Dave Craven on rugby league – Put your shirt on stunning sequels

Kitted out: Alex Walmsley in the GB shirt.
Kitted out: Alex Walmsley in the GB shirt.
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MAYBE it is my age or just my inner dweebness, but I’m really not sure what I like most – the outstanding Top Gun: Maverick trailer or Great Britain’s advert for its magnificent new jersey.

It is fair to say both brought me immense joy this week.

Let’s start with Top Gun: Maverick. I’ll be honest, when I first heard a Top Gun 2 was in the offing I feared the worst.

My initial thoughts immediately turned to Lost Boys: The Tribe, an utterly woeful attempt at making a sequel to another superb Eighties film and still my all-time favourite, The Lost Boys.

More often than not sequels just do not get near the original, Jaws The Revenge being another example and possibly the worst.

Still, how good does Maverick look?

It is a cracking design that truly lives up to the iconic brand and I cannot wait to see them – and me (early Christmas present nudge to the wife) – in it when the Lions head for New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in a few months. Spread the word.

Dave Craven

I’m not daft; I know they pack all the best bits into a 122-second trailer, but still…

New stuff? Ed Harris is in it. Instant tick. But nods to the past? When that slowed down familiar theme tune stirs up, the jacket, the aviators, the bike and what looks suspiciously like another You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling scene. Brilliant.

It premieres in 2020, but I’m getting the baby-sitter sorted now. Then came that Great Britain Lions trailer. It’s just all too much together, especially in this heatwave.

Clips from so many of my childhood memories – Hanley, Schofield, that Davies try – but wonderful footage, too, from more than half-a-century ago as Great Britain captain Dave Valentine lifts the inaugural World Cup in 1954.

Images of Clive Sullivan being chaired around Stade de Gerland in Lyon are more familiar and it all leads up to the big reveal: the new Lions jersey for 2019, the first touring side in 13 years.

There’s a certain mystique about the Great Britain shirt, definitely for as long as I remember; with the best will in the world it just holds more gravitas than any England jersey.

For me, the 1990 version remains the greatest and it’s hard to put a finger on why.

Perhaps it was the bold, distinctive blue and red ‘V’ or maybe it is because it represents the nearest I have ever got to witnessing an actual Ashes series victory.

The first Test win at Wembley. The oh-so-close at Old Trafford. And then the inevitable dagger blow at Elland Road.

Hanley, Schofield, Martin Offiah and Andy Gregory were all in there, but lesser names such as Paul Eastwood, Karl Harrison, Carl Gibson and Paul Dixon all did such sterling jobs.

British Coal was the sponsor. I remember that as clear as day. How times have changed. But even the shorts were cool.

That said, the ’92 version was a belter, too, and another that I had hung in my wardrobe.

You know the one: Graham Steadman. Melbourne. 33-10. Lots of little red, blue and white diamonds. Quality.

Yet suddenly the sight of Sam Burgess, Jermaine McGillvary, Alex Walmsley and co roaring in this stunning new jersey in ‘The Pride Is Back’ and all of that could change in an instant.

It is a cracking design that truly lives up to the iconic brand and I cannot wait to see them – and me (early Christmas present nudge to the wife) – in it when the Lions head for New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in a few months. Spread the word.

Before you know it, Top Gun 2 will be out and then the Kangaroos are on their way here meaning England will need a new jersey, too. The stakes have been raised.