One – Let the mind games begin
Has Super League just unearthed its answer to Jose Mourinho?
Two days on, we’re more convinced than ever that Nathan Brown’s outburst was more about getting under the skin of Shaun Wane than it was a legitimate complaint about referee Phil Bentham.
Wane’s emotional attachment to his club, team and town has been a big part of his success with Wigan.
But did Brown use that to his advantage on Friday, throwing out some bait that he knew Wane wouldn’t be able to ignore?
To be clear, Brown wasn’t asked about the referee. His blast came in response to a simple opening question about his pleasure in watching a fine win.
Wane was visibly shocked when told of Brown’s comments. He said: “Absolute garbage, that’s all I want to say.”
But having simmered on it for the rest of his press conference, Wane voluntarily went back to it once the questions had finished.
“Nathan Brown shouldn’t be allowed to say stuff like that, you know. He came out with garbage before we went to Sydney about headhunters, and he got away with that. It’s just disgraceful that he comes out with things like that. It shouldn’t be allowed. I’m fuming, to be honest.”
As for Brown, he nodded at the match commissioner as he left his own press conference. “Can you pass my best on to Phil?”
The fine is on its way…
Two – Selling sport is about passion, not platitudes
Regardless of who’s right or wrong, the result is a fascinating rivalry that can now be hyped every time Brown and Wane meet.
It will generate valuable column inches and sell tickets – and isn’t that what rugby league, or any sport, needs?
Compare and contrast the reaction if both coaches had spoken of their pride, talked about completion sets and… you, stop nodding off there at the back.
Imagine if Wigan and Saints meet in the play-offs. Roll on September.
Three – Plodding Giants
Nine wins in 10 now for Huddersfield, with Eorl Crabtree surely now a contender for Strictly after stepping past Greg Eden.
The Giants are still outside the top-four, but Danny Brough said: “We’ll just keep plodding on. If you win scrappy games you’ve half a chance of getting in the top four, and we’ve done that tonight.”
Paul Anderson must be happier than three months ago, when a rubbish start was threatening to derail Huddersfield’s year. “He’s never happy,” said Brough.
Four – Looking up, not down
In contrast, Wakefield boss James Webster described himself as “a happy coach” after explaining how Wildcats are looking at what’s above them in the table rather than below.
Wakefield are now unbeaten in their last three, having seen off London and Wigan before Sunday’s draw with Hull.
“That mindset’s been there all the time,” he said. “I didn’t change it; I’ve just probably spoken about it a bit more.
“We just want to fulfill our potential, and every player wants to be the best they can.”
Five – Super Steve
Just to prove last year’s heroics with Scotland were no fluke, Steve McCormack has walked back into club rugby and is tearing up Championship One.
Gloucestershire All Golds have gone from no-hopers to unstoppable in the space of about six weeks.
Sunday’s win at Hunslet follows other victories over Oxford, York and South Wales.
They’re now up to fourth and suddenly look a dark horse for the play-offs. If they keep up this form, nobody will want to play them.
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Follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough