Ash Handley lays down marker for England selection and Grand Final glory as Leeds Rhinos star preps for 2023

Remarkably, Ash Handley has hardly had a shot at international rugby league with England.

In 2019, he was called up to the Great Britain side after shining for England in the Rugby League Nines, but didn’t get a game as Wayne Bennett preferred now Leeds Rhinos stand-off then Warrington Wolves star Blake Austin out of position on the wing.

It is remarkable because Handley was a whisker away from being the league’s top try scorer in 2019 as Leeds struggled, he scored more tries than games he played in during the 2020 season and was a frequent scorer in 2022.

He was also the league’s leading metre maker in 2022, an asset any international winger needs.

After he was again snubbed for England selection during the Rugby League World Cup, he has laid down a marker that that is what he wants to achieve in 2023 alongside going one better and achieving Grand Final glory with the Rhinos next year after they lost the decider to St Helens last season.

Speaking about pre-season on the Rhinos’ YouTube channel, he said:

“It’s a big one, my 10th pre-season, it’s a big year. I missed out on the internationals and wanting to go one better than last year and get to the Grand Final and win it, we’ve been building something good and hopefully we can get back there and win it.”

He also joked that he felt old as he trained with the academy lads:

“I was talking to one of the young lads and he is 15 still at school and he said his date of birth was 2007 and I was like ‘woah’. I must be knocking on a bit.”

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