12th October 2017, 14:50 | super_league
RLIF Ranking: 3rd
A total of 17 Super League players will represent the Three Lions in Australia. Betfred Super League Grand Final winners Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall are two of the most experienced players in the England side, with 20 and 32 appearances respectively.
Hall is England’s top try scorer and was one of the highest metre makers in 2017 Super League with a huge total of 3398. Watkins crossed the line twelve times in 2017 and made eight assists. The Rhinos centre also took on responsibility of kicking for the Rhinos, making an impressive 51 from 61 attempts.
Man of Steel Luke Gale has been unstoppable at times this season. Gale scored 14 tries, assisted 21 and was a focal point in Castleford’s first League Leaders’ Shield and Grand Final appearance. The number seven has a keen eye for drop-goals and kicked eight, more than any other player in Super League.
Gale is joined by his Tigers teammate Mike McMeeken who made his England debut in the mid-season test against Samoa. The athletic forward has been a vital part of the Tigers attack by scoring nine tries, making 11 assists and gaining 2906 metres. The second row also does his duties in defence, completing 797 tackles throughout the 2017 campaign.
Prop Scott Taylor is the only England representive from Hull FC. With another Challenge Cup winners medal under his belt in 2017, Taylor continues to impress with his assertive nature on the field.
Super League’s leading metre maker Alex Walmsley joins Taylor on the front line and will be looking to make his debut in Australia. Walmsley was the only Super League player to gain over 4,000 metres in 2017 and made 85 tackle busts in the process. The towering prop also chipped in with 11 tries.
Walmsley will be joined by three of his St Helens teammates in the England team. James Roby is in line to represent England at his third World Cup after an impressive Super League campaign. Roby made more dummy runs than any other player in the competition and completed over 1,000 tackles. The hooker returns to the England squad for the first time since 2015.
St Helens duo Mark Percival and Jonny Lomax feature in the backs. Percival scored 17 tries and made 13 assists in a season that saw him named in the Super League Dream Team. Percival is a handful for defensive lines and both his 135 tackle busts and 33 clean breaks were the second highest in 2017 Super League.
Lomax had another solid season in the Red V of St Helens, who narrowly missed out on a Grand Final spot to Castleford in the semi-finals. Lomax was used at full-back and in the halves this season, so his versatility is a huge asset.
Wigan Warriors’ Sean O’Loughlin will captain England at the World Cup after an impressive season in cherry and white. O’Loughlin was named in the Super League Dream Team for a sixth time as Wigan narrowly missed out on the Semi-Finals.
John Bateman didn’t make a Super League appearance until late June after impressing in Wigan’s World Club Challenge victory over Cronulla, but made an instant impact when he returned. Bateman averaged over 100 metres and 30 tackles a game as Wigan fell just short of the top four and a Challenge Cup winners medal.
Super League’s top assist maker in 2017, George Williams, will be looking to secure a starting spot in a talented halves core. Williams is a handful in attack and his explosive nature, coupled with his reading of the game and kicking ability make him a problem for any defence.
Jermaine McGillvary is Huddersfield’s only England representative at the World Cup. McGillvary scored 19 tries in the 2017 season and made the second most metres in Super League, beaten only by Alex Walmsley. McGillvary will be looking to continue his impressive scoring record in Australia.
Despite a season which saw Warrington end 2017 in The Qualifiers, the Wire have four representatives in the England Squad. After missing the start of the season, Chris Hill returned to be a powerful authority that racks up the yards and tackle count for Warrington. Ben Currie returns after missing out on the 2016 Four Nations due to injury.
Kevin Brown retains his spot in the squad after an impressive performance against Samoa in the mid-season test. Brown starred in Warrington Wolves’ World Club Series victory over Wayne Bennett’s Brisbane Broncos earlier in the season. He is joined by the versatile Stefan Ratchford who made 19 assists and 2694 metres in just 16 Super League games.