What a weekend of rugby league we have just had. Firstly the utter debacle of Hull who simply didn’t turn up against the Giants on Thursday. What a shambles, former old boy Gary Scholfield said in his article that every member of the team was a “disgrace to the shirt”. Well maybe that’s a bit harsh but we understand the sentiment. We did say that if Hull couldn’t stop Brough, Robinson and Grix they would get murdered and Hull couldn’t and they were destroyed. Should that have happened in the now professional ultra competitive Super League that Sky keep telling us we have, I don’t think so. Problem is the gulf between those that can play to the level required consistently and those who just make up the numbers is still as wide as it ever was and that brings in to question even more a top 8 at the end of the season. That play off debate aside until next year, well done to Paul Anderson and his team who didn’t have long to enjoy success, as the Warrington Wolves who finished second in the league decided at the Club Call they would take them as their choice to beat to get through to the final. Some consider that disrespectful to the league leaders, some call it logical, having beaten them three times in the normal season. Either way Tony Smith wont be held responsible for the decision as he refused to take part in the process (one he simply hates) and left it to the board of directors to choose on the night who they would play in the semi-final – a decision by Smith that looks like costing the club £10,000 as the League take a dim view of dissent within the ranks.
Was it the right decision by the board of Directors? I think the Giants would have been my choice and the reasons are again down to proven finals class. You have to make the decision based on which of the two games that the Giants have played in the play-offs was most like finals football and for me there is only one answer. It was the game against Wigan where the Giants simply couldn’t cope with the speed of play and power that the Warriors exerted, something that on balance Warrington are equally capable of and for that reason it has to be Warrington to beat Huddersfield on Thursday. We will look at the betting angle on Thursday and see how we play it. My current thoughts are that the Wire are worthy favourites for the game.
The game of the play-offs was St Helens/Leeds and followers of the Betting Agency did well with St Helens + 6 but my heart went out to St Helens as yet again it was the boot of McGuire and his 1 pointer that go them through to the next round. Can Leeds pull it out of the fire again against Wigan? Not if Wigan play like they did against the Giants but that for me is not certain. Finals at this stage are about 50% mental as both sides are so evenly matched and Leeds simply believe in themselves, which carries them so far year after year. My heart says that Leeds can keep the dream alive with pure belief because that the world I live in but my head says that Wigan are younger, faster and stronger (and I’m not). For that reason I think the romance is over for Brian Mc Dermotts team this week. However people like me having been writing this rubbish about Leeds for the last 4 years. One day one off us will be right – is it this week, well my money says it is but it will be a cracker.
Either way don’t go out on Thursday or Friday these games are just too good to miss.