I PLAYED rugby union for 31 seasons and have watched The Wire off and on for about 70 years.

My opinion formed over the Steve Price/Tony Smith eras and based on my learning over the other years, can be summarised as:

1. There have been too many head down and barge, no-offload ('I shall not pass') forwards on show; Philbin, Akauola, Cooper, Hill and probably others.

Ratchford is also a culprit; after making good breaks, he goes one step too far and is tackled. Probably little use if he actually offloaded though, as more often than not there are no supporting players around – ever. Witness late breaks in Challenge Cup Final vs Catalans and Grand Final vs Wigan when the closest 'supporter' was the referee and he was 20m away! They could have won both games.

2. They are good at long range breaks and tries but at 25m and closer to the opposition line, they are next to useless with pathetic chips through with no support (unlike the NRL when there are 4 or 5 players jostling for their chips through. One always claims a try).

3. They sign on too many over-the-hill or dead legs (Inglis, Luther ?? etc) and get rid of their best players (Mamo and Austin). Mamo is the nearest thing to Brian Bevan I have seen; his anticipation for the interception is remarkable as is his pace. He will exact his revenge next season at Castleford.

4. They never seem to have plan B to counter good opposition defence, witness a game vs Leeds some years ago when their 'in-yer-face' defence stymied The Wire and even Briers was clobbered the second he received a pass. Wire lost without a Plan B which, to my mind, would have a been a rehearsed Garry Schofield chip over and collect strategy or long kick to an alerted winger. Shaun Edwards was good at this but it never seems to be utilised in RU either.

5. Studying the Aussie NRL games should be regular homework for Wire/Wolves team and coaches.

Terry Critchley,

High Legh