Our 18th man columnists have their say on Shaun Edwards' U-turn, the derby - and which Saints player they'd love to have at Wigan...
Has the Shaun Edwards saga tarnished his legacy?
Robert Kenyon: It’s a very tough question because we don’t fully know what’s gone on behind closed doors, on one hand the club may have not offered him a contract and Edwards may have seen this as a sign of things to come with the unprofessionalism of doing that and thought better of it. If that’s true then I don’t blame him. Or the club may have accepted him as a man of his word naively and he’s welched on his promise, if it’s the latter then yes it would be tarnished.
All in all it’s tarnished the reputation of the club more than anything, it gives the opposition fans something to laugh at us about and tease us and the club need to know this, it’s one thing after another and they need to get a hold of things.
Jon Lyon: As a person yes, as a player no. I am appalled with the way Edwards has treated our club. I feel sorry for Ian Lenagan, who seems to be getting so much stick for the fallout.
In truth, whether there was a signed contract or not, who of us last August would have expected Shaun to change his mind after appearing at a press conference and shaking hands on a deal to coach his home town team.
No matter the reasons, and I certainly don’t buy his lack of preparation excuse, he agreed to coach us and then reneged. He also chose to play this out in the media. That is incredibly disrespectful and marks him out as a man not of his word. I would never want to see him coach our club in the future.
That said, what he has done for the club as a player should remain unsullied. He was an incredible player and his record of medal wins will not be beaten, and I will always respect that side of him.
Darren Wrudd: For some, whatever Shaun Edwards does won’t tarnish a reputation that is hard won and perhaps it should not. But the way that he has come across, right or wrong, is that as soon as he could see his stock value rise, second thoughts crept in and he began to tout his ‘availability’ to the media.
Now Edwards has said that his lack of experience and up to date knowledge of the modern game means that he is not good enough for the task at hand and I would certainly agree on that basis, but surely he knew this when he stood with a Wigan top on for a photo session on the big reveal. I really don’t know what to make of it but one cannot argue that for all his great exploits for this great club, this has indeed taken some gloss off the relationship and I know many who would go much further than that.
Two games over Easter – keep it or scrap it?
Robert Kenyon: I don’t see why we need two games over the Easter weekend to be honest, we’re not football where we just run about, this is a very tough sport and it’s very difficult to play games Sunday then Thursday/Friday, never mind just two days rest. They may as well stagger the games across the weekend then you’d get higher viewing figures for the games as there would be opposition fans watching on TV rather than being at their teams games.
Jon Lyon: I would leave the decision to the players. As a fan, the more rugby I can watch the better, but that’s easy for me to say as I’m sat on my bum in the stand, eating a pie and supping a pint. The players are the ones putting their bodies through it, and at a time where player welfare is rightly to the fore, it would be fair to let the players vote as to whether they want it or not.
Darren Wrudd: Scrap it for me. Coaches in the modern game don’t want to give players an excuse to under-perform, so many will take it as a challenge and ask their squads to help in rotation to keep up the high standards, but these days the game has moved on in the pace and athleticism from the elite members of the Super League squads.
Recovery from the level of collisions and sheer exertion takes days and I honestly think that I would rather pay an enhanced fee to watch a good Friday extravaganza than pay Friday / Monday to watch our lads flog themselves.
Just player welfare alone should stop this happening, so for me it should come down to that. We need to look after our biggest assets, so asking them to turn out for three games in eight days is a dark mark against our duty of care.
Have Wigan got a chance of winning tomorrow?
Robert Kenyon: We have every chance of winning, we’ve beat Saints when we were more depleted that we are now and they were riding high, 2005 Good Friday for example. If we have Greenwood, Flower and Lockers back then course we can, as long as our forwards muscle up then I don’t see why not.
We have the backline, we can play good rugby we just need to muscle up in the middle both in attack and defence and use the offload to tire them out.
Jon Lyon: Definitely. The derby is a separate entity to the rest of the league campaign. No matter the form of either team, anyone can walk away with the two points. We are massive underdogs, and I won’t be putting my house on this one, but with a few forwards back and plenty of local lads in the team then why not? We have pulled off unlikely wins against the old enemy before, and I have to believe there’s a chance we can do it again.
Darren Wrudd: It’s a Wigan-Saints derby, anything could happen. We have seen over the years many times that form simply does not matter and have dished out and received some battering against the odds.
What we have is the Wigan spirit. That certain state of mind where nothing but the best will do in these games and that, I think, is what we will see.
Without seeing the team sheets, I hope we can see a couple of players return, but whoever the lucky 17 are, selected to represent us tomorrow, will give their best for the Cherry & White and that’s good enough for me.
Finally, if you could sign any one of the current Saints squad, who would it be and why?
Robert Kenyon: Luke Thompson, the lad’s class. People who watch the game with a passing interest will only note the try scorers and big hitters and he’d go under the radar but Luke Thompson does the small things very well, as well as having a great engine and genuine pace for a prop he’s great to watch. He’s exactly what we need as well at the minute but I can see him going to the NRL, he’d make it over there that’s for sure.
Jon Lyon: For the last few seasons the answer would have been Mark Percival. However due to a downturn in his form and an upturn in Sarginson’s, he’s no longer my choice. Instead I would plump for Luke Thompson.
He is an absolute beast of a prop forward with everything you want. Great hands, great footwork, good speed, solid defence, excellent controlled aggression and he drags the Saints team forward every time he runs with the ball. At only 23, it’s frightening how good a player he could mature into.
Sadly the days of Wigan signing the likes of Gary Connolly and Andy Platt from St Helens are long gone, and I won’t be expecting him to pop over to the DW any time soon. Hopefully the likes of Partington, Byrne and Kibula can develop into similar quality players.
Darren Wrudd: Honestly, if it were for this season alone it would have to be James Roby. He could have won Man of Steel for the last six or seven years and is simply superb in driving the Saints side around the field.
An engine like a steam train, he just keeps son going and is the most dangerous man in the red Vee. If it were going forward for the future, then Thomson has stepped up brilliantly in the pack but in the halves I would have to say Danny Richardson. An exciting young half he shows great maturity at times and George Williams will need to be on his best form to compete.