The good, the bad & the ugly: Revitalised Widnes, big boys suffer, spitting in card-fest

Check out the good, the bad and the ugly over the last seven days in rugby league. 

The good

How brilliant was it to see queues outside the Halton Stadium on Sunday as a packed crowd watched Widnes thrash Featherstone 44-22 on the northern bank of the River Mersey.

The Vikings ended a traumatic week with an eight-try win over the Rovers, who caused a stir in the build-up to the game.

Featherstone controversially tweeted on Thursday: “Featherstone Rovers are frustrated at the lack of communication regarding this weekend’s match against Widnes.

“The club would like to assure supporters that they will be updated when there is any confirmation and the team is well prepared for the match.”

Well, Widnes agreed a takeover and the game went ahead, and the ignorant tweet from Featherstone would have surely been included in Kieron Purtill’s team talk.

It was fantastic to see nearly 6,000 spectators at Widnes. Let’s hope they continue to attract those numbers through the gates and that the club becomes stable and achieves greatness like they once did.

The bad

It’s been a bad start to the season for two of Super League’s big boys – Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos.

Adrian Lam’s Warriors have lost four out of five games so far this year – four in Super League and the World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters.

Wigan suffered a shock 18-16 defeat on Sunday to the league’s newcomers London Broncos, who are the bookmakers’ favourites to go straight back down this season.

The Warriors have lost to London, Hull FC, Sydney and St Helens so far, while their solitary win came against Leeds.

Meanwhile, Dave Furner’s Rhinos were handed their fourth defeat in five Super League games as they lost 35-18 to Wakefield Trinity on Friday.

Leeds have lost to Warrington Wolves, Wigan, St Helens and Wakefield – their only win coming against Salford Red Devils.

It’s not been a good start for Lam or Furner’s starts to their coaching tenures in England.

The ugly

There were a total of 20 cards handed out in Super League, Championship and League 1 over the weekend.

There were four sin-binnings in Castleford’s 32-16 win over Hull Kingston Rovers. Grant Millington and James Greenwood were suspended in the 71st minute for fighting, while Weller Hauraki and Danny McGuire were yellow carded for repeated offences and dissent.

Leeds forward Trent Merrin was sin-binned for dissent in their loss to Wakefield.

In the Championship, there were three cards shown in Toronto’s win at Dewsbury. Darcy Lussick and Daniel Igbinedion were sin-binned in the second half for fighting, while Chris Annakin was sent off late on for an alleged spitting incident, which involved Toronto hooker Bob Beswick.

Sheffield Eagles beat Batley Bulldogs, and Brad Knowles and Dane Manning were sin-binned in the first half for fighting, with the latter receiving another yellow card on the hour for a high tackle.

There was two yellow cards and two reds in the Hunslet v West Wales Raiders game, while there were two sin-binnings in the North Wales Crusaders v Oldham and London Skolars v Newcastle Thunder matches in League 1. Doncaster’s game against Workington Town also saw Ryan Dixon sin-binned for a high tackle.

It’s going to be a busy old week for the disciplinary panel.