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Development of the England Academy team from 2018


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The talk of youth development on the Zane Tetevano thread got me thinking about how the development of the Academy team that defeated the Australians 2-0 at the end of 2018 is going.

Just to put a bit of context on the 2018 team. In 2016 the England Academy team played the Aussies and from that team just 6 have gone on the play more than 30 Super League games (out of a total of 349 Super League games played by the full 17).  These are Mikolaj Oledzki, Cameron Smith, Matthew English, Danny Walker, James Bachelor and Morgan Smith.

Similarly, six of the Aussie team have gone on to play 30 or more NRL games Nic Cotric, Campbell Graham, Thomas Mikaele, Payne Haas, Zac Lomax and Blayke Brailey.

What I find interesting about this is both Cotric and Haas have gone on to play State of Origin and for the Kangaroos and and Zac Lomax was in the NSW SOO squad this year and yet when we discuss the English kids we are constantly saying they are not ready yet... what is it that is different about the Aussies where they seen to develop much faster after the junior level.

Anyway, on the 2018 team.  While the 2016 team have played 349 Super League games between them, the 2018 team have already played 245 and every one of the 17 from the first test have tasted first team rugby (only 6 of the Aussie team have played in the NRL so far...with Bradmen Best, Stephen Crichton and Tom Dearden being the picks).

Here is the England team with Super League appearances to date (high to low)... which of these are on their way to full international honours do we think?

Harry Newman - 35

Morgan Smithies - 35

Innes Senior - 32

Jack Welsby - 26

Louis Senior - 23

Oliver Wilson - 17

Harry Smith - 15

Tom Holroyd - 12

Cameron Scott - 11

Ethan Havard - 10

Callum McLelland - 8

Owen Trout - 8

Joe Shorrocks - 5

Sam Walters - 4

Muizz Mustapha - 2

Corey Johnson - 1

James McDonnell - 1

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For Wigan players, I think Havard (definitely) and Smithies (probably) can. Smith is a possible.

I think Havard maybe qualifies for Bulgaria? If so, he'd walk into their team if they set one up. 

We have fewer clubs in SL compared to NRL so there are less opportunity for young players to come through.

Then there is the ongoing issue of relegation, which NRL coaches picking teams do not have to contend with.

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I think between limited opportunities for young players at Super League level and the limitations of our international game is why we have comparatively fewer progressions.

Every time England plays, it is a must win game against top level opposition (Australia, New Zealand, Tonga). If we, as I believe we should, played regularly against local international opposition where winning isn't the be all and end all defining moment for the entire sport that games against Australia seem to be, maybe a Smithies or Oledski or Newman would get those international appearances that their Australian equivalents have.

FWIW, Callum McLelland has played for Scotland in their most recent qualifiers and most likely will be at the World Cup with them. That demonstrates my point rather well.

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To take it in a slightly different direction, England haven’t played a single game since that 2-0 win for the Academy side and England Knights have played once, vs Jamaica, with three of those in the OP playing in that game. That squad included a 27 year-old Tom Lineham and Sam Powell. The Knights are a vital step between the Academy set up and the full England side and need regular games, though I can understand and accept the reluctance by some nations when it comes to playing them.

As for who can, Jack Welsby can but in what position, who knows?

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34 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Anyway, on the 2018 team.  While the 2016 team have played 349 Super League games between them, the 2018 team have already played 245 and every one of the 17 from the first test have tasted first team rugby (only 6 of the Aussie team have played in the NRL so far...with Bradmen Best, Stephen Crichton and Tom Dearden being the picks).

I suppose this reveals a couple of things:

1) the fact that all 17 of the 2018 side have played SLE suggests that the talent pool in England is a lot shallower than in Oz; those Oz kids are competing against all the seasoned pro`s and otherwise running around in the Queensland and NSW Cup competitions trying to get first grade contracts;.

2) you need to play more representative games and perhaps a few of those would have made their debut by now.

I don`t think there is any doubt that when it comes to raw ability there is probably very little difference between the two hemispheres, as is shown by the 2-0 result over OZ, but the greater intensity of the NRL, a product of its` higher profile and prominence means the resources are there to develop these players more.

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58 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

The talk of youth development on the Zane Tetevano thread got me thinking about how the development of the Academy team that defeated the Australians 2-0 at the end of 2018 is going.

Just to put a bit of context on the 2018 team. In 2016 the England Academy team played the Aussies and from that team just 6 have gone on the play more than 30 Super League games (out of a total of 349 Super League games played by the full 17).  These are Mikolaj Oledzki, Cameron Smith, Matthew English, Danny Walker, James Bachelor and Morgan Smith.

Similarly, six of the Aussie team have gone on to play 30 or more NRL games Nic Cotric, Campbell Graham, Thomas Mikaele, Payne Haas, Zac Lomax and Blayke Brailey.

What I find interesting about this is both Cotric and Haas have gone on to play State of Origin and for the Kangaroos and and Zac Lomax was in the NSW SOO squad this year and yet when we discuss the English kids we are constantly saying they are not ready yet... what is it that is different about the Aussies where they seen to develop much faster after the junior level.

Anyway, on the 2018 team.  While the 2016 team have played 349 Super League games between them, the 2018 team have already played 245 and every one of the 17 from the first test have tasted first team rugby (only 6 of the Aussie team have played in the NRL so far...with Bradmen Best, Stephen Crichton and Tom Dearden being the picks).

Here is the England team with Super League appearances to date (high to low)... which of these are on their way to full international honours do we think?

Harry Newman - 35

Morgan Smithies - 35

Innes Senior - 32

Jack Welsby - 26

Louis Senior - 23

Oliver Wilson - 17

Harry Smith - 15

Tom Holroyd - 12

Cameron Scott - 11

Ethan Havard - 10

Callum McLelland - 8

Owen Trout - 8

Joe Shorrocks - 5

Sam Walters - 4

Muizz Mustapha - 2

Corey Johnson - 1

James McDonnell - 1

Ethan Havard has only played 10 Super League games, Wigan fans on another thread were claiming he was a first choice player throughout 2020 and Leeds should take a note out of their book and play Holroyd. Turns out Holroyd has more Super League appearances than Havard.

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46 minutes ago, Whippet13 said:

For Wigan players, I think Havard (definitely) and Smithies (probably) can. Smith is a possible.

I think Havard maybe qualifies for Bulgaria? If so, he'd walk into their team if they set one up. 

We have fewer clubs in SL compared to NRL so there are less opportunity for young players to come through.

Then there is the ongoing issue of relegation, which NRL coaches picking teams do not have to contend with.

I disagree that there are less opportunities for young players here. There is a lot less talent in the UK than down under so kids are relyed upon much more than in the nrl. 

We have kids that debut here at 16 or 17 in some cases. In Dunbars originally post he notes that 10 players from the 2018 England academy team have played over 10 games of SL. How many of the Aussie lads from that team have played over 10 games? Could be wrong but I assume it's only 2 (Chrighton and Best).

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24 minutes ago, DoubleD said:

Definites: Havard, Newman, Welsby

Probables: Smithies, Holroyd, Walters

Possibles: Smith, Trout, McLelland, Wilson

My view:

I think both Havard and Holroyd have the attributes to be internationals - both are tall, strong and athletic.  I would put them both in the definites (as much as we can be sure about these things).

I agree with Newman, I think he is a special talent.  I am not as convinced about Welsby yet despite his Grand Final heroics.  We don't know what his best position is yet and I am not sure he has the pace to be a top quality outside back or the passing game to be a great full back.  He may suffer the curse of the utility.

Smithies is a funny one.  He has bags of potential but as a middle forward he is not massive and he needs to develop his passing or running game if he wants to step up (ala Victor Radley).. I think he can and I hope the Wigan coaching staff develop him in the 13 position now to make his own.

I think Smith has the talent to be higher up the list into the probables.  His kicking game in particular is fantastic and that is something we don't have loads of in this country.

I notice that you don't mention the Senior twins despite them both getting plenty of Super League time... what are your thoughts on them?

 

 

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24 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

I suppose this reveals a couple of things:

1) the fact that all 17 of the 2018 side have played SLE suggests that the talent pool in England is a lot shallower than in Oz; those Oz kids are competing against all the seasoned pro`s and otherwise running around in the Queensland and NSW Cup competitions trying to get first grade contracts;.

2) you need to play more representative games and perhaps a few of those would have made their debut by now.

I don`t think there is any doubt that when it comes to raw ability there is probably very little difference between the two hemispheres, as is shown by the 2-0 result over OZ, but the greater intensity of the NRL, a product of its` higher profile and prominence means the resources are there to develop these players more.

I am not sure about your first point.  From the 2016 series, 13 Aussies have played NRL with 413 games between them while 14 English players have played Super League with 349 appearances.

Maybe for the 2018 crop, England just have better players?

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4 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

My view:

I think both Havard and Holroyd have the attributes to be internationals - both are tall, strong and athletic.  I would put them both in the definites (as much as we can be sure about these things).

I agree with Newman, I think he is a special talent.  I am not as convinced about Welsby yet despite his Grand Final heroics.  We don't know what his best position is yet and I am not sure he has the pace to be a top quality outside back or the passing game to be a great full back.  He may suffer the curse of the utility.

Smithies is a funny one.  He has bags of potential but as a middle forward he is not massive and he needs to develop his passing or running game if he wants to step up (ala Victor Radley).. I think he can and I hope the Wigan coaching staff develop him in the 13 position now to make his own.

I think Smith has the talent to be higher up the list into the probables.  His kicking game in particular is fantastic and that is something we don't have loads of in this country.

I notice that you don't mention the Senior twins despite them both getting plenty of Super League time... what are your thoughts on them?

 

 

Smith and McLelland could easily be probables, but it's more difficult to judge with halves, as they often develop later. 

I understand your thoughts on Welsby, but regardless I'm sure he will win some caps...........even if it is for his utility! 

Smithies I can see developing into a more Greg Bird style player (a grub some would say!) 

I just don't rate the Senior twins. They have a good physique but have huge flaws in their game and I don't want to be too unkind to them, as they're still very young. However, I have question marks over their defence and their determination/desire. Perhaps it's a confidence thing, but they don't appear like they believe they belong in senior first grade. Whilst they have good physique, they don't appear to be athletic/speedy with it............so I can see them establishing themselves in SL but not further. I would be glad to be proved wrong.

It's a big season for Walters. He's suffered from injury since the Schoolboy tests, but with a good pre-season I think he can really kick on and have a good season. He's still got some filling out to do with his tall frame

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5 minutes ago, DoubleD said:

It's a big season for Walters. He's suffered from injury since the Schoolboy tests, but with a good pre-season I think he can really kick on and have a good season. He's still got some filling out to do with his tall frame

I agree with this. I haven't seen a massive amount of Walters but from what I have seen it looks like he could be a really good edge forward.  As with Havard and Holroyd as middles, they are all tall and so will be physically imposing as they mature.

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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I agree with this. I haven't seen a massive amount of Walters but from what I have seen it looks like he could be a really good edge forward.  As with Havard and Holroyd as middles, they are all tall and so will be physically imposing as they mature.

It'll also be interesting to see how Trout gets on under the tutelage of Ian Watson. I was a big fan of Trout and was disappointed to see him leave Leeds

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31 minutes ago, AB90 said:

I disagree that there are less opportunities for young players here. There is a lot less talent in the UK than down under so kids are relyed upon much more than in the nrl. 

We have kids that debut here at 16 or 17 in some cases. In Dunbars originally post he notes that 10 players from the 2018 England academy team have played over 10 games of SL. How many of the Aussie lads from that team have played over 10 games? Could be wrong but I assume it's only 2 (Chrighton and Best).

Four have played over 10 NRL games Stephen Crichton, Tom Dearden, Bradman Best and Tommy Talau

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21 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I am not sure about your first point.  From the 2016 series, 13 Aussies have played NRL with 413 games between them while 14 English players have played Super League with 349 appearances.

Maybe for the 2018 crop, England just have better players?

The crop of England Academy players may of been better than the specific Aussie School Boys team in 2018 but that doesn't technically mean the 2018 age group (I.e kids born in the year 2000) are overall better than their Aussie counterparts.

I don't mean to degrade the England Academies result (as it was great regardless of the circumstances) but as the tour was November/December any Aussie player that was part of an NRL top 30 squad did not go on the tour as their preseason begins at that time.

If you look at the NSW vs QLD under 18's game in June 2018 you will see players like - David Fafita, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Xavier Coates (all played state of origin now), Spencer Lenui, Bronson Xerri, Shawn Blore, Corey Paix, Tannah Boyd, Tom Gilbert, Ethan Bullemor, Stefano Ukoikamanu who have all gone on to play NRL. All these players were born in the year 2000 and would of been eligible for that Australia Schoolboys side if they were made available.

Again, not taking anything away from the England lads results but if we are comparing the development of our top level juniors in comparison to theirs we should not just specifically focus Engand Academy vs Aussie School Boys.

 

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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Four have played over 10 NRL games Stephen Crichton, Tom Dearden, Bradman Best and Tommy Talau

Plus we have the challenge cup which gives young kids great opportunities to play.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, AB90 said:

The crop of England Academy players may of been better than the specific Aussie School Boys team in 2018 but that doesn't technically mean the 2018 age group (I.e kids born in the year 2000) are overall better than their Aussie counterparts.

I don't mean to degrade the England Academies result (as it was great regardless of the circumstances) but as the tour was November/December any Aussie player that was part of an NRL top 30 squad did not go on the tour as their preseason begins at that time.

If you look at the NSW vs QLD under 18's game in June 2018 you will see players like - David Fafita, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Xavier Coates (all played state of origin now), Spencer Lenui, Bronson Xerri, Shawn Blore, Corey Paix, Tannah Boyd, Tom Gilbert, Ethan Bullemor, Stefano Ukoikamanu who have all gone on to play NRL. All these players were born in the year 2000 and would of been eligible for that Australia Schoolboys side if they were made available.

Again, not taking anything away from the England lads results but if we are comparing the development of our top level juniors in comparison to theirs we should not just specifically focus Engand Academy vs Aussie School Boys.

 

Of course, this has been the same for as long as these games have been played.  In 2004, the first time the England Academy beat Australia in Australia, St Helens' hooker James Roby and fullback Ian Hardman, Castleford's half Andy Kain, Wigan prop Bryn Hargraves, Widnes prop Adam Bibey and Bradford's Karl Pryce all missed the tour because they were required for Super League duty.

Edit:  and I didn't necessarily mean that England had better players than Australia (which I guess they did in the series as they won 2-0), I meant that the English crop in 2018 were better than 2016.

Edited by Dunbar
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1 hour ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Ethan Havard has only played 10 Super League games, Wigan fans on another thread were claiming he was a first choice player throughout 2020 and Leeds should take a note out of their book and play Holroyd. Turns out Holroyd has more Super League appearances than Havard.

You obviously didn’t realise an ankle injury ended his season with 6 games to go.

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  • 2 weeks later...

By pure coincidence...and having not seen this thread ...I watched the two game series last night( did fast forward a bit at times to accommodate time).

Surprised that the player Mustapha (?) has not played more Super League. 

 

On a separate point has a New Zealand Schoolboys / 18's toured the UK in the last decade ?  If so, what were the results ? 

 

The Rugby League Fan's Mantra for helping the game grow internationally is ten two-letter words - IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME.

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On 07/01/2021 at 12:59, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Ethan Havard has only played 10 Super League games, Wigan fans on another thread were claiming he was a first choice player throughout 2020 and Leeds should take a note out of their book and play Holroyd. Turns out Holroyd has more Super League appearances than Havard.

Havard was a first choice at 13 but had a suspension and injuries that restricted his total appearances.

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Newman is class, and a joy to watch.

Of Wigan’s quartet, I think that all 4 of them will have good SL careers ahead of them. I think Havard is the best forward we have produced for a very long time. What a talent. I am not sure which of Smithies or Shorrocks will be the better player. Shorrocks seems to have more ball playing skills but Smithies has Bateman level mongrel. Smith is a wonderful reader of the game and that will take him a long way. 
They are a wonderful combination of young players... 

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On 07/01/2021 at 13:39, Dunbar said:

I agree with this. I haven't seen a massive amount of Walters but from what I have seen it looks like he could be a really good edge forward.  As with Havard and Holroyd as middles, they are all tall and so will be physically imposing as they mature.

Walters was on Loan at batley Matt Diskin didn't use him well which was a shame against Leigh he played very well 

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Slight correction to original post, of the 2018 Aussie team. 8 have played NRL.

Tesi Niu  - Brisbane Broncos & Tonga

Stephen Crichton - Penrith Panthers

Bradman Best - Newcastle Knights

Star Toa - Newcastle Knights

Jason Saab - Dragons now Manly

Tommy Talau - Wests Tigers

Tom Dearden - Brisbane Broncos

Matt Doorey -  Canterbury Bulldogs

A few others from that squad are expected to play some NRL this coming season

 

 

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Everything under the sun is in tune

But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

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If anyone thinks England have an advantage that is wrong. 

NRL clubs sign the best from New Zealand and put them through school which makes them eligible to play schoolboys for Australia. Star Toa was in the Aussie team having only lived in Oz for barely 12 months. Benji Marshall Kevin Proctor Thomas Mickaeli the list goes on.

Xavier Coates played at the championships but missed out on selection in the final squad.

Everything under the sun is in tune

But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

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9 hours ago, BroncoFan said:

Slight correction to original post, of the 2018 Aussie team. 8 have played NRL.

Tesi Niu  - Brisbane Broncos & Tonga

Stephen Crichton - Penrith Panthers

Bradman Best - Newcastle Knights

Star Toa - Newcastle Knights

Jason Saab - Dragons now Manly

Tommy Talau - Wests Tigers

Tom Dearden - Brisbane Broncos

Matt Doorey -  Canterbury Bulldogs

A few others from that squad are expected to play some NRL this coming season

 

 

Thanks for that. To be specific, in the first post I was talking about the teams that played the first test and Doorey and Saab only played on game 2.

If we are looking at game 2 as well then Tom Nisbet from Saints needs to be added to the English list.

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