John Bateman is relishing the competition for places as he eyes a place in the England second-row.
The 23-year-old’s Grand Final joy was capped with a call-up to Wayne Bennett’s first squad the following day.
There’s good competition in the backrow with Elliot (Whitehead) and Faz (Liam Farrell), two great playersJohn Bateman
Bateman played out of position at centre in the 2-1 series triumph against New Zealand last year.
But with three specialist centres in the squad – Mark Percival, Kallum Watkins and Dan Sarginson – and only two other second-rowers, he is expected to figure in his preferred position.
“I obviously played last year and played at centre, I want to show I’m there or thereabouts in the backrow,” he said. “There’s good competition in the backrow with Elliot (Whitehead) and Faz (Liam Farrell), two great players.
“It’s good competition and that’s what you want, you want to be challenging yourself against the best.
“But I definitely I want to play for England this year.”
Bateman is one of four Wigan players in the England squad.
Farrell, George Williams and NRL-bound Sarginson also earned call-ups for next week’s Test in France and the upcoming Four Nations.
Sam Tomkins, Dom Manfredi and Sean O’Loughlin weren’t considered due to injury. Warrington forward Ben Currie was also ruled out of the frame due to injury.
Thomas Leuluai, returning to Wigan from the NRL, is in New Zealand’s touring party and winger Lewis Tierney earned a call-up to the Scotland squad.
Meanwhile, Bateman deflected praise for winning Wigan’s Player of the Year award.
“For me, Sam Powell deserves this award,” he said of Powell, who won the Players’ Player of the Year prize.
“What he did this year was amazing.”
The full England squad meet up later this week before relocating to London, ahead of a Test in Avignon on October 22.