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Mushy

Why are there so many left-sided English players?

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Am quite excited about the mid season international given how well the league is going this year and the form of some of our Aussie based players.

We have some great centres in Sarg, Percy, Olly, and Shenton - but they are all left-sided players. All with good left foot steps and right arm fends.

And in the half backs we have real talent and form with Widdop, Gale and Williams - but they are all left-sides players too. All playing very similarly down the left with the occasional foray down the middle or right only.

Even when you think about some of the other options like Brown, McGuire or even Bateman and Currie these too are lefties. 

So much slimmer pickings down the right with only the likes of Smith, Ratchford and the ultimate curate's egg Watkins. 

The only ones who can play anywhere across the width appear to be ball-playing locks or full backs. 

Odd that the game has evolved that way rather than inside and outside players, and I am not sure who of the above would best placed to become either a rightie or a free-roaming player. 

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Most players are more comfortable passing right to left which traditionally sees players wanting to play on the left as they see more of the ball. As a result the more dominant (better) player often plays on the left. I remember Jason Robinson requesting to move to the left from the right when Martin Offiah left for that very reason.

Also this is just as prevalent at youth level so by the time they are Super League players they have developed a dominant left step, rather than right, right fend rather than left etc and as a consequence have a strong preference for playing on the left so they can use their best attributes.

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Posted (edited)

Good point, seems obvious but that hadn't occurred to me. After I smashed my right arm I became much better as a left to right passer of the ball, and as a track athlete (running anti-clockwise) my right leg was slightly stronger so I could step better off it too. 

Not sure what England should do though. Consider switching someone from the left to the right side? Or stick with our limited options and keep people in their natural positions and roles?

Edited by Mushy

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Simple more right handed people on the planet

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I wouldn't say we had great centres . Certainly not at the highest level

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I'd have thought that, especially in a WC year, Bennett and the England staff could have asked SL coaches to play players on a specific side. Though this is linked into how few games England actually play together and lack of surity over who is playing where that specifying this becomes a bit pointless. 

There's also the way that though teams in SL do play Left and right, there is often now more plays involving both halves. 

Having a combination that works and is balanced is more important than just left or right per se for me; though I'm glad we have Watkins and McGilvary used to playing on the right.

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It's an interesting topic. I always think of right sided centres as being perhaps slightly more skillful as you tend to get the great silky centres like Gleeson, Gasnier, Gidley etc who have a great right hand carry and can release their winger with a flip of the right hand. It doesn't tend to happen so much the other way, as this skill is a lot harder to perfect with your left hand if you're right handed. Ryan Atkins is a good example in that he'd perhaps be a bit of a waste at right centre as his handling isn't his strength, but he works well on the left as a power player. Same with Keith Senior.

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Also shows the value of a couple ball-players who will roam as required. Wigan looked brilliant a few years back with O'Loughlin and Tomkins doing just that. Maybe McNamara had it right after all with Tomkins Smith and Widdop to give enough balance, even if there were better halves than Smith. 

So where does that leave us now? Watkins as the only credible right centre, and no top level right sided half backs? You'll be super reliant on a creative full back in that environment and I'm not sure we have anyone who fits the bill who is fit. 

Personally I'd use the upcoming international as a chance to try out the alternatives - maybe the likes of Shenton and Widdop on the right with Percy and Williams on the left? And with Hardacher our best running fullback maybe look at someone else as a ball player there if we have anyone - would have been Tomkins or Lomax but currently only O'Brien? 

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We covered this topic recently at physiology convention in London and its down to most UK males sleep on their left side

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All to do with the dominant hand. I.e. As A left hander I find it easier to pass left to right , but awkward passing right to left. Passing right to left I have to twist the body as well, whereas right to left it is just arm movement.

imo a left centre should be right handed and a right centre should be left handed. Makes it easier to pass to winger.

hope this makes sense.

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4 hours ago, owd codger said:

All to do with the dominant hand. I.e. As A left hander I find it easier to pass left to right , but awkward passing right to left. Passing right to left I have to twist the body as well, whereas right to left it is just arm movement.

imo a left centre should be right handed and a right centre should be left handed. Makes it easier to pass to winger.

hope this makes sense.

I'd argue the opposite. It's easier to teach someone to pass both ways than to carry the ball in both hands and be able to execute a one armed flick pass while fending. So you can see lots of right handed players passing to the right, but you don't often see a right handed player execute a left handed flick pass. 

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Posted (edited)

On 21/04/2017 at 4:47 PM, sweaty craiq said:

We covered this topic recently at physiology convention in London and its down to most UK males sleep on their left side

I have read that twice and wasn't sure if it was a joke? I sleep on the side which allows me to face the nearer edge of the bed - doesn't everyone?

As for right hand attacks, the great Andy Gregory would make himself a nuisance on that flank by turning his body round and passing the natural way - and that was in 5 metre days where much more contact was allowed. 

Some other ideas - I agree that a good full back should have the skill to make right hand attacks effective. Meanwhile why don't teams deliberately head right in the first couple of tackles and then both halves can play on the left - essentially make everywhere left... 

Edited by Exiled Wiganer

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On 21/04/2017 at 6:49 PM, owd codger said:

All to do with the dominant hand. I.e. As A left hander I find it easier to pass left to right , but awkward passing right to left. Passing right to left I have to twist the body as well, whereas right to left it is just arm movement.

imo a left centre should be right handed and a right centre should be left handed. Makes it easier to pass to winger.

hope this makes sense.

I'm a leftie but I find it easier to pass right to left. I do feel more comfortable playing on the right side as I can use my left step and fend but can't pass left to right for the life of me. 

 

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