Mailbox: Could club sides take on England in mid-season matches?

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Hi James,

I understand there is a chance of a mid-season test match for England in the South Pacific next season, which is a great idea.

Much as I want Wayne Bennett gone, I fully agree with him that a proper mid-season match (at least one) is essential.

But it is a tough idea, with the NRL clubs unwilling to release players for such matches, which severely curtails the options.

I know the return of the Exiles has also been suggested by some but I think that ship has sailed.

I think one solution would be to play a club side. A game against the Super League champions and maybe even a second one against the Challenge Cup holders would surely provide a better test than anything else in this hemisphere and would probably also be an easy sell from a marketing perspective.

I know it would leave a club side in the difficult position of playing an extra game compared to the rest of the league but that might be solved by picking a team to play that has been knocked out of the Challenge Cup.

In fact, thinking about it, how about playing a match the week of the quarter finals against one of the Super League teams that has been knocked out and another at semi-final weekend?

That way, two clubs get an additional home game and the England team get a couple of mid-season matches against decent opposition.

England would just be without the players from their opposition but, other than that, would have their full pool to select from (although some compromise would need to be made with the teams involved in the cup).

I think we would see good crowds at such a game, as club fans would be keen to see their side take on the national side. What do you think?

Kind Regards,

Martin Marshall

Editor’s comment: There are always some interesting suggestions. I would love to see club sides take on touring teams, but whether taking on the actual England team would work, remains to be seen. We desperately need to work on getting France competitive, as we’ve seen with the Pacific Islands Down Under.

Mailbox gives you the chance to get your voice heard and start the debate with the rugby league audience. Want to be featured? Email the editor: [email protected]