Five things: ClubCall, Anderson, Saints, Gentle and Batley

Neil Barraclough

One – Club Call: alive and kicking?

Just when it looked like Club Call was beyond resuscitation, along comes Steve Broomhead announcing Warrington are quite happy taking on a team who finished above them in the league.

Credit to the Wolves, who’ve made a call that required genuine bravery. Choosing Leeds they could have hidden behind the ‘we’re picking the lowest ranked team’ smokescreen, but bringing Huddersfield to the Halliwell Jones gives them no such wriggle room.

Now there’s no hiding it: they don’t rate the Giants as much as Leeds.

Club Call has finally achieved what it was introduced to do, causing genuine friction and anticipation of Thursday’s match.

It should be a stonker.


Two – Paul Anderson doesn’t like fish. But he does like winning.

A surreal detour in Paul Anderson’ post-match musings on Thursday. Asked about who the Giants might face this week, he said: “Whatever the scenario is, I couldn’t care less.

“It’s all I seem to say – I couldn’t care less. What do you want for your tea? I couldn’t care less, as long as it’s not fish.”

Maybe they’d serve fish at the Club Call announcement?

“It’s Sunday dinner – Yorkshire puddings and a roast, maybe some sweet potatoes too. You want to ring them up and get that on.”

Then, as he got up to leave: “Winning’s better than losing, isn’t it?”

Thursday could be a right pain in the bass if things go wrong for the Giants.


Three – Sympathy for Saints

Sympathy for St Helens, who played their full part in a sensational play-off at Headingley only to lose out to Danny McGuire’s drop goal.

It’s been a difficult first year for Nathan Brown, but there have been signs over the last few weeks that things are just starting to fall into place.

“We basically rebuilt the squad in the middle of the season,” he said. “We’ve made some big changes. For many years it’s been Franny (Francis Meli) and Gardsy (Ade Gardner) on the wing and Wello at full back. Now it’s Jonny Lomax at full back and the two young wingers. We’ve added a lot of speed to the club.

“We’ve also had Wilko (Jon Wilkin) playing in the halves all season, which will change next year, but they’ve all bought into everything and been terrific. The culture of the club is terrific and the effort and commitment is sensational.

“While we didn’t achieve what we’d have liked to achieve this year, we have achieved a lot.”


Four – One nil to the boofheads? 

Peter Gentle famously dismissed as ‘boofheads’ those who believed a Daily Star report last month stating the likeable Aussie would be sacked at the end of the season.

Now it seems the boofheads – and Jeremy Cross, who wrote the original story – might have been right all along.

The Hull Daily Mail are convinced Gentle is on his way, a victim of two seasons of mediocrity broken only by a Challenge Cup semi-final win over Warrington and climaxing in Thursday’s embarrassment at Huddersfield.

Gentle appears to be a genuinely good bloke but it seems the writing is on the wall. We wish him well.


Five – Brave Batley do it again

Stirring stuff at the Bigfellas Stadium, where Batley came back from 20-6 down to snatch a golden point victory for the second week running and book their place in the Grand Final.

They will face Sheffield in a mouthwatering clash, while the undercard features the prospect Oldham and Rochdale battering each other in the Championship One Play-Off final.

Get along to Leigh next week – it should be two fantastic matches.

Any thoughts? Drop them in the comments box below.

Follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough