Five things: Bulls wait for Wednesday, Bobbie’s back & concussion worries

Neil Barraclough

One – Waiting for Wednesday

All eyes on Red Hall come Wednesday for news of Bradford’s appeal against their points deduction.

We hope whatever judgment is made is the right one, but it would be fascinating to see the reaction if all six points are given back.

That would put Bradford level on eight points with Wakefield, and both only a point behind Salford.

And Bradford’s next opponents? You guessed it – Salford.

Whatever happens, somebody’s going to be upset – either the Bulls, or the clubs around them.

It wouldn’t be rugby league without a good argument, would it?

Two – Two more in the mix

After a ropey start, Huddersfield have now won six of their last seven league games – including Thursday’s 31-22 triumph against Wigan.

Paul Anderson said: “I’ve accused our players of winning games in the last few weeks on pure talent, and not putting the effort in.

“Tonight we won a game on effort and not talent, which is more pleasing to me – especially against a good team.”

Warrington took even longer to get going, but recent wins against Catalan, St Helens and Leeds suggest they’re also making progress.

The top four still looks unlikely for either team, given how brilliantly Castleford continue to play.

But two of Super League’s big guns are firing, which should make for a fascinating top-six tussle as the year goes on.

Three – A warrior even St Helens fans love

St Helens assistant Keiron Cunningham could have perhaps chosen a better word than ‘warrior’ to praise a man who has devoted the best years of his life to helping St Helens get one up on Wigan, but there was nothing wrong with the sentiment.

Paul Wellens, now 34, chipped in with two tries, one assist and 166 metres from full-back against Salford.

Cunningham said: “Paul’s an absolute warrior. He’s played full back all his life at the highest level, then he’s playing in the middle making 40 tackles, then he’s back at full-back and he turns up on everything.

“He probably won’t be able to walk for about four days but he deserves his rest, he had a great game.”

Four – Bobbie’s back

As good as Wellens is performing, nobody expects him to be running around in eight years’ time.

But that was the challenge Bobbie Goulding, now 42, set himself by starting at scrum-half in Barrow’s match against Rochdale.

Two hours later he was celebrating a 38-18 win. Goulding said: “I was gobby as usual. I really had fun out there.”

Our bet is that it’ll be slightly less fun when he tries to get out of bed tomorrow morning.

Five – More concussion worries

Writing in the New Zealand Herald, Shontayne Hape detailed how repeated head injuries finished his career and could threaten his future health.

One of the most alarming points – and there were many – was the suggestion players deliberately under-perform in ‘head tests’ at the start of the season.

Hape wrote: “The test establishes a baseline score that you’ll have to match later in the season if you cop a head knock.

“The problem with the test is that players can manipulate it by under-performing so that later if you have a head knock and you have to beat it you normally can.

“In my league days the boys all beat the test and everyone kept on playing.”

As outsiders looking in, we can only hope that cultures have changed since then.

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