SUPER LEAGUE’S ALL-NRL TEAM
By Scott Bailey
The first weekend of the English Super League had plenty of former NRL stars in action, but how would a combined team from ex-NRL players shape up?
1. Sam Tomkins (Wigan) – Injuries stopped him from reaching his NRL potential in 2014 and 2015, but 144 tries in 152 matches for Wigan show why he won the Man of Steel in 2012.
2. Daniel Vidot (Salford) – Struggled for consistency in the NRL but the 3858 metres he made at 167.7 in 2014 show how dangerous he is.
3. Joel Monaghan (Castleford) Could still be a force in the NRL apart if not for the infamous canine act of 2010. Has scored 139 tries in 136 games since joining the ESL.
4. Krisnan Inu (Catalans) – One of 10 former NRL players at France-based Catalans. Headed to French rugby union initially after leaving Canterbury in 2014 but now back in the 13-man game.
5. Pat Richards (Catalans) – Has scored 2974 points and 233 tries in 343 matches in the SL and NRL. Also renowned for spiralling kick offs and long-range field goals.
6. Todd Carney (Catalans) – Skill was never a question for playmaker Carney. The most talented of the 60-plus former NRL players currently plying their trade in SL, but must believe he should still be fighting for an Origin spot.
7. Chris Sandow (Warrington) – The enigmatic halfback earns the No.7 jersey over the likes of Terry Campese and Robert Lui. Set up one try and scored another in last week’s season opener.
8. Sam Rapira (Huddersfield) – Turned out in 13 Test matches for New Zealand before departing the Warriors for SL at the end of last season. Is still only 28.
9. Ryan Hinchcliffe (Huddersfield) – Perfect utility who can start at hooker then revert to the back row once Kurt Gidley comes on to break the game up.
10. Keith Galloway (Leeds) – Averaged almost 120m a game last year, showing he still had some bite left before being released from the final year of his contract by Wests Tigers.
11. Gareth Ellis (Hull FC) One of eight former NRL players at Hull FC. It’s no coincidence three of the Wests Tigers’ four finals seasons came in the four years in Sydney.
12. Adam Cuthbertson (Leeds) Found a home in the SL. A record 125 offloads in 29 matches earned him the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association’s 2015 player of the year award.
13. Glenn Stewart (Catalans) Things didn’t go to plan for the Manly stalwart at South Sydney but his sleight of hand should suit the Super League style.
14. Kurt Gidley (Warrington) – Perfect bench player for a side of ageing NRL stars. Would best suit the dummy-half role in this lineup, but could play any number of positions.
15. Frank Pritchard (Hull FC) – Desperately wanted to remain in the NRL after leaving the Bulldogs at the end of last season. Still has plenty to offer even after 248 first grade games.
16. Ashton Sims (Warrington) – Has the work ethic to do well.
17. Anthony Tupou – Consistency throughout his career means he beats out the likes of Chris Houston and David Taylor for the final bench spot.