Talking RL: Why Warriors will want to show Cas’ the best of them

Tara Jones became the first female referee in a Super League match when she was an ingoal official for Wigan's game with Wakefield last Sunday
Tara Jones became the first female referee in a Super League match when she was an ingoal official for Wigan's game with Wakefield last Sunday

Often, big games are win at all costs.

Doesn’t matter how many tries are scored, doesn’t matter how they play.

All that matters is they are 
victorious.

Semi-finals, World Clubs, Good Fridays, Grand Finals... they all fall into that category.

And it’d be tempting to throw Sunday’s game into that mix - especially when you consider Wigan beat Cronulla more times than they beat Castleford last year!

But after all their three defeats against the Tigers, Shaun Wane was disappointed they undersold themselves.

And that’s why I can’t help think he will want a performance, as well as the result, this week.

Because Cas’ haven’t seen the best of Wigan for quite a while. Something, I imagine, they will be determined to put right.

Jon Wells’ touchscreen analysis is probably my favourite part of Sky Sports’ coverage of Super League.

He can lean on the gushing side with the guest players, but it is an interesting, insightful segment – and it’s a shame it’s been cut at times this season when Sky Sports have gives matches tighter time-slots.

Wells is continuing with his role despite being appointed the director of rugby at Castleford.

A conflict of interest?

He’ll certainly have to be careful he doesn’t leave himself open to questions about his neutrality.

If the Tigers suffer a slump in form, for example, will Wells point the finger at the work being done by their director of rugby?

Dr Marwan Kourkash polarises opinion with his brash, colourful approach.

But I wish him all the best in his ambition to create a Cumbrian Lakers Super League team.

Imagine how good the away games would be? Get a nice day, and there are few places nicer.

In an era when expansion is the buzzword, it seems a bit daft not to expand into an area with a real appetite for rugby league.

I’m not normally as vocal as many others about who and who doesn’t get picked for England.

The way I see it, I’d be worried if there weren’t debates about different positions – as it’d reflect a lack of quality in our game.

Yes, I’d have gone with Mark Percival at left-centre in the World Cup. But if we’re going to judge a coach by results – which we do – he should have the right to pick who he thinks can get the job done.

That said, I was amazed Sam Tomkins wasn’t included in the England elite training squad.

His omission last year was understandable, given the injuries he’s had, but he’s now fit and he’s started the season well.

Which can’t be said about some of the players in there.

Even with Kevin Brown yesterday announcing his international retirement, there are no plans to replace him in the ETS. It baffles me.

Someone has suggested it’s harder to fall out of the squad than it is to crack into it.

I’m inclined to agree.

Hull FC’s Lee Radford is one of my favourite coaches.

He can usually be relied upon for a good quip – “he’s a smoking gun, not a water-pistol” – but more than that, he’s a straight-talker.

He tells it as it is.

And it was refreshing to see his statement on Liam Watts’ transfer to Castleford on the official website:

“I hope he can find some consistency off the field to benefit his career... we have some great, young, enthusiastic front rowers coming through at the club who appreciate our values and behaviours...”

You don’t exactly have to read between the lines to see why Radford was happy to sell him!

A female official was used in a Super League for the first time on Sunday.

It’s a move I welcome. And not because that’s the right thing to say, but because it’s the right thing, full-stop.

If a woman wants to referee, why shouldn’t she be able to take charge of top-flight games?

There are a few in football and I hope more and more are encouraged to take up the whistle.

One problem with referees is there aren’t enough good ones! Increasing the talent-pool can only make the sports better.

Shaun Wane said, “It was a good win, they’re a solid team”, after Sunday’s 30-18 victory against Wakefield. I’d argue it was more like a solid win against a good team. 
Wigan again spluttered early on and again improved as the game unfolded.

Bigger picture, there can be few complaints about a start to the season which has reaped four wins from five and climbed to second in the table.

But what is most encouraging is they are not done yet.

And I’m not just talking about the overall, organic improvements as combinations 
sharpen up and pitches dry up.

I’m talking about big strides they know they can make, particularly – for some reason – with their first-half displays.

I take Liam Farrell’s point on board, that Wigan are reaping rewards for their earlier work, but even so there are errors they can cut out. 
It bodes well.