IT is quite fitting in a way that the rugby league world descends on Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium on Sunday for the second test between England and New Zealand.

The 13-man code being played at one of the most iconic sporting venues in the world.

And it is particularly poignant as next week is the first anniversary since the passing of the man who did more than most to try and get the game going in Merseyside - Geoff Fletcher.

And I don’t doubt he will be looking down with a smile as the thousands pack into the palatial Anfield.

What a far cry from the stable attendance figure of 250 that used to be recorded every home game without fail for games at Huyton’s Alt Park.

In some of those days in the late 70s and early 80s, before the move to Runcorn in 1984, Fletcher’s biggest job was getting together 13 players and two subs to fulfil the Division Two fixture.

But among his other jobs would have been to clear up the damage caused by the vandals who routinely trashed the ground on the banks of the River Alt.

Many saw Fletcher’s toil there as a thankless task and drew the conclusion that the team descended from Liverpool Stanley and then Liverpool City proved that there was no future for rugby league west of Rainhill.

Saints tried in the early noughties to build business links and support in the city and in recent years the club’s community department has put plenty of effort into the city and its suburbs.

It has to be worth a go.

The idea that it is a football mad city could equally apply to Newcastle and Manchester, but that does not stop us taking two high-profile Super League events to those cities.

We cannot write off big cities for RL growth, even if they are simply showpiece games like this, if we do then we are doomed to remain small and get passed by and overtaken by other sports, not just football.

And Geoff Fletcher proved that you can be both a rugby league traditionalist and a pioneer.