Five things we learned this weekend: Koukash, Dureau and more

One – Marwan Koukash confirmed his place as rugby league’s biggest one-man publicity machine

Salford’s owner was still sat behind Brian Noble when Michael Monaghan grabbed Warrington’s 11th try, but seconds later he was walking to the away end at the Halliwell Jones Stadium after Monaghan’s celebration sparked an angry reaction from at least one travelling fan who was restrained by stewards. Koukash went to plead for calm, watched 15 minutes from the terraces, shook hands with fans and stewards, and then left to chants of “There’s only one Marwan Koukash.” The good doctor, indeed.

If only everything was so simple to solve: Salford’s on-field problems are going to need much more hard work, judging by today’s performance.


Two – Sam Tomkins is human

Wigan went over for six tries in their 36-23 win at Wakefield, but England’s full-back was not among the scorers. Tomkins had previously racked up 25 tries in Wigan’s last 11 games and a score at Belle Vue would have seen him break the Warriors’ club record for scoring in consecutive matches. Instead he drew a blank. Lazy so and so…


Three – Ben Crooks and Tom Lineham look the real deal

Whether by happy accident or brilliant planning, Hull have stumbled on a centre-wing partnership that looks as though it will torment teams for years to come. The Airlie Birds sent out their own statement of intent with Friday’s win over Leeds – suddenly both Wembley and Old Trafford look realistic propositions for a side that struggled during the opening weeks of the year – but it is their right side that really catches the eye. Crooks was brilliant in offloading for Joe Westerman’s try, then Lineham showed maturity beyond his years and Crooks blasted on the afterburners for Hull’s second score. Afterwards Peter Gentle labelled the pair “pretty special kids”. Few would disagree.


Four – There is still (some) life left in London

After a disastrous week that started with a thumping defeat against Catalan, saw Craig Gower resign from the captaincy and finished with Kieran Dixon missing Saturday’s match against Castleford, the basement-dwelling Broncos managed 30 points against the Tigers – nearly double their average this year. Hopefully the two Tonys – Clubb and Rea – can now generate a bit of momentum, but there is still a long, long way to go, with another sub-2,000 crowd and a late collapse showing the size of the task ahead – both on and off the field.


Five – It’s only a game

As I write, worrying news is coming out of the Stobart Stadium about Scott Dureau. The Catalan play-maker went to hospital after his side’s 32-32 draw with Widnes, with initial reports suggesting he was suffering from double vision just a week after his return to action following surgery to remove a tumour from behind his eye. I’m sure everyone in rugby league wishes him well.

Got any thoughts on this week’s action? Leave them in the comments box below.

Follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough

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