Tigers coach expects more English stars - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers coach expects more English stars

By Ed Jackson 30/07/2010 03:51:31 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens says the success of English players such as Gareth Ellis and South Sydney's Sam Burgess will only bring more overseas stars to the NRL.

Sheens welcomes Ellis back to his starting line-up for Saturday's clash with Cronulla at Leichhardt Oval following a groin injury, and also has backrower Mark Flanagan among his ranks at the Tigers.

And the Australian Test coach believes more will follow the path forged by Ellis, Burgess and Flanagan.

"I think when England play in the Four Nations this year, their squad will be scrutinised by NRL clubs for sure," Sheens said.

"There are players going from here to England and there's always talk about the drain of players going, I'm not so much concerned about that.

"If we pick off the top 10 per cent of their players and they're playing over here, in some ways it's a fair trade.

"I think it just adds to the NRL to have the top echelon of players, whether it's from England or Australia, playing in the NRL competition."

Second-rower Ellis joined the Tigers last year, going on to play 22 matches in his debut NRL season and was voted the club's player of the year.

But his mantle as the competition's star English import has been overtaken by the arrival of Burgess.

The 21-year-old utility forward arrived with a big reputation and hasn't missed a beat since arriving at Redfern, quickly becoming a fan favourite as the Rabbitohs eye finals football for the first time since 2007.

Flanagan's arrival at the Tigers from Super League club Wigan, where he played just 10 games in two seasons, created less of a media stir.

However, the 22-year-old has made 17 appearances this season with Sheens' side sitting fourth on the premiership ladder.

"There'll be a trickle of players coming from England over the next few years. There's no doubt about that," Sheens said.

"As I said, their national side playing out here this year (will help that).

"I think in the World Cup a couple of years ago they didn't perform all that well but they've got a new breed of player that surfaced last year in the Four Nations and I think they'll be stronger this year as a squad.

"Individually they'll be buoyed by the fact that there are some of their players, some of their countrymen, playing out here successfully because I think a few of them have got their eyes on playing out here."

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