Wello’s World - Challenge Cup was painful to watch

Josh Charnley and Paul Deacon with the Challenge Cup'Challenge Cup Final 2011
Josh Charnley and Paul Deacon with the Challenge Cup'Challenge Cup Final 2011

WITH no Super League fixtures last weekend, we have had an opportunity to put in some extra work in training.

We have been working hard on certain aspects of our game that we feel needs improvement, and our conditioner Matt Daniels has also had his slice of the cake with a few rather unpleasant fitness drills.

We had one particular session at the swimming pool which I only wish I had video footage of Leon Pryce’s attempt at the butterfly.

If the pool was five metres longer, he would have almost certainly drowned.

I feel the squad have benefited from a week off from playing, although we would have much rather have been involved in the Challenge Cup final, it has provided some players with a few bumps and bruises an opportunity to freshen up.

We now look forward to facing Salford on Friday evening, in what will be our last home game of the regular season.

Salford picked up their first win under new coach Matt Parish against Huddersfield in their last match, and will no doubt be in confident mood.

They will be looking to continue their good form and we know it will be a tough game.

They are a team with a lot of quality players – Luke Patten at full-back has 10 years of NRL experience, and is a very important player for them, and they have my former team-mate Matty Smith too.

Matty, or Smeegs as he is affectionately known, is a top guy, who a lot of us still keep in touch with.

He was instrumental in helping us reach the Grand Final last year, and I know the lads hold him in high regard.

We have spoken as a group and understand the importance of playing well in the final two Super League rounds, so we can take some momentum into the play-off series.

The aim and expectations within the group is to win the Grand Final in October, and although that is six weeks away, a lot of what we do over the coming weeks with regard to our attitude and commitment can go a long way to helping us reach our targets.

n AS a professional sportsman, it is extremely difficult when having to watch showpiece occasions from your sofa, rather than being involved.

And I have to admit there was a touch of the green-eyed monster when watching the Challenge Cup final on Saturday afternoon.

I thought it was a very good game to watch, and on the balance of play, you would have to say Wigan deserved their victory.

In the first half, they were very dominant and I thought Leeds had no way back.

But they have a lot of experienced players who who know how to handle pressure situations.

They showed great character and resilience to hang on, and they did well to get themselves into a position from which they could have gone on to win.

There were a lot of people within the game who predicted a comfortable Wigan win, but it is very rare that a major final is a one-sided affair.

n I’m sure all our fans share the players excitement and anticipation of moving into our new home for the 2012 season – the stadium looks spectacular and will no doubt provide a fantastic atmosphere for us all to enjoy.

For those who have yet to purchase their season tickets, Saints are running season ticket forums at the Park Inn, in St Helens, from Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm to 7pm for the next three weeks. But you can also buy at the town centre store, online and via the ticket hotline (01744 455052).

All the best – Wello