Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Luke Gale still hopeful that England will come calling
As the Bulls claimed a First Utility Super League victory over Wakefield that could prove priceless come the end of the season, nobody impressed more than Luke Gale.
The club’s vice-captain had endured a frustrating few weeks, starved of any decent possession and playing behind a beaten pack.
Things changed last Sunday.
Francis Cummins’ men, bolstered by the return of five key men, outmuscled the Wildcats up front, and Matt Diskin’s class and experience afforded Gale plenty of ball.
The 25-year-old England Knights scrum half created tries for Adrian Purtell (2) and Tom Olbison with some delightful passes, both long and short.
“It was brilliant wasn’t it?” said Gale.
“We haven’t played with a pack like that all year, so it was a massive bonus, and I think that’s what we’ve needed.
“Everyone takes a boost from it and it showed as we got the two points.
“It is frustrating because you can’t hide the fact that there has been only Adam Sidlow and Chev Walker for some games.
“We’ve had to put backs in positions they don’t normally play and it has been hard.
“It’s difficult for anyone to shine off no ruck speed, let alone a half-back. But last week was pleasing because we had practised a lot of those things that came off against Wakefield.
“When you have that platform which our forwards gave us last week, then you can nail a game-plan.
“I think Antonio Kaufusi has lifted everyone to be honest – he’s lifted (Manase) Manuokafoa and all the other props.
“In that first 20 minutes last week, I had not seen us with such aggressive line speed in defence for years.”
Gale is a naturally upbeat character but there is more than a tinge of frustration in his voice when he looks back at what might have been this year.
The former Leeds Academy player enjoyed a fine pre-season and believed the Bulls were capable of making the play-offs for the first time in six years.
Then the club entered administration, and Garreth Carvell, Nick Scruton and Jarrod Sammut all left.
The effects have been felt ever since.
“We had a meeting before the season started after an outstanding pre-season,” remembered Gale.
“We were all saying ‘top eight is a must, the bare minimum’.
“Everyone had been looking forward to the season and I had never felt so fit in my life, while loads of the other lads were smashing their personal bests.
“But that all fell by the wayside with players leaving and the club going into administration.
“It’s been hard and we’ve played dumb at times and shot ourselves in the foot but we have never given in.”
Throwing in the towel is something that Gale refuses to contemplate, and he is similarly upbeat about his hopes of one day winning a full England cap.
He has been a regular for the second-tier England Knights in recent seasons but was omitted from the 34-strong senior squad named by Steve McNamara earlier this week.
He explained: “Elliott deserves to be and has been class for the last two or three years.
“It’s the same with Bateman too and it’s great that they are getting recognised.
“I think Elliott is one of the best back-rowers in Super League, English or overseas, and Steve will pick players who are in form.
“You can’t ever give up hope. I know we’ve had a lot of heavy defeats this season and it’s been hard to get a roll-on but people are coming back now and I’m only 25.
“I’ll continue to work hard and hopefully I’ll get there one day.”
Gale’s over-riding priority is negotiating a passage into the Tetley's Challenge Cup semi-finals against Warrington tomorrow.
He added: “It would be massive for the club, the players and the fans.
“We can take some heart in the fact we beat them just a few weeks ago.
“There is no doubting they’re a class outfit but it’s a cup game and anything can happen.
“The boys are looking forward to it and will go into the game with all guns blazing.”
As a child growing up in Leeds, Gale and his family would attend Challenge Cup finals, and the Bulls playmaker admits playing in one would be a dream come true.
“I went as a kid and my mum and dad used to take me and my brother – and I loved it,” said Gale with a smile.
“We had some great days down in Wembley and as a kid you dream about playing there yourself in a Challenge Cup final.”
Comments are closed on this article.