Yeah kinda expected Wigan to soar back up the table once everyone came back but it's not been the case - hopefully it's just a case of shaking off the rust and they can still challenge for 4th but looks unlikely. Could do with a Challenge Cup final at least.
Great to see the likes of Salford and Wakefield (without Johnstone!) challenging for top 4 though - Huddersfield look a good side now too even with Mamo sidelined.
Hitchcox got done on a high ball that Eden would have probably done better with and Eden didn't have a great game defensively at full back so maybe. Forwards got thoroughly out-worked though - Millington and McMeeken were ineffective and Moors and Milner made too many handling errors, none of that was down to Hardaker's absence.
The ultimate 'what-if' but I thought turning down 2 on a couple of occasions very early on was very naive and something that a more seasoned side like Leeds would have never done in a Grand Final in tricky conditions.
Cas pretty much have everyone under contract for at least next season so should be fine for another go - don't think they'll have the resources to go for someone like Walmsley though as rumoured so it'll be a similar group (+/- Hardaker).
Leeds are an interesting one - always there but Dwyer and Myler replacing legends like McGuire and Burrow is a bit underwhelming (loads of young talent but not much leadership). Very early movers are Warrington - nicked Goodwin off Leigh and are set to buy Murdoch-Masila and get Tyrone Roberts in as a marquee player.
That England squad is stinking. Only 2 wingers and one, Hall, shouldn't be anywhere near the squad. Ratchford (a good player granted) ahead of Shaul and Tomkins. Bateman and Currie used as centres - Chris Hall and Kevin Brown somehow being included. Downright bizarre, Wayne Bennett is the worst. Dinosaur.
No and No unfortunately. Tonga are strong in the forwards but hookers, half backs and stand offs run games and they've got very little on paper there.
England are seemingly going to try and batter the Aussies into submission - would have preferred Burgess at loose forward, Currie at second row, Percival in with Bateman on the bench for Heighington but there we go. Looking forward to it anyway, shame BBC/Sky/BT didn't get TV rights for the whole thing as there's plenty of intrigue with the smaller teams (Tedesco for Italy, Samoa/Tonga, home nation underdogs, Papua New Guinea on home soil for their national sport)
Forwards are far too slow off the line and not making any breaks either. Chris Hill looks in terrible shape. Bateman has been good but he's not a centre - get Percival in and use Bateman in the back row
Shite again after the first 20 minutes. Stefan Ratchford on the wing in an international tournament whilst Greg Eden is probably sat in Ibiza or something - bizarre situation to only take 2 wingers when you know there will be some rotation against Lebanon & France.
Few positives were Widdop, McGillvary and Walmsley. Bennett needs to have a serious re-think of the composition of his backs because at the moment, we'll get run off the park by Tonga in the semis, you can't have a second rower in Bateman trying to compete on the edge with someone like Mahe Fonua.
We struggled against Lebanon but that results suggests they're no mugs. We should beat PNG comfortably, they're a power side which is what we are set up to deal with well - who knows though - this might be one of those tournaments.
Fully expect an anti climax next week however where the Aussies put up 40 against that heroic Fijian defence.