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

Phil Wilkinson
Phil Wilkinson

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.