Wilkin: England are bottom of the pile

Jon Wilkin
Jon Wilkin

Developing a successful long-term strategy is the key ingredient in attempting to topple Australian from the top of the rugby league tree.

That’s the thought-provoking view of Jon Wilkin - capped six times for Great Britain and on 10 occasions for England, as well as being one of the most experienced players in Super League.

The 32-year-old Saints’ skipper was talking in the wake of the Kangaroos ruthless 34-8 demolition of New Zealand in the Four Nations Final at Anfield on Sunday afternoon - a battle between the best two teams on the planet.

He said: “We have got to come up with a plan to solve a problem which has existed for the past 20, 30 and 40 years.

“What is frustrating for me as a Super League player during the past 15 years is that every season we are talking about the same issues - the need for a more competitive and intense game to match what is going on in the NRL and also taking it on to the international stage.

“We need to devise a plan to overcome this. Everybody has an idea, whether it’s the need for more junior players, making the sport more attractive, continuity of people in key positions, or encouraging youngsters to play with the ball more rather than focus on athletic development.

“Whatever it is, we need to put that into a five to 10 year plan because, let’s be honest, English rugby league is at the bottom of the pile with one or two exceptions and have been for the past few decades.”

Wilkin added: “I believe we need a constant plans to execute pretty much like anything in life and follow it through with some clear goals and outcomes at the end of it.

“For me, one of the clear goals is trying to produce world class half backs who can do the big things within a game well and this has eluded us for years.

“I think we need to change this but it is not an easy fix and certainly cannot be achieved overnight.

“Everyone needs to buy into the plan - the players, the clubs and all other interested parties - and decide on a strategy to make us more competitive as a nation.”

Wilkin concluded: “England playing in a blockbusting final and beating the Australians is one thing which would excite young kids to take part in the sport and this something which we need to aim for.”