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Rugby League: Crusaders deserve credit but don't get carried away [Feb. 3rd, 2010|12:07 pm]
Sports Shorts


There are times when you're delighted to be proved wrong.

I'll admit that I set out for Wrexham on Friday very sceptical about claims of a sell-out crowd and even more sceptical about Crusaders' ability to give Leeds a game.

Well, credit where it's due. The club must have done a great selling job in North Wales to get more than 10,000 into the Racecourse Ground. And the team responded magnificently by holding the best team in Super League for 65 minutes before running out of gas.

A lot of people immediately revised their predictions that Crusaders will finish bottom. I'd insert a couple of words of caution about that. Conditions were certainly in their favour and it took Leeds a while to decide whether they fancied it on the night.

There was also a surge of adrenalin that they might find hard to replicate week after week. What can't be denied is that they were far better organised than we had any right to expect.

There was nothing there that should dissuade any of the 10,000 from going again, but don't underestimate the power of novelty. There were 17,000 in Paris for the first night of Super League - a figure they never got near again.

Which brings me to London the following day. Harlequins and Wakefield turned in a far better display than you could expect at this ridiculously early time of year - but it felt like there was nobody there to watch it.

Perhaps that was because so little is expected of Quins this season. If they defend like they did against the Wildcats, though, they will win a few games that you wouldn't fancy them for.

Sunday should have been Workington, but even as I gathered the tools of my trade and prepared to set off I was thinking: "There's no chance of this being played."

And that was one thing at the weekend that I was right about.