Thursday, 28 April 2011

Union laughing stock

Not this union, you understand, the other one. Rugby union. Yes, it comes as a shock to us all that they can make themselves look more foolish than anyone thought possible, but they've done it. It's farewell from the PFU to Willie Mason (Hull East) after a farcical time in England with Hull KR playing the rulebook like a finely tuned piano. Having given up on attempting to get him a Tongan passport, he's now off to play the fifteen-man game in France where he'll be deployed as a fancy-dan centre. Yes, that's right. Willie Mason - THE Willie Mason - a fancy-dan centre. Beggars belief doesn't it. There is no word yet whether Rovers will be retaining the huge pile of unsold 'Mason 23' jerseys in anticipation of a move to sign Huddersfield's Keith for next season.

Easter is always a busy period and that's no different at PFU headquarters. We had Paul Wood and Garreth Carvell (Warrington) reported to us for potential try-scoring breaches against Salford on Good Friday, but Carvell's was well within guidelines while Wood's may normally have incurred a fine, he successfully used the "but Salford were utter rubbish" defence. Moreover, we caught sight of this picture on Twitter of him doing sterling work on the union's behalf, so how could we be anything other than lenient.

Paul Johnson (Wakefield) continues to blot his copybook with fancy footwear and a 30-metre try against Castleford. He should learn from Andy Coley (Wigan) who went on a similar run, realised his mistake and knocked-on over the line against Wakefield on the Monday.

Disturbing scenes at the Odsal Superdome on the Thursday where an entire scrum packed down in white boots. Even Andy Lynch - not normally the rebellious type - succumbed to temptation and we'll be calling in the Bradford and Leeds shop stewards for a cup of tea and a chat. Lynch was also reported for his try in that game, but a review of the available footage showed he was OK.

Karl Temata's (London West) try against Hull KR, also on Monday, was reported to us. He broke the line 10 metres out and went over unopposed, but his flapping mullet was taken into account when deciding no further action would be taken. It's not been a vintage year for Richard Moore (Wales North) who is rapidly becoming the worst offender. Whilst wearing white boots against Leeds on Monday, he was also chinned by a full-back. Yes, he got his retaliation in afterwards, but is the motto of this fine union not (among other things) Thou Shalt Get Thy Retaliation In First Lad. Meanwhile on Tuesday, there was precious little going on at Huddersfield where Nathan Brown has yet to follow through on his threats to call open season between the big lads. Get on with it lad.

More Twitter nonsense from the disgraceful Luke Burgess (Leeds) who revealed he was getting waxed. Apparently, that hurts, so we feel obliged to add to the pain by stinging him with a fine. Cough up, young 'un.

Finally, best wishes to reformed character Craig Huby (Castleford). A broken kneecap is a bloody horrible injury and everyone at HQ wishes him a speedy and successful recovery.

Thanks to this week's spotters, namely @W_L_Andy, @andywiz, @MatthewAHorton, @atomictrain, @whatmichaelsays and @exiledwool. Keep up the good work and let us know what you see when you're out and about.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Our new favourite union member

Herewith the latest from PFU Towers.

We like to start on a positive and it's great praise first off to Paul Wood (Warrington) who was involved in a Twitter spat with cheeky half-back Lee Briers about boot colouration. "Black boots all day me, pal", commented Mr Wood after Mr Briers accused him of wearing white. He continued "Only softys wear other colours than black boots". Yes they do indeed sir. Mr Wood has been a favourite of the Chairman for some time given his 100% attitude, all-out style and constant grafting. This has tipped him over into gold star territory.

The big stink at Leeds last Friday can't go uncommented for good and bad reasons. Firstly, Ian Kirke (Leeds) packed down at loose forward. We've only just processed his union membership and that's how he repays us? Treachery. Fine issued. Two fully paid-up members from the Leeds chapter took a liking to cheeky half-back Kevin Brown. First, Kylie Leuluai clobbered him late and gets brownie points for his "I got there as quick as I could" excuse. Later, Ryan Bailey had a crack at Brown after a verbal set-to which sparked a bit of a schemozzle. It was nice to see Luke O'Donnell, the Huddersfield back row, race to get involved and then stand aside, clearly realising that this is an area where union members have first dibs. It's warming to know that non-members respect the traditions of our organisation, but where were the Huddersfield union contingent? Someone needs to speak up in the way that Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown did after the game.

Brown, Nathan that is, suggested that if referees aren't going to protect his half-backs, he'd have to get his big fellers to do it instead. We hope he meant our union membership when he said that and if he's declaring open season for our members on half-backs, we can see a delegation making the trip to the Galpharm a bit more of a regular feature this season. Being a little hooker in his playing days, Brown clearly realises the benefits of protection from union membership and we hope he follows through on his pledge.

The week previously, Mr Bailey also earned himself credit for smashing Willie Mason (Hull East), but his ire may have been better directed at Rhys Lovegrove who was named at loose forward.

Wakefield seem to have their house in order boot-wise. Messrs Kyle Amor, Liam Higgins and Paul King all had appropriate footwear on at the weekend. Only Paul Johnson did not. We're watching, lad.

Some try-scoring breaches to report. Rémi Casty's (Perpignan) effort against Wigan last week was a good 20 yards beyond union guidelines and Tony Puletua (Tellins) backed up a break over 60 metres to take the scoring pass against Wakefield. Andy Lynch (Bradford) was reported to us for his try against Salford, but a review of the video evidence showed it to be well within guidelines.
Wigan's Andy Coley created a try with a kick which will trigger the usual fine and Nathan Massey (Castleford) bagged a hat-trick in an under-20s match. Just because it's not first grade doesn't mean we don't learn these things. Fine issued.

Staying with the Perpignan chapter, shop steward David Ferriol gave little Hull scrum-half Sam Obst a right wallop in the tackle which pleased our observer and we like the cut of Mickael Simon's jib, although someone needs a word about boot colouration. Perhaps Mr Wood when next those sides meet.

Finally, a sad tale of former member Paul Highton, spotted enjoying some refreshment in an Oldham hostelry the other night. "He can't drink to save his life" said our informer, something which can't be said of Steve Molloy who clearly can.

Thanks to our contributors this week, namely @W_L_Andy, @Kendall_17, @Kevbateman, @garrylad and @stumain. Keep em peeled over the ever-busy Easter period. Contact the chairman on his Twitter or leave us a comment below. Thanking you.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Hard or vindictive and a Vivienne Westwood bag

Lots of business to catch up on this week with some highly contentious talking points.

The big one of course is the stink kicked up by Jeff Lima's (Wigan) attack on a vulnerable Chris Clarkson. We can't condone this. Our representative in the stands didn't like it at the time and repeat viewings of the footage doesn't make it look any better. We're all for playing the game hard and not standing for any nonsense, but there's a line and Lima crossed it. There was nothing to be gained by his intervention other than potentially putting the career of a young opponent in jeopardy when said opponent could do nothing about it. It's not big and it's not clever. If Lima has a beef with Mr Clarkson, then there's an appropriate way to deal with it, much like Ben Cross (Leeds) did in the immediate aftermath. It was good work from the big Australian to step in, issue some summary justice and calm it all down. Severe reprimand for Lima, commendation for Cross.

Garreth Carvell (Warrington) may also have crossed a bit of a line when he walloped cheeky Perpignan half-back Scott Dureau late, high and off the ball. At first, it looked like Dureau was seriously hurt, but after a night in hospital he's OK. It's all part of a growing trend. We all like a bit of roughness, but you've got to respect your opponent. Cheap shots do no favours to you or the union. Consider this a general warning.

David Ferriol (Perpignan) is in bother for first flinging a cut-out pass for a try and later going on a weaving, side-stepping 30 metre charge for a quite spectacular try at Warrington. You wouldn't catch Brendan Hill doing that and so the appropriate fine is issued. Currency to depend on where we collect. Congratulations to his team-mate Rémi Casty though, a feisty young character we've had our eye on for a while. He made his 100th appearance for his club last week.

Other try-scorers this week were Ray Cashmere (Salford) and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (Tellins). Cashmere's was raised to us by @CuppaBrew on twitter who says "Not sure if it breaches union rules". It doesn't young man, but you're quite right to be vigilant. McCarthy-Scarsbrook got two, but neither was from more than a few inches, so no case to answer there either.

Boots next. We've been enjoying Nick Fozzard (Castleford) on Twitter, but being amusing is not an acceptable defence for yellow boots. Fellow veteran Karl Temata (London), on the other hand, is to be commended for both his black boots and his burgeoning mullet which wouldn't look out of place on an Australian sheep farm.

At the Castleford v Wales North game the other week, we were alerted by Nevchenko5 to an incident which saw an all-in brawl that saw three backs sent to the sin bin. Where were the membership? Video evidence wasn't conclusive, but we've called both shop stewards in to the office to find out what went on. While we're on the subject of Castleford, we hear that Craig Huby had a lovely evening at Disney on Ice. Hope you're proud of yourself, young man.

Finally, the most heinous crime of the week, month - maybe ever. We're indebted to @garrylad for his inside info on this one and it concerns serial offender Richard Moore (Wales North). His boots offences are racking up at a Huby-esque rate, but he's really blotted his copybook with this one. He was spotted leaving the dressing rooms at Salford proudly clutching a pink Vivienne Westwood bag. We had to look this Westwood character up and it turns out she's nowt to do with Warrington's Ben, not that that would have helped Mr Moore in his defence. Big fine and a letter advising him to future conduct. Also, we've called in his shop steward for a talking to.

Before we sign off, a quick hello to the new visitors who found us via our new best mate Andy Wilson's latest Guardian blog. Welcome aboard and help keep us up to date with the various shenanigans of the membership on here and the Chairman's Twitter.