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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Rleague.com

It's been a successful year for the game and also for the Rleague website as it heads into its 10th year in 2007.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Rleague.com
by NRL

It's been a successful year for the game and also for the Rleague website as it heads into its 10th year in 2007. Through all the highs and lows in 2006, the season ended in the best possible fashion with the Tri Nations Final producing one of the all-time great clashes. As we enjoy our Christmas festivities tomorrow, the season is underway again on Boxing Day with several clashes taking part in the UK, which Rleague will have coverage for.

Christmas time also presents many people, including us at Rleague.com to acknowledge our readers, the game and the people behind this website.

JAMES STEWART
Dear Readers,

Thank you for you unbelievable support in 2006. With the introduction of our upgraded website in March, the readership core we had grown over 9+ years was quadrupled in 2006. Due to this support we have made a profit for the first time in our existence which has left us in a strong position to leverage this by continuing to expand and be the leader for Rugby League news and information on the web. ALL revenue is currently being re-invested back into the website, and even though a profit was made the sacrifices made by myself, Matthew and Chris with time invested on the site has again been enormous in 2006. We've used the last couple of months to unwind and will be refreshed ready to go in 2007.

Since the launch of the new website in March 2006, I have been planning for the next stage of the Rleague.com website. After a review of our site, taking in feedback and new opportunities that have come in the past 12 months, I am now developing an upgraded Rleague.com site for the start of the next Rugby league season.

The main redevelopments will be a restructure of the navigation to be much easy to navigate and flow between sections - generally making information easier to find, and a re-organisation of how we display information on the website. On top of this we'll be expanding our archive with a massive amount of new data, and we'll also continue to innovate next season with some new features currently being planned and developed.

It all makes for an exciting lead into the 2007 season and we hope to see you then. Until then enjoy the Christmas break and holidays and remember to be safe and vigilant on the roads.

James Stewart


MATTHEW O'NEILL
To all the Rleague.com readers, critics and supporters,

It's been an extraordinary 2006 season to say the least, but at the end of the day one where my enthusiasm and passion for the game returned to greater heights. The NRL season had many ups and downs as the rule makers tinkered with what was successful and the current salary cap format makes it impossible to build depth and loyalty in our code. The English Super League on the other hand continued to rise with crowds again on the up and the game overall in wonderful health. The Tri Nations except for the lack of support in Sydney was an outstanding success and the quality of the football on the field and the drama off the field made it a tournament worthwhile to support and be part of.

The Rleague.com website enters into its 10th year in 2007 and it's been an amazing ride to say the least. This year James produced a new website, which on the outside may not have looked like much, but on the inside where it all happens new and exciting changes were made. The hardware layout has ensured Rleague's success for many years to come and the gradual software changes, easier formats for readership and expansion of our services puts us in a great position to help the sport of Rugby League move forward. Our readership in 2006 easily surpassed our supposed peak years of 2002-03 and to achieve that in our 9th year is an outstanding tribute to the loyalty, support and even criticism of the people who read this website. The User Blogs feedback section on every article proved to be a smash hit with the readers and the way of the future when it comes to interactive conversations.

Without James Stewart and Chris Riediger there would be no Rleague.com and both of those people deserve all the plaudits and praise heaped upon them. They have spent countless hours behind the scenes to rebuild the website and also work on server stability and new initiatives. I've been fortunate and lucky to feed off the work these two people produce and even luckier to be in the right place at the right time.

Throughout the year we've had plenty of reader input and I would personally like to thank Chris Walker, Stuart Hall, Damien Herb, Frank Cipri, Vas Venkatramani, Ian Stewart, Paul Dovas and Matt Dwyer for their contributions at various times, which proved to be popular to the readers and added variety to the Rleague.com website. Also thanks to NRL clubs Newcastle, St George Illawarra, the Bulldogs, Cronulla, Melbourne, Sydney Roosters, New Zealand Warriors, Gold Coast, South Sydney, Canberra and North Queensland, Super League clubs Huddersfield, Wigan, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Harlequins, Hull FC and Hull KR and Premier League clubs Newtown and North Sydney for sending Rleague.com news releases. To all the associations that supported Rleague.com with news items - it was much appreciated and we look forward to your support in 2007. Mark Bostock once again continued the excellent wallpaper's for all the NRL clubs along with representative sides and on top of that Mark helped Rleague.com with several feature image logos and it was greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Paul Jeffs for maintaining the stats.rleague.com website and making it a great and highly popular addition to Rleague.com.

This year we farewelled Matthew Lyne after seven years of tireless and outstanding service where he maintained the Queensland section on Rleague.com. Matt's dedicated and detailed coverage of the Queensland game fast tracked the QRL into producing an outstanding website of their own and Matt felt that his job was done with the QRL now supplying Rleague.com with news and report press releases. Matt moves onto the next adventure in his life and he'll always remain an important member of the Rleague family and his value over the last seven years can't be measured lightly.

On a personal level, it's been a year of change and one where I felt my passion for the game returned. I thank Junior League clubs Chester Hill Hornets and Minchinbury Jets for bringing me into their clubs and entrusting responsibility upon my shoulders. The professionalism and positive outlooks of both clubs is outstanding and the knowledge of the people inside of them has really helped me learn much more about the game as a coach, trainer and most importantly as a person. Both clubs certainly helped my development within Rugby League and both renewed and enhanced my enthusiasm for the game. I owe a lifetime of gratitude to both clubs. Rleague.com is about the people and game at all levels and I suggest to anyone and everyone to get involved with a grassroots side as it helps expand your appreciation for the sport and the game is much larger and more significant than the NRL.

The 2004-05 seasons was difficult as James was producing the new website we all now enjoy and I thank all the readers for their loyalty and belief in Rleague.com. It was you the readers who inspired us to take the website to a new level and it's the readers who ensured I personally would do my very best to have news, reports and editorials online as quick as possible for the public to enjoy and/or criticise.

What the 2007 season holds is anyone's guess and no doubt the tipping competitions and predictions will be flying left, right and centre once the Christmas and New Year festivities are out of the way. For Rleague.com it will be its 10th year and to survive ten years in the cut throat world of the Internet has been a fine achievement. It wouldn't have been possible without James, Chris, the early pioneers and most of all the loyal readers who have made Rleague.com their Rugby League home.

I hope you all have a great time over Christmas and heading into the New Year. We look forward to everyone's support, feedback and criticism in 2007.

Matthew O'Neill


CHRIS RIEDIGER
Ahh yes, someone has to be a little late and this year it's me. Better that than never I s'pose ... much like the Broncos return to form in 2006!

The 2006 year was the best from an rleague.com perspective since my association with James, Matt and the website began in 2001. As Matt and James have already touched on, the readership increases and the enthusiasm that the significantly updated site were recieved with made 2006 possibly our best ever. Despite the hard work from the team and the praise that it deserves, it would have been nothing without you, the rleague.com community.

I believe as we move into 2007, the "community" is going to begin to take on an exciting and dynamic form. I look to the fantastic response to "your Say" in what should probably be deemed "The Year of the Blog" and know that community involvement is going to increase more and more; rleague.com will be not just "For the fans", but in many respects "By the fans" as well.

Of course, with the success of 2006 it would be easy to sit on our hands but that would be doing ourselves and all of you a great disservice. rleague.com will continue to innovate in 2007, as has been the case for nearly 10 years. We hope you all come back and bring some new friends for the ride, because it will be great!

I'd like to thank James and Matt for the work and friendship that continues to be integral to not just the success of rleague.com but in our personal lives away from the game. You guys have been outstanding all year and I look forward to doing it all again in 2007 ... cheers!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas (it is the 27th now!) and that your New Year's will be full of good times and even better memories. To NRL supporters, I'd love to wish you premiership success but as an unabashed Bulldogs supporter I'd be giving you all false hope! To those supporters of all the domestic leagues around the world, I do wish you success and many, many more highs than lows in 2007.

See you all again in 2007!

Cheers,
Chris.




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