Ellery Hanley on “extremely challenging” task of putting together All Stars squad

Combined Nations All Stars head coach Ellery Hanley says it has been “extremely challenging” putting a squad together but has refused to blame Super League clubs for the disruption to his plans.

Hanley has named a 19-man squad to take on England this Saturday in Warrington, with a 20th player to be revealed on Tuesday.

Many of the players announced in his initial squad in May, including Wigan Warriors duo Jai Field and Bevan French, have not been selected.

Hanley said that players’ pre-arranged plans and injuries were the main challenges he faced in putting a final squad together.

He said: “Our game is a real occupational hazard with car crashes every few seconds, so it’s been difficult from that point of view. Coming into the last round was extremely difficult because you’re worried about the injuries, and suspensions as well.

“The difficult thing is players had already booked to go away, with it being a free weekend. I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as this.

“The logistics of pulling players in at the last minute, because they’ve arranged things with their families and everything, and also the clubs and the head coaches of Super League clubs have given them permission to go away.”

Hanley added that there was no lack of desire on the part of individual players.

“I spoke to every one of 30 players to make sure they wanted to be included in the Combined Nations side and every one of them was thrilled,” he said.

“They were so enthusiastic to be included. But then we had to narrow it for the reasons I’ve said. It’s been difficult.”

He refused to blame the clubs, however.

“I can’t speculate on behalf of others or think their thoughts, whether they wanted players to play.

“I’m happy at this moment in time that the players I’ve picked have a great desire to play.”

Combined Nations All Stars 19-man squad to face England:
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Brodie Croft (Salford Red Devils), Kenny Edwards (Castleford Tigers), Mahe Fonua (Castleford Tigers), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull KR), Samisoni Langi (Catalans Dragons), Kruise Leeming (Leeds Rhinos), Joe Lovodua (Hull FC), Rhyse Martin (Leeds Rhinos), Peter Mata’utia (Warrington Wolves), Manu Maʻu (Hull FC), Jacob Miller (Wakefield Trinity), Matt Parcell (Hull KR), Matt Prior (Leeds Rhinos), Ligi Sao (Hull FC), Chris Satae (Hull FC), Ken Sio (Salford Red Devils), Kelepi Tanginoa (Wakefield Trinity), Zane Tetevano (Leeds Rhinos)