Ex-Wigan Warriors man says St Helens derby “is not as special anymore” but says IMG can fix it

In Super League today, there is a good chance that we could see some of the biggest games in the competition three times in the regular Super League season alone.

Then on top of that, they could meet in the Challenge Cup and the play-offs and subsequently there has been five meetings between the two teams in one season.

Look at Catalans Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos last season. In the space of a few months, we saw that fixture three times and add to that Leeds vs Catalans at Headingley in March and the two met four times.

This is because of the much debated loop fixtures.

In eyes of former Wigan Warriors man Karl Pryce, this is “diluting” big fixtures like the Wigan vs St Helens derby as he suggested IMG need to remove these loop fixtures.

“I don’t want to see Wigan and Saints play three times a season. You might meet in the Challenge Cup, so you could meet five times if you meet in the play-offs,” he said.

“The beauty of a local derby is that you only play a couple of times and it’s bragging right.

“You’re diluting your big games, it’s not as special anymore.

“So, that’s the way I’d lower the games but at the same time I’d want another two teams in Super League and get games in there.

“If you’re going to licencing, why can’t we bring up a Featherstone or Toulouse or whoever is viable and has the right financial model in place for the next five to six years then get them all in and maybe really go at it.

“That wouldn’t be fantastic for teams like Batley, but are they aspiring to Super League in the next five years? Realistically they’re not are they?”

That said, for the former Wigan man who also played for Bradford Bulls and grew up in Bradford, the Wigan-Saints clash is the derby:

“I only played in one Wigan and Saints but played in a few Bradford and Leeds but I will always go Wigan vs Saints.

“It was exciting for me playing against Leeds because I’m a Bradford lad and as a Bradford lad, I detest Leeds. It was instilled in me by my mother and Leon is the same and so is Will.

“I have good mates at Leeds, it’s nothing against them but they’re my local derby so I don’t like them.

“But Wigan vs Saints is something else. I only played in one and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. It was a packed house at the DW, I always wanted to play in a Wigan Saints derby so that’s the one for me.

“It was driven by Waney and you know what he’s like with anything to do with Saints and when you sign at Wigan, you’re told you must beat Saints, that’s what happened when I signed.”