Rob Watson, writing as Spirit of '55, gives his take on the season so far and the hopes of replicating the last champion Wire team of 63 years ago

A HARD-FOUGHT victory against a good Huddersfield side in excellent form was a fitting way to clinch a place in the play-offs.

I believe this Wire team have been one of the four best in the competition this year and so deserve their spot in the semi-finals.

As is virtually always the case with sport and particularly with Wire it hasn’t been a smooth ride, with plenty of areas for improvement.

Considering we didn’t know what to expect from this ‘transitional’ season, a Wembley appearance and a top four finish should go down as 'so far, so pretty good'.

There are still some of the familiar flaws, a lack of belief and composure that flared up in that performance at Wembley that was full of panic and turned into a collective shocker.

A lack of cohesion in attack is still there at times, especially when close to the opponents' line.

With the biggest games still to come the inability to set up for and execute well a drop goal is somewhat alarming.

I prefer though to spend time focusing on the positives.

While it is ‘only a game’, I’m sure that for a lot of people watching The Wire is a great piece of escapism that helps them deal with any negativity in their own lives.

I have certainly needed some distraction this year and while I haven’t been able to get to many games, having a Wire team winning plenty of matches and more importantly playing with a passion and togetherness has definitely helped my mood.

Some fans seem to be at their happiest when they are complaining. If this team somehow cured cancer I think some supporters would criticise them for creating an over population crisis.

This team have plenty of strike power out wide, can score tries from just about anywhere, have good go forward down the middle and a defence that has looked sound in the vast majority of games this season.

They have a full-back who can create something out of nothing, two wingers who can score plenty of tries including ones that few other wingers could, plenty of dangerous runners from centre and second row, forwards who can at least hold their own against anyone and a hooker that is as dangerous as any in the competition.

Then we have the much-criticised half backs, playing the most difficult role in rugby league.

While it would be great to have Alfie Langer and Lee Briers at their peak playing in this team (although we never won Super league with either of them playing), I do think Brown and Roberts are doing a better job than a lot of people seem to think they are.

In sport there is only 12 inches difference between a noose and a halo and if one or both of them have a couple of good games at the end of the season or maybe even kick a winning drop goal, then history will remember them differently.

Going into the play-offs I acknowledge that The Wire will be underdogs, but I think being the dangerous outsiders suits this team.

Going into a semi-final and final without the pressure of being favourites can work out well, just ask Catalans.

I’m getting carried away and being optimistic, but that is one of the great joys of following a sports team for me and I certainly prefer it to being miserable.

As has been the case in many of the last nine seasons, The Wire have given themselves a chance of the biggest prize.

Win the last two games of the season and they will be champions for the first time in sixty-three years.

Lately, finals haven’t been going so well, but if you keep being the bridesmaid you are giving yourself more chance of finally catching the bouquet.