Edwards shows up announcer

London Broncos 13 Wigan 34
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The Independent Online
Amid the hype of Super League, ground announcers have earned a reputation for opening their mouths and putting their feet in. Rarely has this operation been performed with such rapidity as at The Valley on Saturday, where the man with the mike admonished Wigan supporters, cheering the introduction of 54th minute substitute Shaun Edwards, by telling them: "He hasn't done anything yet."

The emphasis should have been on the word "yet", but within 90 seconds Edwards had done something that tilted the game irreversibly Wigan's way.

It was not, in truth, the most staggering piece of play of his long career.

It was merely a typical example of his stock in trade; spotting that a team-mate is going to make a break before that team-mate knows himself and getting into the position to support and capitalise.

Until Edwards performed that simple manoeuvre, it was not inconceivable that the race for the Stones Super League title was going to end this weekend.

London were leading and looking confident. "Things looked a bit stagnant for us and Shaun was chasing at the bit to get on," said Graeme West, the Wigan coach.

Edwards admits to extreme frustration at being limited to a substitute's role in recent weeks and will meet the Wigan chairman, Jack Robinson, this week to try to find out where he stands.

Although he still has 16 months of his present contract to run, Edwards will seek an extension of that deal as a signal that he is still central to Wigan's future plans.

"They should extend my contract or let me go now," he said, hinting at some lively discussions at Central Park this week.

The Broncos' coach, Tony Currie, had his own theory about the turning point in the match.

"It came before Edwards came on, when Wigan were allowed to get away with a series of high tackles," he claimed. "The referee didn't want to make the difficult decisions."

Wigan were indeed fortunate not to be punished more severely for some uncharacteristic indiscipline. Both Andy Farrell and Va'iga Tuigamala tested the referee David Campbell's patient and found it sufficiently elastic.

Despite the defeat, it was in many ways, a good day for rugby league in London.

A crowd of over 10,000 saw them give a splendid account until struck by the Edwards factor and rather less were there earlier to watch a landmark result for an Academy side largely composed of young southerners when they beat 40-10.

London Broncos: Martin, Maguire, Barwick, Krause, Offiah, Tollett, Langer, Allen, Rea, Mestrov, Rosolen, Shaw, Gill. Substitutes used: Strutton, Bawden, Pitt, Dynevor.

Wigan: Radlinski, Ellison, Connolly, Tuigamala, Robinson, Paul, Murdock, Cowie, Hall, O'Connor, Haughton, Cassidy, Farrell. Subs used: Edwards, Barrow, Johnson. Substitute not used: Cardiss.

Referee: D. Campbell of Widnes.