Friends in the North
Londoner Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook told Angela Powers that he is settling into life at St Helens well.
Last Updated: 23/02/11 3:34pm
From the kitchen window of his house at the head of a quiet cul-de-sac, Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook can see the whole street. Bungalows line the gently-sloping hill, creating a gauntlet he has to negotiate every day.
"When I walk the dog, I've gotta go past the houses and cars with their Warrington flags and Wigan stickers, but it's all right cos I'm king of the hill. I run this street."
He says it with a wink but I reckon it won't be long before the 'Sarf Larndanar' really does become master of all he surveys. There may not be a single Saints fan in the street but he's already winning the 'opposition' over with his huge toothy grin and greetings of 'awright, darling'. They're not used to that in Newton-Le-Willows. Well, they haven't been until now.
The neighbours are already looking out for Louie, and I don't just mean as part of an active Neighbourhood Watch scheme. One chap knocked on his door to offer advice on how to deal with Adrian Morley in the up-coming game against Warrington.
"Watch out for Morley's elbow, he said, so I'll have to look out for that one," he chuckles.
It really is impossible to meet LMS and walk away without a lasting impression. He has the lovable cheek of a little brother and the innocent charm of the boy-next-door, yet being a lad from London, he's street-wise and cocky too. This latter side to his personality is the one he portrays on the pitch; the enthusiasm of a puppy dog with the edge of a determined rottweiler.
A product of the London Broncos youth system and then brought up to first team with Harlequins, Louie represents in blood, skin and bones what the game's developers in London have been trying hard to achieve. A home grown player with ambition and ability to match.
It was that ambition prompted him to say yes to St Helens as soon as the offer became a serious one. He calls it a no-brainer. The chance to win trophies was just one reason for making the move; the opportunity to develop his skills with an eye on international honours another.
'I'm coming to that age, I'm 25 now, and I'd love to win stuff with this club," he says. "I would have loved to win stuff with Quins but it didn't pan out that way."
But now his old Quins are above his new team in the table.
"Yeah," he says. "They got rid of the dead wood I think! I've spoken to a few of the boys and they're flying. Powelly's done a great job so far."
LMS has signed a four-year deal with St Helens. It is a huge commitment but something tells me he'll quickly adapt to life up north. Or should I say, life 'ap norf' will adapt to him.
"Some of the Saints lads are already saying things like 'awright my son' and picking up phrases. I won't be going home with a northern twang though," he says with a sure shake of the head. Nah. There'll be murder if I do!"