Four Warriors in England squad
Wayne Bennett has named four Wigan players in his first England squad.
George Williams, John Bateman, Liam Farrell and departing Dan Sarginson are included in the 24-man panel for the Four Nations.
But there is no place for captain Sean O’Loughlin, who returned from a leg injury to play in Saturday’s 12-6 Grand Final triumph over Warrington.
He is one of the players not considered due to injury, a list which includes Wigan’s Dom Manfredi and Sam Tomkins.
Winger Joe Burgess, who is returning to Wigan from a year in the NRL, was overlooked, though he also would have been unavailable because of a hernia operation.
Coach Bennett had previously refused to rule out picking Australians from the NRL who qualified through ancestry, but has decided against it.
There are four uncapped players including ex-Warriors prop Scott Taylor (Hull FC) and former Orrell St James junior Jonny Lomax (St Helens).
Bennett said: “There’s been a lot of competition for places this year and the players that have been picked are the ones we believe will stand up to the test of the competing nations.
“I’ve always said that there wouldn’t be too many changes when I arrived and there are plenty of guys in the squad who worked hard in last year’s International Series win against New Zealand who have gone on and performed in 2016.
“To have Sam Burgess back is not just a boost for England but one for the international game. Having worked with him in the past, he’s a great bloke to have around and have by your shoulder on the field.
“Injuries are part and parcel of the game and to lose players like O’Loughlin, Tomkins and Currie isn’t ideal but it does offer opportunities to others who have performed in the year and it’s good to see some new and returning faces in the squad.
“There’s some serious talent in this English side and that’s testament to the England programme, the clubs they play for and the player’s attitude in wanting to do their best each week. I’ve spoken to the boys and they’re well aware what’s ahead of them in this tournament.”
England’s international schedule kicks off in Avignon on Saturday, October 22 with a Test against France.
England squad (professional and amateur clubs):
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill)
Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings, Thatto Heath Crusaders)
George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves, Fryston Warriors)
Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves/St George-Illwarra Dragons, Latchford Albion)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Brett Ferres (Leeds Rhinos, Smawthorne Panthers)
Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers, Middleton Marauders)
James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders, East Hull)
Jonny Lomax (St Helens, Orrell St James)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors)
Mark Percival (St Helens, Farnworth Rockets)
Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks)
Dan Sarginson (Wigan Warriors/Gold Coast Titans, Hemel Stags)
Scott Taylor (Hull FC, Skirlaugh)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Elliot Whitehead (Canberra Raiders, West Bowling)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)