New Super League structure prompts McNamara to look to future with hope

England coach Steve McNamara is convinced a more competitive Super League can help him deliver long-awaited success at international level.

England coach Steve McNamara.

The former Bradford Bulls boss, now an assistant at Sydney Roosters, is a huge fan of the new structure for the domestic game and believes the reduction of teams in Super League from 14 to 12 will produce the more intense competition that can help the elite players compete more evenly with Australia and New Zealand.

McNamara says he has been encouraged by the early signs after watching the first rounds of Super League in which every team has collected points.

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“We’ve done a lot of things with the England programme to enhance our chances of being successful,” said McNamara. “But I always felt the biggest percentage gain could be through our domestic competition, in making it the strongest it could be and challenging the individual players every single week.

“It’s probably one of the biggest steps that’s been made to improve our game and I hope they don’t judge it over one season.

“They need to give it a fair crack at this to make our game strong.”

McNamara plans to come over to England to oversee a mid-season training camp in preparation for the autumn Test series against New Zealand.

Hawks face tricky trip to All Golds in Challenge Cup

HUNSLET HAWKS face a long trip to University of Gloucestershire All Golds – who beat them the last time the sides met – in the fourth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

The draw – made by Leeds Rhinos’ Jamie Peacock and Leon Pryce, of Hull FC, at Odsal Stadium, Bradford – included the 12 Kingstone Press Championship clubs, plus a dozen surviving League One and community outfits.

Batley Bulldogs were drawn away to National Conference Division One amateurs Normanton Knights, while Dewsbury Rams will play host to National One outfit Newcastle Thunder.

Featherstone Rovers must travel to Championship rivals Whitehaven and Featherstone Lions, who play in Conference Division Two, were handed a home tie against York City Knights.

Last year’s bottom four Super League sides – including Wakefield Wildcats – enter the competition in round five, with the rest joining in round six.

Full draw: North Wales Crusaders v Doncaster, Dewsbury Rams v Newcastle Thunder, Featherstone Lions v York City Knights, Barrow Raiders v Halifax, Bradford Bulls v Workington Town, Normanton Knights v Batley Bulldogs, Leigh Miners Rangers v Oxford, Swinton Lions v Rochdale Hornets, Sheffield Eagles v Oldham, Whitehaven v Featherstone Rovers, Leigh Centurions v London Broncos, University of Gloucestershire All Golds v Hunslet Hawks.

Ties to be played March 21/22.