Five things we learned this weekend: McManus, London, Minns and more

One – Eamonn McManus is not one for half measures

The St Helens chairman has probably had his patience tested this year, watching a crippling injury list leaving his club with just eight wins from 18 Super League matches so far.

He’ll have been pleased to see two recognised half-backs and an established hooker starting for Saints today for the first time since their 22-22 draw with Hull FC on February 15.

But he still remains on edge, judging by his programme notes ahead of the Bulls clash.

“The cladding works will begin at the end of this month,” he wrote, referring to an upgrade to Langtree Park. “I will personally shoot anyone who complains that it makes the stadium too warm in the summer months.”

Seems a bit drastic from this angle, but it’s certainly one way to deal with rugby league’s moaners.


Two – Thomas Minns’ Leeds Rhinos debut cost him £340

The 18-year-old wing took just five minutes to mark his Super League debut with a try when he burrowed over from Paul McShane’s pass on Friday night.

Minns was solid and earned praise from Brian McDermott, but his first-team bow came at a major cost.

McDermott revealed: “Instead of coming to the club and going through our staff, he actually went on the website and bought 17 tickets for his family. We’d have given them had he asked, but I think he’s still viewing it a bit like a fan.

“It was probably a bit of a fan scoring that try at Headingley. If you put yourself in his shoes, he’d have been in a good place.”


Three – London apparently need a pre-season. Trouble is, it’s June.

Saturday’s walloping by Warrington was arguably the low point in another season that is fast turning into a waste of time for the Broncos.

Last week I wrote that there looked to be some life left in them after their 30-30 draw with Castleford. Their demoralising 82-10 reverse against the Wolves suggests otherwise. Have they given up?

London desperately need a clear sense of direction and purpose, and at the moment they appear to be showing very little of either.

Asked how they will turn things around after this latest defeat, coach Tony Rea said: “The first thing is to simplify and make sure there are some nice simple, achievable message inside the group.

“We need to get back to basics. It’ll be a lot about getting to know and understand ourselves, and getting the basics right.”

Isn’t that what pre-season is for?


Four – The Championship remains utterly compelling

Shock wins for Doncaster at Featherstone and Workington against Leigh show why the Kingstone Press Championship is such a brilliant competition.

Admittedly Workington were helped by the inclusion of Widnes pair Shaun Briscoe and Paddy Flynn, which is unlikely to please plenty of observers – especially those from Leigh.

But a competition that has five teams that look seriously capable of winning it, and four that are genuinely jostling for top spot, looks pretty good from here.


Five – They like their touch and pass in the north east

That’s the only reason for the Gateshead’s 52-55 defeat by London Skolars, surely?

There’ll have been some eye-catching attack and plenty of decent tries, no doubt. But did either side actually show any signs of defence?

A total of 19 tries – or one every 4 minutes and 12 seconds, by some pretty sketchy calcuations – suggest otherwise.

Still, the sun’s out – so who cares? Enjoy it while it lasts.


Any thoughts on the weekend’s action? Leave your comments in the box below.

You can follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough

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