FTBP – Lomax and League Shake Ups Kev Pender 15th June 2017 2017 Season, From The Boys Pen J. Lo – Play It was wonderful to see Jonny Lomax play at full back on Friday night. Admittedly we were up against the team bottom of the league and made hard work of putting them away, but one of the positives from the game was the link up play from full back. As Stephen Orford says in his own blog Lomax really made a difference. The highlight of his attacking play was the delayed pass to Morgan for the centres try – it would have been easy to give it early, but the dummy to commit the defender ensured Morgan had a straight run in. Much has been said about how well Tommy Makinson has done deputising for Lomax. He has been rock solid with minimal errors, but Tommy is not a specialist full back. It’s such an important position and arguably is the most important on the pitch. In the modern game the full back can’t just organise the defensive line or field kicks and run them back in. They’ve got to be another half back, joining the play when necessary and even dictating to others when they see something in front of them. Lomax provided a great example of this on Friday. For Grace’s try he directed Zeb Taia to the blindside & once Grace goes in, Taia turns to celebrate with Lomax in acknowledgement of the full backs influence. I genuinely hope Lomax is offered (and signs) a contract for next year and beyond. It doesn’t take Inspector Morse to work out if we do offer a deal it will probably be on reduced terms. I’ve seen a few people say he should be on a pay as you play deal – but I fail to see how you would declare that under a salary cap without assuming he was going to play every game. Then the whole point of pay as you play to give us leeway under the salary cap is negated. Lomax is a class act who seemingly conducts himself professionally. He deserves a huge slice of luck with regards to staying fit and healthy. Obviously the signing of Ben Barba has opened up questions regarding Lomax’s future position. But as Justin Holbrook has pointed out both can play a variety of roles if needed. Add to that Theo Fages looking bright in his 10 minutes at hooker there’s plenty for the Head Coach to consider. Zero Point in the League Rugby League journalist Gary Carter has published an article this Wednesday morning (see his twitter @gary_carter1979, I’m not linking the paper he works for) highlighting how the Super 8s will probably stay for another season, the league could expand to 14 and a return to some kind of licencing are all possibilities. However one part of the discussions caught my eye above all these – the idea that all 8 teams in the Super 8s could start on zero points. If this was to be pushed through what would be the point of the first 23 rounds of Super League? Critics are concerned about too many dead games in the 8s. Well in the quest for ‘all singing, all dancing, every child wins a prize’ sport are they not missing the point that excellence should be rewarded? Why would people both to buy season tickets if after round 23 all the results meant nothing. There’d be no fanfare over the League Leaders Shield being awarded as the Grand Final winners would still be the champions. I’ve a feeling I’ll be writing more about this in the future.