Within hours after confirming that Zac Hardaker would miss yet another world cup due suspension, the RFL and Wayne Bennett announced their England Squad they hope will travel to Australia to challenge for the World Cup title.
In typical British fashion expectations were high and it was a matter of minutes before the fans and press had given up on what little chance we believed we had in Winning the Cup in the Champions back yard!! This was mainly due to some of the names chosen being tried, tested and failed at this level.
With 4 players picked from Warrington, a team that has had a miserable season and finished 9th in the Super league and has spent the last two months fighting relegation, Kevin Brown, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford and the uncapped Ben Currie, who has only started two games all season.
In comparison there are only 5 player combined from the 3 teams that finished top of the table! 2017 man of Steel Luke Gale is joined by team mate Mike McMeeken, from the team that has walked the league this year, Grand final Champions Leeds Rhino’s also have 2 players selected with Centre, wing partnership of Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins earning a place.
Challenge cup winners and third placed Hull FC have only representative with Prop Forward Scott Taylor, while St Helens have the most of any teams in the top four with Lomax, Percival, Roby being recalled after a two-year absence and Alex Walmsley the other uncapped player in the squad.
Wigan Skipper Sean O’Loughlin will Captain the squad and is joined by team mates George Williams and John Bateman, although there is no place for Sam Tomkins. Huddersfield Giant winger Jermaine McGillvary making up the Super league contingent.
The squad also has 7 NRL based players, with Dally M Half Back of the year Gareth Widdop, Sam & Tom Burgess, James Graham, Eliot Whitehead, Josh Hodgson and Chris Heighington all joining the squad over in Australia.
England's World Cup squad: John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Kevin Brown (Warrington Wolves), Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sharks), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), Mark Percival (St Helens), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), James Roby (St Helens), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons) George Williams (Wigan Warriors).