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Widnes must start favourites for this, we've had two impressive wins so far even with key players missing. The most pleasing thing for me has been the way we've coped with the losses of Clarke and Brown (both really influential figures within the team) and Phelps, Ah Van and Cahill (who all had strong seasons last year, particularly Cahill who is a tireless worker on the field and a real leader) without a significant drop in performances.
Although there has been a lot of hype around the Salford team, when assessing our rivals squads I always like to compare them with ours and who they would replace, and perhaps surprisingly, there aren't many I would swap. Rangi would've been a given 2 yrs ago before the emergence of Mellor who is an outstanding team player (don't get me wrong, Rangi is an outstanding individual who produces pieces of magic but possibly would risk upsetting the balance we seem to have) Tim Smith is too hot and cold to build a team around and having watched Hock last year I'd swap tickle for him every day of the week, he can be a complete liability in attack with ridiculous offloads which just aren't on and in defence with indiscipline, also his reputation does him no favours with referees on top of that. Tickle on the other hand is consistent and has started superbly for us, before you take his goal kicking into account. I've never been a huge fan of Puletua as his work rate seems lacking for me although admittedly, that's just going off Sky matches and when we have played St's. Likewise, Meli and Gleeson would be no better (and IMO a fair bit worse over the course of a season) than Phelps and Marsh. However, Morley looks fit and motivated and would walk into our squad and I've always rated Hansen who was an unsung hero at Wigan, I'd have been made up if we'd signed him. They look to have a couple of decent prospects like Fages and the young winger who played against St's.
They also have a coach who is one of the best in the game.
Having said all that, I think it will be a close game and that inconsistent nature of some of the Red Devils players means that in some games at least, those players will all be on form and firing, I just hope it's not on Thursday!
Like some others on this threat, it would be better to read what's written rather than what you think has been written.
I suspect this jibe is aimed at me, even though I explained I was referring to a post of yours (and supplied you with said quote) and not, as you persist in suggesting, misrepresenting what was in the article.
Believe me I have read the article and thought it was a poor argument, and nothing I've read in your replies thus far has changed that viewpoint.
Attendances are factual. There has been a 50% decline for this particular game in less than a year. A commissioned report suggests that jeopardy will increase attendances. This game was the first indicator of whether that might happen. It was the first swallow in spring, and it doesn't confirm the theory. Other games might, which I concede. If you think the other factors were more important, I'm happy to let you explain why and do the analysis.
The only pompous and ridiculous thing here is your assertion that this game was the first indicator of a theory, when it clearly wasn't. If the game had sold out it would have represented a 40% drop on last year's attendance figure. Figures are factual, your disingenuous interpretation of them however...
Strange article with more than a little 'I told you so' coming through IMO, which is bizarre given that we're 2 rounds in to the season and the 'jeopardy' aspect of the restructure doesn't even start until next season.
It's also disingenuous to use the Wakey v Bradford crowd to support your viewpoint given that the match was not a fair comparison with last season's fixture, with it being held on a Thursday, on Sky and in a ground with a 5000 capacity cap.
I assume you missed the bit where Bradford actually got deducted more points than those teams? And got punished much more heavily financially? No?
Not a comment on the current Bulls situation, but for clarity, I'm pretty sure Widnes were docked 9 pts (3 wins so equal to Bulls) and denied entry to SL with administration as the stated reason, despite O'Connor settling the existing debts so not sure how Bulls were penalised MORE heavily than that?