I was right in my prediction that Wigan would win the Betfred Challenge Cup – just!
The Warriors were certainly made to earn their victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against a battling Huddersfield Giants side who must look back at what got away.
In the opinion of many, the Giants were the better side – but in cup rugby that unfortunately counts for nothing.
I spoke in my column last week about Wigan’s big-game experience, and although this was far from a classic performance you have to hand it to Matty Peet’s players who yet again showed that Warriors’ resilience to hang in there, stealing victory from the jaws of defeat with Liam Marshall’s late try.
One thing the Challenge Cup teaches you is that on any day you can come unstuck if you don’t perform – and this is the same in Betfred Super League as we head towards the business end of the season.
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The current St Helens team is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above any other side in the league, including Wigan and Huddersfield.
Kristian Woolf and co. face another tough trip to France to play Toulouse, one of only two teams (if you count Castleford’s win against our academy) to beat the champions in the league in 2022.
It’s top against bottom. Titles sponsors Betfred’s EVS favourites for Grand Final glory against the 500/1 rank outsiders. It should be a given, right?!
As I stated earlier, nothing in this sport is a given as we found out in March, losing our 100% record when going down 22-20 to the Super League new boys.
However, I’m sure there will be a different mindset this Saturday at the Stade Ernest Wallon as Kristian Woolf and his players will be refreshed after a week off and eager to get back to business.
Despite sitting bottom of the table with just two wins on their record, Toulouse have shown this year what they are capable of.
Saints will give them the respect they deserve, but all focus will be about us controlling the ball, our defensive line speed and effort-based fundamentals. If we can get those things right the scoreboard should take care of itself.
Finally, it must have been music to the ears of the Saints faithful to hear that Jack Welsby has committed himself to the club for at least another three years.
I’ve watched Jack, one of the up and coming superstars of the British game, come through the system at the Totally Wicked Stadium and he’s always been a natural ‘player’.
Above all he is a great kid with a great work ethic, and it would be no surprise to see Jack lead this great club to success for the next decade and become a Saints great!
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