Wilkin - Bailey spat is in the past

Jon Wilkin
Jon Wilkin

JON Wilkin isn’t one to hold a grudge.

So the fact that Leeds prop Ryan Bailey is banned from Sunday’s game at Langtree Park has barely flickered across the St Helens ace’s mind.

Leeds Rhinos' Ryan Bailey

Leeds Rhinos' Ryan Bailey

Bailey is currently serving a three-match ban for man-handling referee Richard Silverwood.

He sparked the normally unflappable Wilkin’s fury for the gleeful way he rubbed salt in Saints wounds after the Grand Final, provoking an infamously acerbic outburst from the second-rower.

“I’m embarrassed for him as a human being, not just a rugby league player.” fumed Wilkin at the time.

“I have never seen such a child play a man’s game.”

Fast-forward to March 2012 and Wilkin has mellowed somewhat towards the Leeds wrecking ball.

“Everyone knows Ryan did things and said things that upset me after the game and I let him know that,” the Wilkin told The Reporter.

“There’s certainly no love lost between us and I wouldn’t be going over and giving him a hug after the game.

“But I just think there is no point holding a grudge, not in rugby league and not in life.

“I’m very much a person who believes in forgive and forget – it’s much better that way.”

The two sides meet on Sunday for the first time since last October’s Grand Final clash.

Despite the history between the two sides, Wilkin is preoccupied only with getting Saints’ season back on track.

And he doesn’t subscribe to the notion that facing high-flying Leeds could kickstart Saints season.

“People have been saying this to me but I tend to think it doesn’t really matter who you play,” he said.

“Every game is approached in the same manner.

“For me as a professional, I don’t want to attach too much emotion to any one fixture.

“One thing I look forward to about playing Leeds is that they certainly play good, expansive football and they like to throw the ball about.”

Speaking before the weekend’s defeat against Bradford and the subsequent dismissal of coach Royce Simmons, Wilkin was forthright in his views on the club’s current dip in form.

“I think being at a club like Saints for 10 years, I understand the pressure there is, whether we are winning or losing – and rightly so,” he said.

“We play for St Helens and as a club we need to set high standards and we as players understand that.”