Wigan are once again at the top of the pile in England after a dominant 22-10 win over St Helens in the 2010 Super League Grand Final.
A sellout crowd of 71,526 filled Old Trafford to watch the two old rivals face off but it was pretty clear from early on that Wigan looked up for the game while St Helens looked a bit off.
Thanks to Channel 9 in Australia buying the rights to Super League, and then not showing ANY of the games, including the Challenge Cup Final and Grand Final, until 12:10am the following Monday morning, I was forced to watch this match on illegal online streams.
I think the thing to get out of this entire Super League season is that the difference between a top quality coach, and the English Rugby League coaching establishment, is massive.
Wigan were not going all that well and knew they needed to turn things around. They went out, and they didn’t sign a name, they didn’t sign someones mate, they signed a good coach from a good coaching staff in Australia and let him get on with the job.
Only 12 months ago Michael Maguire was a little known assistant coach at the Melbourne Storm. He came to Wigan late late season and in just one off season, with a relatively unchanged playing staff, turned Wigan into Super League champions.
Of the final four Super League semi final teams, every one of them were coached by Australians.
Yes, money has a lot to do with where teams finish in Super League, however you can no deny that Nathan Brown, a failed NRL coach, and Michael Maguire are clear cut the two best coaches in Super League with MIchael Potter, as disliked as he was by St Helens fans, getting the job done also.
This all comes back to the gap in quality we seen between the game in the Southern Hemisphere and the game in the Northern Hemispheres. Its night and day really. What is happening in Australia and in the NRL is just a completely different level to what we are seeing in Super League.
Its 2010, the world is a much smaller place. England is only a 24 hour flight from Australia. With the internet, video conferencing and live broadcasts of games, there should be no reason why Super League and the game in England in general should be so far off the pace.
If one man can go from an assistant coaching role in Australia and have such a totally dominant effect over in Super League, surely there is no better sign that the different standards between the two competition is vast, and needs to be addressed.
Wigans win will hopefully be a win for change in England. To be able to see what is possible when you embrace the cutting edge of the sport, that you don’t have to bring in star players or outspend everyone else, you just need to aim for the best and accept nothing less.
So well done to Wigan, its good to see them being the team to beat once again.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
Apr 14, 2019 0