Before I came to New Zealand, I was asked if I would get a tattoo to enable a much quicker settling in process. You will be pleased to learn, dear reader, that this is not a tale of my first tattoo.
Instead, this is a tale of my first trip to watch Rugby League outside of the UK. I have been to watch the sport only a few times before in memory…Wakefield Wildcats and Doncaster Lakers…
Rugby League was invented in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and has a stronghold along the M62 corridor in Northern England. They try to grow the sport from time to time without real success. It seems no different over here in some respects with a stronghold in Sydney, Australia. Rugby League is popular but not in the same zone as Rugby Union…but then the All Blacks are a big draw in NZ.
For anyone not familiar with the 2 rugby codes…suffice to say that Rugby Union is generally not as entertaining with a lot of kicking and you can’t see the ball half of the time. In Rugby League there is more running with the ball and you rarely see a bad game. It is surely one of the more exciting things in sport to see someone running the length of the field with others chasing after them and you wonder if they will make it to the try line.
My opinion on Rugby Union is perhaps based on the fact that watching England play is quite dull. I always prefer watching Wales (Welsh ancestry might help!) who seem to have more flair. Perhaps if I get caught up watching the All Blacks my opinion might change.
Anyway, we headed to Eden Park to watch the Vodafone Warriors take on the Canberra Raiders. Bus travel to and from the venue was included in the ticket price and we had a good time…both teams are average at best in the context of the NRL but the Warriors came out worthy winners at 54-12. Not a kick was missed.
Eden Park holds 50,000 people…so a crowd of just over 18,000 was a little lost and really raises the question of playing in a suitable size ground for a better atmosphere.
Here is a photo before the game started for your viewing pleasure…quite a venue…