Every month, Rugby League World gets a well-known player from the past or present to pick their ‘Dream XIII’ which features players that they have played with throughout their career.
In a recent edition, we put Warrington centre Ryan Atkins to the test, and it has to be said, it’s a pretty impressive team!
Brett Hodgson (Warrington Wolves)
Only small in stature but his vision and rugby brain was second to none. He knew where to be in the attacking line and his final ball was always on the money.
Ryan Hall (England)
He has the size most forwards want but he has the pace to go with it. He is not afraid to take tough carries off his own line and he’s shown time after time that he knows his way over the line.
Semi Tadulala (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats)
A mountain of a man who wasn’t afraid of doing the hard work. He always knew when to get in and take some of the load off the forwards. He was very influential at the start of my Super League career.
Matt King (Warrington Wolves)
A great all round player – be it on the centre or wing – you knew what you were getting from him. Once he found his feet in Super league he showed his class and ability. He was always helping me with my game in training too.
Chris Bridge (Warrington Wolves)
On his day he is easily one of the best centres in the world. His footwork and ball handling is second to none. Injuries throughout his career hindered him, but even after all those you can still see he’s world class.
Lee Briers (Warrington Wolves)
His knowledge and understanding of the game is immense and he knew exactly how to control a match. He would speed it up when need be then slow it down to play out the game. He is not known for his defensive prowess but he did put a couple of big hits in during his career.
Danny Brough (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats)
His left footed spiral bombs have given many a winger and fullback nightmares. His kicking game is brilliant but when he decides to run the ball, his pace and strength means he is very hard to put down. He’s a fierce competitor who doesn’t like losing and he makes that clear on the pitch.
Adam Watene (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats)
When we linked back up at Wakefield he soon became a crowd and player favourite. With legs the size of tree trunks, his determined runs and big hits made all opposition teams know they were in for a hard day at the office.
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)
Mr Consistent. One of the best trainers I’ve ever played with. He gives his all in training and plays exactly how he trains. He has size, strength, ball handling skills and footwork. What more could you ask for in a prop. As our captain, he’s not too much into big speeches, instead he leads by example.
James Roby (England)
His service and vision at the play of the ball is world class. Any quick play of the ball and you know he is going to pick up and run. Defending that is a totally different story. He’s not the biggest of players but pound for pound one of the strongest around. To play the full 80, make as many tackles and runs as he does just shows why he was a worthy winner of the Man of Steel.
SECOND ROW FORWARDS
David Solomona (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats & Warrington Wolves)
We called him the ‘Magic Man’ for the way he held the ball and had the knack of finding an offload in impossible situations. He would attract two or three defenders and somehow find a way to get the ball to me in open space. His words of wisdom and guidance will never be forgotten.
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves & England)
Trains like Jane and plays like Tarzan. He’s not the best of trainers but the way he plays and how he puts his body on the line week in and week out epitomises him as a player. He loves the rough and tough stuff and always puts his hands up to do the hard work. Some of the limits he pushes his body to in a match are phenomenal.
Sam Burgess (England & Bradford Bulls Academy)
When I was in the Under 21s at Bradford, Sam played alongside us as a 16 year old and it was clear then that he was going to be special. He’s a man mountain with every skill you need to be an exceptional Rugby League player. He carries the ball at 100 miles an hour and makes bone crunching tackles with no thought for self-preservation.
Two players that just miss out
Next month’s Dream XIII features former Warrington, Leeds and Bradford great Neil Harmon. To read it first, pick up a copy of Rugby League World, which will be in stores on September 23rd. Alternatively get an online copy at totalrl.com/rlw