Wigan winger Lewis Tierney has been named in the Scotland squad for the first time ahead of the Ladbrokes Four Nations tournament, one of ten uncapped players in the 24-man squad. Tierney helped Wigan beat Warrington in last Saturday night’s Super League’s Grand Final, where he was up against future Scotland team-mate Matty Russell on the wing for Warrington. Tierney and Russell will also vie with Australian-born star Lachlan Coote, who won the World Club Championship with North Queensland Cowboys earlier this year, for the full-back role. Coote can play anywhere along the backline and also at stand-off, a position he may feature in given the absence of Peter Wallace through an elbow injury.
Coote and Tierney, son of dual-code rugby superstar Jason Robinson, are among a group of uncapped new recruits to Scotland’s cause by head coach Steve McCormack. Newcomer Ryan Brierley could reunite with Huddersfield Giants’ club-mate Danny Brough in the halves, while Super League veteran Frankie Mariano, born in Hull with roots in Cape Verde and Scotland, makes the squad having missed two previous tournaments through injury.
With only 17 capped players playing full-time professional rugby league this year, McCormack had to spread his net. In come a group of youngsters just establishing themselves in the game. From Australia come emerging St George-Illawarra star Euan Aitkien (21), alongside Tyler Cassel (21) and Sheldon Powe-Hobbs (24) who are both yet to make their NRL debuts. In England, Tierney (22 next week) has won the Super League title in his first full season, while Widnes forward Sam Brooks (23), who was capped last season, and Hull KR prop Kieran Moran made his their Super League debuts this season.
Scotland are missing three senior figures through injury. Penrith Panthers star Wallace misses out having seriously damaged his elbow during the NRL finals requiring a six-week recovery period. Joe Wardle injured his knee playing for Huddersfield in the Qualifiers and Leeds pro, Keith Galloway ruptured his Achilles in their final game of the season.
The injury to Wardle means only eight of the squad who won the 2014 European Cup to gain qualification at the Four Nations have made the cut, although 12 of the squad who reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2013 remain, including the Phillips brothers from Workington Town. They are among nine players who spent 2016 in the Championship while six were with Super League clubs. Nine of the squad played in last year’s European Cup.
After a week at Heriot-Watt’s brand new state of the art Oriam Performance Centre, Scotland travel down to Cumbria on Friday 21 October to play a warm-up game against a Cumbrian Select XIII in Liam Harrison’s Testimonial at Barrow. They then move into their Preston training camp where they will be based throughout the tournament.
Dave Scott (Batley Bulldogs); Danny Addy, Dale Ferguson, Ben Kavanagh (Bradford Bulls); Frankie Mariano (Castleford Tigers); Luke Douglas (Gold Coast Titans), Ryan Maneely (Halifax), Ryan Brierley, Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants); Kieran Moran, Adam Walker (Hull KR); Billy McConnachie (Ipswich Jets); Liam Hood (Leigh Centurions); Ben Hellewell (London Broncos); Sheldon Powe-Hobbs (Northern Pride); Lachlan Coote, Kane Linnett (North Queensland Cowboys); Euan Aitkin (St George Illawarra Dragons); Matthew Russell (Warrington Wolves); Tyler Cassel (Wests Tigers); Sam Brooks (Widnes Vikings); Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors); Callum Phillips, Brett Phillips (Workington Town).