Farrell and Fielden back call for annual Tri-Nations

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The Independent Online

British players have rallied to the defence of the Tri-Nations tournament as the pressure mounts from Australia to put it into cold storage next year.

British players have rallied to the defence of the Tri-Nations tournament as the pressure mounts from Australia to put it into cold storage next year.

The competition is building towards its final on Saturday against a background of doubt over its immediate future, as the Aussies complain about "burn-out". The Great Britain captain, Andy Farrell, understands that fear, but says that it is British players who have the heavier workload. "We're all looking forward to a well-deserved rest, because we play a lot of games, but we've thoroughly enjoyed the Tri-Nations," he said.

Unlike the senior Australian players, their British equivalents have not had their views canvassed by their administrators. If they were to ask, they would be told that those players are strongly in favour of continuity.

"I'm very disappointed by some of the comment about it not being played next year," said Stuart Fielden yesterday. "It's been a massive success from the players' point of view and we're all hoping it will be played next year.

"The Australians play a lot less matches than we do and we don't feel too burnt-out. We want to play these type of matches because they bring out the best in you."

The Bradford prop would, however, be pleased with a compromise that might take the tournament to Australia in alternate years.

"I've played in World Cups and World Club Challenges in this country. It would be a great experience to go over there and win something," he said.

Fielden has been disappointed with his form so far in the Tri-Nations, but has promised to raise his game on Saturday. "I'm pretty much convinced that I'm going to have a big one this weekend," he said.

Another British forward who feels he has more to offer is Adrian Morley, who believes he has been less effective through playing at prop. "I'll do what is needed for the team, but I think that playing front-row stifles me a bit," he said. "I think my running is more effective wider out."

Gareth Ellis is back in full training after an ankle injury in the victory over New Zealand last Saturday.

Australia look like leaving out Brent Tate and Ben Kennedy after adding them to the squad this week.

Salford are to join Wigan, St Helens and Leeds in playing their home Super League matches on Fridays next season. The club are hoping to attract better crowds.

Halifax have agreed a new, one-year contract with their South African Jamie Bloem.

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