TALKING SPORT - Big response is needed against the Baggies

Martin Murray during his WBA middleweight title bout in Germany
Martin Murray during his WBA middleweight title bout in Germany
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THE wheels may have come off the Wigan Athletic revival, but it’s important the players don’t get too dispirited by the 4-0 drubbing to Arsenal.

The Gunners, on that sort of form, would have put most teams in Europe to the sword – although Roberto Martinez will be disappointed his side didn’t ‘get at’ their opponents more in the midfield.

As we know, Wigan’s fate will not be sealed in games like that.

It will, however, be decided by trips to places like West Brom – and it’s imperative Latics show the right reaction in what’s sure to be a real humdinger at the Hawthorns.

NEVER thought I’d bring myself to cheering someone from St Helens, but Martin Murray deserves applause.

The boxer may have been born on the Dark Side of Billinge Hill but he has strong ties to this town, having graduated from the Wigan ABC club into the professional ranks and lived here for a number of years.

Last Friday night, he announced his arrival on the big stage in brilliant fashion with a draw against world-champion Felix Sturm in Germany which will, hopefully, prove a launchpad to bigger and better things.

The result also highlighted how ridiculous – and open to abuse – the scoring system is in boxing, with one judge giving the fight to Sturm by four rounds, one giving it to Murray by two and the other sitting on the fence and calling it a draw.

How two supposedly respected judges can disagree as to who won six of the 12 rounds simply beggars belief.

RUGBY league in this country is considering a plan to switch from 12 replacements - from four subs - to 10, in line with the NRL.

About time too.

But for how long will the Australian competition be allowed to do their own thing without any international body to approve their changes?

It’s farcical that there are discrepancies between the NRL and Super League.

Down Under, the corner flag is in the field of play. Over here, it’s out.

At next February’s All Stars game, the Aussies will trial a ‘Powerplay’ idea in which the attacking team can order the defending side to ‘drop’ two players for five minutes. They’ll look at a 20-40 kick, too.

They haven’t said whether those changes will be followed in the NRL but - after introducing two referees following a similar trial a few years ago - nothing would surprise me.

“HOW can people go to Qatar in 50 degrees in June?” asked UEFA president Michael Platini in an interview last week. “The people they come for three weeks or two weeks in 60 degrees and never go outside the hotel.”

Valid point.

Just a shame he did not think of this when he voted for Qatar to host the World Cup.

Platini also supports the idea of switching the competition to winter, which would be cooler for the players but would cause untold havoc with the big leagues around Europe.

Once thing’s for sure...we’ve not heard the last of this.