Archive for the ‘Harlequins’ Category

Season Review: Harlequins

September 16, 2009

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Points For: 591

Points Against: 691

Home Record: W4 L9

Away Record (including Magic weekend): W7 L7

Longest Winning Streak: 3

Longest Losing Streak: 6

Top Points Scorer: Danny Orr (102)

Top Try Scorer: David Howell (14)

Top Tackler: Jason Golden (754)

Boy, was this season complicated.

The first half of Quins’ season went swimmingly. Apart from some blowouts to Huddersfield (one in the cup) Harlequins were at a minimum competitive in every game, and at their best were able to run rampant. Both Salford and Warrington (in probably the best Quins display I’ve seen over the past few seasons) felt the force of the Pastel Quarters. A dominant win at Headingley over Leeds and a crushing of Hull KR at Craven Park seemed to show that the Londoners were the real deal this season. Then Leeds returned the favour (and then some) at The Stoop and David Howell’s sending off at Wigan helped trigger a collapse that the England cricket team would be proud of. 

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Size Doesn’t Matter (that much)

February 28, 2009

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It’s funny, because one of the main arguments I’ve often heard about keeping often-touted Wigan prospect Sam Tomkins out of the Super League side was that he was undersized. That he would be brutalized and exposed in the defensive line. That he wouldn’t be able to cope with the physicality of 1st team football.

I call bullshit on that.

Tomkins played against Harlequins at the Stoop today, and looked threatening thoughout. He provided a spark of flair and attacking prowess down the middle that has been sorely lacking in the Warrior’s previous games. He was joined by fellow Academy product Shaun Ainscough in being the special factor that ultimately helped Wigan overcome a very-determined and challenging Harelquins side (well, that and Chad Randall having a brain spasm of some sort). At no point did either of them appear to be overmatched in anyway. If anything, they looked right at home in the coalface of Super League rugby.

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Harlequins vs Manly Sea Eagles: The proverbial game of two halves

February 22, 2009
This is the life, my friend...

This is the life, my friend...

So I went to the Quins-Manly game at The Stoop today for the offically titled London Rugby League Challenge and had a thoroughly enjoyable day. Manly ended up running out 34-26 victors, but only after Harlequins had ran out to a 20-0 lead. Given the circumstances and the quality of the opposition, and the fact that I’ve seen them give up comparable leads in more meaningful games, I don’t think they should feel too disheartened.

Essentially the game was actually two games in one. In the first half a full-strength Quins side took on a group mostly made up of Manly reserves or usual interchange players, and certainly the backs the only real mainstays present were Michael Robertson and David Williams. Manly didn’t really offer much threat whilst Quins went through a few spells of offering loads, and wen’t 14-0 up in what seemed like a five minute period (they certainly scored off back-to-back tackles, as Manly conceded right off a kick-off when Luke Dorn went wide straight away to Will Sharp, who broke around David Williams and fed Chad Randall to go under the posts). Manly’s attack seemed devoid of any creativity and their kicking game was one-dinensional (and their ploy of putting up high bombs seemed misjudged when Jon Wells covered them all admirably). At half-time, Quins found themselves with a twenty point lead against the NRL champions.

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Quins / Bradford is off

February 7, 2009

Source: Quins website. Not surprising really, considering the Celtic friendly was abandoned because of a dodgy pitch and that was before the crazy weather of the last week. Y’know, as I looked into my Crystal Ball on Friday I did think I saw an empty Stoop with no-one on the playing surface…

Harlequins: Consistency is the key for capital gains

February 2, 2009

harlequins_rl

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.

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