First of all, if you live in the UK let me recommend Super League’s video highlights package. If you sign up for free you can get extensive video highlights of every game. Sure, the games that aren’t on Sky only seem to have one camera, but it’s better than nothing and they do manage to fit quite a lot of highlights in there. Although the game isn’t served that well on TV it does seem to be well served by the internet (as well as Super League’s own service there’s the Super League Show on the BBC Iplayer and Boots N’ All Online either on the Sky website or as video podcast on iTunes).
Leeds looked very ominous in patches against the Crusaders, and Kallum Watkins’ pass to Scott Donald in particular showed the potential that has many raving over him. Leeds were a little ring-rusty and should be more clinical once they get a little more momentum (that JJB break and pass to McGuire is the kind of move I’d expect to get finished off in a few weeks). In my prediction I got it the shape of the match wrong way around: Leeds blew out Celtic early before allowing them back in. Well, I say allow but Celtic also upped their game and looked a lot more solid defensively in the second half. Considering two scores came off either a wonder pass or a stupid mistake and you would have to say that the Crusaders have something to work with. Managing to draw the second half after a) the calamity of a preseason they’ve had and b) the first half they had was an achievement in itself, and their try was a nicely worked affair indeed. Now they just need to make sure they can keep up a defensive effort for the whole eight minutes.
Talking of defensive efforts… Dave Halley did well to take the opportunities given to him, but they were gifts from a pretty poor Wigan defensive effort. In fact Wigan were lucky that Wakefield blew a few opportunities over the line as well. It’s also typical that after having a gut feeling that they might improve and really challenge this year, they go and really suck in the first game. Fears about their cutting edge also seemed to gain momentum, and that combined with a poor defensive error effort is never ever a good combination. There’s also a lot of imports in the squad whose performances makes it really hard to justify their position in the side (is Cameron Phelps really worth a plce over Darrell Goulding? I can’t believe he’s much cheaper…) which in turn makes you wonder what’s the point of them having a winning Academy. Of course, all this is focusing too much on Wigan and not enough on Wakefield who look their chances well and looked surprisingly threatening. It looks like it’s game on for this season…
Of course, Wakefield’s win (and the weather of the last week forcing Quins-Bradford to be abandoned) means that my Crystal Ball needs a good check-up. I looked on for Leeds by 40 at half-time, but credit to the Crusaders for proving me wrong. I nearly predicted that Quins-Bradford would be called off, but I’ve chosen to rule my prediction void and wait for them to do it properly (and I reserve the right to change my prediction).
Results: 1/2 (50%)
Margins: 0/2 (0%)