L’Estrange happy for Exiles distraction from Bradford Bulls crisis (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Heath L’Estrange happy for Exiles distraction from Bradford Bulls crisis
Bulls hooker Heath L’Estrange will take a break from worrying over his future with his beleaguered club when he makes his debut for the Exiles against England tonight.
The Bradford joint-captain will play alongside his old Manly Sea Eagles team-mate Steve ‘Beaver’ Menzies after both were included in Daniel Anderson’s starting line-up for the game in Huddersfield.
Their introduction for the Galpharm Stadium clash is among six changes to the team that lost 18-10 in the first game at Langtree Park last month.
L’Estrange said: “I didn’t expect it at all. I got named in the 30-man squad a couple of weeks ago and didn’t really think I deserved it at that time.
“But it’s something I’ll be really proud of. It will be good to be back playing with Beaver again.
“With what I’ve been going through the last couple of weeks, it is a bit of a change for me, just to get my confidence up.
“It’s good to get away and worry about something different just for a couple of days. It’s always there at the back of your mind. When you go to bed, you are always thinking about it.”
The other changes see St Helens prop forward Anthony Laffranchi move up from the bench to start and there are also first appearances for in-form Salford pair Joel Moon and Daniel Holdsworth.
Anderson said: “We have some different players with a different style this time, some not as high-profile but players on the rise.
“Players like Con Mika and Lincoln Withers have been journeymen and talismanic figures in Super League, so it’s good for them to get a bit of recognition.
“We have a couple of changes in the outside backs. Joel Moon comes in, which is good because we can move Sia Soliola back to the forwards which I think is his best position, and we have a new stand-off in Dan Holdsworth and a new hooker in Heath L’Estrange.”
Anderson is delighted to have veteran Warrington full back Brett Hodgson returning as captain after missing the game at Langtree Park through injury.
“He brings a level of desire which is infectious,” said Anderson, who is also hoping for better weather after heavy rain ruined the opening game as a spectacle.
“We want to put on a style of rugby league that more resembles the Exiles brand.
“We want players that are asking coaches to play for the Exiles and we’ve got that now. They consider it a shop window for their endeavours. They want to play against England.”
Exiles: B Hodgson (Warrington, capt); J Monaghan (Warrington), J Moon (Salford), D Millard (Catalan), F Meli (St Helens); D Holdsworth (Salford), S Dureau (Catalan); A Laffranchi (St Helens), H L’Estrange (Bradford), E Lauaki (Wigan), W Manu (Hull), S Menzies (Catalan), S Soliola (St Helens). Interchange: K Leuluai (Leeds), A Kaufusi (London), L Withers (Hull KR), C Mika (Hull KR).