THE next time a footballer complains about a niggling groin strain, feel free to tell them the tale of Paul Wood.
The Warrington Wolves prop ruptured his right testicle moments into the second half of last Saturday’s Grand Final to Leeds Rhinos.
It was bad enough to lose the game. To lose a testicle as well, though, would have been particularly difficult to endure. At least Wood has taken it well.
“Just coming out the hospital to go home,” he tweeted. “Seriously feel like I’ve left something? I think it sounds a lot worse than it is.
“But I must admit it does smart a bit when you get hit down there.
“Tony Smith did say in his pre-match team talk ‘you’re balls are on the line here guys!’ I didn’t think he meant literally!”
Like Wood, Warrington were a bit short come the end of the day, the greater know-how and power of Leeds propelling them to a deserved victory. As lamented in this column a few weeks ago, involving the top eight teams in the Super League play-offs has diluted the importance of finishing in the top two.
Leeds have now won successive Grand Finals having finished in fifth place. Sure, they had to do it the hard way with away wins at Catalan Dragons and Wigan Warriors, but they are primed to peak in late September knowing they could lose 11 of their 27 regular season games.
Evidence of this comes from the Rhinos losing the last three Challenge Cup finals – two against Warrington – which are played in August.
Leeds may have won five of the last six Grand Finals, but the nagging suspicion is that when the big book of great rugby league sides is written, they won’t be up with the very best.
The final word, however, must fall to a fellow hack who took to Twitter to make this pithy observation.
“Good week for rugby league publicity. Wayne Rooney tweeting to 5 million followers and Paul Wood getting the sympathy of about 3.5 billion men!”