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SouthStander.com Dream Team - The Full Back
Posted by southstander on May 16 2005 - 15:20:54

Terrific Tait
by Andy Gilderdale

Every year, the Tetley’s Dream Team is chosen to recognise the efforts of the best player in their respective positions across Super League.

It’s usually met with either relaxed acknowledgement or mass derision, depending on whether you felt one of your club’s players was unjustly omitted, or one of your nearest rivals got a player in at their expense.

Well now it’s your turn to show that you know what it takes to pick a winning side, as we begin the search for the very first SouthStander.com Leeds Dream Team.

Across the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be asking you to select the player you feel has been the best for the Leeds club in each position (including replacements), and pick a coach for the side. The thread to cast your votes will appear on the message board around the same time as an article on the front page giving you some suggestions for each position. For unique positions (such as full back and loose forward) we’ll be asking you for just one name, whereas for others such as wing or centre you’ll get the chance to name two. The voting on each position will be open for only a week, so make sure you check back regularly to get the chance to put in your opinion. Given the number of possible options, and in order to give you absolute free rein to name your favourite I won’t be running it as a poll, just a thread where you can put your nomination.

This week we’ll be starting at the back with the best number one’s (or in some cases, numbers 18 or 21), and here’s some suggestions to get you thinking.

Andrew Ettingshausen - 'E.T.' may have only been a short-term visitor to Leeds in two spells, but the sight of him in full flow was memorable. Equally at home on the wing, at full back or in the centres, his speed and eye for an opening combined with a sound defensive game made him a dangerous opponent. It would have been interesting to see him play in a Leeds side as dominant and expansive as the current one.

Gary Connolly - like Ettingshausen, his time at Leeds may have been short but few endeared themselves to Leeds fans having previously played for both Wigan and Saints in the way that Connolly did. Supremely cool under pressure, his pace may have faded by the time of his arrival at Headingley, but his commitment could never be questioned, as typified by his performance (and reaction) in the 2003 Challenge Cup final.

Alan Tait - I’m not sure at times whether Alan Tait was part-man, part-hovercraft. He had the uncanny ability to seem to skim across the playing surface so effortlessly. One of a number of Doug Laughton signings, at times his languid approach to the game (particularly when retrieving kicks) could be enough to cause heart attacks, but he was all class with the ball in hand and a sound one-on-one tackler.

Ken Thornett - variously nicknamed 'The Bucket' or 'The Mayor of Parramatta', Thornett was a former Australian union international who arrived at Leeds with the club still searching for their first ever Championship. Within a couple of years the Holy Grail had been achieved, with Thornett an integral part of the side. Dashing and direct in attack and safe as houses under the high ball, he returned to Australia in 1962 to play for Parramatta, his place in Leeds history assured.

Cast your vote here...

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