GUNNEDAH Bulldogs Group 4 premiership hopes have received a triple English injection.
Captain-coach Shane Rampling invited three young players from the St Albans Centurions club to play with the Bulldogs in 2014.
Martin Day, 26, his younger brother, Lawrence Day, 20, and their cousin Robert Day, 24, arrived in Australia last Thursday and were at Bulldogs training at Kitchener park that night.
“Helped with he jet lag,” Martin Day said at Tamworth’s Scully Park on Sunday.
The trio were at the Group 4 Knockout watching their new teammates go around.
Unfortunately they didn’t see too much as the Bulldogs lost both their games, 34-10 to Wee Waa and 34-nil to eventual knockout winners North Tamworth. The trio have come an English winter where they have been playing rugby union.
Their rugby league seasons are just starting at home too but they have heeded an invitation from new Gunnedah coach, Rampling, to come out and play for the Bulldogs.
“He coached at St Albans,” Day said.
“And invited us to come and play with him.”
The offer was too exciting to pass up for the trio whose club, St Albans, play in a National League two leagues down from the main English Super League.
“We’re here until September,” Day said.
“Hoping to pike up some work here and there.”
They are also waiting for their registrations to “go through” but are certain of playing in the first round against West Lions on April 27.
Martin and Robert are both forwards while young Lawrence is a flying winger. “He had to be quick to get any of the scraps at the table,” Martin joked.
The three Englishmen could also be bolters for Group 4 spots.
Group 4 secretary Mick Schmiedel, who is also the Group 4 coach, said the trio would be considered after playing in the first round Group 4 match for Gunnedah against Oxley Diggers.
That Sunday, April 27 game is a first round match in the new Group 4 Cup season.
We’ll be selecting the Group 4 side after that first round of matches,” Schmiedel said.
“We’ll be able to see players play full games rather than just the shorter games from the Group 4 Knockout.”
Last weekend’s Knockout gave Group 4 selectors a good look at players in the running.
North Tamworth Bears might figure prominently after they beat West Lions 22-8 in the Knockout Final.
The Bears and West Lions have a first round rematch at Jack Woolaston Oval on Saturday, April 26.
Bears coach Brad Mcmanus said the move to a Saturday game will enable his players to attend the Tamworth Cup meeting on the Sunday and make it a big start to the new season.
West Lions, in danger of folding at one stage, have an improving young side under Chris Hunt while Oxley Diggers face a huge challenge to be competitive.
In the other first round match Narrabri Blues host Wee Waa Panthers in a big local derby at Narrabri’s Collins Park on the Sunday.