International rugby league needs direction, says Finn

Castleford and Ireland scrum-half Liam Finn has issued a call for finance for Irish rugby league and says the international calendar must improve between World Cups.

The Ireland international, whose father was from Wexford, near Dublin, loves pulling on the Emerald Green jersey, but is concerned about the lack of progress made in establishing the international game in his father’s homeland.

The main issue is not, according to Finn, a lack of desire or will amongst Irish-qualified players, but rather from a lack of significant financial support for the Irish game.

There threadbare international calendar, and a lack of meaningful professional support for players, also depresses Finn.

“I don’t think anyone can say the World Cup wasn’t worthwhile,” he told Love Rugby League.

“It’s not the experience of the World Cup that for me is in question. It’s the international game in general.

“Experiencing World Cups is great. It was great last time, and it was great this time.

“But it’s in between the World Cups where the experience is not so great. It looks like it’s just thrown together.”

The recent cutting of RFL funding to the Celtic nations has also hit Irish rugby league hard, according to the Castleford scrum-half.

“It’s certainly not nice,” he added.

“The hardest thing in the international game is the discussion about what’s needed to improve it.

“The harsh reality is that it’s money, and players getting paid and things like that.

“Everybody will tell you that you shouldn’t be worried about getting paid to play for your country, but when players are at Super League clubs, their coach is telling them that they won’t get a new deal if they go and risk themselves, playing for Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

“I get that. But money is the main issue.

“How can the countries plan when they don’t know the fixtures year on year? Who wants to sponsor an international team that don’t know who they’re playing?

“What are the sponsors getting out of it? Why pump the money in when they don’t know what’s happening?

“Another thing, from a player’s point of view, is in between World Cups, they turn up for games in front of 50 people, when they’re used to playing in front of eight or nine thousand.

“There’s got to some sort of big game there to entice people to play.”

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