Talking Sport: Whatever happened to drop goals?

Trevor Watson
Trevor Watson

Watching as Wigan and Warrington tried to settle their thrilling play-off semi-final in the closing minutes, it was hard not to wonder what’s happened to the drop-goal.

At one time it was a regular feature, so much so the League decided to drop its value from two points to one, even then people still went for it.

It’s ironic that 28 years ago, Paul Bishop, of Warrington, landed five one-pointers in a Premiership semi-final - at Wigan. It gave him a record he shares with Swinton’s Danny Wilson, father of Man U hero Ryan Giggs, who performed the feat against Hunslet, and Paul Wood, of Runcorn, who booted five against Batley.

The record for one-point goals in a season is 29 by Cardiff’s Lyn Hallett in 1983-84. You got the impression the other night that it would take 29 attempts to land one as the ball flew to all parts of the Piedome.

Eventually Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin decided enough was enough and sent a super long pass to his winger, Joe Burgess, who scored the winning try.

Hunslet at least eventually managed one in overtime last Sunday to beat Oldham in the Championship 1 final and earn promotion.

It can’t be easy chipping a drop-goal when opponents know you’re going to have a go and sprint up, but some recent attempts have been awful. Do teams practice?

Anyway Wigan are back defending their title against St Helens at Old Trafford on Saturday, again at the daft time of six o’clock - that’s evening not morning but don’t put that past the authorities.

Sam Burgess ended his rugby league career, at least for the time being, by playing almost the full game with a fractured cheekbone and was man-of-the-match as South Sydney beat Canterbury in the Aussie final, helped by his brothers Tom and George.

He could be back, he’s taking a huge risk moving to union with no certainty regarding his position.

His new club Bath have started the drum beating but a great many RU writers, still violently against RL, will be hoping he flops and then watch the criticism.

Boxing promoters looking for a crowd-pleasing fight could do worse than match up Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, of Chelsea, after their latest touchline spat.

Wenger seemed to push Joe which might have brought a red card on the field. Both managers could have been sent to the stands to be been joined by a few players after some reckless tackles.

Supporters of lower clubs will feel there are different rules for top sides, just as they do in all sports.

By the way I duly lost my bet with Hanging Heaton’s veteran cricketer Peter Byrne regarding the number of matches he would play last summer and have sportingly decided not to appeal.

I’m saving up to buy him the promised pint. It was £1 the last time I paid.