Oliver Hodge – Banish The Exiles

England v Exiles, what’s that all about? England v NRL rejects more like. Don’t get me wrong Super League has some good Australian / New Zealand rugby league players that either used to play in the NRL and / or could play in the NRL. Unfortunately those players are very few and far between now due to the increased NRL salary cap. I could probably count on one hand the players I am referring to that are in this years Exiles squad. In my opinion they are Pat Richards and Joel Monaghan.

The ex NRL rugby league players now that come over to the Super League either can’t get a game in the NRL anymore or are the end of their careers and just want a big final paycheck before they retire. In most cases it’s both of the above.

If I had my way I would like to see a return of the old Lancashire v Yorkshire rugby league War of the Roses games. Player eligibility for the War of the Roses was based on the player’s region of birth. Even players born outside of Lancashire and Yorkshire were also eligible for selection, based on the region where they first played rugby league at a professional level.

Why not go back to the historical and traditional War of the Roses rugby league games? They were first played back in 1895 and were only stopped as recently as 2003. If Lancashire v Yorkshire doesn’t suit anymore what with rugby league now being played in every county in England then an England v England rugby league game would be the preferred option in my belief.

In an England v England game you would see 34 English players all vying for an England shirt come the World Cup. You would see not just one full back in say Sam Tomkins but you would see two in a Sam Tomkins v Zak Hardaker or Greg Eden full back battle. Competition for places is what we need in for a competitive England squad. Not just picking the same old players, with some of them playing out of position, year in year out.

At stand off and scrum half you could see Danny Brough and Richie Myler v Jonny Lomax and Matty Smith. You would see four centres instead of two, two loose forwards instead of one, you would see 34 English players instead of 17! To me the idea is a no brainer.

Another thought is that the two coaches of the two sides takes it in turns to pick their English players, like the captains did when you were playing football / rugby league growing up. My only concern is that Ryan Bailey might spit his dummy out big time and take it out on a smaller rugby league player when he’s picked last!

Now where’s the phone number of Nigel Wood so I can put my ideas to him, I might even tempt him with a meyt n prater pie, or 5!

Please take a look at my blog for more rugby league articles pieeater81.blogspot.co.uk and follow me on Twitter @pie_eater81

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