TALKING SPORT - Warriors to answer London’s calling

Phil Wilkinson
Phil Wilkinson

IF Wigan plough ahead with plans to take a home game to London, some will – I’m sure – object.

If they’ve bought a season ticket and they’re left feeling short-changed, it would be easy to sympathise.

But thinking big picture, this is something Wigan should do. It’s something rugby league needs to do.

I wrote two weeks ago about the game needing to scream for attention. If it doesn’t, it will only go backwards.

There’s a reason why Souths take an NRL game to Perth. Why NFL teams invade Wembley three times a year. Why the NBA took over the O2 Arena the other day. Why the All Blacks played in America the other week. Why the Premier League debated the merits of ‘a 39th game’ around the world.

Other sports are trying to strengthen their position by expanding their supporter base and increasing awareness.

Rugby league needs to do the same. Wigan are right to do the same.

ON the radio this morning, Chris Evans put forward an interesting argument for golf’s decline today.

It’s Sir Bradley Wiggins’ fault.

Warrington’s most famous son argued that more middle-aged men are opting to saddle up at weekends – instead of playing 18-holes – and says the popularity of one mirrors the decline of the other.

You may disagree. But if golf wants to consolidate its place in the national sporting psyche, it should think twice about taking the Open – the sport’s oldest competition – to Sky.

Many children are growing up without watching cricket’s Ashes, which is now exclusively on Sky; it makes sense to think they’ll not care about it as much when they are older.

To a lesser extent, it could be argued rugby league has suffered since it reduced its terrestrial coverage.

Latics striker Oriol Riera may have found it difficult to get into Malky Mackay’s plans, but that’s not the case at Deportivo la Coruna.

While the Spaniard missed out on facing the likes of Rotherham, Watford and Norwich, he got a game for his loan club last weekend... against Barcelona.

They’re all big games for Wigan Athletic at the moment, but this weekend’s clash with Huddersfield Town definitely falls into the ‘massive’ category.

Not only are Latics in desperate need of three points to bridge the five-point gap between themselves and safety in the Championship.

They’ll also be looking at eighth-bottom Huddersfield as one of the teams they’d like to drag into the relegation mire.

The more teams involved, the morthe pressure is shared around, and the more chance Latics will have of finishing the campaign above the dreaded drop zone.

Troubled Blackpool surely have too much to do to get out of it, but I reckon the entire bottom half of the table will be looking down rather than up until they have a few more points on the board.

Three points this weekend for Latics will only crank up that pressure a notch.