Daily Wrap (Fri 08.11): Bennett backs SBW return, Graham hits back at GB critics, more!

The Daily Wrap on RL News brings you the best comment and speculation from across the Rugby League media.

Friday 8 October

Alex Mellor admits playing on Boxing Day will be a new experience with his new club Leeds, but is hoping to kick start his season early after moving from Huddersfield. He told Yorkshire Evening Post’s Peter Smith: “I won’t have as much Christmas pudding, or any beer, so it will be a bit of a different Christmas for me, but it’s something I am looking forward to and hopefully it will stand me in good stead for what’s going to come for the season.”

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Wayne Bennett has welcomed the return to rugby league of All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams. The 34 year old will join Toronto on a two year deal next season and the Lions coach believes it’ll provide a big boost for Super League. “He’s been a very high-profile player in both codes for a long period. It’s great for the game over there. There’ll be a lot of expectation on him, but he’ll be used to that. I’m pleased for the game that he’s coming back,” he said.

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James Graham isn’t surprised by the close, low scoring nature of Great Britain’s tour so far, as they prepare to face New Zealand again on Saturday. The Lions have lost out narrowly in both games, but Graham tributes that to the quality of the defence. He told The Mirror’s Julie Stott: “I have read some comments about the lack of attacking rugby and all that sort of stuff. But if you want to see a try fest you are probably looking in the wrong spot. International rugby should be about close tight games as our recent games have shown.”

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Lee Radford has thrown down a challenge to youngster Kieran Buchanan to stake a claim for a regular first team spot in 2020. The 21 year old made seven appearances in 2019 but faces strong competition in the outside backs. Radford told Hull Daily Mail’s William Jackson: “I think Kieran Buchanan needs a huge pre-season. Physically I think we need to get him as good as he possibly can be, I definitely think there’s a challenge there for him to physically get better.”