Morley moves to 'top team'

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

The Great Britain coach, Phil Larder, has given the side who thrashed Fiji a vote of confidence by selecting it en bloc for the first game of the New Zealand leg of the tour - with the significant addition of one of the squad's brightest young prospects.

The same 13 that accounted for the Fijians will start the match against a Lion Red Cup XIII at Carlaw Park in Auckland tomorrow night.

"They deserve it," Larder said. "But I have spelt it out to the players that I don't want any freewheeling. Their performance in Fiji have earned them a shirt on Thursday; it is what they do then that decides whether they get a Test shirt next Friday."

If the players currently in favour need reminding of the potential challengers on their heels, they should look no further than tomorrow night's bench, with the 19-year-old Leeds forward Adrian Morley awaiting his turn.

"It will do him the world of good to play in senior company," Larder said. "Players learn as much on tour from other players as they do from the coaches, and Adrian has the ability to really become a quality player."

Morley has an influential supporter in the tour manager, Phil Lowe, himself one of Great Britain's finest second-rowers since the war.

"He has got every attribute you need for the position," Lowe said. "He's already a better player than I was because defensively he is one of the best players we've got here with us."

Morley said: "I'd rather be starting than on the bench, but if I have to be on the bench at the moment I'd rather it was with the top team."

The other change to the line-up that won so handsomely in Fiji is the inclusion of Tulsen Tollett among the substitutes. Larder's only doubt in an usually healthy squad for this stage of a tour is Bobbie Goulding. Goulding was on crutches yesterday because of a swollen foot but is expected to be fit to play.

The opposition, from New Zealand's domestic competition, is largely an unknown quantity, although the captain, Tukere Barlow, played for Warrington and the vice-captain, David Bailey, for Wakefield Trinity.

GREAT BRITAIN (v Lion Red Cup XIII, Carlaw Park, Auckland, tomorrow): Spruce (Bradford); Hunte (St Helens), Radlinski (Wigan), Powell (Keighley), Sullivan (St Helens); Harris (Warrington), Goulding (St Helens); Broadbent (Sheffield), Cunningham (St Helens), McDermott (Bradford), Betts (Auckland), Sculthorpe (Warrington), Farrell (Wigan, capt). Substitutes: Tollett (London Broncos), Morley (Leeds), Cassidy (Wigan), Molloy (Featherstone).