Widnes, Wakefield and… Wembley?

Danny Drinkwater, Kasper Schmeichel, Claudia Ranieri, Jamie Vardy, Gary Linekar. Can you hear me Gary Linekar? Your boys took a hell of a beating.

Again.

Yes, yes, we are still doing that ‘Leicester City of Super League’ joke. And why wouldn’t we? They’re still singing about a Pre-Season friendly they won when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, we don’t think making fun of their early season arrogance is passé just yet.

It wasn’t a hell of a beating, of course, it was more of a lucky escape in all honesty. Another occasion in a growing list when Warrington didn’t play well at all, but somehow, someway, managed to scrape a victory.

We have been guilty of not being able to do that for a few years, so while we can all sit and grumble ‘we won’t win fuck all playing like that’, it’s an encouraging sign that the team can tough it out and win matches ‘ugly’ when needed and we’re not just a bunch of ‘fast track bullies’ that can’t play when things aren’t going their way.

That said, you’d feel a lot more confident of a return to Wembley for the first time since 2012 if we started to actually hit a bit of form –performance-wise – over the next four weeks, wouldn’t you?

You can’t disagree that playing Wakefield at Leigh is the most favourable draw for us, but the other options were the team at top of super league or fucking Wigan.

And, in fairness, Wakefield could be saying the same about drawing us.

Anyone writing the-artists-formerly-known-as-the-wildcats off already is about as intelligent as those special band of people polled by YouGov as UKIP and remain voters.

“I don’t agree with their stance on the EU, it’s the other UKIP policies* that attracted me to them.”

We were favourites against both Hull clubs in recent semi-finals – massively so against Rovers last year – and still managed to throw away the games from winning positions, and Wakefield have been this season’s “Hull KR” if you like.

Totally written off as relegation fodder at the start of the season, they endured a horrendous opening few games and saw their coach Brian ‘our kid’ Smith depart in the most acrimonious of ways, essentially slagging off everyone involved with the club on his way out.

Since then, however, they’ve punched above their weight and sprung a few upsets this season, forcing their way into contention for a top eight finish.

Their squad boasts some experienced professionals like Scott Moore and Nick Scruton who have played at some of the biggest clubs around, picking up some medals along the way, and a sprinkling of precocious talents in Jacob Miller and Tom Johnstone that can turn a game in an instant.

Anyway, the game on Friday against Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidnes – as they are now officially known as – was a tense affair, with both teams looking shaky at times, but a late Kurt Gidley penalty goal confirmed our presence in a fifth consecutive semi-final.

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidnes’ fall from grace this season is exemplified by the fact when they came to the HJ, or ‘Wembley’ as it’s known in their town, at Easter, they were singing about potentially winning the league. This time around, their players were given a rapturous reception at the end of the game for getting the moral victory as they avoided a thrashing.

Warrington struggled at times to gain any fluidity in attack again, which is surprising and infuriating considering the first choice spine of the team is now firmly in place at 6,7 and 1.

We relied on individual inspiration rather than a cohesive collaborative effort to get over the try line, with our tries coming from the brute force of Jack Hughes, Penny latching on to a George King(!!) kick and Brad Dwyer displaying his pace after he was first to collect Gidley’s rebounded grubber, but you already know that, you saw it happen.

We would love to elaborate more, but we’re off to stand outside the ticket office to make sure we get our semi-final tickets.

You’re not a true fan unless you queue for hours on end for a ticket you can easily purchase online and over the phone.**

In a bit.

 

*Of which there are none. At all.

**Joking, of course. We all know you’re not a true fan until you’ve told another fan they’re not a true fan.

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