No comparison

I tried to put aside my league bias to alternate between Channel 9’s coverage of tversushe Brookvale ‘Bash’ between Manly and Souths and Foxsports telecast of Reds – Blues Rugby match at Suncorp on Friday night, but it really was a no contest. 
I’m not referring to the on-field stuff. Both games were indeed ‘contests’.
But the smash ’em up derby at Brookvale provided non-stop, full blooded entertainment whereas every time I switched to the ‘rugger’ there was a stoppage.
My son, Damien has returned from five years in the UK with an open mind about sport, and the English Premier League is up there with rugby league as a spectacle, in his mind.
Without the benefit of pay television at home he finds himself watching sport in licensed clubs, often with the union and league side-by-side on different screens.
In this situation the stop-start nature of union is starkly illustrated and it’s fair to say anyone unfamiliar with either rugby code would gravitate towards the NRL.
I am writing this on a day when a mate is picking me up to take me to a club rugby match, to enjoy a few beers on the sideline.
Last Sunday I went to a grassroots league match between Goodna and Ipswich Brothers at Goodna, and it was a wonderful experience, with the home crowd really getting behind their side.
Play was of a surprisingly high standard with Goodna boasting former Kiwi international, David Solomona.
Solomona, who played for Warrington in England last year, told me he had no interest in playing Intrust Super Cup and just wanted to enjoy local footy with a team that includes a number of players from Richmond, his first club in New Zealand.
It will be interesting to compare the on-field and off-field action from the two local club games after my visit to Ashgrove today for the GPS v Wests match.
Let me make on thing clear.
I have enjoyed many union matches over the years and I thought the first round Super 15 clash between the Highlanders and Chiefs this year was up there with anything that has been dished up by the NRL.
I have even attended a couple of Brisbane Rothmans Medal rugby union dinners thanks to contacts in the QRU ranks, notably the late Leo Williams.
But I find the truly entertaining games few and far between.
Since union went professional in 1996 there have not been many defections from the 15 man code to league, so it was noteworthy this week that former British Lions forward, Andy Powell announced he had signed a two year deal with Wigan.
Evidently Powell played a bit of amateur league in Cardiff, but that’s his only experience in the 13 man game.
Originally from Brecon in mid-Wales, Powell played his first senior rugby for Newport.
He shapes as a handy addition to the Welsh side for this year’s league World Cup.
Welshmen have always been part of British league. When hooker, Tommy Harris missed the First Test in New Zealand during Great Britain’s 1958 southern hemisphere tour, he broke a tradition extending over half a century.
Until that Test no British side had taken the field without at least one Welshman in their ranks.
When I first visited Britain in 1977 Salford was famous for its attacking brand of rugby league, thanks largely to former Welsh union stars like David Watkins and Maurice Richards. 
Speaking of Salford. They have just come to terms with Martin Gleeson for a 12 month contract extension, meaning the former Beenleigh High School student will be at the club until the end of 2014. 
Beenleigh started their official 2013 inter-schools campaign with a 22-18 loss to Harristown High at Toowoomba on April 24.

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