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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Jon Wilkin column
Jon Wilkin

By Jon Wilkin
St Helens back row

As a spectator there can be nothing more satisfying than observing your team win a game which is in the balance throughout.

Luckily, Saints managed to beat Salford by a single point in what was an amazing last five minutes at Knowsley Road.

Young Matty Smith showed great poise and skill to kick the match-winning drop goal.

After a good bedtime story and mug of warm milk, Paul soon got to sleep and had one of the best night's kip he has had for a while

I was sat in the stands watching the action and laughing at Paul Wellens next to me.

When it came to the final few minutes, he looked like a petrified child, cowering in his seat in need of a comfort blanket and reassurance from the chairman that everything would turn out alright in the end!

After a good bedtime story and mug of warm milk, Paul soon got to sleep and had one of the best night's kip he has had for a while.

As players we really do care about the outcome of our games.

As in any aspect of life, when you put your name to something you want it to be credible and successful as it reflects upon you as a person. It is especially relevant in sport as success is determined by results.


In our pursuit of 'constructive' things to do outside of our rugby league bubble, we have often chatted about which cars would be suited to each position on the pitch.

After very careful consideration, I have come up with the following suggestions:

  • Full-back: A sporty hatchback, agile and reliable. Can be explosive but also happy to idle around at the back.

  • Winger: Without doubt an Italian sports car. Flashy, very fast and unpredictable! They have the speed to win any race and get the headlines.

  • Centre: Can only be compared to a sports coupe. Good all-rounders with speed and agility. Also able to turn heads but also very subtle as well!

  • Half-back: The super car of the team. Expensive to run and maintain. Finding good a one is rare but they are always full of tricks and spontaneous behaviour. NB. Must be serviced regularly and kept under a sheet/cotton wool.

  • Forwards: A large fleet of vans. Some are larger and bulkier than others, able to carry heavy loads for short spells (props). Others have less room but possess better fuel consumption (back-row). They are all directed by an aggressive man sat in the head office on the radio (hooker).


    Some important fixtures are coming up in the domestic calendar but one game of particular interest is the forthcoming Test between Great Britain and France.

    It will be Tony Smith's first chance to interact with players and get an understanding of how different styles of play combine following his appointment as Lions coach.

    Getting my first GB cap last year was one of the proudest moments of my life

    Every eligible player in the league will be looking to put in good performances leading into the game. That goes for me too!

    Getting my first GB cap last year was one of the proudest moments of my life and I would do anything for another opportunity.

    But international selection is a reflection of club form, so I will be totally focused on producing the goods for Saints in the coming weeks.


    Hi Jon, Saints have a magnificent side and a superb to watch yet fail to attract the big crowds of Leeds and Wigan. Do you think the facilities at Knowsley Road are to blame for Saints relatively low crowds?
    Steve Errigadoo, Warrington

    Firstly, Leeds is a big place and they have such a large potential audience, especially with the fall of their football team! I honestly feel our stadium is slightly hampering the club. That said, I know that the planning and building of a new stadium is complicated and should not be rushed. It must be done well so the new stadium stands the test of time like Knowsley Road has.

    Jon, how old is too old? I have played rugby since I was eight, more or less continuously and fairly injury free. Kids came along and I had a three-year break. Recently I was tempted to restart at Higginshaw RLFC and felt very fit, even leaving younger players behind on long runs and sprints. However, every game now leaves me with bent fingers, torn ligaments on the clavicle and slow-healing elbows. I am a half-back/stand-off with a big tackle and the game is in my blood, but should I head the warnings or am I past it.
    Jarrod Forshaw, Ashton-under-Lyne

    Hi, Jarrod. Rugby is something which you enjoy so, regardless what level or what age you are, if it makes you smile and keeps you fit keep going! That's unless you were eight years old in 1923 and you're still playing now. If that's the case, for medical reasons I would urge you to retire from the sport and take on an administration role! Your body will tell you when to give up. I am 23 and the injuries you talk of I have experienced as well. They are just an occupational hazard.

    Given the relative success of Catalans Dragons in Super League do you think the time has now come for France to be included in the Tri-Nations to make it a four-nation tournament?
    John Barry, Leeds

    Catalans dragons are doing well but I would like to see more French players in their team. I know its tough but I honestly don't think France are ready for the step up yet. They are showing signs but why not keep the emerging nations thing going? When France have dominated that competition, then they should be considered for the Tri-Nations.



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