Cunningham: Club champ is a shot in the arm

Keiron Cunningham says Wigan's win over Cronulla is good for Super League
Keiron Cunningham says Wigan's win over Cronulla is good for Super League

Wigan and Warrington’s triumphs in the Dacia World Club Challenge Series will have given Super League a much-needed shot of adrenaline and at the same time boosted England’s hopes of heading Down Under towards the end of the year and claiming the greatest prize in the 13-a-side code.

England, or Great Britain as they were known at the time, last lifted the World Cup in 1972 - and the cupboard has been bare ever since.

Now there is renewed optimistic following the Warriors 26-6 crushing of the Cronulla Sharks and the Wolves equally impressive 27-18 victory over Brisbane Broncos that the tide could also be turning at international level.

But is it just wishful thinking that we can demolition the only other winners of the Holy Grail, Australia and New Zealanders, in their own back yard?

Saints’ head coach Keiron Cunningham wouldn’t fully commit himself on the issue when I spoke to him this week - even though in his view the England team which played in last year’s Four Nations was the best he had seen on paper for a long time.

He said: “I don’t know whether we will win the World Cup but if you are talking about the squad of players available I think it contains one of the best packs in the world and anything is possible.”

The St Helens boss said he was also delighted at the successes achieved by Wigan boss Shaun Wane and his Warrington counterpart, Tony Smith, and also took a swipe at those who had been knocking both Super League and the global club competition.

Cunningham said: “People - some of whom occupy high positions at this moment in time - have been telling us we are not fit or skilful enough and all those sort of things but you only have to look at the two games at the week-end to see it isn’t true.”

Still on the World Series theme, no one lit up the week-end better than Warrington’s stand-off Kevin Brown, scoring a try the first time he touched the ball and generally orchestrating victory over the Broncos.

But how close did he come to signing for St Helens during the close season?

Cunningham admitted this week that they were interested in the local lad, adding: “We tried our best to sign Kevin as we did with a lot of players so let’s leave it at that.

“It would, however, have been nice to get him but unfortunately the ball was in Widnes’ court.”