TALKING SPORT - More than just two points and bragging rights

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THERE’S nothing like a derby against St Helens to stir the emotions.

And with Shaun Wane in charge, one thing we can guarantee is plenty of emotion this Good Friday.

His passion for all-things Wigan will surely crank up the intensity for a meeting against a team showing some great form at present.

Wane’s preparations have not been helped by a string of injury concerns. But Wigan have won before when they’ve been up against it – remember the team of kids in 2003? – and with the chance to go down in derby history as the first winners at Langtree Park, it’s sure to be a fantastic game.

WE’RE coming to the end of the football season, so it must be time for Wigan Athletic to come up with their annual ‘Great Escape’ bid.

Last year, they waited until the nick of time before coming up with back-to-backs victories for the first time under Roberto Martinez.

This time they’ve done it slightly earlier – but it’s of no less significance.

One look at the fixture list sees the small matter of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal coming up in quick succession.

The last four games – Fulham, Newcastle, Blackburn and Wolves – appear to be all winnable, but what happens over the next fortnight will decide the size of the task over the closing month.

The way Latics are playing at the moment, they can take on the elite with confidence.

And I wouldn’t rule out a shock or two along the way.

A press release came through last week about Steve McNamara’s three-week trip to Australia.

Good work if you can get it, eh? What, I wondered, could he possibly be doing for three weeks to justify the trip?

Especially after Gareth Ellis and Sam Burgess were ruled out by cruelly-timed injuries at the weekend.

Then, yesterday, I read that Sydney-born, New Zealand-qualified, Tongan international forward Feleti Mateo has been targeted by McNamara for the England squad.

Just a year after he drafted Aussie forward Chris Heighington and – of course – Kiwi Rangi Chase into his squad.

According to the NRL’s own official website, McNamara has a list of 40 NRL players who could do likewise for next year’s World Cup.

Please come home, Steve. Please come home and watch Gareth Hock, Liam Farrell, Josh Charnley, Ryan Atkins, Luke George, Leeds’ all- English back-line...

KENNY Dalglish will not quit as Liverpool manager, according to former team-mate Mark Lawrenson.

And the Reds’ American owners would surely never sack King Kenny.

Which is why, unless you’re a Liverpool fan, the ongoing Anfield soap opera is nothing short of hysterical.