In our new feature, we’re asking you, the fans, plus players, coaches and other rugby league personalities to give us their answers to our set of six questions.
The Sun’s Gary Carter is the latest guest on My Set of Six…
Favourite away ground?
Being a journalist, I suppose there is no such thing as an away ground but I am someone who is fond of clubs making the most of what they have. So on that basis, there’s obviously Headingley but also The Shay at Halifax and Mount Pleasant at Batley – clubs where there is not much moaning about what they haven’t got but an attitude of, ‘How can we make what we have got the best it can be?’ Also, on a personal level, I love Shaw Hall Bank Road, home of Saddleworth Rangers. Only rivalled by Clovelly Crocs as the most scenic RL grounds in the world.
Two words – Adrian Morley. As a prop (which is fairly obvious when you see me) myself, I was always in awe of what he did both here and in the NRL. Then I got to know him a bit and the man is every bit as impressive as the player. Moz also came to see me at Salford Royal Hospital when I was recovering and learning to walk again. I’m told he was saying ‘Go on, Gaz,’ under his breath!
There are a few from being a journalist – and a fan. As a journalist, being hugged by Shaun Lunt in the dressing room at Old Trafford after he won the Grand Final in 2012 was one, but just being in Auckland ahead of the England v Tonga World Cup semi-final tops it. At the Sky Tower hotel hearing the reaction to the Tongan team – it was like One Direction had just popped in. As a fan (and a journalist), there are two – Salford’s play-off win at Wigan and seeing Salford in the Grand Final.
I suppose there is an obvious one but seen as I was in a coma and have no recollection, that cannot count as a memory. In terms of things I can remember, seeing Shaun Johnson dance over at Wembley in 2013 is the worst. It’s the only time I’ve stood up in a press box with my head in my hands.
Best match you’ve seen (not involving your club)?
I mentioned it a little bit before but that England v Tonga match in 2017 was something else. When I saw hundreds of fans at the gates four hours before kick-off, I knew it was something else. Then there was the couple who has just got married and gone to the game – him in suit, her in wedding dress. As a game, it was the best I’d seen England play for 65 minutes, then came that fightback. Even though it was 9am here, I still felt the pressure of getting the report done!
Your wish for the future of rugby league?
Well at the moment, it is that the game comes through the current situation in tact. Away from that, it is that internationals are placed at the top, as I feel that is what cuts through at national newspaper desks more than anything. I’d start the fixture planning with, ‘Tests are then, World Club Challenge is then, Grand Final is then, Challenge Cup final is then and everything else fits around them.’ Test rugby should be what everything builds towards – not treated as almost an irrelevance.
If you want to be featured on My Set of Six, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch our Last Tackle podcast, featuring a guest, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on YouTube.