Alec Swann - It’s time for the hoodoo to cease

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

I’ve admitted to it before and I’ll do so again - I prefer rugby league to it’s union cousin.

I’m not sure how this came about but my late Grandfather was a big fan so that’s probably where the seed was sown.

Warrington (family ties) are my team of choice and I’ve got a soft spot for the Newcastle Knights in Australia (I’ve visited a few times).

And it is with regard to the former that this comment refers, or more specifically their recent issues with a local rival.

For years, Warrington just couldn’t beat St Helens. There was a solitary victory amongst too many defeats to remember but this anomaly stretched on for a length of time that was embarrassing.

Whatever the competition or circumstance, when the men in primrose and blue faced those in red and white, the outcome was all too predictable.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that Warrington realised they were more than capable of bucking the trend and went and did exactly that.

And that brings me, in a roundabout sort of way, to this evening’s Premiership semi-final between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers.

For what seems like an age, the Tigers have got one up on the Saints.

For ten games in a row (forgive me if I’m mistaken) those in black, green and gold have tried and by one margin or another failed.

You know it’s bad when the identity of the referee is deemed to be of interest, almost as if an excuse is being put in place before a tackle is made.

Well I, for one, think that it’s time for this nonsense to stop.

If the Saints want to get their mitts on the domestic game’s biggest prize then somewhere down the line they are going to have to clamber over enemy number one.

This ref, that ref, international calls, injury lists, knockout stages, regular season and so on. Actually, so what.

These are part and parcel of professional sport and history doesn’t record much else apart from the score.

Hoodoo’s come to an end, they always do, and the time for this particular hex to be put to bed - and I’m talking to the 15 who will take to the field tonight - has arrived.