Finn hails Irish development players’ effort

Wakefield half back Liam Finn is in an optimistic frame of mind about Ireland‘s rugby league progress in recent years.

Coached by Mark Aston, the national team secured qualification for the World Cup with wins over Spain and Russia at the end of last season.

Rugby League Ireland have also adopted a quota system for domestically trained players to feature in their national squads.

This, in turn, has helped some Irish domestic players secure deals for League 1 clubs, such as Mike Russell, who has joined Coventry, and Clark McAllister, who has inked a deal to play for Oxford.

“The Ireland camp when we turn up to to play is always positive, regardless of where players are coming from, and what league they’re coming from to play,” Finn told Love Rugby League.

“In terms of developing the domestic players, there is quite a few getting a foothold in the game.

“I think the stumbling block for players from the Irish domestic game is where they go to when they reach that sort of level.

“It’s abig move for them to move over to England to play in a semi-professional or professional environment.

“A lot of them have got good jobs, so when they get to the threshold of moving out of full-time education and having to get a job, that’s where we get a lot who tend to fall away.

“So it needs looking at in the Ireland set-up, but what they do and how, I’m not 100 percent sure.”

Finn is pleased to see domestic players from Ireland coming over to sign semi-professional deals, but he feels that other players need more support to help them make the transition from education to professional sport.

“It’s a positive for us that those lads are willing to come over and play in League 1, and hopefully progress through the leagues, and eventually get to Super League,” he said.

“I just think there’s not a great amount of reasonable pathyways, going from education into work, to move countries and come across to England and play.

“It’s difficult for all the players. Those that do it, hats off to them, they’re doing a great job.

“They’re putting themselves in the shop window to be a full-time rugby league player.”

Meanwhile, Finn, whose father Brendan was originally from County Wexford, is trying to keep thoughts of playing in the World Cup to the back of his mind, as he focuses on Wakefield’s 2017 campaign.

“Yes and no,” he said.

“I say that meaning that it’s a long way off, and I’m trying not to look forward to it and try and get my head down and try and get a place in the Wakefield team.

“I need to get some performances in and push at the back end of the season before I even try and think about it.

“Obviously, it’s always in the back of my mind, to try and play in the World Cup over in Australia.

“It’s an exciting time for any player who’s got a chance of doing that.

“I’ve just got to look after the day job first, and do a good job for Wakefield, and try and get myself in that team.”

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