The Warrington Wolves training complex is probably not the trembling hive of anxiety that has been suggested in the RFL’s corridors of power.
After the opening round of Super League play-offs games, none other than Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood proclaimed that Warrington would face the hardest Clubcall choice ever.
By virtue of finishing second and beating Leeds 40-20, while table-toppers Huddersfield Giants surrendered 22-8 at home to Wigan Warriors, Tony Smith’s Wolves have claimed the opportunity to pick their opponents for the Super League play-off semi-finals.
What the top honcho from Red Hall Lane was driving at is that the top teams are all well-matched this season.
However, this kind of overlooks the commonsense of the situation that presents itself to Warrington.
Having already beaten Leeds, why not save them as possibly foes in the final, while St Helens have been one of the form sides at the end of the season and are probably best avoided.
That leaves the winner of tomorrow night’s clash between the Giants, who have failed to get within 20 points of the Wire in three defeats this season, or a Hull FC side who can be favourably described as determined, but possibly more realistically tagged as grimly persistent.
So really it would appear fairly straight-forward who Warrington will choose on Sunday.
The hardest task at the Halliwell Jones Stadium will be getting head coach Tony Smith to even show up for Clubcall.
The former Leeds and Giants supremo has refused to play ball before and has already said: “I’ll turn up and coach the team to play whoever we decide as a club to play, but it certainly won’t be anything influenced by me. I don’t agree with it, I don’t think it adds to our competition.”
So, Mr Wood, that tough choice facing Warrington might not be proving so difficult – indeed they might even be pulling a name out of a hat!
WE are told that football is a hard game which is played by hard men who have to face up to hard managers.
However, you have to wonder just how tough it gets in those Premier League dressing rooms.
Manchester United boss David Moyes says he has been very hard on Ashley Young for picking up a booking diving in their 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace.
So hard in fact that the winger has been publicly told not to do it again – the former Aston Villa wideman must be quaking in his boots!
Legend has it that these managers, particularly Scottish ones, were brought up in tenements in poverty on a diet of broken glass and dubbin served on slices of asbestos.
While I don’t claim to be any kind of sports psychologist, surely the message to Young is fairly simple.
If you are a winger you are paid to beat defenders to create room for a cross, pass or shot. If you are diving then you plainly don’t possess the ability to beat the man in front of you and therefore are not worthy of a game or picking up whatever appearance payment that goes with it.
A few games on the bench or even in the stands might just lead to Young working out whether he really wants to play football or just sit at home in front of the television – occasionally throwing himself to the carpet every time his partner brushes by him with a tea tray.