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Szymala

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  1. I can only speak from experience and that is what I saw. Our annual Wembley trip reduced in numbers year on year and it wasn't the only one. The usual line was: 'I may as well go to Spain for a weekend rather than watch a one horse race'. It certainly induced an apathy in an awful lot of fans. Almost 98,000 saw Wigan win the classic 1985 final against Hull (novelty factor plus Kenny/Sterling and up 17k from Wigan's visit the previous year). There were 94,000 for the start of Wigan's endless run in 1988 (it never went higher than that) and it was down to 78k for the 8th win in a row in 1995. And I'd suggest the clear evidence was there in 1998 when the attendance dropped to 60,000 from 78,000 at the 1997 final. Yes, Sheffield took few fans but the fact was that the neutrals had drifted away at the prospect of Wigan winning yet again.
  2. Well, no one can say that Maurice Lindsay and Wigan weren't doing all they could to change that situation. The 1992 Lions included 13 Wigan players in the squad and it was an entire Wigan pack that destroyed Australia 33-10 in Melbourne: Kelvin Skerrett, Martin Dermott, Andy Platt, Denis Betts, Billy McGinty, Phil Clarke. Regarding Wembley, it was Wigan's 8-year dominance that helped kill the crowds. Almost every working man's club etc in the north took a trip down for the day/weekend but they drifted away as the outcome was entirely predictable. Another negative was the fact that Wigan's unending success had to be paid for - and the price was iconic Central Park.
  3. Wigan v Manly, Central Park, October 1987. What an occasion. Anyone who was in that 37,000 crowd will never forget it. And it was all down to Maurice Lindsay's determination and persuasive tongue. Arko couldn't say no. It took rugby league to a new level with Manly coming over here just days after winning their own grand final - just as the World Club Challenge was meant to be. The game was so very special in his peak era, between 1985-1995.
  4. Deary me. Shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence. A born showman versus the invisible man.
  5. I'd say THE most significant and influential figure of the post-war period. No one publicised the sport better.. or more. A real go-getter who transformed Wigan and then the game as a whole. RIP Maurice.
  6. I knew there was one paper I'd forgotten and Paul Fitzpatrick was arguably the best of all. A superb writer with a genuine love of the game having come over from football and found access in rugby league to be a breath of fresh air. Happy times.
  7. Long gone are the days when each paper had their own correspondent. I recall Brian Batty at the Daily Mail for decades, Alan Thomas at Express, Paul Harrison at the Sun, John Whalley at the Telegraph, Dave Hadfield at the Independent, Martin Richards at the Mirror, Peter Wilson at the Daily Star, Ray French (Today), Keith Macklin (Times) and Raymond Fletcher (Yorkshire Post).
  8. Houles is unlikely to drop leading try-scorer Matty Russell (having missed only 1 game all year) and Ashall-Bott's 2 tries today suggest he is finding his best attacking form at full-back. It will be nice for the coach to have real competition for places at such a crucial stage. And but for that 1-point defeat to Wigan and the Easter Monday lapse after leading 18-4 against Hull KR, they might be in an even better position.
  9. Tremendous win considering they kept Corey Norman up their sleeves although Daniel Alvaro made his debut from the bench. And great they have Mathieu Jussaume back at centre. Their home form will make or break them and the month of July is absolutely crucial: - Magic v Wakefield and successive home games v Hull KR, Leeds, Salford and Hull.
  10. It's as though the Rovers' players have collectively downed tools since the Smith statement. One (dubious) score in 3 games !
  11. Yes and they HAVE TO play Trinity again at Magic Weekend - what a huge game THAT is !!
  12. He's got steadily worse at this sort of thing. And it's not a good look at all.
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