I CAN’T remember the last time I watched a boring game between Wigan and Leeds.
And with a Grand Final place up for grabs, Friday’s encounter should be no different.
Only a fool would write Leeds off. They’ve proven their big-game credentials by winning a Grand Final, a World Club and by reaching Wembley twice in the last 18 months.
But Shaun Wane has worked wonders at Wigan and their hopes of a Grand Final come down to Friday’s game. It promises to be epic.
IT doesn’t take much in football to cause a stir.
All you need is one snubbed handshake and, boom, straight away there’s a stick to hit football with across the tabloids and television. “These overpaid prima donnas...” – you get the idea.
Shame, then, that a genuine, heart-warming moment went somewhat under the radar on Saturday.
When Hugo Rodallega scored against his former club he didn’t slide across the pitch on his knees like Peter Kay doing a kid’s wedding dance sketch.
If he was happy, he masked it well behind an apologetic nod towards the Wigan faithful. Pure class.
And when he was substituted late in the game, the home fans responded in kind by applauding him.
I SPOKE to Ian Lenagan after he made Sunday’s ClubCall announcement.
It was obvious how fed-up he has become with people attached to rugby league – fans, journalists, broadcasters, even coaches and players – putting the boot in.
It’s fair to say there are plenty of people who look at the game in a ‘glass-half-empty’ way. You’re more likely to hear moans about Rangi Chase winning last year’s Man of Steel than praise for the three English players, including Sam Tomkins, short-listed this time.
More fans will moan about Super League’s “dropping standards” than talk of the increased competition at the top, where five clubs are – more or less – on an even pedestal.
Yes, there are a lot of positives that get overlooked or ignored.
But the trouble is, it’s hard not to criticise rugby league when the game continues to shoot itself in the foot.
Just hours after Lenagan made his remarks, the RFL announced dates and venues for an autumn international series involving England, France and Wales. The first Test is on October 20 – that’s less than four weeks away.
What other sport would announce a tournament at such short notice?
FINALLY got HD television last week.
The difference is incredible.
Everything is sharper and clearer.
I can now see the exhaust fumes coming from the F1 cars, the blood-stains on the UFC canvas, the stud-marks on the football pitch, the sweat on the rugby players’ faces, and the ice cold drops rolling down the pint glasses at the darts.