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All fired up

Wigan to keep on rolling, says Stevo

Stevo Posted 28th July 2011 view comments

You could say that it has been an interesting week.

The Crusaders did the Rugby Football League a favour by taking back their application. That meant there was no backlash from the Wakefield fans who had been hanging on the edge for several months wondering if they were odds on favourites to play in the Championship next season - which they were.

Leuluai: causing havoc at the breakdown area

Leuluai: causing havoc at the breakdown area

I feel sorry for the Crusaders fans but we have to face reality. Finances are hard to come by in this day and age, and in some ways you have got to respect the way the Crusaders realised that financially they could not carry on for another three years.

It is better to do it now rather than fall flat on their face six months into next season. At least the players can now look to going to other clubs; we have already seen Jarrod Sammut being snapped up by Bradford, so the walls have started to crack.

Top quality

What will not crack is Wigan. They are putting in some top quality performances and their win against Warrington in the Challenge Cup will only make them harder to beat.

Wigan have so many good players; Brett Finch is playing out of his skin, Thomas Leuluai is always a handful, and Josh Charnley is causing all sorts of problems off the wing.

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The Challenge Cup may yet play a part because Wigan may rest players for the semi-finals or take it easy in certain games.

One game they will not take easy is this weekend at Hull. They know they have a convincing lead and they want to keep it that way. They will be looking to turn up the heat on Friday.

Hull were a little off colour against Leeds in the Challenge Cup but they will be fired up, too. They are in eighth position and they know that they have to grab at least two or three wins in the final games to secure eighth or higher.

They have a pretty tough run in, but against Wigan I just cannot see them producing enough power to overcome them.

Kirk Yeaman is a fine player and with 18 tries under his belt he can turn a game. I'm looking at him to be a key factor on Friday night.

Big question

But the big question is whether the Hull pack can handle Wigan's pack. The Warriors are not only solid, but they are also very mobile and that means they can play at a high tempo. If Hull can match them, then the likes of Yeaman can turn it around.

Hull will work hard, but apart from Yeoman they do not have much strike power and they really miss Sean Long. Richard Horne lacks that explosive burst he had eight years ago which made him such a great player. He is more of a distributor now, but even a distributor needs that little bit of pace to create the gaps and I don't think he can do that.

Wigan have so many good players; Brett Finch is playing out of his skin, Thomas Leuluai is always a handful, and Josh Charnley is causing all sorts of problems off the wing.

Wigan coach Michael Maguire will start with Leuluai at hooker which will give them a good start; he creates panic in and around the tackle area which allows the likes of Sam Tomkins to get involved and he is a wonderful runner and linkman.


Pat Richards is a points-scoring machine and just keeps going. His strike rate is extraordinary with 14 tries from 14 games. It took him a while to get back from that serious injury he suffered last year in the Grand Final. But he is back to his best and if Hull lose their heads and give away penalties then he will take the two points.


I just cannot see Hull living with Wigan. They will be a bit demoralised that they were knocked out of the cup. I think they gave it their all last week and it may have taken a bit too much out of them. But Hull at home are always tough and I am sure that the fact that I have said they will lose will surely ignite some fire in their belly.

Comments (1)

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John Murphy says...

Stevo praising Wigan - whatever next!!!

Posted 16:12 29th July 2011

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