Castleford Tigers forward Andy Lynch has backed teammate Luke Gale for a shot with England in 2015 after the half-back secured the 2015 Albert Goldthorpe Medal over the weekend.
Gale picked up the prestigious award for the first time in his career after nearest rival Danny Brough failed to score enough points to ensure he could catch Gale – meaning the Tigers star becomes the first player from Castleford to win the award since Rangi Chase in 2011.
And after playing a key role for Cas all season, forward Lynch believes that Gale is more than worthy of a chance in Steve McNamara’s squad ahead of this autumn’s international programme.
“He’s been very good for us this season,” Lynch said.
“He started slowly but he was coming into a new environment so that’s expected, and you could see from his performance on Thursday that he’s a big player for us who’s been doing really well. He got us back into the game.
“He definitely deserves a chance; the way he’s been going for Cas in 2015 you’d have to say he’s worthy of at least an opportunity.
“I’d give him a go, you don’t know how good he could be at that level until he gets thrown in, so my attitude would be to give him a chance – what’s the worst that could happen?”
Castleford’s top four hopes went up in smoke with the defeat to St Helens on Thursday night, but Lynch insisted the Tigers still have plenty to play for – not least ensuring they finish with a bang to begin preparations for next season.
He said: “To score 38 points and still lose a game is pretty disappointing. We scored 26 the week before too and we should be winning those games. Defence is an area we’ve got to improve massively on but we’ve got two games to sort that out.
“People will say we’ve got nothing to play for now but we can still have a big say in the top two and we want to ensure we finish strongly.
“We also want to build towards 2015, ensure we get ourselves in good shape for pre-season and finish on a high. It can be a long off-season and you’re left frustrated if you finish poorly – there’s no better way to finish for us and the Cas fans by getting a win at Leeds to start with.
“We know how much it means to them and it’s a game we don’t need motivating for.”