Imagine a day in the life of Shaun Wane.
He gets up in the morning and his wife has made him a breakfast.
“What do you think, love?”
“It was OK. There’s a million pounds worth of food in the fridge and only a fivers worth on the plate, so you couldn’t really make it any better. I’m happy with the combination between the beans and the black pudding.”
He puts on his clothes, ready for work.
Looking in the mirror, he announces – to no one in particular – “I look alreet considering there’s a million pounds worth of clothes in the wardrobe and I can only realistically kit myself out in 80 or 90 quid’s worth.”
He watches tele later on. Flicking through the channels he grumbles to the missus “A million pounds worth of channels on this thing and there’s fuck all on.”
He beats his fist on the dining table, coffee spills everywhere and he storms off upstairs to count watch the 1987 World Club Challenge on DVD to cheer himself up.
The Wire entered the merry month of May the way they began April – with two good victories over two of our nearest and dearest and still sat at the top of the league.
Wigan, depleted as they were of the likes of Sam Tomkins and Mike McIllorum, still boasted a team that included England internationals Matty Smith, John Bateman and Sean O’Loughlin, and a pack including the formidable frames of Tony Clubb and Ben Flower.
Their pack also included Taulima Tautai, who must have ran Kurt Gidley close for the man of the match award – he was one of our best players, especially in the first half. His two penalties were practically assists, gifting us free yards downfield from which we capitalised.
Wire ran dominant after those tries swung the momentum our way and Gidley – still without halfback partner Chris Sandow, don’t forget – gave the current England number 7 an absolute lesson in half back play.
The former Newcastle man was at the heart of everything; he bossed the team around the park, created space for his outside backs and expertly kicked Wigan to death.
All the questions regarding his age and whether he’s past it and other bollocks when his signature was announced have been answered. He was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch against the crust munchers.
Tony Smith’s men followed the double derby double (certain clubs would be flogging souvenir mugs in the club shop if they achieved such a feat) with a comprehensive victory over Oldham at their current Stalybridge home.
The Artists Formerly Known as the Roughyeds put up a spirited first half fight – they even opened the scoring – containing us to below 30 points at half-time.
Typically, the superior fitness and class shone through in the second half as Wire – and Ben Currie in particular – stepped it up a gear after the break and ran in over 40 points, but the part-timers of Oldham can take a lot of heart from their performance against the top of the super league.
The victory sets up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with our friends from Widnes next month. The Smellies struggled to beat Halifax of the Championship in their fourth round tie, and haven’t won in the league since we knocked them off top spot on Good Friday. The Leicester City of Super League look more like Everton these days, but a Friday night visit to the HJ is like a trip to Wembley for that lot, so we can’t afford to go into the clash with any complacency.
It’s fucking good to believe, though, isn’t it?
If you like your clichés, you’d probably say it was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ when Wire travelled to Wakefield and played like pussycats in the first half.
We were given hope of a comeback in the second half, but the slow start left us with far too much to do and, ultimately, we fell short.
Again, if you’re into your clichés, you’d say ‘can’t win ‘em all’.
Or ‘at least it wasn’t 62-0’. Granted, it’s not one of the better known clichés, that one, but it was the type of dig at Wigan you were all expecting after the opening few paragraphs.
That’s about all that’s happened since we last updated this thing. See you on the other side of the Magic Weekend. Have a good ‘un.