Jon Wilkin Column - Grabbing every opportunity to feel that buzz of Old Trafford (From St Helens Star)
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Jon Wilkin Column - Grabbing every opportunity to feel that buzz of Old Trafford
12:03pm Friday 28th September 2012 in Latest News
AFTER a great win against Warrington last time around we go into this game knowing two things.
Firstly, Warrington will not make as many mistakes as they did in the last game and secondly, we know that we cannot afford to play at the same level again.
We must kick up our intensity another few gears to beat a team who will be smarting from getting beaten.
I know they will be prepared to play with a much more ruthless edge but the honest truth is we played ok without being amazing.
To win this competition we need two excellent performances and that’s all and after over 2000 minutes of rugby we sit 160 minutes away from the purpose of our preparation for the last 12 months.
This time of year seems so far in the distance in the cold pre-season.
The days when you are sore and you push through the pain and overwhelming compulsion to stop, the days when its wet or frozen and we are rolling around in the mud and ice.
Those days exist because of these final games, every player wants to be involved and we are not just involved but we have a massive chance to achieve something not many people would have give us credit for achieving this season.
There are few finer feelings than walking out at Old Trafford at this time of year.
From the shelter of the tunnel into the cold air through the smoke from the fireworks into a cauldron of noise that you can feel hit you in the chest as you walk up the slope from the tunnel on to the corner of the Old Trafford turf.
These are the feelings that make this job special and set it apart from every other job in the world.
Grabbing every opportunity to feel that buzz is what we should be what is obsessing about over the next 72 hours.
There has been much talk of the play-offs lacking a little atmosphere and intensity and there is an element of truth in that.
The crowds have been quite poor and that has been coupled by some one-sided games which is a toxic combination in terms of sports fixtures.
It has highlighted the need to review the play-off system in our competition, ticketing, the marketing of the games and number of teams involved.
I love the play-offs but it doesn't work if everyone doesn't buy into it, attendances are poor and the games served up by the players are sub standard.
We as a club however have a chance to show how the land of barms, Chipmunk, the Hotties, Stinky Brook, Tatty Heath, the Griffin Inn and the elongated maaaaaaate do the play-offs by filling the stadium in what has been an amazing first season at our new home.
I would love the Sky Sports TV audience to view Langtree Park bouncing to the tune of a Saints team performing in the play-offs once again.
Relaxation The build up to the big game at the weekend is very intense and I try as much as possible to relax between sessions and really switch off.
An ideal way to do that for me is to vegetate on my couch in my underpants between sessions, many sports people master the art of the mid afternoon couch nap.
We have some of the finest exponents of this - not only in sport but potentially in the world.
Paul Wellens gets home strips off to his baggy M&S under crackers notches the heating up to a level that will cook a chicken and dissolves into his couch in the afternoon with Sky Sports news playing on that insanely annoying 20 minute loop in the background.
Over the years my tastes have changed. Previously I may have nodded off for an hour, woken up made some food and then straight to bed.
But these days I have perfected the 15 minute power snooze I highly recommend it to anyone (other than those operating heavy machinery).
Thank you Last week saw Langtree Park stage an amazing night in my Testimonial season.
Clare Balding hosted the Optimus Protein Question of Sport dinner.
We had two celebrity panels battling it out in a similar format to the BBC show, myself and Brian Carney were the captains and took the competition very seriously.....
My team which included Beth Tweddle and Alan Kennedy and we won quiz despite Alan Kennedy covering the buzzer with his finger and forgetting to press it!
Brian had Steve Parry and Kevin Ratcliffe on his side and despite answering more questions right than we did we won?
I wanted to thank St Helens sports supplement company Optimus Protein for making the night possible and owners Simon and Graham Worsley (www. optimusprotein.co.uk).
The support of local business' and supporters has made the year really special to date.
Special thanks to Steve Penketh from Oval insurance, Gibneys Jewellers , Hattons Solicitors, Ken Hatton from Hattons travel, The Grundy family, John Lea from Widnes Motor bodies, Stu Richardson and the wooden Spoon and undoubtedly many others who took tables on the night!
Also the Testimonial Committee especially Doreen and Eric Rowley. Thanks for your support!