The curse of ClubCall

Tony Smith says he will toss a coin to determine Warrington’s semi final opponents at Sunday’s Club Call announcement.

Whether he goes through with that threat, or instead we are greeted with another low-key decision from Wolves chairman Steve Broomhead, all at Warrington will know that only one team has ever gone on to win the Grand Final in the same year they have been granted the dubious privilege of Club Call.

That was back in 2009, when Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington told a packed press conference that the Rhinos would host Catalan in their play-off semi final.

They duly dispatched the Dragons 27-20 before going on to beat St Helens 18-10 at Old Trafford.

Since then, Club Call has plummeted in popularity and proven to be a curse for all those who have been forced to make their choice.

In 2010 St Helens thought they had mastered things when they opted for Huddersfield and won 42-22 in the last ever match at Knowsley Road.

In the other semi final Wigan won 26-6 at Leeds, setting up a mouthwatering Grand Final.

But it was Michael Maguire’s men who triumphed, winning 22-10 to claim their first Super League title since 1998.

And that result sparked a run that has got even worse for teams making the Club Call choice.

Neither side making the decision in 2011 or 2012 managed to even make it to Old Trafford.

Leeds were the chosen opponents for Warrington two years ago, but they rocked the Halliwell Jones Stadium with Kevin Sinfield’s 79th-minute penalty goal to seal a dramatic 26-24 victory.

The Rhinos also went on to win the Grand Final, beating St Helens 32-16, and they offered another brilliant response in 2012 when Wigan invited them to the DW Stadium.

Leeds travelled without Danny McGuire and were expected to struggle scoring points, but Sinfield’s late drop goal snatched a 13-12 triumph.

And once more the men from Headingley tasted the ultimate success, beating Warrington 26-18 at Old Trafford.

Warrington do have an advantage this year, knowing 36 hours earlier than their opponents who they will be playing next week.

Huddersfield boss Paul Anderson voiced concerns after his side’s thumping of Hull that the Giants’ preparation would be hampered by having to wait until Sunday to discover their semi final opponents.

Smith and the rest of the Wolves will surely know their choice as soon as Friday’s Leeds-St Helens clash is over.

But whoever they choose, Warrington will have to buck a trend if they are to go on to claim the Super League title.

Can they do it, or will the Curse of Club Call continue?

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.