Two members of Great Britain's squad for the Ashes series this autumn have spoken to the Bradford coach, Brian Noble, about their lack of first-team opportunities.
Lee Gilmour and Lee Radford are likely to be out of the picture again for the Bulls' Super League play-off against Wigan on Sunday night as Noble takes advantage of a clean bill of health to keep an unchanged side.
That denies Gilmour and Radford a chance to impress the national coach, David Waite, before he trims his squad next month. "It would be fair to say that they have approached me about these things, but we keep ourselves to ourselves," said Noble, who has reassured the pair that they, along with other fringe players like Nathan McAvoy, could yet come into the reckoning before the Grand Final is decided.
Bradford has been a frustrating club at which to be a reserve this year, with the Bulls clear of serious injuries since Stuart Spruce's season – and Bradford career – was ended by a shoulder problem in April.
Noble gives much of the credit for that to the club's conditioner, Carl Jennings, who leaves after this season to join the former Bradford coach, Matthew Elliott, at Canberra Raiders. "He has done a great job, but we have been very thorough as a club with our off-field preparation," Noble said. "It doesn't just happen by accident."
Hull remain adamant that neither Jason nor Tony Smith will play against St Helens tomorrow night, despite the Saints coach, Ian Millward, saying that he expects them to be on the field.
The Smiths missed the second half at Wigan last weekend because of Jason's dislocated shoulder and Tony's groin strain. "They're both out," said their coach, Shaun McRae. "They aren't even close. The only way they would play is if one of them phones me up on Friday afternoon and tells me there has been a miracle cure."
McRae says that the reshuffled side that played the second half at Wigan, with Richard Horne at scrum-half, will be capable of doing the job against Saints. "And David Waite could do a lot worse than looking at Richard for the No 7 job against Australia," he said.
Leeds have completed their coaching staff by bringing Stuart Wilkinson from Barrow to be their new player development coach and have confirmed that their prop, Darren Fleary, has agreed a new, two-year contract.Reuse content