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SouthStander.com Dreamteam - The Wingers
Posted by southstander on May 26 2005 - 16:48:47

Rolling Thunder
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.

You can nominate a player in more than one position if you wish, and if one player tops the voting in two different positions then the one in which he gathered the most votes will take precedence.

Moving forward from full back, we’ll look this week at the wingers. In a change from last week, you have two votes on this position. The players you vote for do not need to have played together, or come from the same generation – this is a “dream” team after all. To stimulate your creative juices, here are some suggestions.

Wing

Eric Harris – the “Toowoomba Ghost” as he was nicknamed, Harris played for Leeds between 1930 and 1939. He still holds the club records for tries in a career (391), tries in a season (63 in 1935-36, he also holds the top four positions in this category) and is joint holder of the tries in a game record with 8 against Bradford Northern in 1931. Blessed with outstanding pace and balance, only the outbreak of the Second World War prevented him from going on to set even higher marks for the club.

John Atkinson – signed from local rugby union in 1965, “Atky” went on to establish a devastating centre partnership with Les Dyl through the 1970s. Scorer of 340 tries in a 17-year Leeds career before moving on to Carlisle, including a classic winger’s effort in the 1978 Cup Final.

Phil Ford – signed for £95,000 from Bradford in time to make his debut on New Year’s Day in 1989, one word best describes Phil Ford – “enigma”. Capable of moments of outstanding brilliance (his try in Sydney on the 1988 tour) and moments of mind-boggling indecision, he was always a player you wanted on your side rather than against you in case the genius in him emerged.

Eric Grothe – “Rolling Thunder”, or more often than not the “Abominable Snowman” during his time at Headingley, Grothe had to be seen to be believed. Probably the nearest modern comparison would be a quicker, stronger Lesley Vainikolo. Played just one guest term with Leeds in 1985 amassing 14 tries in 16 appearances where his formidable power and deceptive pace worried opponents with the ball and without. A try-scorer in eight consecutive test appearances for Australia, such was his quality.

Francis Cummins – the longest serving player at the club, having made his debut in 1993, Francis is the most prolific try scorer in the last twenty years at Leeds and holds the club record for most consecutive appearances at 178. A versatile player who has moved around the back line in his career, with scrum half being the only back position he hasn’t filled.

Cast your vote here...

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