Bumper league finals ahead

THE NRL must be delighted with season 2005.

Despite the sub-par performances of fancied teams such as Canterbury, Roosters, Newcastle and Penrith, it must be the closest competition ever. The team that wins the minor premiership will have the lowest win/loss ratio ever, and the wooden spoon "winners'' will have won more games than any other cellar dwellers before them.

This makes it very clear that the competition is excellent, and that the salary cap may be working.

Teams with mass injuries simply cannot compete effectively ? the Bulldogs have proved this ? and the Broncos are hitting the skids for the same reason.

It promises to be a bumper finals series and it's refreshing to see teams like the Eels, Tigers and Dragon firing again. M M M The French have never been regarded as good losers have they?

It seems that they are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that Lance Armstrong is the greatest rider in the history of their Tour. After seven wins and countless drug tests, they claim to have dug up a dodgy swab from six years ago. They hate the fact that a non-European has continually shown them up on their home patch. Cycling has enjoyed great popularity in recent times and many attribute this to Lance Armstrong.

Yet, the reward that Armstrong receives for this contribution is a slap in the face.

Pulling a test from six years back is clutching at rotting straws. How reliable are these old swabs? How hard would it be for the samples to be tampered with? Did they test any other athlete's specimens?

Given his clean record, he should enjoy the benefit of any doubt.

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