Opinion: Easy! Easy! Easy! - Thoughts on the Saints
Posted on Monday, September 09 2002 @ 17:29:32 BST
It's not often you can shout Easy! Easy! Easy! in a Wigan v Saints derby
match but it's very rare than you can afford to sing that during the first half!
A truly magnificent performance!
Well, I think I'm just about recovered from Sundays very surprising 48-8
victory over St Helens. I doubt any of the 18,749 in attendance would of
expected a result like that.
Like Rebecca said in our site
Match Report our players "beat them at their
own game - passing out of tackles, giving the ball plenty of width and running
their luck." That is a spot on comment in my opinion. That is why we won the
game and further more we stopped Saints from doing that in return. I watched
carefully for a few minutes early in the second half to see how many times
Saints were offloading the ball and they hardly made any offloads, mainly due to
tremendous Warriors tackling.
|Julian O'Neill must be congratulated on a fantastic
individual performance. He scored a total of 28 points in the game including
a hatrick of tries. It was the greatest points haul of his career with three
tries and eight goals and he thoroughly deserved his Tissot watch.
Even though he had a great game on Sunday at Stand Off, I still think Julian
would be better playing the centres because that role would suit his tough
tackling style more. But he hasn't been a bad signing at stand off for me. He
started his Wigan career slowly which was understandable due to the sad tragic
death of his young daughter late last year but it the last few months he has
shown that he is a worthy signing for me.
Jamie Ainscough still has his critics and many fans still
want to see him on a plane back to Australia come the end of the season but
the fact is he is now our top try scorer in Super League matches with 13
tries. I feel he gets sometimes unfair criticism from some Wigan fans
because he is Steve Renouf's replacement. Renouf was much loved at Wigan and
many fans, including myself to be honest, felt he should have been retained.
Maybe Ainscough is getting the brunt of many fans anger at Renouf's
Early on in the season, Ainscough played in the centres and really he was
useless and deserved criticism. But since he switched to the wing how can you
argue with 13 tries? Ok, he does bomb a few tries but I think the criticism he
gets is no longer justified. Having said that though whether he'll keep his
place once Brett Dallas returns remains to be seen. I think we are lucky to have
three good wingers who all score tries at the club in the shape of Ainscough,
Dallas and the only Irish winger the world has ever seen, Brian Carney.
Speaking of Carney, I felt his tackle which put Anthony Stewart into touch in
the first half was a very key moment in this game. That tackle sparked a deluge
of Wigan tries. Also what a great try saving tackle in touch by Kris Radlinski
early in the second half on Ade Gardner! Rads flew like superman to get him and
that together with Tommy Martyn's laughable pass to the wing, that ended up
nearer row Z of the Adidas stand, ended any hopes of a Saints revival. They
seemed to give up for me after that.
Must say it was great to see Danny Sculthorpe finally make
his Warriors debut on Sunday after his nightmare season and the early signs
look good. He put in a good solid performance as a 60th minute substitute.
You can't expect much from him during the remaining matches of this season
after an eight month lay off but next season I'm sure we'll see some good
stuff from him, if he can keep fit.
At the end of the day it was a perfect performance. I can't see
how you can ask for better than that in a fiercely contested local derby like
Wigan v Saints. We have proved that on our day we can compete with anyone but
its important we don't get too carried away. We hammered Saints at Knowsley
42-4 back on the last day of the 2000 season,
only to lose at home,
54-16, in the play
offs two weeks later. So its a great win but it will mean nothing whenever Wigan
and Saints next meet.
Finally, just a shame that we lost last week at Hull or else we
would be in a real shout now for not only 2nd place but possibly the so called
"minor premiership" as well. Anyway lets just hope for a repeat performance away
at Bradford on Saturday and then it's fingers crossed we can nick a top two spot
the week after.
Keep enjoying your Rugby League. How can you not after Sunday
afternoons like that?