McGillvary ponders uncertain Test future

Jermaine McGillvary admits there are bigger priorities for the sport to worry about than this year’s Ashes series.

There is increasing doubt that the scheduled three-Test series between England and Australia will take place in the Autumn, with the two domestic seasons set to extend their seasons beyond their respective scheduled Grand Final dates.

With the NRL also earning A$13 million a week from their TV deal, the Australians’ priority appears to lie with their broadcasting obligations.

The news would come as a disappointment to McGillvary, but he recognises the NRL’s problems.

“You can understand the NRL’s stance,” he said.

“Everything is completely up in the air; you want to see the games being played, to see the best against the best, so of course you want to see it played.

“It’s really tough in this climate to say it should be played or should not. But the most important thing is that clubs become financially secure again and the season done. It’s likely to be a while until we’re financially on track again, not just in Rugby League but in all walks of life and that has to be a priority.”

In the unlikely event that the Test series goes ahead, McGillvary knows he faces strong competition for a place in the team.

The likes of Dom Manfredi and Josh Charnley were invited to Shaun Wane’s now cancelled initial England gathering.

But for the Giants’ star, the threat of losing his place does not worry him, as it’s something he’s had to put up with for years.

“There’s been competition from Day 1,” he said.

“I’m 32 years old and I’ll probably be retired in three years, so it’s no skin off my nose; the big thing for me is that England play the best players and win the World Cup.

“You create a bond and you do what you can to make sure England has the glory. So if I’m involved or not, I won’t care so long as it’s best for England. I just want the best for England and, if that means I don’t get in the team, then I’ll be watching on as a fan like everyone else, and if I am playing I’ll give my best like I have done every time I’ve worn the jersey.

“But competition always brings the best out of people; I’ve always believed that. It makes you that bit better.”

Like many of his peers, McGillvary said he would support the decision to furlough players.

“I’m not sure there’s another way around it,” he said.

“It will help clubs, especially the ones who don’t have much of an income and don’t have a rich backer. I think it’s something we’re all going to have to do eventually, but it’s just one of those things happening with us.

“I saw it happened at Tottenham and Newcastle and football is in a different league. It’s just one of the things you have to do to help Rugby League.

“It’s going to be tough on a lot of players who don’t have a lot of savings, so it might not be enough to support them. Hopefully that’s where the clubs can help, but not every club has the luxury of a backer who can do that. Hopefully we get the government backing to help the game as a whole.”

The latest event of McGillvary’s Testimonial year, a Ladies’ Night, is set to be re-arranged.