Victor ‘The Inflictor’ is ready to raise hell in England

Victor Radley stunned plenty of people when he turned his back on possible Origin and Australian selection in favour of playing for England this year. But it’s just over a week until the Rugby League World Cup commences, and the Sydney Roosters’ lock has no regrets.

“It was marriage, it wasn’t just a girlfriend if I was going to make this decision,” Radley said on 5 Live’s Rugby League podcast.

Why did Victor Radley choose to play for England? 

The 24-year-old admitted the decision to make himself available for England was initially a tough one, as he had to weigh up the cost of having to forgo any possible chance of receiving a New South Wales or Australia jersey in the future.   

“I spent some time thinking about it and making sure I made the right decision,” he said.

“I spent a few months stewing on it and when I rang Waney [England coach Shaun Wane] for the first time, I knew I’d made the right decision.”

MORE: Mal Meninga announces Australia’s World Cup squad with a number of stars omitted 

Radley is eligible for England selection due to his father Nigel being from Sheffield and he attributed the connection to his father’s homeland as the reason for his decision.

“There must be Yorkshire blood in me, because I had this feeling in my chest where I knew it was going to be the right decision and I’m stoked I made it,” Radley said.

“He never told me to do it or anything. I didn’t even tell him I was thinking about it until I made the decision.”

Radley revealed he did consult with his club coach Trent Robinson for his opinion on the switch, with the forward now unable to represent NSW or the Kangaroos due to England being a tier one nation. 

After wrestling with the decision, he finally decided the opportunity to represent England on their home turf was too good an opportunity to pass up. He announced his availability to Wane in July of this year after being in Origin camp with the Blues only weeks earlier. 

“Sometimes my head was thinking about it like ‘should I do this, or should I do that?’ But I had to go with my chest and my gut,” he said. 

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Radley one of six current NRL stars to be picked for England 

Alongside Radley, there are five other NRL stars who will be turning out for the host nation. They are fellow forwards Tom Burgess, Luke Thompson and Elliot Whitehead, while the backline will be supplemented with Herbie Farnworth and Dom Young.

“I’ve played Herbie for a few years and he’s always been hard to handle,” Radley said.

“Dom had a good season with Newcastle. It’s hard for me to watch sometimes other teams, but everything I’ve heard was he’s been really good. The size of him- he’s a big lad!”

The England pack will be full of imposing forwards, with Wane focusing on physicality as a key trait in his side. This is something Radley is only too happy to indulge his coach with, with the lock partial to getting stuck into the rough stuff.

MORE: Chaotic mess or classic theatre? Radley sin-binned twice in elimination final grudge match

“Speaking to Waney, he’s a hard man so I don’t think he’ll be disappointed if I try and flog a few people,” the firebrand said.

Wane spoke glowingly of Radley’s ability when he had confirmed his commitment to the English national team. The former Wigan coach saying he was open to selecting players who wanted to “represent their English heritage”. 

“I rate Victor Radley very highly as a player, and he’s a great addition to the options we have in a position where we have some really strong contenders,” Wane said. 

“We need quality in depth in every position, and Victor is a big addition to that.”

Will Victor Radley sing the English national anthem? 

Radley has adapted to his new surroundings, having only just touched down in the UK in preparation for the tournament ahead.

He revealed that his dad’s building business in Australia had prepared him for the personalities he had met in the English dressing room.

“All the people back home who work with him are English, so I feel like I’ve spent a bit of time with English people,” Radley said.

“I know what they’re about. They’re a good laugh, so I know a bit about how it goes.

“They’ve been exactly as I thought they’d be. I was a bit nervous coming over. I knew a few of them but it’s just hilarious. Every single one of them is funny. They’ve got good humour and I like all that so it’s always a good laugh.”

The Roosters’ enforcer stated he would be singing England’s national anthem when they kick the tournament off against Samoa on October 15th. Although a bit of practice was still required to get all of the words into the memory bank.   

“I’ve got to learn it a bit better, but I’ll sing it,” he said.

As for how he’ll feel should England and Australia meet in the World Cup and what he’ll do come the opening ceremony when both national anthems are blared out through the speakers, Radley hadn’t thought that far ahead yet.

“I’m not too sure about that. Before the game I’ll be pretty serious and keen to go hard, so I won’t be too fussed about that. I just want to play football.”

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