By STEVE MASCORD
WIGAN coach Shaun Wane says he still doesn’t know what rules next week’s World Club Challenge will be played under.
The Super League and Challenge Cup champions went on a tryscoring spree in the second half last night to flog a depleted New Zealand Warriors 46-22 in a trial played under NRL regulations – but with unlimited interchanges – at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium.
While it has previously been reported that the WCC against Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Saturday week will be played under international rules with just one referee, Wayne tells Discord he has still received no confirmation of this.
“I’m going to find out in a few days,” said Wane. “I’ve not found out a final decision yet, believe it or not.
“We did everything the NRL way (against the Warriors) but I’m not sure how next Saturday’s going to go.”
Wane has also received no confirmation on who next Saturday’s referee will be. “They haven’t made the final decision on substitutes and the new rules coming in and two refs.
“Unbelievably, I’m still waiting to find out.”
A decision on whether youngster Sam Powell makes the Wigan 17 could rely on how many interchanges are permitted.
One feature of the new NRL interpretations which stuck out on Wednesday night was the pace of play with captains no longer permitted to question referees’ decisions when they are given.
“I don’t think (Wednesday’s captain) Sam Rapira was going to get in anyone’s face too much,” said Warriors coach Matthew Elliott. “Maybe he had to. There were a couple of decisions there that I thought were head-scratchers but they’re (match officials) in a trial process as well.
“But I like (the rule).”
SALFORD owner Dr Marwan Koukash is, of course, wrong in saying that Super League would benefit from the salary cap being completely abolished.
Comparisons with soccer are spurious; it is harder to score in soccer so sides spending widely varying amounts of money on their squads can remain on an even par during the course of a game. That’s what makes their World Cup so compelling; the sport gives underdogs a better chance than rugby league does.
But if Koukash wants to spend more than the RFL wants him to at this point, the answer is simple: enter a team in the NRL.
The idea of an English side in the Australasian competition has been around for a while but never has it been likely to receive a more sympathetic hearing than now, with the NRL already considering a variety of ways to exploit the English market.
Dr Koukash has deep pockets and the prospect of playing home games in large arenas around the UK against the world’s best should be particularly seductive to him. He could corner a market completely.
As we’ve said before, the English NRL team could play a month of away games followed by a month of home games. Visitors would play the previous Friday and the following Monday. Travel time is similar to that between Dunedin and, say, Durbin in Super Rugby.
And Wigan proved last night you can cross the world, play two days later, and still perform at a pretty reasonable level. Over to you, good doctor.
THANKS for the comments last week. Oethesaint said the Sky offer for Super League should have been rejected. You’re going to get criticism either way, aren’t you?