Watching four other teams contest the Challenge Cup semi-final was a crushing experience (From St Helens Star)
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Watching four other teams contest the Challenge Cup semi-final was a crushing experience
THE weekend consisted of sitting back, enjoying time off and then being completely crushed watching four sides battle it out to get to play at Wembley - knowing it was out of our grasp again.
I don’t know about anyone else but it really hurt me watching the semi finals.
I am a huge fan of the Challenge Cup and think as a game we need to ensure we retain its magic.
The cup stands for legends lifting the trophy, it stands for tradition and it has something amazing which takes time to achieve and that is history.
I would love to see Sky TV acknowledge the cup more and protect and promote it every chance they have and I would also like to see stadiums sold out with fans.
The Wigan versus Leeds semi –final deserved to be played out in front of a sell out crowd and it was very sad to see a whole stand closed on Saturday.
The big games are what it’s all about and in reality the only games that count all year are the Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final.
Players want to play in them and the media want to cover those games.
The games between the Challenge Cup Final and the Grand Final are at risk of just becoming minor details that form a background noise, fully drowned out by the fanfare of the games on the big stage.
I honestly feel we should celebrate things like the League Leaders Shield much more than we do because it does seem to be swept under the carpet in preparation for the big money spinner which is the Grand Final - even the trophy is a bit half hearted.
Whoever finishes top can be crowned as the most consistent side all year (if you discount the Magic Weekend which distorts the fixture list slightly.) Celebrating the Leaders Shield intensely means that one more trophy is contested and more games fill the memory banks and column inches that define a season.
My love for the game comes from the detail within a season, the tough wins on away days, the last minute losses that sting when you reflect on them, and I do get concerned we are focusing all our marketing and promotion around a couple of games in the year.
Each game has a role to play in telling the tale of a season.
Questions to answer in Catalan THE Catalan trip is always one of the toughest games of the year, it is a break from the M62 yoyo and can sometimes catch teams out.
We are going over there to answer questions about our ability to win big games this year.
They have been in great form at home all year and we know we have to play near our best to win the game.
I thank in advance the fans who are making the trip over to support us, we really appreciate it.
My parents travel over every year and will be consuming food,wine and generally acclimatising and ensuring every bar is safe for other Saints fans to visit.
If you are not going, then Saints are launching the Red V Café Bar on Friday, following its recent refurbishment.
A varied events programme ON the Testimonial front next up is a night to celebrate my love for and the history of the Challenge Cup with winner Robbie Hunter-Paul, coach Shaun McRae and other high profile guests on August 20 and many tickets have gone already.
For a £10 donation to the testimonial there is free pizza from Dominos and a free pint.
Also in the pipeline: Johnny Vegas is putting on a one off night of comedy at the Theatre Royal on September 9 which I am so excited about.
Visit www.jonwilkin.co.uk/events for more info and email email@example.com to book your place.