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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 11:20 GMT
Unflappable Reardon rises to the occasion
By Phil Harlow

Great Britain's Stuart Reardon grounds the ball for a try against New Zealand
Reardon's displays have been a revelation for Great Britain
Stuart Reardon came into the Tri-Nations tournament needing to prove his class as an international winger.

And he has done just that.

While not a total novice to the position, the vast majority of Reardon's top-level experience has come at full-back.

But three tries and four virtually error-free performances later, the 23-year-old has made the number five jersey his own.

His form has been so good that he goes into Saturday's final as one of Britain's potential match-winners.

Reardon has alternated between full-back and wing with Bradford this season.

But an absence of world-class specialists convinced Lions coach Brian Noble to throw him in at the deep end, handing him his debut against Australia.

Probing for a weakness, Australia's kickers subjected Reardon to an aerial bombardment.

But he came up with emphatic answers to every question the Kangaroos' kicking game asked of him.

That unflappable display set the tone for his whole tournament.

Far from being a weakness, Reardon has proved himself a finisher of the highest order with crucial tries against both New Zealand and Australia.

If I was a coach, I'd love to have a player like Stuart in my squad
Bradford captain Robbie Paul
But his performances have come as no surprise to Robbie Paul, his club captain at Bradford.

"I think he'd have been quite uncomfortable coming into the tournament as a winger," said Paul, who faced Reardon in the Tri-Nations while playing for New Zealand.

"At this level, it's very hard to adjust. Everybody on the pitch is a quality player and virtually everybody is in their regular position.

"The other teams are no fools - if they think there's a weakness then they'll do all they can to exploit it.

"But anyone who thought Stuart might be a weakness has been sorely disappointed."

Paul said Reardon's attitude had always impressed him, ever since the youngster arrived at Odsal from amateur club West Bowling ARLFC in 2000.

Stuart Reardon takes on the Australia defence in Wigan
Reardon has coped with the physical aspects of international rugby
"He understands that playing rugby league is his bread-and-butter and that everything else must come second," said Paul.

"I know he's made great sacrifices on a personal level to become the player he is.

"If I was a coach, I'd love him in my squad. It's not often you find a player as talented as him with such a strong work ethic."

After a solid grounding at Bradford's academy, Reardon swiftly went through the gears as a professional.

After loan spells at Featherstone and Salford, he popped up to win the prestigious Harry Sunderland Trophy with a brilliant performance in the 2003 Grand Final.

Reardon has not had long to wait to make an impact at international level either.

He made his England A debut before making his Bradford debut and was nominated for the international newcomer of the year award after just four Lions caps.

And if Reardon can continue his rich vein of form in Saturday's final, Great Britain could finally end their wait for a major trophy.




2004 TRI-NATIONS

LATEST NEWS

Saturday, 13 November 2010
Australia 12 - 16
(6 - 6)
New Zealand R
Tries:
Tate, Slater
  Tries:
Kenny-Dowall, Nightingale, Fien
 
 
 
Goals:
Smith 2
  Goals:
Marshall 2

Suncorp Stadium

Saturday, 06 November 2010
England 36 - 10
(24 - 0)
Papua New Guinea R
Tries:
Robinson 2, Clubb 4, Harrison
  Tries:
Aizue, Yere
 
 
 
Goals:
Westwood 3, Widdop
  Goals:
Aiye

Eden Park

New Zealand 20 - 34
(10 - 18)
Australia R
Tries:
Pritchard, Nightingale, Kenny-Dowall
  Tries:
Cronk, Morris 2, Tate, Boyd, Lawrence
 
 
 
Goals:
Marshall 5
  Goals:
Smith 3, Carney 2

Eden Park

Sunday, 31 October 2010
Australia 34 - 14
(26 - 8)
England R
Tries:
Lewis 2, Slater, Tate, Tonga, Tuqiri
  Tries:
Burgess, Robinson
 
 
 
Goals:
Smith 5
  Goals:
Westwood 2, Cudjoe

AAMI Park

Saturday, 30 October 2010
New Zealand 76 - 12
(46 - 0)
Papua New Guinea R
Tries:
Perrett 3, Smith 3, Sa'u 3, Hohaia, Eastwood, Luke, Nightingale, Manu
  Tries:
Yere, Nami
 
 
 
Goals:
Marshall 8, Luke 2
  Goals:
Tongia 2

International Stadium

Sunday, 24 October 2010
Australia 42 - 0
(26 - 0)
Papua New Guinea R
Tries:
Slater, Tate, Cronk, Tonga 2, Morris, Smith, Lockyer
 
 
 
 
Goals:
Smith 5
 

Parramatta Stadium

Saturday, 23 October 2010
New Zealand 24 - 10
(12 - 0)
England R
Tries:
Sa'u, Hohaia, Kenny-Dowall, Marshall
  Tries:
Roby, Widdop
 
 
 
Goals:
Marshall 4
  Goals:
Widdop

Westpac Stadium

Saturday, 16 October 2010
New Zealand Maori 18 - 18
(0 - 18)
England R
Tries:
Thompson, Heremaia, Taumata
  Tries:
Atkins, S Tomkins, O'Loughlin
 
 
 
Goals:
Locke 3
  Goals:
Widdop 3


Wednesday, 06 October 2010
Wales 6 - 13
(6 - 6)
Italy R
Tries:
Thomas
  Tries:
Caligari, Falcone
 
  Drop-goals:
Stewart
 
Goals:
Reece
  Goals:
Mantellato 2

Racecourse Ground

Saturday, 12 June 2010
England 60 - 6
(34 - 6)
France R
Tries:
Widdop, Briscoe, S Tomkins 4, Shenton 2, Ellis 2, Bridge
  Tries:
Bentley
 
 
 
Goals:
Sinfield 6, Widdop 2
  Goals:
Mounis

Leigh Sports Village


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