The brand-new season of The Last Tackle has arrived and Jamie Peacock and Widnes Vikings forward Kyle Amor joined Lewis Smith for the opening show of the season. We’ll bring you weekly episodes, every Wednesday on The Sportsman’s Rugby League YouTube channel, from now until the Grand Final.
The new campaign brings hope, dreams and questions that need answering.
“It’s an exciting time of year,” nine-time Super League winner Peacock told The Sportsman Rugby League. “I thought we finished the season in great fashion with the World Cup last year, it hasn’t felt too long since we were playing rugby league but it is just exciting at this time of year. Who has had the best signings? Who has had the best pre-season? I think the biggest question on everybody’s lips is - who can stop St Helens?”
Meanwhile Amor has been preparing for a season in the Betfred Championship with Widnes Vikings.
“I’ve been enjoying it but you know playing part-time now there are different challenges, but going back to what JP was saying - everyone as players at this time of year they are all really excited. The hard work has been done and everybody is just looking forward to kicking it off and all of the teams will be wanting that W next to their names at the end of the weekend.”
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St Helens, 2/1 favourites to retain their Super League crown with Betfred are not in Super League action this week as they face Penrith Panthers in Australia, in the World Club Challenge. For once, they go into the game as huge 6/1 underdogs, but Amor doesn’t want to write his former club off that easily.
“Look, I think it is a huge task,” the prop admits. “You throw into that the news of the kick off time being back another hour due to the extreme heat and it is just another challenge. But, having spent a number of years with that group of players, they take all of these challenges head on and if anything it lifts them, really. But the squad itself, that starting 17 is relatively unchanged although Paul Wellens is now in charge at St Helens there hasn’t been too much change. So they’ve got everything in their favour on the rugby field, from a St Helens point of view. The challenge is the other side of the world, playing against a pretty good side and back-to-back champions in the Penrith Panthers.”
“As a player you want to test yourself against the best in the world,” Peacock adds. “You do that when you play in the World Club Challenge. I think for me, Saints’ run over the last four years has been extraordinary, the amount of silverware they have won, but I feel this is the biggest challenge that this group of players will have had over those four years. Penrith are not just a good NRL side, they have been the standout NRL side for the last couple of years. If Saints can walk away from this and become champions, that will be the finest achievement, I think, of any Super League club in the modern era.”
Five Super League wins in a row has never been accomplished by any team in history, but can Saints continue their domination on these shores?
“Neither had four!” Amor responded with a smile. “That’s what they went with and I have no doubt that the motivation is there. JP will remember that they lost five in a row, didn’t they, so they have chance now between them, a lot of players in that group that played in those losses as well and they are now the leaders of that side. They’ve got a chance now to perhaps look at that and go ‘right let’s make up for that and let’s win five in a row.’ That’s the way I think they will go about it this season.”
You can watch new episodes of The Last Tackle every Wednesday at 6pm, on The Sportsman Rugby League YouTube channel.
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