After being named in England’s starting thirteen for Saturday’s huge RLWC semi final against tournament surprise package Tonga, there was always a concern about whether Warrington half back Kevin Brown would feature in the match.
In last weekend’s quarter final against Papua New Guinea, Brown seemed to go down with concussion and, while he played on until half time, folk who didn’t feature in the matchday seventeen showed the coaching staff footage of his unfortunate incident and, as a result, England’s number 6 didn’t reappear in the second half. Half back partner Luke Gale this week made clear how important Brown is to the team, stating that “it disrupted us a bit and pulled us out of sync. We have a good partnership on the field.” His selection has also allowed St George Illawarra’s Gareth Widdop to move to full back where he has been a potent threat and one that will need to be at it’s very best if England are to reach the RLWC final.
It is, therefore, huge for the team that Brown took part in the captain’s run yesterday and has passed the necessary tests to allow him to take to the field. With the 33 year old on the field, England have one half who will control the match very well tactically in Brown which allows Castleford’s Luke Gale to use his skills of improvisation and running to threaten opposition – both of which will need to come to the fore to conquer a physical and dangerous Tongan team tomorrow in what promises to be an enthralling and tight affair – definitely tighter than today’s semi final between Australia and Fiji.