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Peacock calls for fixture review

Jamie Peacock
Peacock wants to captain England in the end-of-season Four Nations series

England captain Jamie Peacock has renewed calls for a longer pre-season and a reduction in the number of matches for international players.

The Leeds forward insisted changes are needed for England to compete on level terms with Australia and New Zealand.

"I've not had a pre-season longer than 15 days for 10 years now," he said.

"The elite players still don't get the right preparations at the start of the season. It's a real gripe for the international players."

Leeds will begin the defence of their Super League title without several key players who were injured during the 2008 season.

New signing Danny Buderus and full-back Brent Webb are still recovering from biceps and shoulder surgery respectively, while prop Ryan Bailey will also sit out Friday's opening game against Celtic Crusaders with a knee injury.

"For me, that just shows that the Super League pre-season is too short," said Peacock.

The 31-year-old also claimed that, with an extra 300,000-a-year hand-out, Super League clubs no longer have an excuse for ignoring the clamour to change the fixture list.

"The disappointing thing for me is that, whenever we've talked about reducing the number of games, it's always been down to the finance," he said.

"But now there's an extra 300,000 for the clubs, and there is still no talk of reducing the games."

The Rugby Football League is reviewing England's dismal display in the World Cup after they won just one of their four matches.

Tony Smith's side began with a win over minnows Papua New Guinea before losing twice to eventual champions New Zealand as well as hosts Australia.

For sure, I want to captain again, especially after the way the World Cup ended

Jamie Peacock
Despite the disappointment of the World Cup, Peacock said he is keen to keep the England captaincy for the end-of-season Four Nations series, which will be boosted by the inclusion of France.

"We need to move on and aim for the Four Nations now," he said. "It's no good walking around sulking. We've got to make positive strides.

"For sure, I want to captain again, especially after the way the World Cup ended.

"I feel we've a real chance of doing well in the Four Nations. We're at home, and things have a chance of going our way again."

Leeds will also be without new signing Greg Eastwood for their opening Super League game.

The Brisbane second rower, a member of New Zealand's World Cup-winning team, is still in Australia waiting for his British passport.

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see also
Peacock reveals World Cup regret
28 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
England stars on award shortlist
16 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Coach Smith rues basic mistakes
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League

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