Total RL writers pick their England 17

Wayne Bennett has so much talent to choose from, it’s a mystery to some why he would even look beyond England-born players for the upcoming Four Nations.

But the ‘super coach’ has a big task on his hands as he must put together a squad to lead England to glory in the final tournament before the 2017 World Cup.

To get a feel for just how tough Bennett’s task is, TotalRL’s senior writers have been tasked with putting their England squad together ahead of the warm-up test with France at the end of the season.

Aaron Bower – League Express senior reporter

Shaul; Hall, Hardaker, Watkins, McGillvary; Williams, Gale; Hill, Hodgson, Graham, Whitehead, Bateman, S Burgess (c). Subs: Clark, Taylor, G Burgess, Currie
The toughest decisions came in the centres, where Mark Percival is desperately close to getting in the side, and scrum-half, with Marc Sneyd really pushing Luke Gale hard. England’s plethora of forward options means some big names miss out of my 17, including the likes of Mike Cooper and Brett Ferres, who played in last year’s Test series win against New Zealand. Current captain Sean O’Loughlin also just misses out in preference of the returning Sam Burgess at 13 – but O’Loughlin would be in my squad.

Matthew Shaw – TotalRL Editor

Hardaker; J Burgess, Watkins, Bateman, McGillvary; Williams, Sneyd, Graham, Hodgson, S Burgess, Whitehead, Currie, O’Loughlin (c) Subs: Clark, Hill, G Burgess, Ferres

It is becoming increasingly difficult to pick an England team, given the endless talent we currently have. Luke Gale, Ryan Hall, Gareth Widdop, Mark Percival, Sam Tomkins and Mike Cooper are notable absentees in my team, but the big one is, of course, Danny Houghton, who I would love to get in this team. If England’s pack was weak, he would definitely be in to allow for an extra forward on the bench, but with it so strong I’d go with the option to rotate hookers. Hardaker gets in over Shaul for his experience and nothing else, as Williams and Sneyd have minimal experience at this level and I don’t think it wise to have a 1, 6 & 7 with just a few caps between them. I’ve left Sam Tomkins out as I feel he would benefit from a full pre-season.