TALKING SPORT - Great idea, but ‘Club Call’ just has not worked

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THERE was no drum-roll. No drama.

In three years of the ClubCall, we’re still waiting for a shock. Still waiting for a Scooby-Doo style ending, when the monster’s mask was ripped off and we all let out a collective gasp of amazement.

That’s what the RFL no doubt hoped for when they introduced the idea of allowing the highest-place side the chance to choose their semi-final opponents.

But so far it’s fallen flatter than the proverbial pancakes, and on Sunday, Warrington coach Tony Smith didn’t even bother turning up to tell the world that – shock, horror – they wanted to face Leeds in the semi-final.

Which would have just about been salvageable, had Leeds reacted with the ‘We’ll-prove-you-wrong’ sound-bites that might just have ignited some much-needed interest into the play-offs.

The ClubCall was a nice idea but it has sadly died a painful death in front of the Sky Sports cameras. And in High Definition, too.

WHAT has definitely not died a death is Wigan’s play-off campaign.

Just how good were they on Sunday evening? Their attack was telepathic, their defence terrific, and only a fool would write off their chances of reaching the Grand Final.

ON the surface, a 2-1 defeat to Spurs was an understandable, even credible, result.

But anyone who watched Saturday’s game can testify that it’s Latics’ own fault they lost after a woeful first-half display. Passes were fired out without precision, they looked jaded, they retreated when in possession... not to mention the back-pass which gifted Spurs’ opener.

Yet in the second-half it was a different story. They had drive and purpose, even when down to 10-men. Which leaves it impossible to judge the Latics side of 2011-12 on the evidence they’ve presented so far, other than to say they’re inconsistent.

The best and worst of Wigan Athletic were laid bare over two halves against Tottenham.

It’s premature to start worrying about the table just yet, but with the obvious candidates for relegation (Norwich, QPR) picking up points, I just hope Saturday’s second-half showing can stretch into a 90-minute display very, very soon.

FURY erupted last week over footage of boys ‘cage-fighting’ in a Preston club.

Only, they weren’t really cage fighting at all. I can’t help feel the outrage was somewhat misdirected, because if you watch the video, it’s clear the boys were wrestling.

It was as far removed from UFC – or MMA, or cage-fighting – as you’ll get. And had the boys been in a sports-hall, under proper control, it would have been fine.

What was absolutely wrong was that they were in a social club, surrounded by a cage, surrounded by boozing adults, with a scantily-clad ring girl lapping the octagon.

There’s a time and a place for that. While watching children as young as eight wrestling is absolutely not it.