Jamaica have named a strong squad for the 2018 Americas Championship, which will also act as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
The University of North Florida, Jacksonville, will host two double-header rounds on 13th and 17th November 2018, and in the opening game the Reggae Warriors meet Canada, the winners facing either USA or Chile.
Headliners in the 29-man selection are Super League’s Ben Jones-Bishop – who is chosen alongside his brother Aaron – and Ashton Golding, who are both in line for their debuts, and paying to be part of a push for first Caribbean representation in the World Cup. Halifax three quarter James Woodburn-Hall is also in line for his bow.
JRLA director of rugby, Romeo Monteith, believes the players will compete well. “It’s our third World Cup Qualifiers campaign and we are assembling a competitive squad,” he said from Kingstown. “We have a strong coaching staff behind them and I believe we can match our opponents in all aspects of the game.
“Our aim is to bring increased attention to our abilities as a rising rugby league nation and, should we qualify, it will be a massive boost for the sport on the island.
Monteith added: “Every player has gone into his pocket to contribute to costs, it’s the only way it has been possible.”
His other expectation is that the players selected from five domestic sides, including student Owen Linton, will reap the benefit of playing and training alongside professionals. Double winners Duhaney Park provide five players, Red Shark Marvin Thompson commenting: “It is a privilege to be selected for the train-on squad.
“To be given another chance to represent my country is a feeling next to none. Hopefully, we will be giving a better account of ourselves, which speaks volumes about our growth.”
Veteran London Skolars duo Jy-Mel Coleman, who made his debut in 2011, and utility forward Lamont Bryan are equally excited at the prospect. “It’s a massive honour to be selected especially alongside my brothers,” said Coleman. “I can’t wait to represent and do us proud. It’s been a while building what we have and I feel now is our time.”
Bryan added: “This will be my third campaign and it’s an honour and privilege. My family and friends are proud to see me pull on these famous colours once more. It would mean a great deal to be part of a history making qualifying team.”
Former Dewsbury head coach Glenn Morrison, who oversaw Jamaica’s 16-all draw with Wales in 2016, will also still be involved in the preparations.
JAMAICA 29-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD : Joel Farrell, Wayne Reittie, Keenen Tomlinson (Batley Bulldogs), Jonathan Magrin, Ross Peltier (Bradford Bulls), Daniel Thomas (Dewsbury Celtic) Jode Sheriffe (Dewsbury Rams), Aaron Jones-Bishop (Doncaster), Nathan Campbell, Andrae McFarlane, Khamisi McMain, Marvin Thompson, Renaldo Wade (Duhaney Park), Owen Linton (Excelsior Community College) Antonio Baker, Chevaughn Bailey, Kareem Harris (GC Foster), James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax), Ethon Dwyer (Jamaica Defence Force), Ashton Golding (Leeds Rhinos), Jacob Ogden (London Broncos), Lamont Bryan, Omari Caro, Jy-Mel Coleman (London Skolars), Adrian Hall (Liguanea Dragons), Joseph Brown, Mo Agoro (Newcastle), Ben Jones-Bishop (Wakefield), Alex Brown (Unattached).