Partying with Warrington... and Gary Barlow
Anyone who questions rugby league's ability to attract a global audience should have been in Warrington's team hotel on Saturday night.
Attacking the free bar with formidable relish following their dismantling of Leeds at Wembley, the Wolves boys were in terrific form.
After a thumping Challenge Cup defence in front of a sell-out crowd, Tony Smith's squad were world superstars for the night, and even one of Britain's most successful pop stars wanted in on the celebrations.
Rumours spread around the venue that Gary Barlow was on his way to add his congratulations.
Cue hysterical excitement amongst the Wolves Wags - and myself if I'm honest. I'll happily admit to a couple of Take That tracks among the guitar thrashings on my running playlist for the Great North Run.
Barlow duly arrived, fashionably late in the evening, and was soon waxing lyrical with victorious captain Adrian Morley alongside the gleaming Challenge Cup trophy.
Presumably Moz was talking Gaz through the finer arts of the ball-and-all tackle, while Lance Todd winner (that's Man of the Match for you non-rugby league diehards) Lee Briers waited in the wings to explain the "40-20", and hammer home how it "Only Takes A Minute" to turn a game. It was one of the more surreal sights of my days involved in rugby league.
Warrington's emergence from the shadows of underachievement is pretty much complete. If they go on to clinch the Grand Final it certainly will be.
Having had the pleasure of celebrating with the Warrington players on Saturday, it was easy to see first-hand how hungry Smith's side is for success. That Wembley win has now whetted the Wolves appetite to do the double.
Wigan, St Helens and even Leeds (if the Rhinos can dust themselves down from their thumping humbling), will all have a huge say in that. And I expect those teams to dominate the Super League Dream Team when it is announced next week.
Journalists and fans alike have been selecting their own teams of the year, with a great deal of debate going on on Twitter this week. BBC Radio 5 live commentator Stuart Pyke has been getting stick for selecting a side devoid of Leeds players, while I've been giving myself a right headache settling on my final 13 for the prestigious prize.
At full-back I see it as a straight choice between St Helens' Paul Wellens and Warrington Cup winner Richie Mathers. I'm a massive fan of Mathers and don't think Leeds should ever have let him go. He has cemented himself at the Wolves this year and can count himself hard done by that he's being forced out by the arrival next season of current Man of Steel Brett Hodgson.
My choice though goes to Wellens, the veteran outstanding at both ends of the field this year, with the 30-year-old legs running in 15 tries in 20 Super League games, including four in a single game on two occasions.
My two wingers are Wigan's Pat Richards and Leeds' Ryan Hall. Warrington's 25-try winger and my (partial) namesake Chris Riley may well oust Hall for the official spot, but Hall's consistent performances and 23 touchdowns in an indifferent Rhinos season give him my vote.
With 27 tries and 132 goals Richards has been simply outstanding and is a leading contender for Man Of Steel.
My centre selections are Warrington's Matt King and Rhinos veteran Keith Senior, just edging out Ryan Atkins and the St Helens-bound Michael Shenton. It seems incredible to think that just 18 months ago Matt King was apologising for a one-fingered salute at his own club's fans after a 60-8 thrashing at Harlequins. His and Warrington's resounding rise to prominence since have gone hand in hand.
At the start of the season I wondered if Senior's 34-year-old body would last the year, but big Keith has missed just one Super League fixture, running in 10 tries for good measure, and has agreed to extend his career at Headingley.
In the halves I've gone for Sam Tomkins and Kyle Eastmond. Tommy Leuluai was tempting, while Briers reminded us of his brilliance at Wembley. But he hasn't played enough (just 17 Super League games), and Danny McGuire's sensational form has come too late in the season.
Wigan and England back Tomkins has excelled both in the halves and more recently at full-back and will run Richards close for Man of Steel. Eastmond has been a catalyst in St Helens late bid for a top two, and even though injury has restricted him to scarcely more involvement than Briers, he just shades it.
The front three picks itself with the evergreen Morley and former Man of Steel James Graham at prop. Graham has underlined his status as one of the world's leading front-rowers this season while Morley has every chance of adding the Man of Steel award to his Challenge Cup winner's medal.
Moz told me earlier this season that he's thrived, and cooled his trademark hothead since taking on the captaincy. I'd argue that his competitive fire is actually more fierce than ever, but the now experienced mind is keeping it in check.
James Roby is my choice at hooker, edging out last year's Lance Todd winner Michael Monaghan.
It is in the back-row that there has been most debate, and I have opted for Joel Tomkins, Ben Westwood and Sean O'Loughlin. Westwood has become almost the complete second rower this year, Tomkins has matured from club player into real international prospect for the Four Nations and the power and guile of O'Loughlin in helping Wigan to the Super League summit has just seen him edge out Kevin Sinfield this time, although I rate Sinfield as the better all-round player.
So my 2010 Super League Dream Team is: Wellens; Richards, King, Senior, Hall; Tomkins, Eastmond; Morley, Roby, Graham, Westwood, J Tomkins, O'Loughlin.
Coach of the Year: Tony Smith. The man is magic.
Agree or disagree with my selections? Please leave your comments below.
A final word this week for Salford stalwart Malcolm Alker, who has been denied a final appearance for the club against Wakefield on Sunday. Having spent his entire career and played over 300 games for the club, the club's captain was desperate for a final fling but has admitted defeat to a neck injury. Alker is a fabulous character and loyal servant and will no doubt continue to be so as he goes into coaching.