Wigan are just two away games from completing a whole twelve
months on the road without defeat in Super League. They haven't
lost away from home in league action since losing to this
weekend's opponents at Odsal back on March 5th last year.|
remember what happened that night. Wigan 20-0 up at half time and
smug Wigan supporters all round. By full time we were crying into
our pie pastry with our tails between our legs. Bradford had won
22-20 with a winning try from Glenn Hall with just 100 seconds to
I remember being gutted that night, yet last weekend I wasn't
gutted at all when we bombed a late 16-0 lead to our four times in
a row losing rivals from over the hill. I don't know why I wasn't
bothered. Maybe it's just a trait of being a supporter of the
champions? But I was content we played really well and that really
we gifted Saints a point, rather than them earning it.
Speaking of being champions, the bitterness of then Saints, now
Bradford, coach Brian Potter came out to the fore at his pre match
press conference this week. He became the latest to whinge about
our tackle technique.
He told BBC Radio Leeds: "I think (Wigan) are still
using some questionable tackle techniques. It's just a case of
doing the best you can against that. I think the governing bodies
are on to it and looking at it. Other clubs could use the same
tactics but that comes down to the ethics you want to have at your
club. It's tempting, but if you are potentially going to injure
people by doing it then it's not an option and not the way to go
Two things spring to mind from reading that. A, Who exactly
was injured by a Wigan tackle last year? and B, Isn't he basically
saying we cheated our way to the title last year? That's what it
sounds like to me!
Last week we saw Jeff Lima get a two match ban for poor tackle
technique. Now I'm not going to argue against his ban because he
pleaded guilty on both accounts at the end of the day but I'm
baffled to see Wayne Godwin get the exact same ban for, in my
view, a much worse offence. Wagga struck a player from behind when
he wasn't looking and had already served a one match ban during
pre season for a dangerous throw.
The RFL's report says Godwin pleaded not guilty to the offence
and did "not apologise or show any remorse for what he did." The
key part of that sentence is that he pleaded NOT GUILTY. How the
hell could he plead not guilty to that? You couldn't have missed
it either at the ground or watching Live on Sky. If he did that in
Wigan town centre he'd soon be joining the community service lot
who I saw chipping rust off the railings in the church gardens as
punishment last summer!
Now I know Lima was charged with two offences to just the one
for Godwin but Lima pleading guilty got the same ban as
Godwin who pleaded not guilty and showed no remorse for punching
an opponent in the head. Doesn't seem right to me.
Anyway the match on Sunday could be a big banana skin for Wigan
I feel. If they have half an eye on the World Challenge a week
later, I think Bradford will catch us out.
Last season was a
dire year at Odsal and since they were last champions of Super
League in 2005, their average attendance has plummeted by over
5,000! The club responded this off season by slashing season
tickets to just £60, and got a lot of praise for doing so, but
let's be honest it was an act of sheer desperation.
desperation worked. Sales of season tickets rose by over 200% and
the crowds should be huge at Odsal this year. But to get those
fans buzzing again they need big performances and a battle with
the champions first up gives them no better opportunity to raise
moral and optimism.
They certainly showed they will be a danger
last week against Leeds. They should really have beaten the
Rhinos. Brett Kearney was running the show and causing Leeds big
problems with the high bomb.
I think Potter has made some astute
signings. Chev Walker, Matt Diskin and Bryn Hargreaves are all
players who will do a solid job, whilst Shaun Ainscough (if he can
screw his head on) will score tries out wide.
The difference though is squad depth. They lose loose forward Jamie Langley
and stand off Kyle Briggs (both first choice last weekend), to be
replaced by Tom Olbison and Danny Addy, whilst we lose Jeff Lima
yet are able to recall not only Stuart Fielden but Amos Roberts as
well (he replaces Stefan Marsh). Massive difference in squad depth
If Wigan are fully focused on the game, they should beat
Bradford. However our recent regular season record at Odsal is
poor. We won
20-14 in July 2009 but other than that we've generally
struggled here. I've a sneaky feeling that we will get the win
though and abolish the Phil Bentham hoo-doo which hounded us last