If anyone knows what a quality English player looks like it is current England skipper Sam Tomkins.
Set for retirement at the end of the year, Tomkins has seen some of the best English 13s ever in the shape of Kevin Sinfield, Sean O’Loughlin and these days Morgan Knowles and Victor Radley.
But their stranglehold of the the 13 role for England could be about to be threatened by the in form Cameron Smith.
Smith has scored two tries this season and has been brilliant defensively making plenty of tackles and yesterday we saw how skilled he is with a huge pass to get the Rhinos’ first try of the game through Harry Newman.
On Channel 4 Tomkins was full of praise for the exciting 13 saying:
“That is not a halfback throwing that ball, that is Cameron Smith and he is one of the best ball playing forwards in the league and he can cause teams trouble.”
Tomkins also had huge praise for Papua New Guinea international Nene MacDonald:
“Leeds have a style where if they see an opportunity, they go and play to it even if it is inside their own 10 metres they just go, ‘let’s go play to it.’
“Nene MacDonald their new signing is a perfect fit for that style of rugby.
“He is a big athletic boy, quick enough to go round people, skilled enough to make the right pass and he can also break tackles.
“For Leeds and the way they play, he is perfect because they’re a momentum team.”
He went on to predict that MacDonald will only get better as the season goes on and given the start MacDonald has made to his Leeds career, averaging 187 metres in his first four games, this is ominous for Super League:
“When they spot a mistake or get on the front foot, they are very tough to stop. With David Fusitu’a on the other side he will score some points but I think Nene MacDonald will be brilliant for Leeds the further we go into the season.”
Macdonald reminds me of a young Keith Senior: tall, strong, quick and athletic. I hope he goes on to be as great for Leeds as Keith was.