THIS is what the Super-8s has turned me into.
A Warrington fan.
Tonight, I’ll be sat on the couch with my Primrose and Blue scarf, hoping the Wire can get one over St Helens!
Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little.
But the point is, usually I’d watch a mid-season game between the two and just hope for an entertaining, high-quality spectacle. I wouldn’t be too bothered about the result. But now it’s different. Now, with the Super-8s, Wigan could really do with the Wolves doing them a favour and getting one over their rivals.
Because if they do that, it massively improves Wigan’s chances of finishing 2nd before the split.
The seven Super 8s matches are shaped to favour the sides which finish higher up the ladder.
If Wigan stay 3rd, they will travel to Langtree Park. Climb to 2nd, and Saints will have to visit the DW. And given Wigan’s imperious home form, I know where I’d rather the game takes place.
With a Hull derby tomorrow, and uncertainty over Catalans, it should make for an interesting two weeks. And an intriguing run-in there after, too.
The Super-8s isn’t perfect. But I’m preferring it like this than the way it was.
I AM a huge fan of Justin Carney. Of all the Super League players, the Castleford ‘tank of the flank’ is one I love to watch the most.
With Ryan Hall’s form dipping, I’ll probably vote for Carney and Wigan’s Joe Burgess as my wingers in the Super League Dream team.
But that doesn’t mean I want to see Carney playing ahead of Hall in the England team.
He’s recently put his hand up to play for us, because he will qualify on the three-year residency rule.
Other sports do it – and England have done it with their rugby league team – but I don’t like it.
And here’s something which players won’t say publicly; they don’t like it either. During the World Cup, I spoke to a few players who – once the tape had stopped rolling, once the pen had stopped scribbling – admitted Rangi Chase shouldn’t have been there.
It wasn’t the fact that he wasn’t talented. It was the fact he wasn’t English. When Great Britain won the series against the Kiwis in 2007, Terry Newton admitted the victory felt hollow – almost artificial – because they had Samoan Maurie Fa’asavalu in their ranks.
Is there an argument for those players who qualify through parents? Maybe.
Chris Heighington has been included in the past, and Leeds’ superb forward Adam Cuthbertson is hoping to convince Steve McNamara of a genuine desire to play for England.
But those who qualify because they’ve lived here for three years? No. Pat Richards was here eight years, but ask him who he wants to win the Ashes. It won’t be England. His affinity is to Australia, as well as Ireland, where his parents were born.
And even if Carney is sincere – and I’m not saying he isn’t – where does it stop?
Shall we rope in Joel Monaghan as another winger? No. It’s a nice story, but I hope McNamara preserves the English spirit of the England side.
MENTIONING McNamara, one question has been overlooked among the glowing tributes paid to code-hopper Paul Deacon.
Who will replace him as England assistant coach?
I’d like to put forward a few possible solutions.
Actually,I’ll stop there at two.
Imagine how good it would be to see one of them involved in the England set-up? Imagine how much more confidence you’d have?