The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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BARLA Great Britain coach Chris Middlehurst is looking forward to his first game in charge of the side against the British Police on Wednesday evening at Stanningley ARLFC despite having only one training session with them. He said that it was a getting to know session but there will be more before future games.
?We were just getting to know the lads that?s all, there were just a couple of lads that we didn?t know so we mixed everything in when they all trained together. Hopefully we can get some more sessions in before the other International games against the Prison Service and the Students.?
At that training session Anthony Broadhead of Thornhill Trojans and Danny Kilshaw of Leigh East were named as captain and vice captain respectively and Middlehurst thought it was a big lift for the squad as they are both seasoned International players.
?Yeah it was a big lift for the squad when they were named as well as for the two players selected. They went on the tours of Russia and Australia in 2004 and they are both seasoned BARLA International players so it was good for them to get the nod as well.?
?In those selections we have a leader in the forwards and a leader in the backs and that was the reasoning for it really. They have been involved in the set up and they know what is required at that level so hopefully they will lead the side well on Wednesday. It also shows a bit of loyalty to the players from the staff.?
Last weekend Middlehurst was prowling the touchlines at Leigh Miners Rangers and Leigh East watching some of his charges fingers crossed that all selected players came through games unscathed. But Skirlaugh?s Simon Kilby with an ankle injury, Martin Johnson of East Hull with a shoulder injury have pulled out and Middlehurst will not be naming his team until the night of the game.
?We will not be naming the team until the evening of the game because we?re not quite sure about the injuries, We have lost Simon Kilby and Martin Johnson over the weekend with injuries and brought John Woods and Richard Squires in from Leigh Miners Rangers and Shaw Cross Sharks We will wait for any further telephone calls but we will have twenty players stripped for the game. That?s the criteria and with those substitutions we can look at the permutations on the night. We will not be adding to the squad should there be any other late cry offs.?
BARLA Great Britain will be going into the game as favourites and Chris Middlehurst realises that it is important to reach the final and become a force to be reckoned with again.
?Yeah it?s understandable that we will be favourites but I don?t know anything about the British Police or the players in that side so we will have to be at our best on the night. We will put in a good performance on the night and we have two further games over the next three or four months to finish tip of the table and qualify for the final.
?It?s important to reach the final to prove that we are still here. There was talk that we might be disbanded for various reasons but we are still here. When we get to this final that will prove to be the case and show that we are still a force to be reckoned with in the amateur game.?