Young prop swaps Widnes for Brisbane

Young Widnes prop Anthony Mullally will spend the 2011 season on loan at NRL club Brisbane Broncos, featuring in their Under 20s team.

Mullally, 19, is likely to play in the Toyota Cup under the stewardship of coach Matthew Wood, with the deal set to be the first signs of a significant link-up between the Vikings and Brisbane.

As part of the arrangement, Mullally will also take up a part-time employment opportunity and he is excited about the challenge that lies ahead; “I can’t believe that it’s actually happening to be honest, but having said that, I’m certainly glad that it is. Although I’ll be away from home for quite a long time, I’m really looking forward to it.

“When the club first put the idea to me, I was 100% behind it straight away and I had no hesitation whatsoever in saying yes because opportunities such as this don’t come around too often, if at all in most cases.”

Widnes are the first English club to pioneer this initiative and are viewing it as a win-win situation for both the club and the player as Director of Rugby, Paul Cullen confirms; “When I travelled to Australia and New Zealand recently to watch the Four Nations tournament, the common denominator at every single club that I visited, was that everybody I spoke to were all curious as to how we were going to catch-up both the Kiwi and Australian national teams.

“The consensus of opinion from the majority of those I discussed this with, agreed that we have to start sending over some of our young, English players to play and develop themselves within the Australian system. Common sense tells us that it isn’t feasible to send over 30 or more players every season to help achieve this, but as a pilot-project, Anthony Mullally who has the attributes to handle himself and physically compete at this level, will lead the Widnes clubs’ drive to better ourselves both individually and collectively.

“Long term, we hope this scheme benefits us here at Widnes and hopefully it could contribute toward English rugby league being a stronger force on the World stage.

“In a best case scenario, if it proves a success, we will repeat the process on a more regular basis and send over even more of the best young Widnes Vikings players that we have on our books and let them reap the rewards of spending a season or maybe longer, in the company of the games’ leading players in the Australian competition.”

Former Australian international Allan Langer, who is now employed as a skills coach at Brisbane Broncos added, “I fully support the exchange concept and the idea of players from Widnes Vikings coming to the Brisbane Broncos for their further development. I’m not alone in this belief either, as all of our Football staff are looking forward to working with Anthony, too.

“We genuinely hope that we can further develop Anthony’s rugby league proficiency during his spell here, and also provide him with some wonderful life experiences during his stay at our club.

“It’s our aim to send him home after his spell here, ready to play Super League for the Vikings if they are successful in their licence application.”

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