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Police out to form brilliant blue line as they look to beat Aussie counterparts

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THEY have coped with terrorist atrocities, kept Prime Ministers safe and dealt with the aftermath of tornadoes – now the boot is on the other foot as they go for the Aussies.

By day, the Great Britain Police rugby league team forms that thin blue line to keep the country as safe as possible.

Great Britain Police rugby league team, including Sgt Robert Froggatt, hopes to defeat the Aussies when they head Down Under

But when they head Down Under on a tour they have paid for themselves to face their Australian counterparts, they hope their attacking lines cause as much trouble as possible.

Officers from six constabularies will team up as the British head to Sydney to take on the Aussies on March 2 and New South Wales Police on March 6 – and judging by a drizzly, chilly training session they are ready to give as good as they get.

Legally, of course.

Front rower Sergeant Robert Froggatt of Greater Manchester Police, who looks after the town of Ashton-under-Lyne, said: “You show your opponents the same respect you show members of the public day in, day out. However, it’s a different kind of respect.

“With rugby heads on, we’ve a completely different mindset to how we are on the street.

“There’ s a bit less pressure I suppose and that banter with the lads is better than being out on the streets. I’d rather chase a rugby ball around.”

Captain, Sergeant Ben Marsden, a colleague of Sgt Froggatt in Greater Manchester Police’s Tameside division, added: “We show the same respect, just with a bit more industrial language.

“You work hard, you play hard. We’ve both grown up playing rugby league to decent levels, so you’ll never take the rugby league out of us.

“And as soon as players know they’re playing the police, they up their game.

“I was involved with the policing of the aftermath of the Arena attack and saw other Great Britain Police players coming into Manchester.

“It was a big national effort but it was quite nice when I was policing the streets of Manchester to see lads from Cumbria, West Yorkshire, firearms or whatever.

Sergeant Ben Marsden will captain the side in Australia

“And recently with the tornado that hit Stalybridge, it was such a sad situation seeing so many families forced out of their homes, many of which were left insecure.

“We’ve still got plenty of cops up there now and, thankfully, there haven’t been many incidents of burglary attempts.”

Great Britain Police were given a pep talk by former Leeds star turned Sky pundit Barrie McDermott, who has learned from the days that saw him achieve a place in the force’s history as the first person to be sprayed with CS gas.

His advice included how timekeeping is paramount and: “It’s drilled into us the Aussie are bigger, they’re stronger, they’re faster. It’s b*****ks.”

Sgts Marsden – whose father Bob is coach and was playfully booed at a shirt presentation – and Froggatt combine their day job with rugby league – both play at amateur side Saddleworth Rangers, with the latter also representing Oldham RU.

And there is crossover between the two. It turns out the sport can help catch knife-wielding criminals.

Leeds legend turned Sky pundit Barrie McDermott delivered a pre-tour pep talk

Sgt Froggatt, who also spent five years in the army, told SunSport: “A couple of years ago, we had an armed knifeman who was committing robberies and we knew he was using the tram network.

“We had a knifepoint robbery come into Ashton town centre, so Ben and I drove straight to the tram stop and the robber was there.

“It was a long foot chase but we ended up catching him outside a local supermarket, detained him when he still had the knife and the property he’d just stolen.

“With all the kit and equipment we had on, we had a bit of an advantage through rugby.

“There was no high tackle either, we went hard and low!”



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