New England head coach Shaun Wane has named his first group of players invited to a meeting at Old Trafford later this month with Gareth Widdop a headline omission as the former Wigan Warriors coach looks to stamp his mark on the national team.
Hull FC’s Jake Connor is another notable absentee from the 31-man list who will meet with three-time Super League Grand Final winning coach Wane – although the recently recruited head coach has said that those who have missed out shouldn’t feel that the door is closed.
“I realise that there are some notable exceptions at this stage, and I would say to those players is that this isn’t the squad, the door is never closed and outstanding form will be rewarded,” the 55-year-old told the media following his announcement.
While Widdop and Connor will be disappointed to have not been invited to the meeting – the list has been drawn up following Wane’s observations of the early rounds of Super League action as well as from discussions with the coaches of clubs – there have been some inclusions which indicates that Wane may possibly disagree with some of the selections in the past.
One of the best and most consistent hookers in recent Super League memory, Paul McShane has been included and the Castleford Tigers man will be hoping to make his debut in this year’s end of season Ashes series. Another omission which has previously raised eyebrows was that of Mike Cooper but the front-rower is one of seven Warrington players included in the list.
2019 Super League winners St Helens are the best represented team in the squad with many of those expected to be pivotal figures when the Aussies arrive this Autumn.
Paul Anderson has also named an extensive list of players who he is looking at to form part of the England Knights squad for 2020 but one player who will misses out is Harry Newman with the Leeds Rhinos centre included in Wane’s list of senior invitees, a reward for his sterling start to 2020.
The man Newman replaced in the centres for Leeds Rhinos, Kallum Watkins, is one of eight NRL-based players included on a ‘watch list’ ahead of the Australia tests. The Gold Coast Titans centre is joined by Canberra Raiders quintet John Bateman, Josh Hodgson, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead and George Williams as well as Tom Burgess (South Sydney) and James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Full list of invitees:
Josh Charnley (Warrington Wolves), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Luke Gale (Leeds Rhinos), Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors), Josh Griffin (Hull FC), Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity), Josh Jones (Hull FC), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Paul McShane (Castleford Tigers), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Dom Manfredi (Wigan Warriors), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Mark Percival (St Helens), Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), James Roby (St Helens), Dan Sarginson (Salford Red Devils), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Luke Thompson (St Helens), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Liam Watts (Castleford Tigers)