Dave Hadfield

Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.

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Play it twice Sam: Tomkins and Burgess are key to England's hopes of a home win

The Rugby League World Cup, eh? How long has this been going on?

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Shame game: Kevin Sinfield leaves the pitch after his side’s shock defeat

England 14 Italy 15 match report: England in turmoil after humiliating pre-World Cup loss

England fumbled their way to the most humiliating result in their history against World Cup debutants Italy, in their warm up match for the tournament. The World Cup will not live up to English hopes and expectations if they perform as they did last night, when it took them until the 38th minute to get their noses in front of what is largely a team of second- and third-generation Aussie journeymen.

Other pointers to McNamara's plans could be the selection of Michael McIlorum at hooker

Steve McNamara gives nod to Michael McIlorum for warm-up

The England coach, Steve McNamara, has given a few clues as to his thinking about his choice of team for the World Cup as he and his rivals  enter the final stage of preparation for the competition this weekend.

Golden goodbye: Sam Tomkins could not stop Ben Westwood but celebrated Goulding’s try, to young fans’ joy

Warrington Wolves 16 Wigan Warriors 30 match report: Warriors battle to stunning victory

Wigan overturn 16-2 deficit in remarkable fightback as injury to Joel Monaghan undermines Wolves

Paul Wood in the thick of the action against Wigan this season

Paul Wood handed a perfect stage to put the horrors of depression behind him

Final call is reward for rediscovering his best form after infamous injury and life lows

Lee Mossop is set to join Parramatta after the World Cup

Tough task for Wigan to fill Lee Mossop's boots

Prop relishing chance to bow out as a Grand Final winner before his big move Down Under

All four of the Burgess brothers: (L-R) Tom, George, Luke and Sam with their mother Julie

Rugby League World Cup: Eorl Crabtree misses out as Steve McNamara names three Burgess brothers in England squad

McNamara revealed that uncapped twins George and Tom will join older brother Sam in the 24-man squad

Sean O'Loughlin has missed the play-offs with an Achilles injury

Sam Tomkins wants Sean O’Loughlin to lift Super League trophy for Wigan

Sam Tomkins hopes to be relieved of the Wigan captaincy for his last game for the club – Saturday’s Super League Grand Final against Warrington at Old Trafford.

Sam Tomkins' last game for Wigan will be in the Grand Final

Wigan 22 Leeds 12: Richards shines on home swansong to end Leeds’ reign

Leeds’ proud, tenacious run as the rulers of Super League is over, after their patched-up and battle-weary side was outlasted by Wigan.

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