The Morning After: New speed of game unsustainable, Robinson’s time & Wakefield worry

James Gordon

England players Wakefield Trinity's Reece Lyne and Jermaine McGillvary (2) of Huddersfield Giants bumps elbows after the game.

The Morning After looks at three talking points from the latest Super League action.

Speed of the game unsustainable

Kenny Edwards stood adjacent to the play the ball, on his haunches, looking towards the opposite end of the ground to the game clock.

Referee Jack Smith, somewhat perplexed, signalled time off and told him to get to marker so the game could resume. Edwards nodded towards the shot clock, that still had 15 seconds to run.

It happened on at least three occasions, twice involving Edwards, as players search for new opportunities to take a breather in the new-look rugby league, partly dictated by the requirements of COVID-19 and also by the much vaunted six again rule.

REPORT: Wakefield 6-29 Huddersfield: Luke Robinson leads Giants to first win since restart

Super League reported that the amount of time the ball is in play has increased since lockdown, to around 63 minutes, with more tackles being made and more metres being run.

The removal of scrums has added to this, and it is being championed as a positive of the changes.

But if players are pushed to the limit, and beyond, it threatens to stunt the quality of play on offer.

Robinson at the head of the queue?

From my position in the press box, I could see and hear virtually every word of Huddersfield coach Luke Robinson’s first game in charge.

It started by him barking instructions down a walkie talkie that the Giants’ first defensive set of six wasn’t good enough. It must have worked, as they were only breached once during the game.

The 36-year-old perhaps wouldn’t have been the most obvious candidate for the role, but he has certainly chucked his hat in to the ring.

There is hardly a plethora of coaches waiting in the wings. The past decade has seen a number of clubs promote from within, the likes of Kieron Cunningham, Laurent Frayssinous, Paul Anderson and Lee Radford, who have then for whatever reason, found it difficult to find their next role.

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The smart money is on Huddersfield going Down Under for Simon Woolford’s successor, but Robinson will have a better chance than anyone to stake his claim over the coming weeks.

Wakefield worry

Dejected Wakefield Trinity players.

If ever a club reflected the “let’s get this season over and done with” it’s Wakefield. Struggling since the restart, suffering with injuries and other unavailability, plodding through to the end of the season seems like a damage limitation process both on and off the field.

Chris Chester finds himself under pressure following a run of five wins in 24 Super League games.

Perhaps a victim of their own success, Wakefield have understandably struggled to reach the heights of their fifth placed finishes, hampered by the facilities around them.

With Jacob Miller sidelined, and no Danny Brough, they’re lacking someone to steer the creaking ship around the park.

Chester surely has enough credit in the bank from the good seasons of before to get the chance to lead the club through to 2021.