Ideal Hulme exhibitions

Dave Hadfield updates the tale of rugby league's brothers-in-arms
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The Independent Online
The reaction within the game to the news that rugby league's own Brothers Grimm - David and Paul Hulme of Widnes - were available on free transfers was summed up by one club.

"Our first reaction was `That pair of so-and-so's'.

"Then we thought, `Hang on, what if they were our pair of so-and-so's?' "

Small wonder that a queue of January sales proportions formed to compete for the services of such a famously and ferociously competitive pair. Although several clubs would have liked to take them as a job lot, the Hulmes have gone their separate ways and today will both make their debuts for new clubs.

At 29, Paul was predictably the more sought-after, with most Super League clubs, from Wigan downwards, showing some kind of interest.

"It says something very good about this club that we were able to attract him here," says the Warrington coach, John Dorahy, who won the tug-of- war. "We are a very young team and someone like Paul Hulme will add that starch and intensity that has always enabled him to get around the park all day."

Dorahy has been happy enough with his pack's recent performances to start Paul's Warrington career from the bench at Oldham today, but he can be expected to establish himself in the second-row before the season is much older.

His elder brother could launch his Leeds career this afternoon in an unfamiliar role. David, now 32 but still with much to offer, was earmarked for one of the substitute slots at Workington Town, but a back injury to Terry Newton means that he could be pressed into immediate service at hooker, a position more often associated with Paul.

"We will use him where we need him," says the Leeds coach, Dean Bell, who knows that the match against the only side below them in Super League is rather more important than last week's against Wigan, in which Leeds showed considerable improvement but still earned no points. "It was a moral victory, but it took us no further up the ladder," says Bell.

The presence of a hard-bitten Hulme about the place can turn moral victories into real ones, he believes, in which case David can be one of Leeds' more significant signings.

For connoisseurs of sibling rivalry, next Friday should be a date ringed in red in the diary. With an eerie inevitability, Warrington play Leeds that day, bringing the Hulmes, always team-mates for club and country, into opposition for the first time in their careers.

It will be our so-and-so against your so-and-so - an event not to be missed.

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