Another season, another seeming state of disarray and uncertainty for the capital’s only Super League side. This off-field uncertainty has manifested itself in one of the most erratic teams in Super League. It must be really frustrating to follow a side that can beat three playoff sides, yet also somehow ship 68 points to the side at the bottom of the table. It’s frustrating and also slightly alarming, because if any side could do with a period of stability it’s Quins.
There’s a lot to be worried about with Quins. Their owner has to end his involvement with the club. There doesn’t appear to be a proper CEO at the minute, and the person who had taken up the job temporarily has left. The crowds just won’t rise, and it’s not certain how much effort has been put into raising them anyway. Many fans still feel alienated by the decision to get in bed with perhaps the archetypal Rugby Union club. Added to that, they’re losing a lot of quality players from last season, either to retirement or bigger clubs.
It’s a shame that there’s all this off-field stuff to worry about, because on the field they’re definitely heading in the right direction. Whilst they’ve lost a lot of their bigger names for this season, and the incoming batch doesn’t necessarily look like being of a suitable quality, there’s still a core of players who exceeded expectations last season, including several local lads. Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook was challenging for a World Cup spot last season, and who knows how he would have gone if he didn’t get injured in mid-season? Considering I was watching Tony Clubb perform at a level no higher than ‘meh’ for the London Skolars last February, his rise over the last year has been extraordinary. If McDermott can get even a few of his rag-tag bunch performing way above expectation, it could be a good season in South-West London.
Trying to guess where Quins will finish has proven for the last few seasons to be a futile exercise. Most people tip them to finish bottom, only to see them rise up the table and challenge for a playoff berth. I think they’re in that group of teams who might be able to take benefit from the expanded playoff system and sneak their way into a first round match, from which they will probably be eliminated. Or they might just crash and burn and finish waaaaay down at the bottom. Or they might actually live up to Brian McDermott’s standards and win the whole thing. Well, they probably wont, but you just never know with Quins; there’s many dangers associated with following Quins, but boredom ain’t one of them. Which might be part of the problem.