I was pretty pleased with the squad Steve McNamara picked for the Four Nations.
Even though I’ve talked up players like Makinson and Walmsley for inclusion, we are very well off in those positions.
If fact we look good in many areas, even at hooker, where we have lost McIlorum and Roby. I’m confident that Daryl Clark, who fully deserved his Man of Steel award, and Josh Hodgson, will step in and do themselves proud.
I have one concern about the squad though, and it’s the same one most of us have!
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I worry about the halfback positions, and that’s no slight on Gareth Widdop and Matty Smith, both of whom I have praised regularly, but because it is an area where we always struggle.
Widdop and Smith have got to find a way to gel together very quickly, and they’ve both got to go out there and do what players like Sean Long, Iestyn Harris, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Leon Pryce and others have failed to do in the modern era, and that is take their club form onto the international stage.
Many supposed star players have disappointed us on the Test stage and most seem to be ballplayers.
I think Widdop is our best stand-off and Smith our best scrum-half, so let’s stick with them throughout the tournament whatever happens. But perhaps it would be wise not to expect miracles.
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I’m certainly not going to do that and I don’t believe we will even make the final – although I hope my recent bad tipping form continues.
And for the record, here is the team I would select from the 24 names in Steve McNamara’s squad: Sam Tomkins; Joe Burgess, Dan Sarginson, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall; Gareth Widdop, Matty Smith; James Graham, Josh Hodgson, George Burgess, Elliot Whitehead, Joel Tomkins, Sean O’Loughlin. Subs: Tom Burgess, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford, Daryl Clark.