THERE are so many ‘ifs and buts’ to ponder this week in the aftermath of a deflating Challenge Cup semi-final defeat.
We’re all wondering if the right team was selected, playing Chris Bridge in the centres after starring in the influential half-back role for three months.
That meant Stefan Ratchford and Richie Myler combining at number six and seven for the first time since April 11, while putting Bridge and Joel Monaghan back in tandem on the right flank having not paired up since April 18.
Matty Russell, Ryan Atkins and Ben Westwood were welcomed back after a week off duty and with Michael Monaghan, Trent Waterhouse, Paul Wood, Simon Grix and Myler all having only recently returned from long injuries, was it too many changes in a short period of time and too many lacking in full match sharpness?
The truth is, we’ll never know if a different outcome would have surfaced from different selections.
Certainly nobody in their right mind would argue Wolves deserved to win on Saturday on the back of their first-half showing.
But if any number of the 50:50 decisions or occurrences that seemed to go Leeds’ way had swung in Warrington’s favour, especially in the opening 40 minutes, it could have made a difference because I thought Leeds were there for the taking.
I’m referring to moments like Matty Russell’s pass to a try-line bound Richie Myler being judged as forward, broken play from a bouncing high kick ending up in the hands of retreating Leeds defender Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall’s opening try being awarded as benefit of the doubt by video referee Ben Thaler and his second score coming from a forward pass.
How on earth was the ‘incidental and non-deliberate poke in the eye’ by Zak Hardaker on Chris Hill, that understandably led to the prop dropping the ball as he tried to touch down, not picked up as a penalty at least by Thaler?
And how did the officials miss Kylie Leuluai flattening Anthony England off the ball in the first half?
Sour grapes? You bet it is, because it was our year!