Sean O’Loughlin admits his selection in the Super League Dream Team came as “a bit of a surprise”.
The Wigan and England captain has played just 18 games this year – just more than half the season – but did enough to yesterday be included in the fictitious line-up for a seventh time.
Wigan team-mate John Bateman also figured in the Dream Team, which is picked by a media panel.
“It’s always an honour, for me – not playing so much this last two months – it was a bit of a surprise,” said O’Loughlin.
“A lot is down to how well we’ve done as a team and we’ve done that to this point.
“It’s nice to get a pat on the back but the focus is all on Friday’s semi-final.”
O’Loughlin has been a towering presence in the matches he has played and fans will be pleased to know he is on course to return from a calf injury in the home showdown with Castleford.
“I’ve probably played a bit too soon on two occasions, and a four week injury has been eight to 10, so it’s been frustrating,” he said.
“But I’ve missed a couple of (extra) games to make sure, I’ve been ultra-cautious to get it right, I’ll go into this fully fit,” he said.
“I trained at the back end of last week and this week and it’s all good.”
League leaders St Helens provide seven of the 13 players, including Man of Steel nominees Ben Barba and James Roby.
The team was unveiled at a press conference at Old Trafford.
The England squad for the autumn series against New Zealand is expected to be named today.