COMING IN: Kyle Feldt of the Cowboys scores a try during the round one match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders.
COMING IN: Kyle Feldt of the Cowboys scores a try during the round one match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders. Ian Hitchcockgetty IMAGES

High-flying wingers impress ex-Bronco Michael Hancock

HE WAS rated the hardest man in the game to tackle, but former Broncos flyer Michael Hancock says today's wingers are thrilling rugby league fans with breathtaking tries that almost defy belief.

As the NRL battles plummeting round one crowds and stinging criticism clubs are denying fans access to the players by controlling media interviews before and after games, Hancock says the fastest men in the game are doing their best to boost excitement levels with electrifying plays that will have young kids in backyards wanting to be like them.

Hancock's career spanned three decades with Brisbane, Queensland and Australia. He scored 137 tries with his aggressive bumping style.

But even he admits he is staggered by the size, speed, finger-tip control and aerial agility of today's hulking wingers.

"In my day safety (of the ball) was the priority. Wingers didn't dare kick the ball ahead or even pass it," Hancock told APN following an NRL opening round of which wingers' tries dominated.

"When I got the ball I never wanted to give the bastard away, but these guys, they throw caution to the wind and nine time out of 10 it pays off for them. Their mindset is they can do anything."

The decision to take the corner post out of play a few years ago has opened the door for wingers to pull out spectacular plays.

"This kind of entertainment is what will bring spectators back to the game," Hancock said.

"Players like Ben Barba can score 105-metre tries, Billy Slater is the same, and Greg Inglis ... they excite fans.

"But now you've got giant wingers like that big guy from Parramatta (Semi Radradra) and Kyle Feldt (Cowboys) with their bodies fully suspended out over the sideline with one hand on the ball scoring miracle tries every week."

"These players create an atmosphere that people will want to pay money to see."


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