Hats off to Huddersfield
Amongst the Challenge Cup action this weekend, Huddersfield’s win over St Helens slipped under the radar a little.
The Giants are now secure in the top eight and appear to have hit form at the right stage of the season.
They’ve added Jordan Turner and now Jordan Rankin to their ranks, while Jake Mamo’s form since returning to fitness is perhaps an indication as to why Huddersfield started the season so slowly.
Hats off to them. This didn’t seem at all likely after the home defeat to Catalans, a largely lethargic, uninspiring performance that saw head coach Rick Stone abruptly exit his post match press conference saying that he was worried.
He looks to have turned it around, that means worrying times for Warrington, whose top eight hopes look under threat, especially as Wigan’s key man return to fitness.
Warrington’s season gets more desperate by the week it seems. The signing of Ben Pomeroy is hardly the inspiration their worried fans need.
Fans getting a raw deal
Speaking of fans, it was a shame that the cup quarter-final crowd at the Halliwell Jones Stadium wasn’t better.
It seems to be an issue game wide. However, is anyone actually asking why this is the case?
It doesn’t seem to me that expansion or new teams are going to solve the issue of why fans of two of the biggest clubs in the game can’t fill out a 15,000 seater stadium on a glorious Saturday afternoon.
Perhaps the eye watering £30 ticket price in some areas was an issue.
One team who might lose a fan or two next season is Widnes, who were the victims of a farcical match postponement debacle earlier in the season against Wigan.
The RFL have finally revealed the outcome of the investigation – ultimately a slap on the wrist for the Warriors and an implication that something is going to be done to stop this happening in future.
Wigan, for whatever reason, called the game off with 24 hour notice. It ended up being played at Widnes, a reverse of the scheduled fixture.
Widnes v Wigan was meant to be in less than a fortnight’s time. That will now be at Wigan. Still no date, time or venue has been confirmed, with doubts that the DW Stadium’s maintenance work will be completed in time.
It’s left a sour taste in some Widnes fans mouths, season ticket holders who couldn’t make one of their biggest home games of the season at less than 24 hours notice who feel let down not only by the RFL, but by their club.
It’s episodes like this where rugby league has to ask itself is it themselves that are stopping crowds from growing – and not this excuse about needing more media coverage and more teams in outposts across the world.
I’d like to end this week’s column by recognising a colleague and a friend – Dr Phil Cooper MBE, as awarded in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
Phil is one of the founders and main drivers of State of Mind and his passion, energy and enthusiasm for mental health and rugby league is second to none.