It’s been the subject of mass debate on social media, and Wayne Bennett’s England ‘group’ has certainly left many supporters surprised and frustrated.
The RFL released a list of players that had been invited to meet the new England head coach during his short spell in the country, a list that included some interesting inclusions and notable exclusions.
Joe Greenwood, Kyle Amor and Stevie Ward were among those that met Bennett that garnered the most interest among fans.
The full list of players invited to meet with Wayne Bennett and Staff can be found below
Alex Walmsley (St Helens)
Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves)
Brett Ferres (Leeds Rhinos)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)
Dan Sarginson (Wigan Warriors)
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves)
Dom Manfredi (Wigan Warriors)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors)
James Roby (St Helens)
Jermaine McGilvary (Huddersfield Giants)
Joe Greenwood (St Helens)
Joel Tomkins (Wigan Warriors)
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)
Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings)
Kyle Amor (St Helens)
Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)
Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)
Marc Sneyd (Hull FC)
Marck Percival (St Helens)
Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)
Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors)
Scott Taylor (Hull FC)
Sean O`Loughlin (Wigan Warriors)
Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves)
Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos)
Tom Briscoe (Leeds Rhinos)
Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos)
However, the bigger debate surrounded those left out of the squad. Most notably, the omission of Hull FC’s in-form fullback Jamie Shaul has outraged certain supporters, particularly from the west of Hull after his stunning performances throughout the year.
Of course, England are blessed in the position, with Sam Tomkins and current Man of Steel Zak Hardaker playing there in recent years. But Shaul has been the standout of the three domestically this term.
But how about elsewhere? Shaul’s teammate Liam Watts has been outstanding for the Airlie Birds this year, playing in an outstanding front-row alongside Scott Taylor and Danny Houghton.
England also has a catalogue of top-class second-rows, with John Bateman, Liam Farrell and Brett Ferres all of the highest quality.
However, the absence of Castleford’s Mike McMeeken was perhaps somewhat harsh given his performances this year.
Given indifferent performances throughout regular England backs, Josh Griffin and Adam Swift might feel they had a chance, while Joe Mellor’s early season form and partnership with Kevin Brown had some thinking he might warrant a spot.