Is it just me or does anyone else see the loss of Newton to the England squad not as much of a big deal as being made out?
(Before I start this is not just a dig at Bradford, Wire or any other team/player i.e. nothing too personal is intended, I am writing this as a "neutral" England fan not a Wigan fan)
Newton has an old school style of playing, and is well, just old! As much as it pains me to say it James Roby is exactly the sort of hooker we need to compete with the likes of Cameron Smith! Young and quick thinking with pace. Tony Smith probably intended to take Roby and Clark and rotate them during matches.
Me, personally, I would have taken Roby (obviously) and a solid hooker who has experience of playing against the Aussies, has done it all before, knows what to expect, and isn’t afraid to (excuse the phrase) "Bring Back the Biff".
After Newton’s recent performances, I would have gone for Higham anyway, I just don't think Clark is consistently good enough, again look at his recent Warrington performances, imagine him trying to square up to anyone, let alone the likes of Billy Slater and co!
Although it is Tony Smith as England coach, so I suppose I wouldnt be too surprised to see Diskin on the plane to Australia, and I haven’t really seen too much of him recently to comment (I suppose we shall see on Friday night).
As far as the rest of the forwards are concerned, I have no worries in that department with the great JP leading by example!
England need more than ever to put in a decent performance in this World Cup, after the farce of the 2006 Tri-Nations and all the bad press and stick the GB boys attracted down there, it could be the best chance we have in years to get our game up hear taken more seriously! So lets hope England can go and stand up to the Aussies on their own turf, and show that they can't have modern rugby league all their own way forever!
With the NRL apparently in a state that stops just short of crisis mode of the field, and one of their own greats (a certain A. Johns) saying that their game on the pitch was boring compared to European Super League, boring both to play in and boring for fans to watch, wouldn’t it be great, in the centenary year of rugby league in Australia, if they lost to a bunch of whinging Poms!
Come on England (and Ireland and Scotland)!