Bradford prop Fielden still eyeing NRL

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Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan
Talk of a swap with Sydney Roosters enforcer Adrian Morley may have been dismissed but Bradford prop Stuart Fielden is still keen to play in the NRL.

Speculation was rife recently that the Great Britain international would be swapped with England's forward Morley at the end of the season.

While Morley soon scuppered the talk, Fielden said it was still his dream to play in Australia in the countdown to Bradford's World Club Challenge (WCC) clash with Wests Tigers at Huddersfield on Saturday (AEST).

Fielden, 26, has also been linked to the Gold Coast Titans who debut in the NRL next year.

But the Bradford bruiser said a move to Australia wouldn't happen until his Super League contract expired at the end of 2008.

"I'm signed here for two years. After that it's a matter I'll consider down the way," he told England's Sky Sports.

"I really want to play in the NRL but you don't know what will happen in the next two years.

"Obviously it's something I will really look at but we've just got to wait and see."

Fielden's main priority is inspiring a Bradford side that has been hit by injury against Wests Tigers and without five players who chimed into the Bulls' 2005 Super League grand final win over Leeds.

Former Cronulla Shark and Queensland Origin utility Chris McKenna has been denied back-to-back WCC appearances after being ruled out with a hamstring injury.

McKenna played in Leeds' tight 2005 WCC win over the Bulldogs.

Bradford coach Brian Noble has been forced to name a 19-strong squad due to Great Britain halfback Paul Deacon (hamstring) who will have a late fitness test in a bid to play his first game since suffering horrific facial injuries in last year's Tri Nations series.

Fielden - along with teammates Australian Michael Withers and Kiwis Lesley Vainikolo and Joe Vagana - is looking for a third WCC win with the Bulls after helping down Newcastle in 2002 and Penrith in 2004.

Bradford teammate and PNG international Marcus Bai is also looking for a third WCC victory after winning with Melbourne in 2000 and Leeds last year.

More responsibility rests on Fielden's shoulders as he attempts to spark a forward pack missing the likes of Great Britain captain Jamie Peacock who moved to Leeds after their Super League grand final win.

"It'll be strange on the pitch and not having him (Peacock) around because he does a lot of work," Fielden said.

"But other people will have to step up and I'll just have to carry on as well."

Karl Pryce or PNG international Stanley Gene are likely replacements for Deacon if he succumbs to injury.

New recruit, ex-Sharks forward Keith Galloway, has been cut from the Wests Tigers side that will include 11 members of the team which beat North Queensland in the NRL grand final.

Forwards Sam Harris (Manly) and Ryan O'Hara (Canberra) and utility back Jamaal Lolesi (Bulldogs) will make their competitive debuts for the Wests Tigers.

English teams have won four of the last six WCC finals since it returned as an annual event in 2000.

The last Australian team to claim the title is the Sydney Roosters in 2003.

As a result, the Wests Tigers are at $3.05 to win with Bradford at $1.37 with Centrebet and $2.60 to win with Bradford at $1.45 at TAB Sportsbet.

Wests Tigers: Brett Hodgson; Shannon McDonnell, Paul Whatuira, Dean Collis, Jamaal Lolesi; Daniel Fitzhenry, Scott Prince (c); Ryan O'Hara, Robbie Farah, John Skandalis, Chris Heighington, Anthony Laffranchi, Ben Galea. Reserves: Liam Fulton, Bronson Harrison, Sam Harris, Bryce Gibbs.

Bradford squad: Michael Withers, Marcus St Hilaire, Marcus Bai, Lesley Vainikolo, Shontayne Hape, Ben Harris, Paul Johnson, Jamie Langley, Karl Pryce, Paul Deacon, Iestyn Harris (c), Stanley Gene, Ian Henderson, Stuart Fielden, Andy Lynch, Joe Vagana, Brad Meyers, Matt Cook, Brett Ferres.

Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens).

© 2006 AAP


Journey Man
LoL - and Sam Harris wanted to join The Tigers to get off the bench....Lol X 2


We will swap King for Fielden. Sounds fair to me.

Harris will be lucky to avoid playing in Pl this year. Interesting to see how he goes tomorrow.


Journey Man
Fielden was extremely impressive today. However, he is no bigger or fitter than Brent Kite. If Kite could replicate his desire there's no reason why he couldn't do the same job for us.

Wouldn't say no to having both of them though.

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