Thursday XIII: Cream of the Championship crop
For this week’s alternative look at a handpicked Rugby League squad, we’re dropping out of Super League and heading into the Championship. Next year will see the return of England’s second tier to our TV screens after a one-year hiatus, and there will be plenty of talent on show to look out for.
Bradford and London will have a real job on getting out of the Championship next season, with a wealth of stars – some ex-Super League, some not – across all the Championship clubs. But if you were to pick a 13 comprised merely of just Championship players, who would make the cut? We take a stab right here with our Thursday Thirteen!
Full-back – Miles Greenwood (Batley)
The Batley full-back has been in incredible form so far this season, bagging 19 tries despite a difficult campaign for John Kear’s men. If they are to stay in the Championship, the experience and class of Greenwood will prove vital as the business end of the season approaches.
Right wing – Liam Kay (Leigh)
Kay is one of the most prolific wingers in the Championship, and will surely be attracting the attention of Super League clubs if he continues in his incredible vein of form. However, will he choose to stay with the Centurions instead?
Right centre – Scott Turner (Sheffield)
It’s been a difficult season for Sheffield – at least in comparison to the last couple of years. However, Turner has been a real bright spot for Mark Aston’s side this campaign, popping up with some crucial tries and some big reads in defence. A class act.
Left centre – Steve Tyrer (Halifax)
A goal-kicking extraordinaire as well as a classy centre, Tyrer’s recent decision to pen a new deal with Halifax will have been music to Fax fans’ ears. Strong and robust – as well as classy with ball in hand – Tyrer is a top centre, and one of the best outside of Super League.
Left wing – Alex Brown (Batley)
Brown is a rampaging winger who impresses almost each and every week for Batley. He’s known to have sat a few defenders on their backsides over the course of the season, and if Batley make the play-offs, the likes of Brown make them a tricky prospect to play against.
Stand-off – Scott Murrell (Halifax)
Murrell has been outstanding since signing for Fax last season, and he proved himself as perhaps the best stand-off outside of Super League with an incredible performance against Whitehaven last weekend. With ball in hand, he’s one of the most dangerous players in the league.
Scrum-half – Ryan Brierley (Leigh)
The incredible Brierley continues to grab headlines all across the country – with the Leigh half-back already grabbing an astonishing 29 tries in 2014. With Leigh riding high at the top of the league, the form of Brierley will be vital in their pursuit of honours.
Prop – Mitch Stringer (Sheffield)
Stringer is a top forward who only knows one way – forward. The Sheffield powerhouse has played a key role in their back-to-back Championship successes, and will play a key role in the remainder of the season – as the Eagles chase safety.
Hooker – Anthony Thackeray (Dewsbury)
Technically not a hooker, but the form of Anthony Thackeray has played a big role in Dewsbury’s chase for a play-off place this year. He has a knack of scoring stacks of tries, and is arguably the Rams’ best player.
Prop – Luke Ambler (Halifax)
Ambler, like Mitch Stringer, is a barnstorming prop who has a real classy offload. He is Halifax’s key man in the pack in 2014, and he has all the tools to go on and play Super League in the coming years.
Second row – Tommy Goulden (Leigh)
Goulden is a classy back-rower who has been in top form for Leigh so far this season. Often has a knack of coming up with a real game-changing play from nowhere.
Second row – Ross Divorty (Halifax)
Divorty has it all; offloads, power and even a touch of pace. A try-scoring second row forward who is a joy to play with as a centre, Divorty is one of Halifax’s top assets as the business end of the season approaches.
Loose forward – Sam Barlow (Leigh)
The former Halifax man has a reputation for being fiery, but that only serves to make him an even bigger asset for Paul Rowley’s men moving forward.