TALKING SPORT - Blaming the ref would reek of hypocrisy

Gareth Hock
Gareth Hock
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I always expected the semi-final to be close, but let’s be frank – Wigan just didn’t turn up.

Too many players made too many mistakes, and they paid the ultimate price. No Wembley return, no Challenge Cup defence.

Two years ago they used the disappointment to fuel their Grand Final assault, and that has to be the aim this season. With Matty Smith and – eventually – Thomas Leuluai, Pat Richards and Stuart Fielden to come back in, there are grounds for optimism.

It’s to their credit that the players have shouldered the blame for the semi-final exit.

But that hasn’t stopped some fans from trying to blame referee Ben Thaler. Yes, Thaler messed up massively by not referring a vital call to the video referee in the second-half.

And we should know by now that there is more chance of seeing Lord Lucan riding Shergar in the 3 o’clock race in Atlantis than a touch-judge ruling on a forward pass, as in the first-half.

But think back to Wembley last year; Wigan scored two tries on dodgy calls. They won the game by 10 points.

Yet when Leeds coach Brian McDermott was asked about it afterwards, he said he was more concerned with his own players slipping off tackles than blaming the official. I respected him enormously for that. And by the same token, blaming the ref for Saturday’s defeat would reek of hypocrisy.

BOXING did its best to whip up a media frenzy for David Haye’s fight with Dereck Chisora.

There was even a fence erected between the pair for a press conference to keep them apart.

“He hates Chisora,” said Haye’s trainer, Adam Booth, in one of several stinging remarks fired from both camps which must have had fans smacking their lips as they parted with their hard-earned and subscribed to the fight. This picture from after the fight hardly screams ‘hate’ to me.

MY colleague Paul Kendrick spoke to a sports reporter at the Aberdeen newspaper and asked his thoughts about new Latics recruit Fraser Fyvie.

He said Fyvie reminded him of Paul Scholes. As a self-confessed fan of the United maestro, I hope that judgement wasn’t made solely on the fact they’re both midfielders and they’ve both got ginger hair!

FOOTBALLERS often hog the headlines for the wrong reasons, and it’s been the same this summer.

They go on holiday, they spend their squillions, they’re photographed on jet-skis with pretty girls in bikinis... you get the drill.

How refreshing, then, to see Emmerson Boyce working with homeless people in America to try and give them a fighting chance at life. Great stuff.

IF there was one thing we learned for certain from the John Terry race trial, it was that Roy Hodgson was 100 per cent right not to pick both Rio Ferdinand and John Terry for England.

After reading Rio’s digs during the trial, there was no way they could have lined-up