Priestley - Mardle a mistake
Dennis Priestley told skysports.com that Wayne Mardle wasn't ready for this year's Premier League.
Last Updated: 05/05/09 11:12am
Dennis Priestley believes Wayne Mardle should never have been chosen for this year's Premier League.
Mardle was handed a wildcard entry into the 2009 tournament alongside Jelle Klaasen, but struggled to find his form and won only one match in the first nine weeks of the Premier League.
A difficult competition for the world number nine then came to an abrupt end when he was diagnosed with mumps and forced to withdraw.
Former world champion Priestley, who appeared in a Sheffield challenge match in Mardle's absence last week, feels 'Hawaii 501' should have been given some time away from the spotlight to deal with his "demons".
"Wayne Mardle's a lovely fella, but they keep putting him into the cauldron," Priestley told skysports.com.
"He's not been ready this year, his darts haven't been good and it's not been fair on him.
"It's alright saying the public want him but he has demons in his own mind as well. He's been upset with his game and he probably didn't need this year's Premier League.
"They always pick Wayne Mardle for some strange reason. I think it's because they always want somebody who's going to finish last all of the time."
'The Menace' was in contention for a return to the Premier League after a strong season in 2008, but he says he did not feel more disappointed than anybody else not to be chosen.
However Prisetley, who lost to his old rival Phil Taylor in last Thursday's challenge match, feels the selection process - which consists of the top six players in the world rankings and two wildcard choices - could be improved.
He said: "I wasn't disappointed because I knew the criteria, it's the top six and two picks.
"Yes, I was disappointed not to be one of the picks, but there will be a lot of others who were disappointed.
"I've made it plain that I don't think there should be picks, I think it should be the top eight and that's it.
"Jelle Klaasen's done great. He didn't do so well first off but then he started doing really good and I really enjoyed his game in Nottingham.
"But he's 28th in the world and he's 28th in the world for a reason; because there's 27 that have been better over the last two years."
Priestley has made it clear that he would like to see the end of wildcard picks and he wants the top eight players in the world to be given Premier League spots.
The Yorkshireman is currently ranked eighth in the world and he insists he is now setting his sights on qualification for next year's tournament.
He said: "It should be the top eight unless something remarkable happens in the world championship. If somebody wins that who's not in the top eight then they should be automatic.
"The players would appreciate that more than the way it's done now.
"I've said many times that if I'm in the top eight and I'm not picked I will be very, very disappointed."