FTWLTW: Congratulations Wigan, Salford revolution and the story of the year

FTWLTW: Congratulations Wigan, Salford revolution and the story of the year

One – Congratulations Wigan

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t memorable. But when future generations look back at the record books, Wigan’s name will be etched into 2013 with their second Challenge Cup triumph in three years.

Perhaps it was inevitable, after all the hype of 1985, that the game would fail to match up to expectations.

True, it didn’t even get anywhere near. Barely out of the blocks, even.

But a crap game of rugby league is still better than a good game of most other sports.

And ask those in Wigan whether they’re bothered. Fans, staff, coaches, players – they won’t care less.

There were only two moments of genuine brilliance – Josh Charnley’s tackle on Jamie Shaul and Sam Tomkins’ try – but it’s no coincidence they came from Wigan’s top players.

In a final, when it really, really matters, it’s the blokes with genuine class that step up. A handful of Wigan players did just that. Nobody managed it for Hull.

 

Two – Aren’t contracts supposed to be clear?

Confusion abounds after contradictory statements from Ian Lenagan and Shaun Wane about an hour after the Challenge Cup final.

Only days ago Wigan revealed Wane would stay at the DW until the end of 2014.

But Lenagan then threw in a curveball, telling hacks: “He gets an extra year on top of that extension for winning at Wembley, so he’s with us for at least another two years.

“That was in the letter that extended his option. It says ‘if you win at Wembley, it becomes two years’. I think it could be three, four, five years or more. All he’s got to do is carry on winning.”

Wane’s reaction? “I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know where he’s got that from.”

Make of that what you will.

 

Three – The Salford revolution starts now

All eyes on Salford next Thursday, when Marwan Koukash “will be announcing his new signings for the 2014 campaign, the new Red Devils branding, 2014 kit, website and more,” according to a breathless media invite.

Expect Rangi Chase and a few others to be unveiled. It would be fantastic to think that, even among all the speculation, Dr K could still pull a rabbit out of a hat with a surprise signing that catches everyone off guard.

We’ll soon find out.

 

Four – All to play for in the Championship

Nervous times for Barrow, Hunslet, Swinton and Keighley, with all four facing a final day scrap to avoid relegation into Championship One.

Barrow host Keighley, Hunslet face Featherstone and Swinton travel to Whitehaven, who have conceded about 50 points in each of their last three games.

York look doomed at the foot of the table and it’s hard to see Hunslet getting three points against Rovers.

But there’s still all to play for. Good luck to everyone involved.

 

Five – Best story of the year? Here’s a contender...

Heard an interesting tale over the weekend. The identities of those involved are going to remain anonymous, for reasons that will soon become clear.

Earlier this year a referee’s wife ran off with a player. In recent weeks the referee has controlled a game involving that player for the first time since the domestic drama.

Must have been quite an awkward moment for all concerned.

Truth or urban myth? That's for you to decide.

 

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Any thoughts? Drop them in the comments box below.

Follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough

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