By STEVE MASCORD
ENGLAND stars Gareth Hock and Tom Briscoe provided less-than-convicing denials about their plans to join NRL clubs as Wests Tigers’ Gareth Ellis said moving to the southern hemisphere had become a common topic of conversation among Super League’s biggest names.
Wigan’s Hock was a contentious choice as man of the match in the 44-6 win over France at Hull’s Craven Park – and there was just as much conjecture over his answer when asked if rumours linking him to Parramatta for next season were accurate.
“There’s been a lot of talk but nothing’s happened yet,” Hock told BBC television, with what some interpretted as a look on panic on his face. Hock, who was suspended for two years in 2009 after testing positive for cocaine, then dodged print media interviews.
Hull winger Briscoe has been linked to Cronulla for 2014 and offered what could be termed a knowing smile when he told NRL.com: “I’ve got no plans beyond next year. I’m just concentrating on Hull at the minute and seeing where that leads me.
“They are (trying to keep me) and we’ll see what they have to say.”
But the Sun reported as far back as March that Hull would not stand in Briscoe’s way if he wanted to head to Sydney. It’s an option which, according to Ellis – who links with Hull himself next year – more and more of the England Test team is considering.
“I’ve heard the rumours about (Hock) but I don’t know whether it’s true or not,” said Ellis, who has returned home after a successful four-year stint at Concord.
“Obviously he’d be great down there. He’s a great player and we’ve got some great players who I think will move down there eventually.
“I just think that’s the way the game’s going at the moment with the TV rights and the things they’ve got on offer down there, financially and with the exchange rate.
“It’s all in favour of attracting the talented English boys so I think there’ll be one or two more going over.”
Hock is a skillful player but one who sometimes has trouble with his discipline. “I’m not a coach but as I said, I think he’d go great,” Ellis said. “He’s a tough player, a bit of an enforcer and he doesn’t mind mixing it up a bit.
“He’s a good hole-runner too so off a good halfback, I think he’d be busting holes left, right and centre.”
Ellis said he’d have no hesitation in advising any English player to try their lunch down under.read on