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Cut number of SL games - Anderson

Daniel Anderson
Anderson was appointed coach of NRL side Parramatta earlier this week

Former St Helens coach Daniel Anderson says Super League clubs need to cut the number of games they play if England are to be a force on the world stage.

England were a big letdown at the World Cup in Australia, eventually falling to New Zealand at the semi-final stage.

"I've tried to mount some defence for the English," said Anderson. "They've underperformed as results go.

"But you can't possibly play 30 plus games and then mount a serious challenge in the international arena."

Anderson is the latest big name to suggest a reason for England's disastrous showing in Australia.

Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart believes there are too many foreign players in Super League while former Wigan and Great Britain star Jason Robinson says England need to play more international matches if they are to improve.

I understand the complexities of Super League and the funding requirements to put a team together

Daniel Anderson

Like Stuart and Robinson, Anderson's opinion carries weight.

The 41-year-old is a former coach of the New Zealand national side and was in charge of St Helens for three-and-a-half years, winning nine trophies in that time.

He acknowledges why Super League clubs have to play a lot of games but says the fixture list damages England's chances of making an impact in the international arena.

"I understand the complexities of Super League and the funding requirements to put a team together," Anderson told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"You've got to play more games - you even have Christmas games - because they all raise funds to put the teams on the field, but you can't have your cake and eat it."

Anderson, who has recently taken charge of NRL side Parramatta Eels, insists England have the talent to compete with Australia and New Zealand.


"I know there are good players in Super League," he said, adding that he expected former Leeds Rhinos second rower Gareth Ellis to perform well with Wests Tigers in 2009.

"They can easily equip themselves very well in the NRL. We'll see Ellis be a high-performing player next year."

However, Anderson does issue a warning in the wake of Super League's decision to expand from 12 to 14 teams from 2009 onwards, a move he believes will dilute standards temporarily as the new format beds in.

"The competition is going to go backwards fractionally before it starts to go forward again, but I can still see a rosy future for Super League and English rugby league," he said.

see also
Clubs 'must help England develop'
19 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Stuart fears for England's future
16 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
'Outstanding' Smith stays - Lewis
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Coach Smith rues basic mistakes
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League

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