HULL FC head coach Lee Radford has revealed how he once almost moved to Australia – to join NRL champions Melbourne Storm.
Currently on the Airlie Birds’ tour of New South Wales, Radford is putting together final preparations for tomorrow’s ground-breaking Super League game against Wigan Warriors at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
A week later, they tackle St George Illawarra as the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup holders pit their wits against NRL opponents in Sydney.
That is part of an international double-header that also features Wigan Warriors v South Sydney, experiences Radford firmly believes will enrich his players.
Plenty of English talent presently operates in the NRL although when Radford played – he helped Bradford Bulls win the 2003 and 2005 Grand Finals as a combative back-row – there was only Great Britain prop Adrian Morley truly making his mark in the Australian game.
However, the 38-year-old told The Yorkshire Post: “Back in the day, when I was at Bradford, I did speak to Melbourne.
“But I’d just had my first child and they needed to get rid of a player as well for it all to happen and it never really quite progressed. Dean Lance, the former Leeds Rhinos coach, was football manager and I spoke to him.
“I think the year before (Warrington’s) Ian Sibbit and (Wakefield’s) Keith Mason went out there so they went down a bit of a UK recruitment drive.
“But, unfortunately, it never quite happened for me.
“I did manage to play against one of the NRL sides in the World Club Challenge, though, and loved the experience.”
If you watch Warrington and Wigan last year, the knock-on effect of the World Club Series was huge for them. We’ve spoken about that as a club, players and staff hopefully not making the same mistakes.Hukll FC head coach, Lee Radford
Radford, alongside the likes of Jamie Peacock, Lesley Vainikolo and man-of-the-match Leon Pryce, helped Bradford defeat Penrith Panthers 22-4 in the 2004 World Club Challenge
He recalled: “It was an unbelievable experience, over at Huddersfield in front of about 19,000 fans.
“So much focus went into it, though, and you have to be wary of that. If you watch Warrington and Wigan last year, the knock-on effect of the World Club Series for them was huge,” he continued.
“We’ve spoken about that as a club, players and staff hopefully not making those same mistakes.”
Rather than relocating to Australia, when he did eventually leave Bradford at the end of 2005, he rejoined his home-town club.
Radford spent the next seven years there before retiring and joining the coaching staff, initially as Peter Gentle’s assistant, before taking over ahead of the 2014 season.
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