When I was a young lad, one of my earliest sporting experiences was watching Liverpool City rugby league team from the cinder banks of Knotty Ash Stadium on Saturday mornings.
It was always duffel coat and balaclava weather with nothing but stewed, tongue-scalding tea to drink, but the games themselves – rough, sweaty, tooth-smashing affairs – still seemed a wonderful spectacle.
Fifty years on, the new Super League season starts today with a bonanza seven matches, involving all 14 teams, over the weekend in the magnificent setting of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. To add to the atmosphere, four of the matches are local derbies, St Helens against the champions Wigan tonight being the biggie.
I expect a thrilling battle between Wigan, Warrington, St Helens and Leeds to win the regular season. Wigan are 7-4 favourites, but I'm going with Warrington again, £20 win at 7-2 with betinternet.
We loaded up last weekend, bagging £120 on Liverpool's win at Chelsea; £150 from Green Bay's Super Bowl victory; and £180 from picking Jordy Nelson as first touchdown scorer. The dough goes into protective custody until Cheltenham, so it's just £5 each-way on Donald McCain's lightly weighted Drill Sergeant for Newbury's Totesport Trophy Hurdle at 40-1 (generally). His second to Kilcrea Kim in October, conceding 6lb, looks pretty good after Kim's big win at Sandown last Saturday.Reuse content