skill content, I'm against it. I want to see tight, hard matches. And the dancing girls and such do nothing for me. I just want to see a game of rugby. Clubs have also got to improve their facilities out of all recognition. They are still living in the 1930s.

Alex Murphy

Warrington executive

IT SEEMS to me that Super League has given people at matches a new lift. I believe that the future of the game is going to be better, because clubs are going to realise that they have to improve their facilities and their operations. Those that don't will go to the wall. Even after 40 years in the game and sitting in the stand rather than on the bench, I got a new buzz at Leeds last Sunday. There were a lot more young people there and I understand that the Leeds forwards went on the bouncy castle before the match - until the kids threw them off.

Bobbie Goulding

St Helens captain

THIS IS an exciting time to be a player. I'm looking forward to five years of it - and then hoping that Rupert Murdoch puts some more money in and that we carry on growing. I can't see how he can pull out; we've got too entertaining a product for him to do that. My only reservation is that I feel sorry for teams such as Widnes and Salford who are good enough to compete in Super League and don't have a place in it. The only other drawback is that, as a goalkicker, I don't like the big screen that they have at matches. You can't help looking at yourself on it.

Tony Currie

London Broncos coach

I THINK the first week has been a total success and, without being biased, the London Broncos have made a major contribution to that. We had 10,000 people turn out to watch us against Paris - the sort of crowd we were expecting later in the season, in warm weather, against Wigan, Leeds and St Helens. So we are well ahead of schedule. You've got people in London and Paris talking about rugby league, which was unheard of. We can build on this and be filling the Valley regularly by the end of the season.

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