Whilst all the talk this week is about the Warrington Wolves impending clash with Huddersfield in Saturday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley, there is a very pressing matter that demands the club’s urgent attention. And no one seems to care.
Hello! Er … Super League! Anyone in Warrington interested? Er, hello?
At least head coach, Tony Smith admits:
“We haven’t achieved anything yet”.
But it seems the whole organisation is blind to the fact that even with an expanded eight team playoff structure they may still miss out on a playoff place.
Maybe we can forgive the town a little cup-blindness, they haven’t been to Wembley since the Bay City Rollers the hot band. But Smith – who’s only final experience is as coach of the Leeds side beaten 25-24 by Hull in 2005 – appears equally smitten, adding:
“Everywhere you go people are waving and wishing you well when you’re out and about. There’s flags on the cars. The kids are wearing the jerseys – it’s lovely for the fans and they’re really getting behind their team. “
Yet the Wolves are currently two points adrift of seventh and eighth placed clubs Catalans Dragons and Castleford, with only league games to play.
Those games are no pushovers either, with a tough trip to Hull KR first-up after the final. The Robins will be pressing hard for third place and with the Giants also involved at Wembley will scent a real chance to put the boot in against the Wolves.
That same round will see the Tigers at Harlequins and Catalans hosting Wakefield; games both home sides will fancy themselves to win. If the Quins do win then they too will be back in the mix, level on points with the Wolves.
So, it likely will come down to the final round of games.
In which case the Wolves will need to beat the Harlequins at the HJS, whilst hoping that the Catalans slip up badly at St Helens, or the Tigers go down at home to the Celtic Crusaders.
What it all comes down to is focus and how well the players adjust to the emotional roller-coaster of Wembley week. Regaining focus on the league after Wembley has traditionally been problematic. But a Wembley wobble would be costly for these Wolves.
Remaining engage Super League XIV fixtures:
- Warrington (22pts) face Hull KR away and Harlequins at home in their remaining two engage Super League XIV fixtures.
- Castleford (24pts) are at Harlequins and then host Celtic Crusaders
- Catalans (24pts) host Wakefield then travel to St Helens
- Quins (22pts) host Castleford and travel to Warrington.