Have the panel been asked to be less sycophantic, more adversarial?

More Iron Lady, less Sunny Jim?

Seems so.

Perhaps the WSL top brass are keen to emulate Margaret Thatcher's abolition of the post war consensus in British politics. Cross-floor agreement is out, partisanship is in.

It's almost as if this season, bickering is the new being a yes man.

Having misgivings about a surfer's prospects is the new "He's such an amazing surfer, his boards are looking really good..."

It sure is more entertaining.

This morning, Strider took Rondog but mainly Ross to task for having himself been nailed down for a yes/no answer on whether Wilko will win the World Title or not.

Ron chuckled, Ross squirmed... then u-turned.

Former SE.com staffer, Ben Mondy, now sacked and force to ply his trade at lesser known websites like Surfline, talked in the Surf Europe podcast (listen here!) recently about a couple of articles he'd written for the American website, championing Wilko's title chances.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 13.28.50

The panel, on the other hand, appear not to share Mondy's enthusiasm the World no.1.

"Absolutely" said Ross when asked initially if Wilko could hang on to his lead, before more reluctant praise, "If you were a betting man you'd be silly not to put money on him, just coz of the numbers..." There then followed something of a u-turn, as Ross went on to say, "He won't (win)."

"I still have a question mark on whether he can win or not." said Strider, stridently.

"Well can he, or not?" pressed Ron.

"of course anything can happen."

"But, what's your prediction?" furthered a tenacious Ron.

"I don't think he going to win the World title" admitted Strider, visibly miffed about having been outed as a member of the nay camp.

Ross first attempted to baffle, before a bit of damning with faint praise, then, "I don't have a statement on whether he's going to win or not."

Strides wasn't about to let the former World no. 15 off the hook that lightly.

"oh, he (Ron) asked me directly, I said I didn't think so... We've haven't heard from Ross yet though.."

Ross: "Pfffffff... I'll say he won't"

Is Williams working for (bookmakers) William Hill? Urging gamblers to put money on someone he doesn't think is going to win...

Is Strider your new favourite panelist?

Can Wilko 'hang on'?

Will you subscribe on iTunes before the Surf Europe Podcast episode 2 is out?

(Meanwhile, Glenn Hall (also in the podcast!) was spotted pinning up this very dialogue in Wilko's locker room, humming 'there's your fucking pep talk done').