English friends to become NRL rivals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

English friends to become NRL rivals

12/05/2010 12:01:33 AM Comments (0)

Off the field, the NRL's English imports are good friends, but that means nothing once they hit the pitch, according to Wests Tigers forward Mark Flanagan.

Flanagan and Tigers teammate Gareth Ellis will face fellow Pom Sam Burgess on Sunday when Balmain play the Rabbitohs at the SCG.

It's the third time the clubs have met as part of the heritage round with the Tigers winning in 2008 and Souths snatching victory with a last gasp field goal to winger Nathan Merritt last year in front of a crowd of almost 30,000.

The battle of the Brits this year will add to the strong rivalry that has traditionally existed between the Tigers and Souths.

Flanagan says the Englishmen are good friends but he expects that to change on the field.

"Myself and Gareth keep in regular contact with him (Burgess), we're quite close mates, but on the field, I suppose it doesn't really mean much," he told reporters at Concord Oval in Sydney on Tuesday.

"I think I'll be trying to keep away from him, he's a big boy.

"I'm a bit smaller than Sam, he thinks he can pick on me but we'll see about that.

Ellis, the Tigers 2009 player-of-the-year, says it has been a while since he has played against an Englishman and he will probably remember it for a long time.

"There'll be no special attention he'll be getting from me," he said.

"I definitely hope I won't be getting any special attention from him.

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