Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A question of fitness

Another week with our ethics committee pouring over yarns of videotape to sort out the good from the bad from the fine-able. One of these days we'll swap the old Betamax for one of these VDs we keep hearing so much about. Anyway, to business and you lot out there have been busy in keeping us informed from around the grounds.

James Graham (Tellins) scored a try in his club's home defeat to London at the weekend and we were alerted by @CuppaBrew on Twitter. "Anyone cited James Graham's try yet?" asked Mr Brew. "It looked like a barge but you can never be sure". You cannot, young sir, and both your vigilance and concern are to be admired, but a thorough review of the footage shows there's nothing to worry about here. Keep up the good work though.

Serial offender Craig Huby (Castleford) has been keeping his nose clean so far this season, but his reputation precedes him these days. He scored in a home win over the Catalan Dragons at the weekend which we were alerted to by @rickywilby on the Twitter, but it was from all of a foot and a half, so he's OK on that front. More disturbing was him taking a goal-line dropout which @W_L_Andy mentions. That's a more serious matter, but rather than a fine, he gets a warning letter as he donated his man of the match money to the charity dinner taking place tonight. That sort of thing should be encouraged.

Daily Mail scribbler Neil Barraclough has also been in touch with a couple of incidents. He cites veteran member Richard Moore (North Wales) for not only wearing green boots, but also putting in a grubber kick - left-footed, just to compound the incident - and tracking back 40 metres to knock a winger into touch. Where does one start? Frankly, the man should know better and a fine is the only action you can expect us to take. Cheque or cash, Mr Moore, you know the drill.

Mr Barraclough was one of a number of people to bring the situation at Leeds to our attention. They've a whole host of PFU stalwarts missing in action and have called up some reservists. We've not sent off a bunch of temporary memberships that size in some time. The one registered member was young Brad Singleton who rocked up in white boots for his Super League debut. What are they teaching him over in LS6? Taking money off a 17-year old feels like taking candy from a baby, but that's fun too, so a letter detailing how he can pay his fine is on it's way. We had a lengthy letter about this too, reprinted here:

"Evening squire. Want an update on footwear breaches at Hedley?

Given Leeds had "no fit props" (if that's not an oxymoron - by rights, there should be no such thing as a fit prop), there's still no excuse for temporary members James Jones-Buchanan (openside) and Ian Kirke (blindside) to be wearing the abominations they were wearing. Kirke was in (shudder) white, while Jones was sporting a red & white flashy number more befitting of a cheeky halfback. To compound this egregious error, he clearly forgot his role and scored a try. In his defence, all the hard work for the score had been done by a fullback...

Credit, though to young Jay Pitts, an early replacement for Kirke, who was sporting the traditional black. While front row may not be his usual position, he's clearly made of the Right Stuff. Good lad.

However, a black mark for the only recognised member of the Union among the matchday 17: Young Brad Singleton. Heralded as the 50th graduate of the Leeds Academy, his tutors clearly need a stern talking to. I don't know what they're teaching them at Kirkstall these days, but his white boots will have earned him a fine on his debut. A most inauspicious introduction to the Union, Singleton. Sort it out, boy.

However, perhaps the most worrying aspect of the result was that Leeds won the game comfortably with no recognised senior prop, thereby completely devaluing the Ancient and Noble Art. For undermining the Fine Traditions, they surely must face a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

All valid points and we thank our mystery correspondent for his (or her) interest. Regarding the charge of bringing prop forwardry into dispute, that is a serious thing. We need to discuss this properly before making such a decision.

On the flip side for Leeds, a belated congratulations to Ben Cross for planting one on a cheeky half-back at Warrington while kudos also to Ray Cashmere (Salford) for wading in with his fists, although we need a look at his footwear. One report suggested they were silvery. The entire Bradford contingent looked splendid in black boots on Sunday at Huddersfield and the Chairman nearly had a fit the other day when skimming over the newspapers and saw this headline in the Huddersfield local rag. He was halfway out the door chuntering something about "murdering that bald mug in London" before the Treasurer could point out his error.

Thanks to all contributors for their vigilance this week. We do need your input to maintain the Fine Traditions. We also want nominees for the Hall of Fame, so don't be shy and if you fancy scribbling a few lines by way of citation for Hall of Famers, we're also interested. Leave us a comment or mither the Chairman on his Twitter feed, @PFUChairman

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