Talking RL: Heaven for Hull – I hope

Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield (right) and Hull KR captain Tyrone McCarthy with the Challenge Cup
Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield (right) and Hull KR captain Tyrone McCarthy with the Challenge Cup

HULL KR reckon they are taking up to 30,000 fans with them to Wembley this Saturday.

I know for sure they’ll have many more cheering for them from the sofas and pubs – and I’ll be one of them.

Hull KR winning the Cup would be an incredible story

Phil Wilkinson

Wouldn’t it be great if they did it?

Not because they knocked Wigan out the Cup. And not simply because they’re playing against Leeds, and I can’t be the only one feeling sick at how gushing the praise is that they’ve been getting from some commentators.


It’s because Hull KR winning the Cup would be an incredible story.

They’ve only won it once – back in 1980 – and haven’t been to Wembley since ‘86, which was before many of their players were born.

Like Cas’ last season, they’ve added some interest to the old competition.

Indeed, the variety of recent Cup finals – aided and abetted by the draw from the hat – has helped distinguish it from the Grand Final.

When was the last time Wigan and Warrington met at Wembley? Or Leeds v St Helens? Exactly.

Since the final returned to Wembley in 2007, it has had nine different finalists (by contrast, the Super League Grand Final has had just four teams in the same time).

Yep, it would be great if the Robins won. Trouble is, there’s also a reason they’ve recorded a cover of Erasure’s “A Little Respect”. And that is: No one thinks they can beat Leeds.

Yes, they’ve beaten Wigan, Catalans and Warrington already. Let’s hope they can raise one more time – it’d be great for them, and rugby league generally.

RARELY does a season go by when there’s not a Wigan ‘crisis’ of some sort. And this year has been no different.

I can remember at least two occasions when the pressure was on – the cricket score at Catalans being one of them.

But with four games to go before the play-offs begin, and with no game this weekend (still a sore point), we’ve got a chance to take stock of their campaign so far. And so far, it’s not bad. Second in the table, unbeaten at home, and with a squad in both good form and good health... it could certainly be a lot worse.

Indeed, it’s quite refreshing to be heading into the crunch stage of the season letting other clubs do the panicking.

Warrington are out of the play-offs race – with four rounds remaining – and St Helens are on the slide, after losing their last four matches. Wouldn’t it be great if Wigan could knock them out of the top-four in a few weeks’ time? Don’t count it out – Saints’ next game is against Leeds.

And looking at the other sides, Huddersfield and Castleford have both done well this year, yet Wigan won’t fear either of them. Which makes me think that, unless Saints pick up quickly, it’s shaping towards a first Wigan v Leeds Grand Final since 1998.

MATTY Bowen has been

coy about whether he will play on in 2016 but on evidence of his display against Warrington, there’s plenty of life left in the old legs. He has confirmed he will leave Wigan and return to Australia at the end of the year, with a role working with the Aboriginal community in the pipeline. But the 33-year-old’s lively display on Friday suggests he has plenty more to offer on the pitch. I wonder if he’ll play on, either in the NRL or at a lower level?

I HAVE some sympathy for Richie Mathers, the ex-Wigan player who has been banned for six months for breaking betting rules.

Not because he’s a nice fella, but because he hasn’t placed a bet, or made a profit in any way – and yet he’s had his name tarnished.

And for what? Apparently, he passed on “insider information” on a Whatsapp message.

I don’t know the details, and if he’s broke the rules, he needs to be punished.

But I’m intrigued to know what details he shared, because it wouldn’t have taken a genius – and it certainly wouldn’t have required any “insider information” – to predict the Broncos were going to get a flogging at the Sports Village!

Mathers denies the accusation. I’d like him to release the Whatsapp messages, and let us see for ourselves.