In a recent repeat of Top Gear Jeremy Clarkson introduced someone he claimed to be the worlds most anonymous pop star, Brian Johnson of AC-DC, who went on to post a modest lap in the reasonably priced car. I am clueless about music – though I admit to having heard of AC-DC – so I must bow the Clarkson’s claim.
It became apparent that Mr Johnson’s anonymity was the result of a carefully conceived and indeed wonderfully refreshing policy. However there is a big story in sport that remains stubbornly subterranean. Wigan Warriors are 4 points clear at the top of the ‘Super League’, that’s Rugby League to those of you brought up on Uncle Eddie Waring and the dark satanic mills of Leigh.
Why is it a big story? Well if you are a Wigan supporter like me it is obviously not only big but long overdue – and indeed quite worrying since past seasons have only served to disappoint. Wigan have been in sad decline for a number of years; after an incomparable 8 year spell of domination Wigan’s power waned and then slumped as the salary cap took its grip.
Chelsea must hope Michel Platini does not read this blog.
Inevitably there is an Australian coach at the heart of the club’s revival, although previous coach Brian Noble will be hoping that all his 4 years of groundwork will not go unnoticed. But step by step, overcoming one bad Australian signing after another Wigan have finally found not only the right blend but have also uncovered an unnervingly great and precocious talent at stand-off.
I say unnerving because Sam Tompkin’s form this season has been a revelation and one hesitates to lay down a hostage to fortune by predicting a glittering future for this young man. Even as we speak another dramatic star from the start of Wigan’s season, Aboriginal winger Amos Roberts languishes with a knee injury. Previous injuries and loss of form cruelly hamstrung his promising early career which was gloriously resurrected as Wigan blasted their early season authority on the Super League.
But why is it being studiously avoided by sports editors everywhere? Rugby league is a great game – I defy anyone to suggest otherwise – but in the list of priorities of the nationals it hardly ranks at all. Topping the ladder by a remarkable 4 points is no fluke by Wigan and there are personal stories aplenty to delight even the most hardened hack. But rugby league doggedly continues to to be the poor relation. Shame on a blinkered and ignorant press who are as happy as ever to roll out their preconceived prejudices.
PS: Back to Top Gear – Johnson also pointed out that his band’s music played an important part in sustaining and ultimately rescuing the helicopter pilot of ‘Blackhawk Down’ fame. As he said it was a nice story. Reader’s will guess the same trick would not work for me – although projecting a video of Brett Kenny’s try in the ’85 Cup Final just might.