Putting together a Championship team using its head coaches – and it’s VERY impressive

The current lockdown situation has led to all manner of strange thoughts, both from journalists looking for different stories and social media bods creating mythical sporting teams to pass the time.

There have been any number of online challenges to create fictional teams in various sports, while writers have had to be more creative than usual with no action to report on from the field.

A combination of both led to the notion that the 14 Championship coaches would make up a pretty impressive Rugby League team, with minimal positional compromises as well.
So here it is:

1. Craig Lingard (Batley Bulldogs) – The club’s all-time record try scorer, having set an imposing mark of 142 when he passed team-mate Glenn Tomlinson’s before retiring in 2008. An outstanding support player with eye for a gap.

2. Lee Greenwood (Dewsbury Rams) – Pacy winger who started his career at Sheffield Eagles while in Super League and had other top-flight spells at Halifax, London and Huddersfield. Also displayed his sharp finishing skills at Leigh before finishing with hometown Fax and then Batley.

3. James Ford (York City Knights) – One half of a classy centre pairing who featured in the top-flight for Castleford. His playing career also took in stops at Featherstone, Sheffield and Widnes before finishing at the Knights.

4. Sylvain Houles (Toulouse Olympique) – French international who tested his ability in England and played Super League at Wakefield, Huddersfield and London. Returned to Toulouse before taking up the coaching reins at the club.

5. John Kear (Bradford Bulls) – It might be difficult for some to picture the Bulls and Wales boss as a flowing haired winger at Castleford, but that’s exactly what Kear was. A handful of his well-taken tries from a decade at the club have been featuring in re-runs of old matches recently.

6. Mark Aston (Sheffield Eagles) – A short spell with Featherstone aside, Aston was a one-club man in the city he still coaches in. A Great Britain international in 1991 and Lions tourist the following year, his career highlight was winning the 1998 Lance Todd Trophy.

7. James Webster (Featherstone Rovers) – An NRL halfback with Balmain Tigers and Parramatta, Webster went on to guide Hull KR to promotion and then played top flight rugby in this country too. Skilful playmaker who also ran out for Widnes and, very briefly, Hull FC.

8. Danny Ward (London Broncos) – A Super League Grand Final winner with hometown Leeds in 2004, Ward was picked for Great Britain later that year and spent his entire career in the top-flight. Also took in stops at Castleford, Hull KR and Harlequins.

9. Matt Diskin (Oldham) – Won the Harry Sunderland Trophy alongside Ward in that Leeds 2004 Old Trafford triumph and also represented the Lions that year. One of the golden generation of Rhinos that started the club’s period of dominance, he later moved to rivals Bradford

10. Gary Charlton (Whitehaven) – The first positional compromise sees backrower Charlton step up to prop to add some steel to the pack. After starting his professional career at Gold Coast, of all places, he became one of the few players to represent all four professional Cumbrian clubs.

11. Stuart Littler (Swinton Lions) – The most likely of three centres to spend time in the back row, Littler spent the vast majority of an excellent career in the threequarters. After over 300 appearances with Salford, the Ireland international finished at Leigh, Rochdale and Swinton.

12. Simon Grix (Halifax) – Gifted backrower who was a key part of Warrington’s transformation from nearly men to trophy winners, although he missed three Wembley triumphs. His Wolves career was book-ended by spells at hometown Fax.

13. John Duffy (Leigh Centurions) – Moved from halfback into the ball playing loose forward role, Duffy burst onto the Super League scene as a 16-year-old at Warrington. His career covered six clubs – and three spells at Leigh – as well as featuring for Scotland.

Coach: Tim Sheens (Widnes Vikings) – Selected as coach both as the group’s elder statesman and by virtue of a World Cup win and NRL Grand Final triumphs, making him the most decorated boss. But he would also walk into the team as a talented prop forward who made 166 first-grade appearances for Penrith.