What a week of contrasting emotions!
It began last Monday, with one of the games of the season at Langtree Park, as St Helens held on to beat their fiercest rivals to register their first victory over Wigan at their new home.
Despite the Warriors contributing mightily to a great game, Saints won the game with a late try by their rookie prop forward Joe Greenwood, which was instigated by a superb attacking run by their winger Tommy Makinson.
Earlier we had seen an astonishing one-pointer by Wigan goalkicker extraordinaire Pat Richards, landing a field-goal from near to touch on the 40-metre line. That score has already gone viral on YouTube around the world.
It was a great way for Sky Sports to sign off Monday night football for 2013, before they move to Thursday night football this week.
Last Thursday the setting was far more modest, at Whitehaven’s Recreation Ground for a Championship encounter between Haven and Dewsbury.
Yet again we saw great drama, with Whitehaven winger Craig Calvert scoring one of his specials for the Premier Sports TV audience.
On Friday night there were no TV cameras at Wakefield for their game against Leeds, with 2012 Golden Boot winner Kevin Sinfield making his return from injury and guiding the Rhinos to a thrilling seven-point victory from the unfamiliar position of hooker, as Leeds coach Brian McDermott decided to stick with rookie Liam Sutcliffe at stand-off half.
Unfortunately for Wakefield their own inspirational captain Danny Kirmond failed to make the starting lineup with injury, and that perhaps was the decisive factor in the Wildcats falling just short on the night.
But more than 10,000 supporters of both sides were treated to entertainment that simply couldn’t be found elsewhere.
On Saturday, however, in front of the BBC cameras the emotions were very different, as brilliant Wigan were far too strong for London Broncos, winning with ridiculous ease 70-0.
It was enough to make us worry about the Challenge Cup and about the Broncos club.
But then on Sunday at the John Smith’s Stadium all our doubts were washed away, as Hull FC and Warrington delivered an absolute thriller that saw Hull reach Wembley with a four-point margin, repeating their victory at Warrington earlier this season.
Again it was Rugby League of the Extraordinary and we should congratulate both sides for doing a great job for the image of Rugby League and of the Challenge Cup.
What an amazing week!
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