The Dentist’s Diary – 525th

Well that was a predictable outcome I guess, because how often in the past have we got that elusive big gate to the KCOM only to let them down? Last Thursday’s was a game that was perhaps best summed up in one word, because our display in the first home game was for me a decidedly ‘Flat’ one!

It was a game that we should have won but one in which we allowed a poor referee (for both sides) to get to us and we were guilty of permitting the opposition to dictate the speed of the encounter and thus the terms at which it was played. It was only our first home game, it’s not a disaster and its certainly not the shape of things to come …. just yet. Early indications are that it’s going to be a really tight league this year and we should have won what was a pretty undisciplined affair, however on the night the opposition had just a bit more control over what was happening than we did.

The fans did everything they could by getting there in numbers on what was a crap night, and at the Club some people put in hours and hours of work attracting that marvellous crowd and in the end everyone deserved better really. Whether the fans were right or not, the fact is that 13,500 people left the game disappointed and once again in the main, discussing just one subject …the referee.

It’s always easy to be wise after the event or as the Americans say, ‘To play Monday morning Quarter Back’, but after the game I drove home lamenting two points lost and a massive chance spurned, because our inability to find a way to overcome the Catalans spoiling and slowing down tactics meant that we blew a great opportunity to go top of the League. As for the opposition, well, credit to them for whatever you think about the quality of the encounter, they played the conditions, the crowd and the referee perfectly and for long periods they controlled the game.

My old pal Tom has often been quoted in here for his constant mantra that “Goal Kicks Win You Games”, but they do and as so often happens on such dour wet nights, in such tight matches played early in the season, one team went for goal every chance they got and won and the other went for glory a time or two even when the kicking T was already on its way onto the field and didn’t!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 524th

Well, firstly well done to both Wigan and Warrington for flying the flag for the British game and sticking it up the Aussies; they won’t like that at all!

I’m not convinced that the NRL sides took it at all seriously enough, but they don’t like losing at anything and I just wonder if that’s the last time we’ll see this particular crown competed for. Still, it’s great to have the World Club Champions playing in Super League and I guess Wigan won’t let us hear the end of that one either!! However, although there hasn’t been much to talk about this week FC wise, there’s been plenty going on in the game and off the field it’s hardly been ‘Good News Week’ in Rugby League!

Thanks to an enforced hiatus in our fixtures, we’ve all had a pretty unwelcome break, but the good stuff saw our Club posting some very encouraging accounts for last year and breaking records with the advanced Catalans ticket sales. However farther afield there has been more mixed messages. For a start, in the domestic competition it’s been a crazy few days. This weekend some Super League teams played league games and others didn’t, while all teams were told that they could lose up to 3 players for two matches mid-season to allow for an international trial and then our game was ranked 27th in the country as far as public participation is concerned. Plus, to add a level of levity, Featherstone introduced their new mascot Percy the Pit Pony (yep you heard that right, and a quick look at him leads me to believe that he won’t be available during the pantomime season). It might only be week two of the competition, but already there’s certainly a deal of controversy, most of it thankfully not directly concerning us.

Those instances and a couple of others are I feel a symptom of a bigger malaise that the British game seems to find itself slipping into at present and for me that’s a bit of a worry.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 523rd

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Dentists Diary.

Before a season starts there are always more questions than answers. The main two unanswered ones on an atrocious afternoon at Wakefield were, could we improve on our late season discipline and would the never say die spirit of 2016 still be there, for it was always going to be a pretty brutal affair. Towards the end of last season stupid penalties cost us points and yet throughout the campaign it was our grit and determination to grind out wins that just got us home so many times. So the big debate in the pubs and Clubs this past week was about the start of the season and whether the history made in 2016 was about to repeat itself in glorious fashion, or whether 2017 would be the equivalent of ‘that difficult second album’?

Thankfully by quarter to five the answer to that question was a positive one and it was another massive fighting effort, capped by a last minute game saver by Talanoa that saw us protect a flimsy lead and get our first two points on the board. At this time of year, that’s all you want isn’t it?

Furthermore, although not proving much of a pointer so early in the season, the game at Wakey was always destined to set the scene for two weeks of deliberation and discussion from the FC fans. I concur with the owner and a lot of the ‘keyboard warriors’ who feel we are perhaps a prop short up front, but yesterday we battled really well, took our chances, kept it tight and with Bowden on the road to recovery for the next game and no further injuries up front, yesterday was all about getting one over a team that are notoriously good starters at home and who had invested heavily in their pack in the closed season. Two points, job done and so we move on!

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