Rugby League: Saints all keyed up for the Kiwis
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.
Thursday 05 June 1997
"Six St Helens players have come off a tour to New Zealand, where we got our bottoms kicked 3-0," said Goulding at the launch of the tournament yesterday. "We are still smarting from what a lot of these Auckland players did to us.''
The Auckland coach, Frank Endacott, will have two of those players, Matthew Ridge and Steve Kearney, back after being rested at the weekend.
Perth Reds, who start their campaign at Castleford on Sunday, have sprung a surprise by leaving their resident Englishman, Barrie-Jon Mather, back in Western Australia.
Mather, who played for Great Britain on last year's Kiwi tour, played for Reds' reserves at the weekend and failed to win a place in the squad to travel to Europe.
"I would have liked to have him here, because he would have been very good from a promotional point of view," the Reds' coach, Dean Lance, said.
"But unfortunately his form hasn't been up to scratch since he had a groin operation. It comes down to whether you want a good profile or to win football matches.''
Perth will play a Castelford side without the veteran, Graham Steadman, but with Jason Lidden returning after injury.
Also on Sunday, Cronulla, one of the favourites, go to troubled Warrington, with their most experienced player, Andrew Ettingshausen, warning them not to take British opposition too lightly.
"The competitiveness of British sides has changed remarkably since I was at Leeds in 1985," he said. "I don't think there's going to be a lot in any of the games. I think they are all going to be pretty close.''
While other British clubs are preparing for matches against international opposition, most of Sheffield's Super League squad will face a less exotic challenge - from Workington Town reserves.
Their coach, John Kear, is chastising eight members of the first team beaten 32-12 at London last Friday by including them in the Alliance team to play in Cumbria tomorrow night. Sheffield do not start their World Club Championship programme until next week.
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