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Imports boosting Poms' Four Nations team

05/05/2010 07:35:26 PM Comments (0)

The recent influx of English talent to the NRL could turn around to bite Australia in this year's Four Nations Tournament.

The opportunity to play in the world's best rugby league competition has lured promising players including South Sydney forward Sam Burgess and Wests Tigers forward Mark Flanagan from Europe's Super League.

The Tigers have already experienced success with an import, with second rower Gareth Ellis named the side's play of the year after his debut NRL season last year.

But the Poms success in the NRL is a double-edged sword, creating a stronger English national side for the Kangaroos to face.

Now in his second season with the Tigers, Ellis says the side and the competition have helped him develop into a stronger and more confident player.

He says his new skills will certainly help him when he joins his fellow Englishmen to play the Kangaroos in the Four Nations Test in Melbourne in October.

"I think personally, it's (playing in the NRL) helped me just get over a few barriers and adapt my game a little bit, to make me better and more confident when it comes to playing for England against Australia and New Zealand," Ellis told AAP.

Injecting more Australian talent onto the opponent's side is Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith, who will assist England's coach Steve McNamara as a performance adviser.

"(He'll be the) eyes and ears on the Australian side of things and I'm sure he'll be feeding Steve with as much information as possible," says Ellis.

The 28-year-old will also benefit from not having to travel across the world for this year's tournament unlike most of his teammates.

"It'll be nice to sort of not be too far away from home, I know it's difficult for a lot of the players," Ellis said.

"It's hard to be away from your friends and family, so it'll be nice to have that sort of luxury."

Now settled Down Under with girlfriend Rachel and three-month-old son Isaac says his move has been one of the best decisions he's ever made.

"I'm really enjoying it and if that's what someone else wants to do from England, if they want to come out here and play and test yourself in the best competition, I'd be all for it, I'd encourage them as much as I could."

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