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Rugby League: Eorl Crabtree is no gentle giant [Jul. 22nd, 2009|03:12 pm]
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I have to confess to feeling slightly vindicated by the form of Eorl Crabtree this season.

We all have our favourite players and I've been rattling on about the Huddersfield prop for years. People who should be better judges than me have tended to wrinkle their noses and say "Yes, but..."

Eorl has suffered from an ill-deserved reputation for lacking aggression. A bit too much of a Gentle Giant, you might say.

Alright, he's no cheap shot merchant and he doesn't get involved in much rubbish off the ball - which sometimes seems to be how toughness is measured.

But he runs that football like he means it, which is what really matters.

Last Sunday was a case in point. He was brought on midway through the first half against Warrington and, on his first four carries, not only scattered defenders but also got the ball out each time.

The Wolves never really recovered. It was that overworked word "impact" and it has rarely been better illustrated.

Later in the week comes the news that Eorl has been granted a testimonial and has re-signed until 2015. This is the sort of home-town hero stuff which has almost gone out of the game.

I hope he has a terrific testimonial year. The chances are, the way Tony Smith was singing his praises last Sunday, that he will go into it as an established Test player.

Let him loose on the Aussies and the Kiwis this autumn and I don't think they will label him a Gentle Giant.