YOU always risk looking like an idiot when you make new year predictions.
Like the time I tipped Dennis Moran to be a sensation with the Warriors.
Just a few months before they released him.
So, in spite of the fear of more egg on face, here are some of my forecasts for 2013:
1. The Sam Tomkins ‘will he or won’t he?’ saga will run and run.
It’ll start this month or next, and rubble on until we get a definitely answer.
Under the terms of his contract, he can listen to offers about an exit from Wigan at the end of this season. Forget rugby union – he would be as bored as a kid on Christmas Day forced to play Charades.
He has made no secret of the fact he wants to test himself Down Under at some point in his career. Having proved a worthy Man of Steel, that competitive streak – and the money on offer from the NRL – may be hard to resist.
2. Latics will stay up.
They’re rarely dull, Wigan. Not when it comes to avoiding relegation.
Like last year, they are down near the bottom, but anyone who has watched their performances know they are playing much better than 12 months ago. They beat Aston Villa on Saturday comfortably, and with a sprinkling of good luck would have taken points from their losses to Arsenal and Everton.
Not only will they beat the drop, but the same old ‘experts’ currently writing them off will then fawn all over Roberto Martinez when they do it.
And then tip them for the drop again next season. Yawn.
3. Speculation will surface about Martinez leaving.
It always does.
4. Jenny Meadows will come back strong.
Her career was in the ascendancy until an Achilles injury sidelined her for 12 months.
Now close to full fitness, and fuelled by the disappointment of missing out on the London Games, she will have a point to prove.
5. Wigan’s new halfbacks will be a success.
I was a huge fan of Thomas Leuluai, but the Matty Smith-Blake Green partnership offers real promise. Smith brings an astute kicking game which the Warriors have lacked for some time, and Green’s probing runs will complement his halfback partner.
Sure, the signing of Green was not the Box Office name some would have wanted. But Shaun Wane must rate him highly to part with a reported six-figure transfer sum – expect plenty of ‘Green Power’ headlines this year.
6. Mentioning headlines, Latics’ Roger Espinoza was signed from Sporting Kansas City.
If he hits the ground running, how long before we see a ‘Wizard of Oz’ gag?
7. Harry Coppell.
Remember the name. Still only 16, he’s the leading Under-20s pole vaulter in the country. A real prospect.
8. Expect talk of taking the 2014 World Club Challenge to Sydney, Dubai or Hawaii.
Before the DW, HJ or Headingley is confirmed as the venue.