A lot of discussion has centred on that Warrington Wolves enigma Lee Briers, who has repeatedly been excluded from Great Britain squads of the past. Many people see Briers’ tactical game as a compelling argument for choosing him.
Wolves coach Paul Cullen described the Welsh stand-off as “the cleverest player in Super League” after Warrington’s play-off win over Leeds Rhinos, and Briers is also Super League’s highest scoring British player.
However, Briers’ defence has been called into question by some, and that is a valid point. It’s no good having a great attacking player if he is a passenger for half of the game. Personally I have no strong feelings on the matter – perhaps Briers should have been given a chance in the XXXX Test against New Zealand.
The squad has also been accused of lacking in hookers. Now that Kieron Cunningham has retired Terry Newton is first choice for the hooking role, but he can be a little distracted by the physical element of the game and gives away a number of penalties.
An alternative has been suggested in the shape of Malcolm Alker, and I can see the sense in giving the Salford player his chance. He has had a good, solid season in a Reds shirt and it makes sense to have him somewhere in the squad – even if it has to be as a back-up for Newton.
Meanwhile it was good to see Gareth Carvell given a chance as he has performed very well for Hull this season. The same goes for James Graham and John Wilkin at Saints. Graham in particular was very impressive against the Kiwis earlier in the year and, in my opinion, has the makings of a future captain.
It will be interesting to see how Noble’s team performs down under this year.
Matt King Is An Inspiration
This Sunday will see the traditional Great North Run in Newcastle. A team of thirteen representing the charity XIII Heroes will be taking part in the event – with former London Broncos u18s player Matt King among them.
Matt suffered a spinal cord injury while playing for the Broncos and is now wheelchair bound and reliant on a ventilator. Despite this crushing blow the young man has been determined to lead as full a life as possible.
Matt returned to school to complete his A-Levels and has won a place at the University of Hertfordshire to study Law. Recently he painted a work of art with a brush attached to his forehead and auctioned the pierce on eBay to raise money for Halifax – itself a remarkable feat.
Now Matt is ready to take on a challenge that could well be seen as impossible, in attempted the 13.1 miles of the Newcastle to South Shields course. No-one with Matt’s condition has ever attempted such a thing, and it would be truly remarkable for him to do it.
XIII Heroes was set up to help players like Matt at all levels of the game who have suffered serious injury playing rugby league. For more information on their work visit www.xiiiheroes.com.
Last Tackle Forges Rugby League Frontiers
This week LastTackle.com announced partnerships with two fledgling rugby league nations – Norway and Sweden. This will involve Last Tackle designing an maintaining the official websites of both nations, and the inclusion of forums for both sites being included on the LT Forums at forums.lasttackle.com.
The development of the greatest game has made amazing progress in Europe over the last couple of years, with countries which have American Football as their idea of rugby taking up the rugby league.
I think it’s fantastic to see more and more countries join the rugby league family, and people such as Justin Ryan (Norway) and Scott Edwards (Sweden) deserve the support of all of us. Hopefully Last Tackle can help the true expansion of rugby league in some small way.
Keep Your Eye On Rugby League