PLAYERS WANT to play. It is what we do and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to kick your heels on the sidelines, especially if you are fit and available for selection.
With that in mind, I think it’s a good thing that Liam Sutcliffe has joined Bradford Bulls on loan and I can understand the thinking behind it if Ben Jones-Bishop makes a similar move to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
I am not sure of the situation with Bish, but I understand Leeds and Wakefield have talked about a loan deal and I suppose it will be up to him to decide if he wants to go.
I think he is too good not to be playing and from his point of view it is unfortunate we’ve got a world-class backline.
I would count Bish among that and there’s no doubt in my mind he would walk into any other team in Super League.
He hasn’t played since he scored a hat-trick in Ryan Bailey’s game at the end of January and he needs to get some match fitness under his belt for when he gets an opportunity with us. The only way to do that is to go out on loan, so I think it would be the right thing for him to do.
It is a gamble in a way, because it would leave us a bit light in the outside-backs if somebody got an injury over the next month.
But no doubt the coaching staff will have thought that through and they’ll have a contingency plan in place for if Bish does go and somebody gets hurt before he can be recalled.
With Sutty, the situation is a little bit different.
We have got a bit more cover at half-back, with myself, Kev Sinfield and Rob Burrow all in the squad.
If either Kev or I got hurt, Rob could slot in and that would give Paulie Aiton a bit more game time – and Zak Hardaker has moved up and played a bit at stand-off this year.
Like Bish, Sutty is too good not to be playing at Super League level every week.
Going to Bradford will be great for him and he’ll be playing alongside a quality No 7 in Luke Gale. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they are the England half-back partnership at some stage in the near future.
I suppose an alternative would have been to dual-register them, but – and this is no disrespect at all to Hunslet or Championship One – Bish and Sutty need to be playing at the highest level possible. Sutty’s move will also help Bradford out at a tough time for them.
I know other clubs around them on the table might not be happy, but sometimes you have to be selfish and think of your own players’ development.
We also have three players out at London and two on loan at Wakefield and they’ll all be better for it.
For the lads at London Broncos it’s not just playing in Super League that’ll benefit them, it will be a life experience. And they’ll come back older and wiser as players and people.