Here are my thoughts on this weekend's action in Super League Round 5. |
WARRINGTON V ST HELENS
How many times have ‘Dire’ beaten Stains in Super League? Answer? Not very many, and their overall record against Stains must be far more embarrassingly lopsided than Leeds shameful record against Bradford. The only thing ‘Dire’ have over St Helens is they own the St Helens postcodes which all begin with WA.
Now if I was completely oblivious to that pishpoor record above I’d be inclined to tip ‘Dire’ in this game, but I’m not completely oblivious to the fact that ‘Dire’ can’t even buy a win against Stains in Super League. Therefore I’m tipping Stains but it could be close. Lee Briers may dummy-spit a drop goal or two but it’ll make no difference to the result whatsoever.
‘Dire’ welcome back Chris Bridge but Adrian Morley won’t be available until next week at the earliest.
SportingOdds Handicap: Warrington (+6), St Helens (-6) both at 10/11
My Tip: St Helens by 12
WIGAN V HARLEQUINS
Maurice’s star crock signing Trent Barrett is selected in the Wigan squad of 20 this week, though it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s wrapped in cotton wool again as coach Brian Noble masticates relentlessly on his Wrigley’s over whether to risk selecting him too early through fear of him aggravating his latest muscle. I predict that Trent will end up earning approximately 20K a game due to the number he’ll miss through one injury or another.
Losing badly at home to Hull KR last week doesn’t exactly provide anyone with any confidence that Wigan will be turning the corner anytime soon, and if the Quins do turn the Pies over it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. However, Wigan are due a leg-up at the JJB from a sympathetic referee fairly soon - they haven’t been provided with their usual quota of leg-ups at the JJB just yet - so they might just grab a much needed win, even if it is by courtesy of such disreputable means. Wigan require all the points they can muster before they get stung for Salary Cap infringements and docked points later in the season... AGAIN!
On that basis, I’m tipping Wigan.
SportingOdds Handicap: Wigan (-8 ), Harlequins (+8 ) both at 10/11
My Tip: Wigan by 10
HULL KR V LEEDS
Hull KR have exceeded everyone’s expectations apart from one-eyed Robins fans and a certain believist Rhinos fan who I have a tenner bet with over who will get relegated - he reckons it’ll be Wakefield and I reckon it’ll be Hull KR. The irony of both those sides at the top of Super League right now isn’t lost on either of us. I still maintain the Robins are crap though and their form won’t last.
This will be Leeds fifth flat-track bully opportunity in a row but they’ve so far failed miserably to flat-track bully any side they normally flat-track bully during the early part of any season. Have they suddenly become a team full of softcock Scott Donald’s? Just waiting for the faster and drier surfaces when summer finally arrives before they display their flat-track bullying expertise? Maybe we’ll have to wait until July for things to pick up, eh? It’ll be a shame if that’s the case because it’s inevitable everything will go tits-up from August onwards.
If Leeds were to scrape a win by just a single point on Saturday, expect some believist clown called 'Chris from Guiseley' phoning Radio Leeds up to proclaim the result was never in doubt. If an original thought was ever to emerge within that grey matter of his, it would soon die of loneliness.
Leeds ought to win easily, but then again, with the easy fixtures they’ve been allocated early doors, they really ought to have been looking at 7 wins from 7 by the end of March.
SportingOdds Handicap: Hull KR (+8 ) at EVENS, Leeds (-8 ) at 5/6
My Tip: Leeds by 18.
BRADFORD V SALFORD
The Bulls will be without Terry Newton who has been banned for two matches by the RFL disciplinary committee for smacking Saints thugmongrel Jon Wilkin last week. Where the hell is the justice in that? He ought to be rewarded with a medal for services to the game instead. I appreciate that Terry is a thug but I regard him as an enlightened thug and I respect him for his selectivity. He only belts other assorted thugs and miscreants off the ball, and it’s hardly his fault that most other thugs and miscreants just happen to play for St Helens.
I’m also pleased this game isn’t being televised by Sky this weekend. Don’t think I can bear another episode of having to watch Salford who are without doubt the most tediously inept and humdrum team in Super League, just like the town of Salford itself - a humdrum place.
The Bulls ought to win and Karl Harrison won’t let any of us down by whinging relentlessly about Salford getting robbed by the ref, the video ref (even though there won’t be one), the conditions, the pitch, the posts, the corner flags, the ballboys, the timekeeper, the traffic on the M62 and even Bullman himself at the after-match press conference.
SportingOdds Handicap: Bradford (-10), Salford (+10) both at 10/11
Bradford by 14.
HUDDERSFIELD V HULL FC
What an anti-climactic assignation of abbreviated aspirations this fixture has turned out to be for both these cellar-dwelling sides. They remain winless after four SL rounds despite promising to deliver so much more before the start of the campaign. I think Huddersfield have been a tad unfortunate to lose all four of their fixtures thus far. They’ve only lost each game by a handful of points and with a bit more luck they could have walked away from Headingley last week with the spoils.
Hull managed a draw in Round 1 at home to the Catalans Dragons and by all accounts they were fortunate to get that. They’ve since lost their next three. I know they’ve had a lot of injuries but even so, it’s a dreadful start for them and they’ve lost games they ought to be winning comfortably. Both these sides need to start winning sooner rather than later, or both coaches will really start to feel the pressure and they’ll be saying hello to a P45 through the letterbox. Lucky for both of them they ain't coaching Wigan, otherwise they could expect their P45’s to arrive via a different route... placed under the windscreen wipers of their car instead.
I haven’t got a clue which side will triumph in this one... it could go either way. Tempted to tip Huddersfield because they’re at home whilst I believe Hull will be without their playmaker Paul Cooke again for reasons perhaps best left unsaid.
SportingOdds Handicap:Huddersfield (+2), Hull (-2) both at 10/11
My Tip: A Draw!
WAKEFIELD V CATALANS
It’s quite astonishing that Wakefield are currently positioned in top spot right now, and they’ll be eagerly anticipating staying there for at least another week with a home fixture against Catalans Dragons down at Belle Vue. I refuse to acknowledge the sponsored name of their ground and I bet Frank Machin would pass up the opportunity of shagging his landlady and the club directors wife if it meant keeping the name Belle Vue. Can’t remember the sponsored name of their ground (I’ll leave that to the anoraks) but I know it ends in ‘Stadium’... are they having a laugh there or what? Doesn’t a venue require at least a semblance of covered stands, seats and modern facilities in order to be called a Stadium? If four slagheaps were to be arranged on four sides and a pitch placed in the middle, should that be called a Stadium?
Fantastic win away at Hull last week though and a shame it wasn’t on Sky. Instead we had to put up with the Catalans Dragons awful performance against the equally awful Salford in what must be considered the worst standard game ever in the history of televised Super League fixtures. I fell asleep just before half time and I’m just grateful for being spared the rest of that dross.
In defence of the Catalans Dragons, they were without the influential Aaron Gorrell and it was obvious that Casey McGuire was playing on just the one leg last week. I also suspect they were dragged down to Salford’s dismal level of craparsedosity at the Willows, but even so, they should have performed better than that after taking Leeds to the cleaners the week before.
Wakey are on a roll and they ought to be 4 from 4 but for losing in the dying seconds away at Hull KR in Round 1. I think they’ll maintain their roll this weekend by grabbing another win.
SportingOdds Handicap: Wakefield (-6) at 5/6, Catalans (+6) at EVENS
My Tip: Wakefield by 8