Five Things: Back to the Future, Working Wildcats and freakish Clark

Neil Barraclough

One – Back to the future

Have we seen a glimpse into the future of at least four different teams this weekend?
Hull KR’s first game without Craig Sandercock yielded an impressive 40-10 win over St Helens, with reports suggesting it was comfortably Rovers’ best performance of the year.
Caretaker coach Chris Chester looks to have given himself a great chance of securing the job on a permanent basis.
Rovers chairman Neil Hudgell said: “Chris is very well thought of at the club, and the hope and expectation is that he steps up and we can talk longer term.”

Two – Chris’s chestnuts

As for Chester himself, he couldn’t have wished for a better start.
He intriguingly hinted that confidence and belief have been issues for Rovers, saying: “We wanted some effort and honesty, and we got a lot of that today.”
He added: “I don’t think these guys realise how good a team they are.”
Rovers are only one point and one place of the play-offs, and Chester openly admitted to having calculated what it will need to edge out Widnes in eighth.
“That’s one win down,” he said, “and I reckon we need another four to get in the play-offs.
“It’s my job until the end of the year, and let’s see what happens. I’m happy with that.”

Three – Working Wildcats

Elsewhere, a new-look Leeds – minus Rob Burrow, Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Kylie Leuluai, who are all the wrong side of 30 and edging closer towards retirement – fell just short at Wakefield.
For the Wildcats, a third win in four and the continued unbeaten start of new coach James Webster means a play-off push might still be in reach.
Richie Mathers said: “One of the first things James said was ‘let’s stop looking below us’. It wasn’t a Vince Lombardi quote that will go down in history, but it was a breath of fresh air after all the doom and gloom and negativity.
“We’ve beat Wigan, beat Leeds and thrown a point away against Hull. There’s no rocket science, we’re not doing anything special, but we’re working hard.”

Four – Devils finally Locke and load

But those most excited are surely Salford fans, after Kevin Locke and Mason Caton-Brown both made spectacular impacts on debut.
Locke got off the plane, had one training session and then tore Huddersfield to shreds, with Caton-Brown also chipping in with a couple of eye-catching long-range breaks.
Highlight though, according to our spies, was a flat-cap, replica shirt-wearing Huddersfield pensioner arguing with Gareth Hock after Lama Tasi got sent off.
The man apparently threw a plastic bottle in Hock’s direction. In return, Hock squirted water back.
Handbags, or water pistols, at dawn…

Five – A freakish talent

And finally, a first hat-trick and his coach calling for Daryl Clark’s call-up to England’s Four Nations squad: Thursday at Widnes wasn’t a bad night’s work for the Castleford hooker.
Daryl Powell said: “He’s a bit of a freak. He’s got so much speed, he’s got an eye for an opening and he’s getting bigger, more athletic and explosive all the time. He’s an outstanding rugby league player.”
James Roby doing 20 minutes before Clark comes on to cause havoc sounds like a good plan to us.

Any thoughts? Leave them in the comments box below.
Follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough