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What might have been


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There were a few others on the cusp of switching to RL in the shamateur days who were "persuaded" by a lot more money arriving in their bank account (but nothing to do with Rugby, honest!).

The Samoan RU Hall of Fame player Brian Lima and the Fijian legend Waisale Serevi were two notable ones. Both would have been interesting converts, especially Serevi.

Of the NH players who never got close to switching, Simon Geoghagan always looked like he was wasted on RU to me, Neil Jenkins' pin-point kicking and work ethic may well have compensated for a lack of skill elsewhere and there were a few French players from back when they actually* played RU with a bit of style, like Serge Blanco.

*as opposed to the mythical French Flair that Union hacks try to invoke every time the Six Nations lumbers into view these days.

Edited by Futtocks

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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15 hours ago, Cumbrian Mackem said:

What with the latest news of another world class league player switching codes got me thinking to the time when the boot was on the other foot with league clubs snapping up top international union players but more interestingly the players that got away for example one of the greatest rugby players of either code Christian Cullen had his sights set on a career in the ARL before union went professional.

There was also all blacks legend tana umaga who signed for Newcastle knights before returning home to NZ because he was homesick. There’s also ex league junior Jonah Lomu who switched to union in high school I believe. Also nearly signed for Leeds and Sheffield after the 1995 union World Cup??

This is the first time I've heard that about Christian Cullen and I'm Kiwi. One of the most skilful player I have ever seen.

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Jenkins was a slug with a good boot.  

I think those downplaying Lomu are being a bit disingenuous. He was massive - a stone and a half heavier than Vainakolo in an era when training wasn't as advanced, and reasonably quick. On top of that he'd have brought enormous publicity to RL.

Also, Vainakolo wasn't some megastar in the NRL. 

 

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4 hours ago, Taniwha Warriors said:

This is the first time I've heard that about Christian Cullen and I'm Kiwi. One of the most skilful player I have ever seen.

There’s a short clip of him getting interviewed on YouTube in which he’s asked a series of questions including if you didn’t play “rugby” what would you be doing and he answered playing Aussie league.

I’ll try and find it.

time stamp 5:25

 

Edited by Cumbrian Mackem
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2 hours ago, Cumbrian Mackem said:

There’s a short clip of him getting interviewed on YouTube in which he’s asked a series of questions including if you didn’t play “rugby” what would you be doing and he answered playing Aussie league.

I’ll try and find it.

time stamp 5:25

 

He's a pretty down to earth guy Cullen is. I thought Jonah Lomu was already committed to Canterbury Bulldogs before AB team mates and lawyer Eric Rush had a chat to him about given another go. This was after Jonah was blamed and then dropped after a loss against France to which he was outplayed by his opponents

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1 hour ago, Taniwha Warriors said:

He's a pretty down to earth guy Cullen is. I thought Jonah Lomu was already committed to Canterbury Bulldogs before AB team mates and lawyer Eric Rush had a chat to him about given another go. This was after Jonah was blamed and then dropped after a loss against France to which he was outplayed by his opponents

Speaking of Eric Rush, I think he could have been an excellent league player. 

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Workington Town almost signed Dewi Morris when they got back in to the big league apparently, no idea if it would have worked. The rumours were it was pretty much done until his then "amateur" club threw a bucket of money at him. 

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10 hours ago, The Art of Hand and Foot said:

I remember nigel heslop, england ru player who was also from that era, signing for Oldham . I thought he transitioned well and played a part in keeping us up in the 1st division. 

 

I remember Brendan Tuuta greeting him at post office Road 

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2 hours ago, dkw said:

Workington Town almost signed Dewi Morris when they got back in to the big league apparently, no idea if it would have worked. The rumours were it was pretty much done until his then "amateur" club threw a bucket of money at him. 

Same happened in the 70s when Town were within half an hour of signing the great Scotland and Lions full back Andy Irvine. 

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I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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3 hours ago, Robin Evans said:

I remember Brendan Tuuta greeting him at post office Road 

We had some memorable battles with Oldham in the late 80s early 90s and Paul Round used to put it about for them amongst others. We played them in an A Team Cup Final one Friday night at Post Office Road, the game was videotaped. If you want to see a RL brawl in full flow, check it out if it is available anywhere, you won't be disappointed!

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