Dream XIII: Cumbria

Over the course of the last few months we have put together lists of what a potential county team for cross county rivals, Yorkshire and Lancashire could look like.

However, there is one county team that we have not mentioned just yet and that is Cumbria.

A team just as historic in the realms of rugby league and one that between the years of 1898 and 1973 played against the big touring sides of Australia and New Zealand.

So, to add another one to Dream XIII collection we look at what a Cumbrian may look like with today’s current crop players…….

Full Back – Greg McNally

The Bradford Bulls fullback man is the one of two players in this squad to have played in one of the last Cumbrian teams back in 2010 against England. The 27-year-old, began his career with Whitehaven in 2008, developing into a noteworthy try scorer by scoring 33 times in as many games for his hometown side. After floating through clubs such as Huddersfield and Barrow, McNally finally settled in Leigh in 2012 and became an integral part of the squad that won three Championship League Leader’s shields along with one Championship Grand Final. The Irish international made 147 appearances for the Lancashire team alongside scoring 94 tries. Now residing with Bradford, McNally has become another key figure as the side saw promotion back up to the Championship.

Winger – Tee Ritson

The youngster has been a revelation since coming onto the rugby league scene. A product of the Cumbria Academy structure who was able to establish himself in the Newcastle first team in 2016 after spending time playing for Workington Town. The 24-year-old possesses a fine amount of talent out on the edge, with his wicked pace and ability to break the defensive line.

Centre – Shane Toal

Despite suffering an injury last season, Toal still has all the potential to be a top finisher when fit and healthy. Even before being side lined he showcased all the traits necessary, scoring 12 in 19 appearances for the Barrow Raiders. The 23-year-old’s contributions at club level became recognised in 2017 as he was selected for Scotland’s 2017 World Cup squad.

Centre – Elliot Miller

Although more commonly a winger, Miller’s proven try scoring record and aggressiveness in defence means he could prove to be a handful anywhere on the pitch. The former Championship Young Player of the Year has been one of the more consistent backs outside of the Super League throughout his time at both Whitehaven and Workington, scoring 80 tries in 114 career appearances.

Winger – Ryan Shaw

A standout performer for Hull KR throughout the last two to three seasons. Even despite suffering a season ending knee injury last season, there is no doubt when healthy he has been one of Hull KR’s prime catlaysts in attack. The 26-year-old spent most of time out on loan during the earlier stages of his career at Warrington, trying out for the likes of Castleford, London, Barrow and Swinton before signing a permanent deal with Bradford in 2015. Now, finding his foothold in the game, he was able to show exactly what he could do on the field by scoring 16 tries in 25 appearances along with taking over as the primary goal kicker at the West Yorkshire side. The goal-kicking winger left the Bulls at the end of the 2015 season, joining Hull KR and since then has gone from strength to strength.

Stand Off – Jamie Doran

A star performer for Workington Town over the last couple of seasons becoming a true workhorse in attack and defence. The 23-year-old’s efforts becoming all the more appreciated as he was voted League 1 player of the year in 2017 and despite missing out on a playoff win in 2018, things can only seem to be looking up for the talented youngster.

Scrum Half – Callum Phillips

The 26-year-old half back has shown to be a bit of livewire during his time at both Workington and now Whitehaven. The Scottish international’s pace and skilful ball play have seen him cause a great deal of difficulties for oppositions defences and would be something he could look to emulate as part of this county side.

Prop – Kyle Amor

Alongside McNally, Amor is the only other player in this set up to have played in one of the last Cumbria teams back in 2010. Born in Whitehaven, the tough prop forward began his career at his hometown club in 2009 before moving onto Leeds in 2010 and then Wakefield in 2012. Despite, falling short of landing a regular first team spot throughout that time, Amor eventually found a home at St. Helens with whom he signed for in 2014. The Irish international became a key part of the Saints Super League Grand Final win over arch rivals Wigan in that same year. Even though, the likes of Luke Thompson and Alex Walmsley (when he returns from injury) now maybe ahead of him in the pecking order, he has added a great value of strength and dynamism to an already tough front pack.

Hooker – Shaun Lunt (c)

The Hull KR hooker would come into this squad as potentially the most experienced player. Between 2006 and 2015, Lunt showed a great eye for the try line, scoring over 100 tries combined throughout his time at both Workington and Huddersfield. The 31-year-old has endured a fair amount of success throughout his career; winning the Super League title on loan at Leeds in 2012 on top of winning the League Leader’s Shield with Huddersfield in 2013. The experience combined with his exceptional traits at the dummy half position make him more than a natural leader for this team.

Prop – Brad Singleton

Singleton has been a part of two Super League winning teams during his time at Leeds, winning the coveted rugby league prize in 2015 and 2017. The 26-year-old prop was in great form as the West Yorkshire side claimed their historic treble in 2015 and put forth his best season to date, making 24 appearances and scoring eight tries. The Irish international could bring that winning mentality to county level to go alongside his competent defensive work and bulldozer-like running ability.

 

Second Row – Morgan Knowles

The Welsh international endured a breakthrough year in 2016 before becoming one of Justin Holbrook’s mainstays in 2018. The 22-year-old, born in Barrow-in-furness, has shown a maturity beyond his years and despite his young age as already made 75 appearances for the Saints, scoring 12 tries. The sky is the limit for the Welsh international and he could certainly be deemed as a crucial piece in a future Cumbrian squad.

Second Row – Perry Singleton

The Barrow Island alumni emerged as top prospect during his time with the Cumbrian amateur side before being signed by Workington in 2017. Despite injuries hampering his progression, he has displayed a great deal of potency as a quality defender and one to always give 100% every time out on the field.

Loose Forward – James Donaldson

Despite being without a club after leaving Hull KR after four seasons, the 27-year-old could still prove to be an asset at the top level. The former Bradford Bulls lock showed a good level of consistency during his time KR with his ability to be a top workhorse and tough defender in the Robins’ back row.

Interchange

Lee Mossop

Greg Richards

Daniel Toal

Luke Cresswell