19 Nov 2022
Brown hails 'band of brothers' for creating legacy
The England record-breaker scored twice in the final
By Paul Martin at Manchester Central
Jack Brown hailed England’s ‘band of brothers’ for creating a lasting wheelchair rugby league legacy after a World Cup win which felt incomparable to when he last lifted the trophy.
Brown was part of the squad which triumphed in the inaugural tournament in 2008, the start of World Cup journey which has seen him set a string of records across the intervening years.
His two tries in the final took his Rugby League World Cup 2021 tally to 17 and his overall haul to 54, Brown dragging England back into the contest after his introduction midway through the first half.
Tom Halliwell’s last-gasp try later settled a pulsating contest and Brown hailed the spirit which carried the home nation through when it mattered.
“We said before the game that we want the trophy but we’re not playing for it, we’re playing for each other,” he said.
“The most important thing is we’ve made this band of brothers last for eternity. We’ve made a really good connection and it’s going to be hard for me to go back to Australia.
“I’m so content, I’m absolutely full. The biggest buzz was the set plays we put on.
“We’ve been working on them throughout the tournament and it’s come off against the strongest defence we’ve faced.
“It doesn’t compare [to 2008]. There were four and a half thousand here tonight, back then it was maybe 100.
“It was still incredible, of course, and those of us that were there will be bragging about having two World Cups to the other lads!”
One man who knows perhaps better than most the impact England’s success could have is Wayne Boardman, who is known as ‘the godfather of wheelchair rugby league’ and played in the team’s very first international
He did not make it on to the pitch in the final and joined 4,526 others in having their nerves shredded from the sidelines before being able to reflect on what his compatriots had achieved.
“The sky is the limit now,” he said. “It doesn’t get any better than this. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined this.
“The spectacle now, the event, the organisation, the game is amazing. We’ll just keep going up from here.
“It’s a legacy. Is this ever going to happen again at home? Probably not, at least in my time playing.
“We’ve had this hype and we’ve won it. We couldn’t have asked for any more and we’ve made sure England have won something. We came, we saw, we conquered.”
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets