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SPIRIT OF 55: The end is nigh
9:37am Monday 10th September 2012 in Wolves news
Is it really round 27 already?
All the league games played and it seems to have flown by, I doubt it has gone so fast for all the players. With nothing tangible at stake we knew the changes to the line-up were coming and most of us probably feared a repeat of the sort of performance that was produced at Salford and London.
Not so much because we thought it was a distinct possibility, but that we really didn’t want to have a performance like that against Widnes.
Any sort of defeat to Widnes would’ve been even more embarrassing than those two hammerings, because of the local ‘derby’ factor.
Instead - and not for the first time - making many changes to the team still resulted in a thoroughly professional performance and a very comfortable win.
Having completed the half marathon in the morning (and I use the word completed rather than ran because I only ran the first 100 yards or so before feeling a muscle pull in my calf and walking the rest of the way) I decided to forgo the short trip to Widnes and settle for listening to the game on the radio as I lay in bed recovering.
However I heard more than enough to know that Wire had produced another display full of creativity, desperation in defence and that wonderful ability to score tries.
I was reminded of a time when a disgruntled Liverpool fan turned to me after a Man United goal had been scored as we watched it on the telly.
They said ‘that’s all you’re good at, scoring goals.’ I simply nodded, smiled and replied; ‘that’s a pretty good thing to be good at though.’ All sports have a scoring system and many things can be an influence on that score, but ultimately the act of scoring itself along with the ability to stop your opponents scoring is always going to be the most important ability.
The Widnes player working as a co-commentator on Wire FM made a few references to things they had been watching on video about Warrington’s performance, he had to acknowledge that there was a world of difference between knowing what was coming and being able to stop it.
It is noticeable that when Warrington are attacking close to their opponent’s line they look similar to every other team in Super League in terms of the way they set up and the options they want to take.
The big difference being is they do those things much better than most.
Most great teams in any sport throughout history haven’t done anything differently, they have merely done the same things better than anyone else.
Now the jockeying for position is complete, all that remains is the four-week hunt for ultimate glory that is the play-offs.
We know we will enter the play-offs from second place, meaning home field advantage throughout, providing we win our first game.
That first game is a tough one against St Helens, the only team to beat us at home this year.
A win will give us a week off before the semi –final; a loss will give us another chance to win a home game to get a place in the final four.
It can all get confusing when you’re trying to explain it to someone, but essentially if we keep winning we will be champions, if we keep losing we won’t.
About half way through the season I named a 17 that I would select had the Grand Final been the following week.
Since then a few people have played themselves into my seventeen and a few have played their way out, either due to not being at their best form, not playing much since then or just being unlucky enough to have someone playing a little bit better in my opinion.
For the record my Grand Final 17 would now be as follows:
Hodgson; J. Monaghan, Ratchford, Atkins, Riley; Briers, Myler; Hill, M. Monaghan, Carvell, Westwood, Waterhouse, Grix. Subs: Higham, Morley, Harrison, Bridge.
Still an unbelievably difficult task, but it’s still great that I’m leaving people out who I think deserve to be and are good enough to be in a Grand Final 17, rather than having to pick some who I don’t think are good enough.
This is it then, what the whole season has been building towards, three consecutive wins will see the Wire finally be champions again.