Talking Sport - Did Saints’ sins display a gulf in class?

Phil Wilkinson

Phil Wilkinson

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SOME Wigan fans took great delight in seeing St Helens get slaughtered. Others, when it came to it, wished the scoreline had been closer.

Because Souths’ 39-0 destruction has raised fresh questions about the standard of Super League compared to the NRL.

Personally, I don’t think there is a massive gulf between the two competitions as a whole, as much as there is a massive gulf between Souths and the rest

Personally, I don’t think there is a massive gulf between the two competitions as a whole, as much as there is a massive gulf between Souths and the rest. Their class, energy, ruthlessness and attacking sharpness were phenomenal.

The different salary cap limits – £1.8m here, compared to nearly double that Down Under – can not solely be blamed for the blowout scoreline at Langtree Park. Why?

Because Souths won their Grand Final by 30-6 and scored more points against four NRL clubs last year than they did against St Helens. And all five of those clubs operate under the NRL cap.

Michael Maguire take a bow; he has made them into a phenomenal outfit.

The other two games of the World Club Series showed UK clubs can push their good teams to the wire, and beyond it in Wigan’s case. With a bit more nous – and some strong refereeing – the games could easily have gone the other way. Cynics, I’m sure, will point out Brisbane finished 8th and St George Illawarra were 11th in a 16-team league last season. But Warrington finished fifth, remember, and Leeds (6th) and Catalans (7th) would not have looked out of place had they been involved.

The 3-0 whitewash showed why we need to play more of these games – it’s the best way of gauging standards and improving – and while the results were disappointing, the series was not.

Good crowds, two good games, and a touch of stardust... there was a lot to like. And if organisers can tighten up the qualification, we might well have just witnessed the start of something special.

MYSELF and a few other colleagues daft enough to lace up the boots took part in a charity rugby league game on Sunday.

Journalists and politicians aren’t the best-liked professions and, as it turned out, Mother Nature doesn’t like us either; she kindly arranged a snow storm just before kick-off.

For the record, we lost 10-6 to a team featuring such honourable MPs as Kris Radlinski, Brian Carney and Andy Johnson (politicians bending the rules? I was shocked too).

It was all good fun, even if I did cop a high-shot from Carney. Which is why I now look like a puffer fish. And why Jon Wells is now my favourite Sky Sports pundit.

THE arrival of Jermaine Pennant isn’t as much a match made in heaven as one made in relegation mire. But it could work out well.

He wants a shop window to prove he can still do a job. Latics need class and experience. Let’s hope it works out well for both parties.