Club call an anti-climax

After what could have been, St Helens facing a choice between Wigan and Warrington, club call became somewhat of an anti-climax after Huddersfield upset the apple-cart.

The Giants put in a tremendous performance, particularly in the first half, to breathe life in to the play-off series, and prevent a duplication of games in week three, surely a flaw in the system.

Speaking of flaws, the club call gimmick has hardly prompted praise from the rugby league community. Trying to explain to an outsider and a casual rugby league fan that if Wigan beat Hull KR then they might play St Helens, depending on who Saints pick, left a few puzzled faces around me at the DW Stadium on Friday, and clubs should be able to plot their route to the Grand Final.

If anything, St Helens were put in an awkward position, as a reward for their defeat of Warrington in week one. The system means that Huddersfield have all the motivation they need to turn Saints over at Knowsley Road, and led by their excellent young coach Nathan Brown, the Giants could well cause an upset in the very last game at Knowsley Road (this will definitely be the last one).

Saints prompted some criticism for not choosing Wigan, which would have given them the chance to put the record straight from their derby defeat at Knowsley Road earlier in the year, but they were always going to pick the lowest ranked opponent, despite Huddersfield’s fine form which has seen them rack up seven straight wins.

The other semi is a reverse of week one’s enthralling clash between Wigan and Leeds, with the Warriors out for revenge following their one point defeat at the DW Stadium which left them having to go the hard way to Old Trafford.

The pre-match build up has hit fever pitch, with Phil Clarke’s controversial comments regarding Danny McGuire, who will miss the game through the injury he sustained in the dying seconds of the first game. Leeds boss Brian McClennan has waded his way in to the argument, and the two teams will certainly be out to get each other come kick-off time on Saturday.

For the sake of Super League, a fourth consecutive St Helens v Leeds final must be avoided, but it would take a brave man to bet against either home side, particularly after they had done the hard bit to secure a home tie in week three.

 

 

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