ROUGHYEDS coach Matt Diskin's call for a return to a more expansive and a more entertaining style of rugby league has received the unqualified backing of St Helens and Great Britain legend Paul Sculthorpe.

Few players of yesteryear have as much clout in the modern game as Oldham's Scully, who is still involved at international level with the England set-up.

Along with Lee Briers. the 42-year-old raised at Waterhead Warriors has advocated a reboot of the sport with a lot more emphasis on core skills and the return to a brand of rugby in which playmakers, especially half-backs, play instinctively and react to what they see in front of them.

Though not directly involved, Oldham boss Diskin's views figured prominently on the discussion on's 'Rugby League Back-Chat' after anchor Matthew Shaw said he had been talking to the ex-Leeds Rhinos hooker, who had again expressed the view that the modern game was too structured.

Diskin himself was a fine playmaker from the No.9 spot, earning international honours, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match in a Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, and starring in a Leeds side during one of the Yorkshire club's best and most exciting periods of its rich history.

Briers, a key member of the Warrington Wolves coaching staff, was initially somewhat guarded in his reaction to Diskin's views, but not so Scully who came straight out with it. "I agree with Matt Diskin," he said.

Sculthorpe, one of rugby league's best and most revered post-war players, spent his childhood in Oldham where he honed his skills on the town's playing fields and in the local amateur game alongside his brothers Lee and Danny, who also became a top pro.

He added: "For me the game has changed a lot over the years. I'm not in favour of three 'middles' – it was better as it used to be with two props and a loose-forward.

"If I was still playing today I'd be frustrated as a loose-forward and frustrated as a half-back because half-backs are not close enough to the action to run the game like they used to do. So often nowadays a forward will take the first pass and by the time the half-backs get their hands on the ball they can't make much of an impression.

"For me a half-back should run the show but in Super League these days that's not happening because they're not close enough to the action and in any case they're not being coached to play what's in front of them.

"The best players win matches and they are the ones with the best physical attributes and the best skills. They've got to be allowed to express themselves but they can only do that if they've got core skills.

"Games very rarely pan out like training sessions. You can have as much structure as you want, but what happens when games don't go to plan?

"The answer lies in players with core skills being given the freedom to play what they see."

Regarding the international game, he said it was like a breath of fresh air to be working with new England boss Shaun Wane. He was confident we would see much better England performances in the World Cup next year.

Sculthorpe added: "We need to play the British way, the skilful way. We've been trying to beat the Aussies at their own game and that's not the way to do it.

"You'll see a vastly different team though with Shaun in charge, both in how we play and in what is demanded of a player who has the honour of wearing the England shirt."

Briers, the former St Helens and Warrington half-back star, said young players growing up in the game today didn't have any knowledge of what the game used to be like.

He added: "Just let kids play, enjoy themselves and develop their own skills. We all like to win, but there's a bigger picture. At that age particularly it's not all about results."