Jon Wilkin Column - we had a recipe for a dish which doesn't score highly on Master Chef for presentation. (From St Helens Star)
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Jon Wilkin Column - we had a recipe for a dish which doesn't score highly on Master Chef for presentation.
9:14am Thursday 6th September 2012 in Latest News
The end of season run in to the play-offs has numerous meanings for the teams involved inside and just outside the top eight.
For the teams with something to play for the final games are vital but for the others they are less important and since the removal of relegation it has left some games lacking in intensity at times.
Our game at the weekend was a prime example of this, London turned up after a 60 point thrashing of Warrington two weeks ago knowing they cannot achieve any more this year.
The supporters turned up knowing that a victory from us was required but not necessarily needed.
If you throw all of these ingredients into the pot with 12 penalties blown in the first 30 minutes you have a recipe for a dish which doesn't score highly on Master Chef for presentation.
Despite appearances, the dish that we served up at the weekend was satisfying in many ways.
We nilled a side featuring some potent attacking players, we attacked with some guile but our fluency was restricted by the penalty count and other tactics employed to slow a game down.
We were happy with how we played without ever entertaining that what we served up would be good enough to win us the competition.
I suppose looking at the end of season promotion and relegation would make the last month or two more exciting and increase intensity, but - and this is a big but - we lack the financial security and number of players in rugby league to be able to deal with promotion and relegation.
It also becomes increasingly difficult to attract investment without big business being guaranteed at least a few years of safety in the top flight.
At a recent testimonial event Jamie Peacock was asked his views on the future of Super League and he suggested a two tier competition with promotion and relegation. That would be two 10 team competitions one with a salary cap of £1million the other of £2million. I think the idea has potential and could be looked at in more detail.
The lower competition could be viewed midweek/on another channel leaving the big game from the top tier on Sky TV as the premium product we show.
Intensity could be achieved consistently in the top tier with all sides fighting for something. The bottom tier would be all aspiring to the top for promotion.
Below this the continual development of the game can occur but in an achievable/semi professional basis with many affiliations between clubs occurring.
I like Jamie's idea and think it could do with some serious thought. Like many ideas I am sure there are pros and cons to it but opening up debate about the structure of the game can only be healthy.
This week is Wigan week and I was reminded by a fan in Tesco of the magnitude of this fixture. He said: “I don't care about winning Grand Final, cock, just stuff the Pies this week maaaaate!" (that is my attempt to write in St Helens dialect) That attitude is shared by many fans and the importance of going there on the day they are due to parade the League Leaders’ Shield and getting a win isn't lost on the players.
We know the intensity of this weekend will surpass that of the London game by a huge margin and we need to raise our intensity to a level that makes things very uncomfortable for them.
Thankfully there are no weddings, Bar mitzvahs and or any other event requiring the use of a sports stadium this time around so the atmosphere will be back. Our last game there was bizarre with very restricted support due to the scheduling clash. I really hope a huge number of fans turn up and rock the place like we did last year in round one of the play- offs.
The professional rugby environment is a unique one and it consists of constantly looking for weakness in your opponents and exploiting them. There is however a problem, the process of picking a teammate’s weakness and exposing them has spilled over into our dressing room so I thought this week I would go through our squad numbers and list a weakness.
1.Wello - Appalling punctuality. 2. Ade Gardner - Unhealthy addiction to doing things quickly. 3.Mike Shenton - The firestarter, causes arguments then melts into the back ground. 4. SIa Soliola - Sometimes falls asleep with his eyes open but cross eyed (one of the scariest things I have seen). 5. Francis Meli - Expert at everything, literally there is nothing Francis cannot provide advice for. 6.Lance Hohaia - Camp dancer 7.Jonny Lomax - Literally too many to list I could write a book on him and still be confused. 8.Josh Perry - homeless appearance. 9. Robes- Hairy patch on his leg that is gross. 10. LMS - the loudest man in Europe. 11. TP - the ring leader to most incidents of exposing weakness 12. Me- Not as many as Lomax but a list that is worryingly long probably highlighted by the fact I have no glutes, just a long back. 13- Flanno - Nobody really knows what Flanno’s is.
I take comfort in knowing that everyone in our squad is imperfect and has strange little tendencies. Life would be boring if we were all the same and I will miss the changing room banter when I finish as I am not sure being as ruthless as we are works in a normal work place.
Johnny Vegas comedy night this Sunday so get the final few tickets from the box office: 01744 756000. Also Question of Sport viewing tables are available just email email@example.com for more info.