Great Britain calls are real tonic for Leyland Warriors

Ian English
Ian English
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The news that two of its players will represent Great Britain was just the tonic for a rugby league club still reeling from an arson attack on its clubhouse last year.

Members of Leyland Warriors were thrilled to learn that Martin McColl and Ian English will feature for the national masters team against Australia next month.

The duo’s selection is a major boost for the club, which is still coming to with the devastating consequences of a deliberately-started fire at its Moss Side Way home.

However, there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for the club as work has begun on restoring the clubhouse and changing rooms to its former glory.

And McColl and English’s national call-up means the feel-good factor surrounding the club is very much back.

Manager of the Warriors Masters team Ken Broadfield said: “Martin and Ian’s selection is great for us, especially after last year’s arson attack on our clubhouse.

“It really was devastating for us but work has begun on rebuilding it.”

It is the second time McColl has been picked by GB after earning a call-up in 2016.

However, he was unable to take his place in the squad after suffering a major anterior cruciate knee ligament injury.

After having an operation, McColl is now back to full fitness and is looking forward to taking on the Aussies.

“I got called up two years ago but then I went and did my ACL,” said McColl.

“I didn’t think I would get another chance, but I’ve been lucky enough to get back in.

“I am really looking forward to it – it should be good.”

McColl said.

The player is no stranger to competition– he used to be a Muay Thai boxing champion

He became English amateur champion and also fought for the European title.

“I fought for England a few times against Holland, Russia and France.

“I had about 30 odd fights as a professional and I quit when I was 29.”

English has played both rugby league and rugby union during a long amateur playing career spanning 40 years.

In his early days, he turned out for Preston Grasshoppers and Fylde, before switching codes and representing Bamber Bridge.

“It’s very exciting to play for my country,” English said.

“A lot of my friends, family workmates are coming to watch and see me play against Australia.

“In terms of rugby league, playing for Great Britain – it doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

McColl and English have much to live up to – the Aussies have never beaten GB on home soil.

“No pressure then,” said English. “I think we will do okay.”

While McColl added:“The last time we played them, we thrashed them so hopefully we will do well again.”