The final say on the rugby league weekend in the Last Tackle.
Say what you like about Belle Vue, but I’ll miss the place if it does cease to be a rugby league ground come the season’s end. The sun always seems to shine on that part of the world on my visits, and Friday night’s win over Widnes under the lights at the end of a wonderful day was no different.
On the pitch, Wakefield have worked wonders since they appeared in the first Million Pound Game, with half-back Sam Williams particularly impressive in the 30-4 canter over the Vikings.
Chairman Michael Carter must be given credit for what he’s done – but also for keeping the new stadium well and truly on the agenda. It prompted a lengthy statement from Wakefield Council at the end of last week. It would be a shame to see Wakefield have to move out of their own borough to carry on playing, especially when they are delivering on the pitch.
The shadow of Hull KR
As good as Wakefield were, Widnes were terrible on Friday night, especially in the second half. The Vikings are now bottom of the Super League table and have the shadow of Hull KR looming large. Rovers are hot favourites to make an immediate return to the top flight via the Super 8s, and it is not going to be easy for any strugglers from Super League to hold them off.
Based on the season so far, it’s hard to see beyond Widnes, Huddersfield and Leigh in the bottom four – with the other place still well and truly up for grabs. A trip to Toulouse won’t be easy for any of those three either.
Patton proving himself
The general consensus is that you need a minimum of 10 wins to reach the top eight, which leaves Warrington needing nine from their remaining 15 games. They finally got that first win on the board at the weekend, with youngster Declan Patton stealing the headlines.
Let’s be honest, Patton had done enough to deserve the number six shirt at Warrington this season. If he hadn’t been replaced by a half-fit Chris Sandow in the Grand Final, Warrington may well have claimed that elusive first Super League title. Instead, Patton has been sidelined and publicly slammed in the press as the Wolves have endured their worst ever start to a season in the summer era.
As ever, the best way to prove yourself is on the pitch. If Warrington are to turn things around and somehow compete for silverware in 2017, Patton will more than likely be a key part of it.
To stream or not to stream
Though not officially confirmed yet, it was leaked last week that the RFL intend to live stream the England test match against Samoa Down Under, rather than take up an offer to televise it live on BBC2. Cue mass pandemonium on social media. There’s probably too much to say about that for this column, though judging by the response, the number paying for the stream isn’t likely to boost the RFL coffers a great deal.