during the round 23 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on August 10, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.

Wayne Bennett has named his 24-man squad that will represent England at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The side will be captained by Sean O’Loughlin and will also include Luke Gale, the recent Man of Steel winner last week, Dally M Halfback of the Year, Gareth Widdop and Super League’s top metre-maker, Alex Walmsley.

Wayne Bennett had the following to say on the squad.

“Selecting the final 24 with the help of my coaching staff was tough and that was down to the effort and performances of many players throughout the season,” said Bennett.

“The competitiveness of Super League and NRL and knowing the goal of playing for your country in a World Cup has made many raise their game and become better athletes.

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“The England programme has been very active leading into this tournament and having the squad meet up on regular occasions – on and off the field – has put us in a positive place before everyone gets into camp.

“We had to put the disappointment of the Four Nations behind us quickly and the meetings that followed that tournament set out what was required to be successful in the World Cup. Everyone has fully bought into this and we can’t wait to get started.”

England 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 (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
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,)

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  1. IF Pappa Smurf can remember back to 2016 and the Rugby League Four Nations he would realise that Luke Gale is a dud and George Williams (who turned in a Man of the Match performance against Scotland) should play in the halves instead.

    Following Williams’ Man of the Match performance Bennett said, “George Williams was good but can play a lot better than he did tonight, too.”

    THAT is precisely what you think a supercoach would be looking for when you are about to take on Australia in the following game in a sudden death decider to see who will progress to the final.

    But fate was unkind, Pappa Smurf drops his clipboard gets the team sheet mixed up and instead of rewarding Williams he instead gets hooked and Bennett plays Kevin Brown with Gareth Widdop and sleeps through most of the match while Australia double Englands’ score and beat them 36-18. A “supercoach” would learn from that. Let’s see if history repeats.

    • I agree with all you just said. The four nations was terrible for England and it didn’t help either that Bennett was mixing up teams throughout the whole tournament when his sides against Scotland and New Zealand did very well. Williams was the form half last year in the SL and only started that one game that tournament. Brown is a dud who doesn’t offer much really and oh about Gale as well I will admit he is a dud too, until the season he just had this year. Maybe he is a Mitchell Pearce but on the International stage lol. But I believe England have the chance to win it, they will make it past New Zealand it’s just Australia they need to focus on. My tip is Australia and England final, Australia by 8 tho. Also interesting to see Roby in there, he doesn’t have much left I thought a younger option would’ve been better like a Daryl Clark or Danny Houghton.

      1. Lomax
      2. McGillvary
      3. Percival
      4. Watkins
      5. Hall
      6. Widdop
      7. Gale
      8. Graham
      9. Hodgson
      10. Burgess
      11. Bateman
      12. Whitehead
      13. O’Loughlin (C)

      14. Williams
      15. Hill
      16. Burgess
      17. Walmsley

      • Just swap Williams for Gale and England may have found their successor to Pappa Smurf. Frankly you could hardly do worse and at least you wouldn’t fall asleep through half the game. Never a good look for a coach to be honest.

  2. 8. Graham
    9. Hodgson
    10. S Burgess
    12. Whitehead
    13. O’Laughlin

    Pretty good forward back. Doesn’t look like much NRL players and I Don’t know to much about the Super League. Looks like they are missing a few tho. No Sam Thompkins, Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins, Chris McQueen, Tom Briscoe to name a few players not selected. McQueen could have been a good choice to partner Whitehead in second row. But overall looks like they are missing a few quality backs

    • Hardaker is currently banned from rugby league as we speak but Briscoe never had a chance to make it considering who’s in front of him. Watkins is in there tho and McQueen is injured I think? Tomkins hasn’t been the same player since he arrived and left NZ lol. But Bateman will complete that pack bro, he’s a tank! Think of Mannerings work rate but in a smaller body.

      • Oh cheers mate not the biggest follower of English footy. Have heard a few raps on Bateman doesn’t sound like a good forward pack. Still think they might struggle out wide without some of their past stars. And just one other thing is Joel Moon eligible for England? He’s been there for ages now and always plays really well from what I’ve seen. Especially in the centres

  3. I still honestly can’t understand how there is no one better than Chris Heighington in the Super League. Surely at least there is a young fella who could use the tour for experience if nothing else?

    Also, holmesy, crowy, MW47 and any Manly fan, what are your thoughts on the reports that Barrett met with the Titans yesterday? I know Manly are in the process of re-signing him, but are the Titans a chance here?

    • Please don’t even hint at Madge to Manly. They are too afraid of hard work and tough love in any case. 😉

    • Stevie Ward missed out mate and I don’t know how. Heighington couldn’t even stand out in reserve grade even if he tried

    • as unusual as it sounds there are hints and stories on a “civil war” at the eagles – stories i have seen suggest that Baz is hedging his bets and isnt too keen on being the middle.
      Its sad, really – such a great club and there is bickering, back stabbing, unrest, civil war and all the things that you never expect from that club ***cough cough***

      • Yer be fishin’ for seagulls chief? He’s got… lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. Chips be the bait you want chief, chips and blood im the water! 😉

        • the story was for real – but yeah there might have been a bit of fishing going on but your mate didnt take the bait this time….

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