HUDDERSFIELD coach Nathan Brown cut through the rules, technicalities and red tape surrounding international selections in a refreshingly straight-forward way was this week.
The St Helens-bound mentor was holding forth on the wisdom of England coach Steve McNamara’s decision to call up Catalans hooker Ian Henderson to his elite train-on squad.
Henderson, of course, is technically English, having been famously born in the rugby league hotbed of Torquay before moving to Australia as a child, along with his brothers Andrew and Kevin.
The trio have already played for Scotland, but Ian -– the best of the bunch -– is now clearly on McNamara’s radar.
Brown, who has a trio of potential England number nines under his tutelage in Luke Robinson, Scott Moore and Sean Lunt, although the latter is currently on loan at Leeds, spoke out last year when Rangi Chase -– as Kiwi as the haka -– got a place in the Four Nations squad under residency rules.
And now Henderson’s got his goat.
“If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck,” said Brown.
“He looks Aussie and talks Aussie so I guess he is an Aussie.”” That is logic that is difficult to argue with.
I can see both sides of the argument.
McNamara wants the best team available and, given that he is clearly entitled to pick Henderson, Chase and the likes of Wests back rower Chris Heighington, clearly isn’t too obsessed with what kind of accent his players have.
It’s not as if it’s something that just happens in rugby league; the England rugby union and cricket teams are proof of that.
And the Kangaroos have never been shy to think outside the box; I’m thinking of Lote Tuqiri and Karmichael Hunt here.
But, whatever Brown’s motivations, I reckon he’s hit the nail squarely on the head here.
Rules may be rules, but I reckon McNamara and his staff should employ a little moral discretion when it comes to who they pick.
IT looks very much as if Brian Noble will be back at Bradford before too long as part of Chris Caisley’s new Odsal regime.
Whatever the merits of Mick Potter’s coaching record over the last season and a half, I reckon Noble’s return will be good for the Bulls and good for the game.
Halifax’s former ‘coaching consultant’ is as proud a Bradfordian as you will find, and he remains the most successful homegrown coach of the modern era.
Quite why he has been ignored for various Super League vacancies over the last year and a half remains something of a mystery to me.
Noble’s record, whether he’s had a lot of money or no money –- which was certainly the case with the Crusaders -– is second to none.
Frankly, it seems ridiculous that he’s been out of work for so long.