AT the weekend we took a break from Super League to host the Sheffield Eagles in the fourth round of what we hope will be a successful Challenge Cup campaign.
The game itself was a bit hit and miss, in terms of our performance. There were periods of the game in which we played very well and scored some good tries, but there were also times when we didn’t play with the intensity we know is required if we want to be making a trip to Wembley later in the year, especially towards the end of the game when we leaked a few tries, and that is something that, despite the game being won, is still a cause for frustration.
The fifth round draw was made on Sunday, and we again are awarded a home tie against lower league opposition in Featherstone Rovers. They are a good rugby side who are certainly one of the better teams in the Championship.
They are very well coached by Daryll Powell, and we will be giving them our full respect in the build-up to the tie.
I, like a few of the lads, still keep in contact with our former teammate and now Featherstone full-back Ian Hardman, as soon as the draw had been made, the banter had begun via text messages.
Hardy was great in his time at the club and was best mates with James Roby. At times you would think they were joined at the hip, so in a couple of weeks’ time it will be like a reunion of two long-lost brothers.
We once had a fancy dress party in which we had to dress up as WWE Wrestlers, Bryn Hargreaves was the Undertaker, Jon Wilkin as Rick Flair, Matty Smith as Hulk Hogan and there were many more. Hardy and Robes came as a Tag Team called Legion of Doom, anything so they didn’t have to be apart.
n AFTER the disappointment of James Graham announcing he would be leaving at the end of the season, it was really heartening to hear that the club had completed the signing of Gold Coast Titans forward Anthony Laffranchi, who is a player with a wealth of big game experience.
He has won an NRL Grand Final with the West Tigers in 2005, represented New South Wales in the State of Origin, was part of Australia’s World Cup squad in 2008, and unlike Jammer he doesn’t mind sharing his protein shakes with his teammates, so there is no denying he will be a fantastic addition to what will be a strong squad next season.
n AS a squad we have really settled in at our new training complex at Cowley, and that has been helped further this week by the long-awaited arrival of a dartboard.
I have been the St Helens RL darts champion for a good number of years now, but after a break from throwing I will be honing my skills in a quest to remain at the top of the tree.
My main challenge will come from Sean Magennis, who as been spotted practising in various social clubs in and around the town.
Jamie Foster also says he fancies a crack at my title, but has refused to play until some custom-made flights he ordered have arrived, apparently he thinks they will complement his hair style.
And then there is Gary Wheeler, who is the self proclaimed heir to my darting throne.
I am willing at some point to give them all an opportunity, but I should warn them that it’s no coincidence that the last three players to take me on were Paul Sculthorpe, who retired from all sport shortly after, Willie Talau, who moved to Salford through utter shame and humiliation, and Jamie Lyon who scarpered back to Australia with his tail between his legs.
So take me on by all means, but I won’t be held responsible for the consequences.
Thanks for the support, Wello