Here’s a fun team to contemplate while you drink your morning brew.
It might seem strange that I’m writing about next year when there’s plenty of excitement going on right now in rugby league.
The finals are coming up – who will win, who will fail, and will the Tigers somehow manage to finish ninth like they usually do?
Now, I won’t lie: as a Broncos fan, after probably Round 12 I had an eye on 2022, with most of my excitement coming from new signings like Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds and Queensland Origin player Kurt Capewell as opposed to the ongoing season’s saddening results.
However, the recent six weeks have been a positive step for the club’s rebuild, with a lot of heart shown in their losses and especially their wins.
Combined with a resounding defeat in the State of Origin for my beloved Maroons, about halfway through this NRL season I struggled to keep invested as I saw little hope for the rest of the year. Except for the World Cup.
Now, it’s probably unfair to be an Australian sporter in rugby league given the dominance of the Kangaroos in all international competition, but there’s an undoubted rise among the Pacific Islands on the international scene, and there’s an ever-increasing number of talented, skilful New Zealand players staking their claim to lead the Kiwis to glory.
There was evidence to suggest that this would likely be one of the closest World Cup tournaments in recent memory, and the possibility of Australia not winning is a feasible result. The Kangaroos are still the favourites, but it wasn’t outlandish to suggest one of these other nations could win. I’m predicting New Zealand to win, for example.
Then obviously there was a lot of political drama regarding withdrawals, concerns over player safety given the situation we are in at the moment and a whole lot more that eventually resulted in the postponement of the 2022 World Cup.
It felt like a bit of a kick while I was already down. My NRL team are going nowhere, my beloved state had suffered a humiliating defeat in State of Origin and the tournament I had been anticipating since the conclusion of the previous one was postponed.
But I realised it was only postponed, not cancelled. It would still take place next year, when COVID would be under better control with higher vaccination rates across the world and another year to handle this virus. Maybe it wasn’t a bad thing it was postponed after all.
The new dates have been announced for the next tournament, which will start on 15 October and a little more than a month later, just before the FIFA World Cup begins, so that’s a bonus.
While the finer details, such as fixture dates and venues, still need to be sorted, the two biggest concerns seem to have been quelled. The UK government seems intent on providing financial support for the tournament, and the BBC have agreed to broadcast every game next year that they were intending to broadcast this year, including the women’s and wheelchair competitions
But I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself. There’s still two more rounds of the NRL to go before the finals. My beloved Broncos are looking to finish on a high by winning our last two and sending off club great and captain Alex Glenn on a high.
I intend to attend Glenn’s last game and enjoy the final two rounds and more importantly enjoy the finals as a neutral fan.