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Exiled Wiganer

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Posts posted by Exiled Wiganer

  1. Wigan have been to both grounds and won already this year. We have to overcome HKR even to be chosen, and that will be difficult. Moreover Wire have to beat an in form and talented Giants team.

    Generally, Wigan - Leeds and Saints - Wire games seem to produce classics, so if I were a neutral I would enjoy a repeat.

  2. I think that's wishful thinking.

    The pressure is off Wigan. We have already won the league and exceeded expectations.

    To my mind it is rare for a game to be won or lost for non player/rugby reasons. Wigan have a stronger back 5, ok halves and a pack that can match Leeds. The 3 games have resulted in 2 comfortable wins for Wigan and one tight defeat.

    If Leeds win it will be because they have re-found the ability and desire that has made them 3 times champions. At the start of the year I thought it would be Leeds 1st and daylight second. They are a wonderful teams with wonderful players, and if they win that's the first place to look for answers.

    Good luck to both teams (not Ablett of course). These are 2 classy clubs and 2 classy teams - they oftne give us a treat. Let's hope they do so again tonight.

  3. I think Wigan will win because our back 5 is very good indeed, and Deacon will have enough time and space behind a pack able to earn parity to control the play. Leeds have a better pack than Wigan when Peacock and Burgess are fit. WIthout them, and particularly with Hansen back, we should have enough.

    Of course Leeds are serial champions and may produce a run of irresistible form, but that would shock me.

  4. But even if you look at who makes the most breaks and metres and consider week in and week out consistency Richards scores very highly. HAnd he is never spelled or rested. The stats confirm the evidence of the eye - Richards has been phenomenal this year.

    I would not cry if Morley or Westwood won, as they have been exceptional this year, and ironically Roby has looked abetter player this year than when he was mysteriously given the award a few years ago.

    It has been the best year in SL for a long time iun terms of top class talent across the board and there are many worthy candidates. Richards would get my vote but there are other worthy causes.

  5. I was thinking that he might be able to achieve some form of personal redemption if he was to have a stoosh with Big Willie next year. It could do him the world of good.

    He has been a good prop forward this year. Unlike the 3 great props he needs to work as part of a unit. Where we have gone into games light up front he has been easily targeted. Certainly he has played his best rugby for us this year.

  6. Incidentally, Pat was clear winner of the RLWA player of the year award. Morley was second. This is tribute to a great man and a great player. It is worth bearing in mind that he had not kicked goals before coming here, and that the jury was very much out on him in his first year with Wigan (in those dark days of yore). His dedication to the Irish cause also deserves respect. I was lucky enough to be at Parra when he helped Ireland to victory over Samoa. I was sitting with the Parra directors and when his name came up the one to my left said "A wonderful man - we would have him back tomorrow", which was the only good thing he said about any non Parra player all evening.

  7. Richards could not do more than he has done - he turns up and performs every week - taking the ball up, saving tries, kicking and running the ball mile after mile. To be top try scorer and kicker and also be consistently one of the best players in the league's top team he has done everything which any winger can have done. Whether a winger can ever be "steely" enough to win this is a different matter. If it is who would win in a fight then it probably wouldn't be Pat (it would be McIllorum out of Wigan's squad).

  8. One of the great things about being League Champions is that I will not feel down hearted about a defeat until next March.

    Noble's approach was an interesting one though, last year building momentum so that we ended up almost nicking a place at OT even though we had lost as many games as we had won. If we had managed a win he'd have been vindicated fully.

    Excitement and disappointment are always measured against expectation (so that Atkins will presumably be disappointed with anything short of the Treble), and Wigan have far exceeded mine thus far. I wasn't even confident we'd make the top 4, let alone win the league.

    One final factor that will mitigate any disappointment if we bow out without even getting to OT, is that none of our players is a veteran, and we can expect improvement from the young guns who won us the league, and from our new overseas players who are of a calibre far above the men they are replacing...

  9. Here is my take on it...

    After last week end you could make a strong case for Wigan, Saints and Wire.

    Wire may have now overcome their big game issues sufficiently to beat Saints away (as they will surely have to do), and would back themselves in a final against Wigan. But can they win at KR and can their older players get up for big games week after week?

    Wigan should be favourites against an off colour and injury depleted Leeds, whom they may play twice. I think it would be a toss up in a Wigan-Saints final, with the local rivalry helping Wigan lift their game despite lack of big game experience. In many respects this would be the dream final.

    Saints can find ways to beat Wire, beat them away recently and with a weaker side. They have so much experience of winning games and KC will leave nothing out there. But they have problems in the halves which may come back to haunt them at some point, with Eastmond looking very brittle at the moment.

    Leeds look like they have lost their way (though have plenty of talent and could surprise us). Without Peacock, they are weakened in the same way as Saints would be without Graham or Wire without Morley - their pack has no other natural leader to whom they can look. If he is genuinely injured (and given his miraculous recoveries this year they may be lying about it), then I could see them losing both against Wigan and the Giants.

    Hull FC away to Wire should be a good game, with Long by then 3 games into his comeback. FC can be a dangerous side, and their pack won't be bullied by Wire.

    Here are my guesses - Wigan beat Leeds and Saints beat Wire; Giants beat Cru and FC beat HKR; Giants beat Leeds and Wire beat FC; Wigan choose and beat Giants (assuming we don't have a back line of Marsh, Pryce, Tomkins and Richards), Saints beat Wire; Saints beat Wigan...

  10. Great to read such an optimistic slant. You're right of course if you hadn't lost the games you did lose you would have been top and on the way to the Treble. Surely you could cut and paste a league table electronically, put in the corrected results and make yourself League Champions. You could put it up here as THE REAL LEAGUE TABLE!

    Wire were flat because they are able to get up for a one off games, but not back it up every week. When your key men have a lot more time behind them than in front of them it's hard to life every week.

    Next week's game at KR should be a really good one. With the oldsters given a week off they might be fresh enough to do something they have failed to do for years. Then again...

  11. 5 defeats out of 7 games against the other big teams indicates an era of complete dominance isn't a foregone conclusion. God help us all if they do as Bellendall will turn this site into a ghost town with his Team of All the Talents nonsense for an eternity.

    When they won controversially at the Piedome against injury depleted Wigan rather than being the start of a drive to the league title they lost (are we allowed to write "bottle" or will the thread be locked?) the next 2 games, including one againts the bottom club in the league.

    To win the Grand Final they will have to win at least 2 big games in a row, and that will be too much. They rely on a half who cannot produce week in, week out because of the years of abuse he has given his body and a magnificent prop with a lot of miles on the clock. If the GF was a one off game they could rest players for then they would be my favourites, but they won't get enough victories out of their oldsters to win at OT. If I were a betting man I would bet on the League Winners up against Saints, in a genuine classic rather than a damp squib of a game. :D

  12. I am very happily in the so called 1%.

    We won the league. That far exceeded my expectations, and will do for mine. We can lose our 3 remaining games 100 nil for all I care from here.

    I think we will not win the GF for 2 reasons - we have never won a knock out with these players, and lack a dominant forward to take us over the line. That said, if we can get Amos back and firing and 4 props fit we stand a decent chance - Leeds and Saints have injuries, but even injured Saints can beat Wire. Probably our best chance is to play Saints at OT, without a few of their key men and some of our many injured players back. Not impossible, but I wouldn't make us favourites by any means.

    Meanwhile, I am happy to laud our heroes - Sam, Lockers and Pat have been immense. 16 of our Academy players have played for the first team this year, so our success has had a fantastic Wigan spine to it.

    Anything can happen between now and then, but with Lima, Hoffman and Hock giving us plenty of size and aggression in the pack next year and Finch guiding us around and freeing Sam up to play his tricks next year is an exciting prospect.

  13. As it looks as if Keiron may have played his last game for Saints, and be denied a fitting farewell, and I hope this is premature, but what a great player he has been for his club and, on occasion, his country. His self deprecating modesty off the field was combined with a rugby brain and level of determination that made him the best hooker in the world and certainly the finest number 9 I have ever seen. One of the most extraordinary things about him was that for over a decade people knew what he was going to do near the line, but no one could stop him. Somehow Saints teams without Cunningham at 9 won't seem the same. Perhaps they should even retire the shirt.

    People rarely get to choose the manner of their ending, but it would be cruel indeed for him to have played his last game at KR without being chaired off the field by his team mates.

  14. I think that Gleeson has looked superb recently and would play him and Gleeson in the centres. Briscoe and Hall seem much better players than Fox for mine. Unsurprisingly I would have Lockers at 13 (he was motm against the Kiwis rather than mots).

    I think Peacock's absence may be a blessing in disguise, as he seems to me to have never dominated internationally as he does at club level. If we could see 60 minutes of Morley and Graham we would be in like flynn in the forwards with Sinny and Roby at 9 and Burgess and Ellis in the second row.

    The halves pick themselves, and Widdop would go well at 1, so that just leaves a few subs.

  15. Well done to Huddersfield. They looked pretty good to me. Wigan were pretty weak in the 3/4s, esp when Carmont went off, and the opposition exploited it well. We could do with McIllorum and Prescott fit, as well as Gleeson and Goulding and Roberts back - all of them are pretty close. That line up won't win at OT, but we will get some of our 10 injured players back in time.

    The league table remains a source of considerable comfort.

    Be interesting to see whether the Giants can improve on their abject displays in the play offs last year. They could upset someone in round 2.

    Leeds must be feeling pretty confident of the double just now I'd say.

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