Five of Wigan’s brightest young players will take
centre stage this Thursday evening (30th November), as they step out at the South Leeds Stadium, to represent the England Academy Under 17’s against the Australian Institute of Sport (kick-off 7.00pm.) in a game which is confidently expected to be an absolute cracker.
Liam Farrell, Lee Mossop, Luke Rhoden, Brett Robinson and Sam Tomkins are the lads who will carry the Wigan name into this clash, as England look to continue a run of success against the AIS which has seen them lose only one game in four since this Series started in 2003. That year England won both the games against the young Australians, with the Series shared 1-1 last
The young Warriors will form the basis of a side
which, nevertheless will need to be on their guard
against a squad of hand-picked Aussies already groomed for stardom from the rural and regional areas outside of the major League centres, and placed into a Scholarship programme designed to allow players to complete full time education before making a move into an NRL Club.
Much of the onus in Thursday evening’s clash will be upon the English forwards to lay a solid platform which is where Farrell, Rhoden, Mossop and Robinson have vital roles. Their dominance would allow half backs like Tomkins to stretch the visitor’s defence and put them under pressure in conditions unlikely to be anything approaching the hot and dry condition these young Australians will have spent most of their footballing lives playing in.
But no matter what the conditions or what the sport, Australia rarely dispatch poor sides to the Northern Hemisphere, which is just one reason why Thursday evening’s game in South Leeds will surely be one to live long in the memory of at least five young men who, after revelling in the opportunity to wear the Cherry and White, now look tailor made to don the colours of England.