I, for one, am delighted to see Salford Red Devils win the race to sign Leeds winger Ben Jones-Bishop.
But equally, I would have been just as pleased had any other Super League club snapped him up. We need to keep hold of our homegrown stars and prevent them following the money and moving to rugby union, like Kyle Eastmond, Joel Tomkins and Chris Ashton did.
The arrival of big spending Salford owner Dr Marwan Koukash is already putting an end to that, as this move proves, and I’m certain Jones-Bishop will be well looked after financially.
It’s a shame the 25-year-old felt he could no longer continue with the Rhinos. He has found it tough to hold down a regular place in the side as he has three other England internationals – Zak Hardaker, Ryan Hall and Tom Briscoe – in his preferred positions. The truth is, he would start for the majority of Super League teams – he has pace, skill, strength and is a superb finisher.
Unfortunately, three into two just doesn’t go and, at his age, he needs to be playing regular rugby rather than being given a chance once every month or so. Playing week-in week-out, like he most probably will at Salford, should see his game develop even further and if he continues to thrive, he will not only be one of the first names on Salford’s team sheet, he will be giving Hall and Briscoe some real competition to be among the first on England’s too.
All in all this is a great move for Ben, for Salford and English Rugby League.
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