WELL, last week’s column certainly provoked a response and ruffled a few feathers.

I have been accused by some as being anti-Super League and constantly taking pot-shots.

This, categorically, is not the case so I am delighted to take this opportunity to put the record straight.

Like most sensible supporters of our sport, I believe that for rugby league to prosper in this country two things need to happen.

Firstly, we need the England national side to be ultra-successful to bring attention to the sport and I say this through gritted teeth and a clenched jaw as a proud and loyal Kiwi.

Secondly, we need a great elite competition to provide a gripping week in and week out spectacle of our great sport. Surely we all want this, and it should go without saying.

Like every right-thinking supporter, I believe that our great sport needs great competitions including the important Championship division.

I’ve gone further than just thinking and saying that, I’ve put my own money where my mouth is and I need the sport to thrive otherwise I’m simply setting fire to my money and wasting my time.

For the sport to thrive we need a vibrant Super League, showcasing our sport’s elite domestic competition, which I hope the Bulls will earn the right to join as soon as possible although I am not falling for the old trick of making wild predictions about when and how.

I’ll never say we deserve to be in Super League or have some form of automatic right, we want to earn that privilege through skill and hard work, and I will continue to commit to rebuilding our great club and keeping our promises.

I think the Super League possesses great world class clubs, but they also have clubs that are no better than some of the Championship clubs despite receiving millions of pounds each and every year, many for decades now. It has got what the cricketers would describe as a long tail.

So no, I am not anti-Super League, I simply try to speak frankly and truthfully, free from the PR spin or political machinations.

I am, however, totally anti-abdication and ineffective management and that I’m afraid is what we have right now in the sport, both people and structures.

I am referring to the RFL and Super League. Our sport is paying a catastrophic price for it.

I apologise if that offends anyone, it is not a personal attack. I, and other Championship chairmen have invested, and continue to invest, considerable amounts of time and money, and the industry we are investing in is being mismanaged by individuals who are not actually putting anything in, but are instead taking resources out.

When you have an RFL Board that is prepared to give away its role in running the elite end of the sport to a private company with private shareholders, I think I’m pretty much entitled to hold, and express, that position.

A Board that costs hundreds of thousands each year for its role to run the sport freely handing the running of the sport over to 12 private club chairmen and a CEO from the round game is ludicrous.

It is of no surprise that the 12 Super League chairman then do exactly what they consider is in their own best interests, evidenced by what has happened in past two weeks.

The RFL Board have shot themselves in both feet with both barrels, tarred themselves with feathers and jumped off the cliff in one tragically misguided decision.

A decision which will have a catastrophic impact on our sport, and it is so pitiful that I am struggling to write this, as I know it will only prolong the agony which we would all rather forget.

I’m referring to the potential non-defence of the Challenge Cup by Catalans. The RFL Board is a fully paid, expensive, collection of apparently experienced sports administrators.

Is the bond proposal really the sum total of the creative thinking of these experienced sports administrators? Brian Barwick apparently ran soccer in this country for years.

Would he have consented to different divisions playing under different rules in soccer, as we will be doing this season in rugby league?

What a way to lead the sport. I’m struggling to comprehend why you would do that.

Meanwhile, over at Super League headquarters, we have the unedifying sight of a Super League club asking the other 11 Super League clubs for an advance on its substantial distributions.

What kind of system allows competitive rivals to consider and determine that kind of influence over one of their fellow members, in an environment when there is straight forward one up/one down relegation. It’s obscene and ridiculous.

This is happening because the RFL Board is not doing its job effectively in my opinion, are not independently running the sport.

We now hear that Robert Elstone has announced that there will be two referees officiating in Super League next year. Have you agreed to this Mr Barwick?

Pray tell us, the mere Championship clubs who chose NOT to break away from the RFL. Can I ask where is the evidence that this costly and wasteful gimmick will have any impact on the commercial prospects for our sport. Your shareholders would like to know.

Presumably Super League must be awash with the cash to fund this utterly unproven indulgence. I can think of better ways to spend this money.

So to my army of critics, I repeat I am not anti-Super League per se, I am however very much opposed to the expensive management structure that the Super League Clubs have imposed upon themselves and the sport, and which the RFL Board has consented to and collaborated with.

Now onto more positive matters, what a wonderful start to the new season with the revised and highly-charged Yorkshire Cup in progress. This is a tournament conceived by like-minded Championship chairmen who want to showcase our sport and entertain our fans.

Putting some structure into pre-season has been widely welcomed. I congratulate all the coaches and players from all eight clubs, in particular Hunslet Parkside who performed credibly against a strong York side. I predict that the competition will grow in time and the Championship chairmen will have to think long and hard about whether to widen the scope.

For today a sincere welcome to our nearby visitors from Dewsbury.

The Bulls have a close relationship with Dewsbury and the Yorkshire Cup is just one example of that.

Their Chairman, Mark Sawyer, is one of rugby league’s true gentlemen, and it is an indication of the shabby goings on last year that a man of his integrity was extremely concerned and annoyed. Best wishes to him and his charges. Let the battle begin. See you today at Odsal. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.

And if that doesn’t give you enough of a rugby league boost for the weekend, we are also fronting up tomorrow to play Huddersfield at John Smith Stadium, in the Michael Lawrence testimonial game. Kick-off is at 3pm.

“Bruno” is a Giants favourite and we are pleased to be able to field a strong side for this special event.

One of the great strengths of your 2019 Bulls team is our squad size and depth in position. So get along and support your team as we go back to back. What a difference two years makes. #COYB.