Set of Six: Terry O'Connor praises Pat Richards and George Burgess condemns country hoppers
Last Updated: 22/08/16 1:44pm
Terry O'Connor on Pat Richards and George Burgess on players qualifying for England feature in this week's Set of Six.
Burgess condemns nation switchers
George Burgess has hit out at the Australian-born players who are considering playing for England.
England coach Wayne Bennett has reportedly approached players from his native Australia who have been overlooked by the national side to consider a switch, with Trent Hodkinson, Darcy Lussick and Josh and Brett Morris all expressing a desire to play for Bennett in this year's Four Nations.
The notion has has been condemned by Englishman George Burgess.
"I think it's wrong when some Australian players think they can walk into the England team if they are eligible," Burgess told the Sunday Telegraph.
"For me that's not the point of playing for your country. We've got a strong team at the minute and we are hoping to contest for a final spot at the Four Nations.
"It's tough competition to get a spot in the team at the moment and no one can just walk in to it. I mean every case is different and some players have genuine interest in representing their country through parents who are English.
"But I think if you are doing it for the wrong reasons, I don't think it's right."
Leigh on the charge
Leigh made it three wins out of three in the Super 8s Qualifiers after former England forward Gareth Hock scored a last-minute try to end a Featherstone fightback.
The Centurions got off to a flying start, with tries from Reni Maitua and Mitch Brown giving them a 12-0 lead after eight minutes. Josh Walters pulled a try back for Rovers before half-time and, although Matty Dawson and Micky Higham added further tries for the visitors, Featherstone's Luke Briscoe and Kyle Briggs crossed over in quick succession to set up a tense finish before Hock had the final say.
The victory means the Centurions are second in the Qualifiers, one spot behind Leeds Rhinos, after earlier wins over London Broncos and Super League's Salford Red Devils.
Leigh's next fixture in the Qualifiers is against Hull KR on Saturday 3 September, live on Sky Sports. Should the Centurions come out of that fixture with a win, they could well be on their way to a spot in Super League in 2017.
O'Connor lauds Richards
"Super League has seen so many good players who have come in from overseas, and Pat Richards was up there with the best of them," said Terry O'Connor of the former Wigan star.
The 34-year-old Australian announced last month that he intended to retire at the end of the season, but a knee injury brought an early end to his career, ruling him out for the rest of the campaign.
"Richards came to Super League to play, and his attitude of professionalism was evident on and off the field," said O'Connor.
"Despite all his achievements in the game he has remained entirely humble, which says everything about him as a person. He can retire proud, he's left a big mark on the game."
NRL on its way to Hawaii?
An events company run by former US coach Kelly McGill hosted a rugby league festival in Hawaii, with Canada, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga all taking part.
McGill says Hawaii is open to the idea of going one further by bringing the NRL to the American state.
"We've already done the science from a tourism point of view to establish whether we could handle extra capacity on air routes from Brisbane and Sydney," McGill told Australia's Daily Telegraph.
An NRL spokesman said any venture that puts rugby league in the spotlight would be considered.
"We would always explore new opportunities to grow the game in regions outside of the game's traditional areas," he said.
"There is clearly a growing interest in the game in the region and the Ohana Cup over the weekend has been well received by locals."
Challenge Cup momentum
Hull and Warrington are heading in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley with momentum on their side. The two top teams in Super League will clash for knock-out bragging rights, in what is an historic Cup final encounter.
Although they have played each other 11 times before, it will be the first meeting in the final of rugby league's famous knock-out competition of two of the founding members of the Northern Union in 1896.
The Black and Whites have suffered two defeats at the 'new' Wembley - to St Helens in 2008 and Wigan three years ago - but now have a chance to make it third time lucky.
While Hull seek to end their Wembley hoodoo, Warrington are aiming to make it four wins in eight years under Tony Smith. Chris Hill, Ryan Atkins, Ben Westwood and Stefan Ratchford are the only survivors from their last success in 2012.
Hull smashed Catalans 44-0 on Thursday night, while Jack Hughes scored a last-minute try to secure Warrington a Super League play-off place with a 14-11 win over Castleford.
Which of the sides will carry their Super League form into the Wembley final?
Wigan halt Saints
Anthony Gelling grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Wigan showed their defensive mettle to keep St Helens scoreless and end their seven-match winning run on Friday night.
A fourth defeat in five matches would have seen the Warriors drop to fourth in the Super League table but their impressive 25-0 victory enabled them to climb back above Warrington into second spot, at least until Saturday afternoon.
It was sweet revenge for Wigan after a 23-4 home defeat by their arch rivals only four weeks earlier and, although their hero with three of their four tries was Gelling, coach Shaun Wane will be just as delighted with his side's overall defensive efforts which saw them whitewash their neighbours for the first time since 1989.