Rugby League World Cup: Herbie Farnworth dreaming of glory with England  

0
35


Herbie Farnworth played football for Man United and Man City as a kid but is now dreaming of World Cup glory with England in rugby league after remarkable journey to stardom with Brisbane Broncos in the NRL

  • Farnworth, 22, grew up in Burnley and played for both Manchester clubs
  • But with help from his uncle Brian Foley he converted to rugby league as a kid
  • After turning 17, they moved out to Australia to try and make it in the game there
  • The 6ft 2in centre was talent spotted by NRL team Brisbane Broncos
  • He looks set to receive his first England cap in World Cup warm-up with Fiji
  • Farnworth has a chance to nail down a spot for the upcoming World Cup  

From the playing fields of deepest, darkest Lancashire to the bright lights of NRL giants Brisbane Broncos, it has been quite the journey for Herbie Farnworth.

As England’s Rugby League World Cup campaign comes into focus, the uncapped 22-year-old is ready to write another chapter in his remarkable story.

A gifted sportsman who grew up near Burnley, Farnworth spent time in the youth ranks at Turf Moor, Manchester United and Manchester City as a child.

Herbie Farnworth, pictured after a Brisbane Broncos game, is hoping to secure a place in England's team for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup

Herbie Farnworth, pictured after a Brisbane Broncos game, is hoping to secure a place in England’s team for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup

His uncle, Brian Foley, a legendary talent spotter at Wigan Warriors for many years, then persuaded Farnworth to try rugby league.

The 6ft 2in centre recalled: ‘I was only a little kid when I was at United.

‘I went into a camp with City and they gave me a nice pair of Nike boots, but I was at Burnley mostly.

The 22-year-old centre addressed the media at the England squad announcement

The 22-year-old centre addressed the media at the England squad announcement 

‘It was that long ago, though, and I never really took football seriously if I’m honest.

‘I started playing tag rugby at Blacko Primary School, winning the Lancashire Cup, then at Wharfedale RU for a year before my Uncle Brian took me to Wigan St Patrick’s to play league.

‘He’s coached me since I was eight-years-old, doing skill and fitness sessions.

‘He didn’t let me sign for any Super League clubs because the goal was always to go out to Australia and play there.

‘I played for Burleigh Bears on the Gold Coast and got picked up by Brisbane in their under-20s programme. I slowly worked my way up into the first team.’

Moving down under was some leap of faith, though, as Farnworth explained: ‘Brian came for three years and we stayed in a shoebox.

‘On my last day here in England, I sat at the local bus stop and cried my eyes out.

‘I’d just turned 17 and it was a really weird feeling.

‘It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve done and the first six months there were a killer. I couldn’t have lived with myself had I quit, though.’

Farnworth runs in a try for the Broncos in their NRL fixture against Newcastle back in May

Farnworth runs in a try for the Broncos in their NRL fixture against Newcastle back in May 

Farnworth made his NRL debut in July 2019 and was in scintillating form, scoring 10 tries in 12 games, when he was struck down by a bicep injury in June.

Now fit again, though, he looks certain to make his England debut in Friday’s warm-up game against Fiji before the World Cup opener against Samoa on October 15.

Farnworth’s parents and brothers live near Blacko, a tiny village with a population of less than 1,000 – a far cry from big-city Brisbane.

He added: ‘Blacko’s a little, quiet village where everyone knows everyone and the average age is about 60!

Injury affected Farnworth's season in the NRL but he is hoping to make a World Cup impact

Injury affected Farnworth’s season in the NRL but he is hoping to make a World Cup impact

‘Brisbane’s probably the complete opposite and no-one knows anyone as there are thousands of people there.

‘But it’s cool to be back in England and see family for the first time in two years.

‘It gives me goosebumps thinking about that first World Cup game against Samoa.

‘I’ll train super hard and hopefully get my spot in the team. For all my family and friends to be there, it’ll be unbelievable. I’m getting pestered for tickets already.’ 

Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here