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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 10:40 GMT
No-one cares about Lions - Clarke
Kevin Sinfield is wrapped up by Australia's Craig Fitzgibbon (left), Willie Mason (centre) and Ben Kennedy during the 2005 Tri-Nations defeat the KC Stadium
Great Britain failed to reach the final in the 2005 Tri-Nations tournament
Phil Clarke, who quit as Great Britain manager this week, has hit out at British rugby league for ignoring the international game.

"I've tried for five years to try to improve things from within," he said.

"I'm not pointing the finger specifically at one individual, what I'm criticising is the system.

"I would question the interest from the RFL, the interest from the clubs and the support from the clubs - and sometimes the support from the fans."

He added: "I think there's a lack of leadership and direction."

Great Britain finished last in the 2005 Tri-Nations tournament, which was won by New Zealand thanks to their stunning win over Australia.

I think we're kidding ourselves if we think we can expect players to go through a long season and the somehow miraculously come up with a win
Ex-Lions boss Phil Clarke

And Clarke believes the Lions have plenty of work to do to overtake their southern hemisphere rivals.

"Despite what's been said by the RFL and certain parts of the media, we're no closer now than we were 15 years ago," said Clarke.

"In fact, the scorelines show that we're probably drifting behind.

"It's all right saying we are better than we were five years ago, but the other two teams are also improving at that rate."

Clarke believes there needs to be radical reorganisation if Great Britain are to become truly competitive.

"Last year Brian Noble did a remarkable job to get the Bradford Bulls to the Grand Final," Clarke told Sky Sports.

"Then we expect him to recover from that and get a side together to play Australia and New Zealand in less than two weeks.

"Bradford have five full-time coaches to try to become world club champions, which they did earlier this year, while Great Britain have two part-time coaches working at the end of the season and a little bit throughout.

"How can you compete against Australia and New Zealand with that amount of resources?

"I think we're kidding ourselves if we expect players to go through a long season, play more games than Australia and New Zealand, get together after them and then somehow miraculously come up with a win against them."

Clarke steps down from Lions post
21 Mar 06 |  International

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