Gale hopes club form with Bradford Bulls can lead to World Cup call (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Luke Gale hopes club form with Bradford Bulls can lead to World Cup call
The Bulls’ most potent creative force has delivered a welcome statement of intent ahead of the 2013 season.
Luke Gale is planning another impressive year at Bradford with the view of putting himself in the shop window for next year’s World Cup.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” he said.
“It’s definitely what I’m hoping for; one hundred per cent.
“I want to have a massive season with Bradford, get my performances right and put myself out there for selection in the elite England squad.”
Such desire to impress for his club so as to represent his country is to be applauded.
Gale, having recently signed a new three-year deal, is well placed to force his way into Steve McNamara’s plans for next year’s showpiece tournament.
The Bulls scrum half has frequently trained with the elite squad during his time in camp with the second-tier England Knights, for whom he made try-scoring performances in victories against France and Cumbria last autumn.
Gale is now poised to pull on the Knights jersey again. Alitalia Cup matches against Ireland and Scotland are looming and with them another chance for Gale to show he deserves a shot at the highest level.
“Being involved with the Knights is a great building block towards the full squad,” said the 24-year-old former Middleton Marauders amateur.
“You’re training with the likes of Gareth Ellis, Rangi Chase and all the Wigan boys. You get to learn an awful lot being around those guys and I think Steve Mac and the RFL brought the concept in to blood players.
“You’re in and around that environment and if you do step up to the elite squad, you know what it’s about. You know the things you need to do to make it a hard decision for Steve.
“We’ve got some good young halves but who knows, if I have a good season, why can’t I get in there? Every player’s dream would be to play in a World Cup and I’d love to be involved for England next year.
“You’ve got Danny Mags (McGuire) and Kev (Sinfield) at Leeds, Rangi Chase, Broughy (Danny Brough), Matty Smith, Jonny Lomax and Richie Myler. There are quite a few but it’s all about who’s in form at the time.
“Hopefully I’ll have a couple of good games for the Knights and then kick on next season again at Bradford.”
A move from Harlequins to his native West Yorkshire last winter proved little that was not known. It confirmed that Gale was a player blessed with outstanding organisational skills and the right attitude.
His artful handling and educated boot saw him emerge as the fulcrum of Mick Potter’s team during a traumatic 2012 campaign.
He damaged ankle ligaments in the home defeat to Wigan in round three and sat on the sidelines for two months before returning to the side and becoming a fixture at scrum half.
“It was a tough year,” recalled Gale with a weary smile. “I picked up my injury in round three and the boys did awesomely well.
“It was a real shame how things conspired against us and we just missed out on the play-offs through no fault of our own. The six-point deduction was probably a bridge too far.
“With a couple more wins here and there, we could have sneaked in, but it was a massive effort and the boys can take a lot of pride in that.
“I think we learnt an awful lot as well – the players and the coaching staff – and we can take that into next year.”
Gale barely enjoyed any kind of break at the end of the 2011 campaign. He played in both the Knights’ matches and then headed to his new club for pre-season training. This year will be different under new Bulls coach Francis Cummins.
“I think I had 11 days off last year!” said Gale. “But Franny’s smart and has already said he will give me some time to recuperate.
“It’s not a case of coming back when you’re ready but we’ll keep in touch and see how I’m feeling. I’ll get the Knights games out of the way, go on holiday and come back raring to go with the Bulls.”