Internationals head back to club action
Club coaches were holding a roll call of their international players this morning before finalising their line-ups for tomorrow’s packed Engage Super League programme.
Fitness permitting, all 34 players involved in last night’s Origin International at Headingley were expected to back up for their clubs.
St Helens coach Royce Simmons, whose side take on Bradford Bulls in the evening televised tie at Odsal, said: “The six players who have been away have a duty to come back and back up and be right on top of their game.
“I know it is hard but I think they have got a duty to do that. These players here have helped them win a lot of games that have got them in contention to make the rep side.
“If we had only won half the games we have won, there might only be three players in the rep sides.
“And I also think they have got to come back and show the young kids why they are playing at that level.”
Warrington Wolves had the biggest involvement last night, with five men in the England team and two playing for the Exiles, and former England hooker Mick Higham admits the build-up to tomorrow’s home game against Salford City Reds has been strange.
“The best we could do was five-a-side football!” he said. “It’s been a different week for us in training and lads are going to have to double up at the weekend.
“We are not using it as an excuse we are going to rip in hard and come out all guns blazing against Salford.
“We’ll only have one full session training on the Saturday. It’s not ideal but we have got a simple game plan at the moment and it is working for us. I don’t think too much will change.”
In the past Leeds Rhinos have resisted the temptation for their England players to play twice on a weekend but, on the back of crushing defeats by Warrington and St Helens, coach Brian McDermott says he has no choice for the visit of Hull KR.
“Although it is not ideal for them to play games 48 hours apart, the players involved are tough people and each of them have volunteered to double up and play on Sunday,” he said.
“They all know where we are in the league and so they have all put their hand up to play.
“As much as I would like to say we will make a decision for the long-term future of our team, the reality is we want to put out the best 13 blokes and so our medical staff will access the players on Saturday to see who is available.”
Elsewhere, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will give a debut to former Kiwi international Motu Tony against Huddersfield Giants, whose former Wigan Warriors winger David Hodgson will make the 300th appearance of his career.
Hull FC will look to complete the double over Harlequins RL while Wigan look to bounce back from their defeat by Catalan Dragons when they visit Castleford Tigers.