Angela Powers is the Sky Sports Rugby League summariser and match reporter, standing pitchside with microphone, champagne and giant charity cheque ready for a knackered, steaming and breathless Man Of The Match (Usually a halfback and always from Wigan, if Phil Clarke is selecting).
On the eve of the new Super League season, @rugbydiscipline caught up with Angela in the midst of editing her preview show and got her opinions as the real action starts –exclusively for Up The Cream.
1.. Can you predict the top four at the end of the season?
Saints will be up there, if not top. They’ve kept their squad changes to bare minimum which means they’ll have the benefit of familiarity and understanding of each other which will build on last year.
Warrington have been talking up a ‘massively positive’ off-season focussed on fitness. The challenging stuff they been doing up hills and over fields has upped their stamina, they say, meaning they’ll have the energy when other teams are tired. If their gruelling Three Peaks experience hasn’t exhausted them, I see them being top two.
It’d be daft to write off Leeds and Castleford, after their achievements last year, so they make up my four…. but Hull FC will be snapping at their heels.
2.. Interesting comments about Wire, but how about the bottom two?
Salford might struggle. Resources are slim for them and an injury crisis would put paid to their campaign. If they keep fit though..?
Ditto Widnes…. their kids had a challenging 2017 which will stand them in good stead but there is much to prove if they are to make the top eight.
Hull KR as the promoted side have their work cut out for them but will have a few surprises up their sleeves.
There’s three for you.
3.. What do you think Toronto would bring to Super League if they get to that stage? Do you see American teams being able to sustain a separate league?
I’m generally a positive person but I don’t buy the hyperbole. For them to succeed will take a decade of money, work and marketing brilliance. I’m yet to be convinced.
4.. Which players are your ‘ones to watch’ in Super League this season?
As a Warrington season ticket holder, I’m excited to see how the new Aussie signings slot in.
5. Who’s the dream interviewee after a match?
Lee Radford. Honesty, integrity, humour, politeness, eloquence and expert analysis.
6.. Cardiff or Newcastle?
For me, Newcastle. Cardiff started to rip us off.
7.. If you had the power, which rule in the sport would you abolish?
Tough one that. Ref’s call in the in-goal area after a possible try. If you think it’s a try give it if you don’t, don’t. Giving your opinion muddies the waters for the VR. Best to just send it up and let him decide conclusively.
8.. Would you go back to standard promotion and relegation or is the “Middle Eights” format working?
I like the Middle Eights but the Million Pound Game is, emotionally, as awful as sport gets.
9.. From a journalists point of view, what is the ‘shot in the arm’ the game needs to get more spotlight on the game?
Money. Pay the players more.
That’s the starting point. It encourages the very best, star talent is rewarded, the game gets better and people will be entertained even more. Build it, they will come.
10.. What is the greatest try you’ve ever seen scored?
There was one a few years back at Headingley when I think Danny McGuire made a break and kicked ahead on the move straight into the arms of a speeding Scott Donald. Vision and skill like that makes me want to cry tears of joy. I’m a sucker for a chip over, regather touchdown too. And Wide to West will be forever etched in my memory.
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