Four Warriors in England's squad to face Kiwis
All four Wigan players in the England squad have been named in the 19-man panel for their first Four Nations game.
George Williams, John Bateman, Liam Farrell and the departing Dan Sarginson are all in the frame to play against New Zealand at a sold out John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, October 29 (2.30pm).
Sam Burgess returns as England captain and makes his first appearance since the Rugby League World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Wembley Stadium in 2013.
Warrington prop Chris Hill, a Wiganer, also returns – all six players missed the win in France last weekend.
Coach Wayne Bennett said: “I was pleased with the way the players conducted themselves last week in France and the hard work they put in.
“There’s things we’ve looked at in the game and worked on this week. The boys know the pressure and the intensity will rise as we get closer to Saturday – it’s a challenge we’re all looking forward to.
“We’ve got a strong squad here who are ready to go and desperate to play to show us what they can do which is good to see.
“Sam’s also back from suspension and ready to pull on the England Rugby League shirt. It’s been a few years since he played over here and I’m sure the sell-out crowd at Huddersfield will be keen to see him out there.”
On New Zealand, Bennett added: “They’re a talented Rugby League nation who know how to play the game and use the ball.
Sarginson has been picked ahead of St Helens centre Mark Percival, suggesting the Titans-bound player will line up at left centre.
Ryan Hall and Jermaine McGillvary are set to be on the wings, with St Helens’ Jonny Lomax – an ex-Orrell St James junior – at full-back.
There in intrigue over which two halfbacks will get the nod, with three in the squad. Williams is joined by Luke Gale (Castleford) and Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra), with Kevin Brown left out.
Up front, ex-Warriors prop Scott Taylor has been left out, but Bennett has plenty of options with the likes of Chris Hill, James Graham, Tom Burgess, George Burgess and Mike Cooper.
The latter can also play in the second-row, where Wigan duo Farrell and Bateman are included, as well as Elliot Whitehead.
Captain Sam Burgess is set to be loose forward, with Josh Hodgson starting at hooker and Daryl Clark an option for a bench spot.
The 19-man squad will be trimmed to 17 on game-day, with one halfback and a forward set to miss out.
England’s 19-man squad, with professional and amateur clubs in brackets:
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill)
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)
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)
Dan Sarginson (Wigan Warriors / Gold Coast Titans, Hemel Stags)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders, West Bowling)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)