Hock will be big in NRL

Gareth Hock (left) and Pat Richards
Gareth Hock (left) and Pat Richards
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GARETH Hock has been backed to become a huge hit if he switches to the NRL – by a man who knows a thing or two about making an impression Down Under.

Wigan legend Bill Ashurst was a sensation during three seasons at Penrith.

Like Hock, he was an aggressive, ball-handling forward who represented his country – and he reckons the 29-year-old is capable of making a big impact if he joins Parramatta next season.

Ashurst said: “I think Gareth would do really well over there.

“He’s a terrific forward who asks for no quarter and gives none, he has a great pair of hand and is a real threat.

“We’ve seen other English players go over there and do well, and there’s no reason he can’t do the same.”

Hock, who is set to play for England against France tomorrow, is said to be keen on the move to Australia and the Eels have confirmed they are talking to Wigan about a transfer fee.

Ashurst can see why the move would appeal.

“When I went, it was a chance to test myself against the best – and he’ll want to do the same,” said Ashurst, who made 186 appearances for hometown club Wigan during two spells in the 1960s and ‘70s.

“There are only five, maybe six, quality teams in Super League, so every other game is nonsensical.”

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan and Hock have declined to comment on Parramatta’s interest.

ONE of Ashurst’s former Wigan team-mates, Keith Ashcroft, has died. He was 72.

Ashcroft made 59 appearances for the club between 1968 and ‘70 – including a Challenge Cup final appearance.