7 talking points from rugby league weekend as Wigan get much-needed win

George Williams scored a hat-trick for Wigan to take the sting out of the farcical business of who’ll be their coach next year.

There were wins for Huddersfield and Hull, Warrington and Catalans squeezed home and unbeaten St Helens power on at the summit.

Our man Nigel Wiskar takes his regular sideways look at events in Super League, salutes Percy and Wolfie and a retiring prop who once turned Wigan inside out.

1. London calling for Edwards

Another day and another chat with Shaun Edwards that says he won’t be Wigan coach next season.

Despite posing in a Wigan polo shirt and being announced at a press conference in August last year, Edwards didn’t sign a contract.

Even in a sport where shooting yourself in the foot is an art form, this whole fiasco really is a double-barrelled shotgun blowing your toes off.

Edwards was interviewed in the Sunday Times mainly about his time as defence coach of Grand Slam winners Wales.

Will he, won’t he?

He’s asked about a potential move to take the England reins after the World Cup.

Edwards says: “Unless you get an offer from someone it is all just hypothetical isn’t it. But it’s true Twickenham is just down the road (Edwards lives in nearby Chiswick), much closer than Wales. I could get the Tube there.”

Last time I looked, Wigan’s DW Stadium was 208 miles away from west London and the Northern Line halts at Edgware.

2. Leeds given the boot

There’s a moment in the latest Leeds Rhinos defeat that sums up the frustration and agonies of life down at the bottom of the table.

Hooker Lucas Albert scores from close range for Catalans Dragons. In the background Richie Myler boots away the ball in disgust.

Konrad Hurrell was at it again later in the 26-22 defeat, hurling the ball away and bellowing to the skies after he makes a mistake.

There was more frustration for Leeds in Perpignan

The body language on the field shows a desperate side slowly imploding.

Ash Handley’s hat-trick was in vain with fellow winger Found Yaha going one better with four.

Just the one win this season then for the Rhinos and next up Castleford Tigers. It doesn’t get any easier.

3. Greg cops it from his coach

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Greg Eden was compared to legendary Australian full-back Billy Slater.

After his horror show against St Helens the Castleford winger must have been feeling more like Billy No Mates.

For a winger to be substituted is humiliating enough.

Eden’s display drew the ire of his coach

For your coach to march across the pitch and give it to you during the game is even worse.

I’m no lip reading expert but the phrase “f***ing rubbish” was quite clear from coach Daryl Powell as he eyeballed his players.

Saints hammered the Tigers 42-12 and march on unbeaten at the head of the table.

4. Steaks high for Bateman

John Bateman was described as being as tough “as a two dollar steak” during the Canberra defeat at Melbourne Storm.

Bateman was outstanding again in his second NRL game since leaving Wigan, topping his side’s tackle count and proving as abrasive a runner as always.

It’s increasingly likely he’ll be joined by George Williams next season, taking the English quota at the club to five alongside Elliott Whitehead, Josh Hodgson and Ryan Sutton.

Williams grabbed a hat-trick for the warriors in yesterday’s 30-22 win at Salford, giving his side a brief respite from the Edwards sideshow this week.

5. Mascots a bunch of surreal killers

March 30 1992 is the day Sir Anthony Hopkins regards as the most memorable of his career.

He’s clearly didn’t check his Twitter feed last week.

That Monday evening in Los Angeles 27 years ago Hopkins collected the Oscar for his portrayal of serial killer Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.

On Wednesday Featherstone put out a video to mark their clash with Dewsbury. Now THIS was memorable.

Mascot Percy the pit pony is wheeled out, gagged and in a strait jacket as he confronts rival Dewsbury mascot Roger. The camera focuses on spooky mascot eyeballs (can’t believe I just typed that).

Then (ta-da!) Silence of the Rams flashes up. But it was the Rams who had the last laugh as Dewsbury won 32-22.

Superlative week for mascots with Warrington’s Wolfie donning pink shorts and a wig to tease Wakefield’s David Fifita during the Wolves’ 34-32 thrilling win. Keep it up.

6. No fan do – but the money pours in

It’s hard work trying to find the attendances for the FA Women’s Super League.

Despite the ever increasing publicity for women’s football, the BBC doesn’t carry them for the flagship league and nor does the competition’s official website. There’s no sign of them on the competing clubs’ official sites either.

Maybe there’s some kind of mass amnesia.

Maybe those attendances are disproportionate to the amount of column inches the sport has recently gained and the league think it’s smart to keep them quiet.

It doesn’t really matter because Barclays is going to pump an eye-watering £10million into women’s football over the next three years.

There’s another Women’s Super League launching their season this Saturday in Manchester.

Let’s hope the RFL & Super League are savvy enough to catch the moment and that momentum and pursue bigger sponsors and better TV coverage for the future.

If Barclays are ready to lump that much on a sport with mystery crowds, then the time is right for rugby league to be smart and catch the wave. That product is worth it.

7. Moore was simply the Fest

Sir Alex Ferguson once famously said the mesmeric running of Ryan Giggs gave defenders ‘twisted blood’.

It’s not a phrase you’d associate with prop Richard Moore who’s announced his retirement after suffering a head injury with Hunslet at the age of 37.

But cast your mind back to July 2007 when Moore scored a memorable long range try for Wakefield when they hammered Wigan 32-6.

Moore was always an entertaining player to watch, rampaging like a demented Uncle Fester.

Moore was forced to hang up his boots

On that day he left winger Mark Calderwood with twisted blood.

The hapless young Warriors full-back suffered a worse fate. As Moore charges down the field the defender in cherry and white comically shoots off in completely the wrong direction.

His name? Chris Ashton.

When England rugby union’s Ashton quits that sport he can forever earn a coin with after dinner corporate tosh. I suspect Moore will have to return to the real world somewhat quicker. I wish him well.


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