England Head Coach Shaun Wane today names a 40-player extended England Men’s squad to prepare for international Rugby League in 2023.
Drawn from eight Betfred Super League clubs, the squad includes a total of 20 players who are previously uncapped for England, although 13 of those have featured for England Knights in the last four years as focus turns to youth with the next Rugby League World Cup – being hosted in France in 2025 – on the horizon.
The current Steve Prescott Man of Steel leader George Williams is one of eight players named from the in-form Super League table-toppers Warrington Wolves, with Josh Thewlis, Matty Nicholson and Danny Walker all being selected after featuring for England Knights last season.
Also promoted from the Knights set-up are Hull KR duo Mikey Lewis and Jez Litten, who join Jordan Abdull as three Rovers representatives in the squad. Abdull – who is hot on the heels on Williams in the Man of Steel race – debuted for England back in 2021 in Perpignan.
However, another of Super League’s in form players was not included and he could have taken the number of clubs represented up to nine.
That is of course Super League’s top try scorer Josh Charnley.
The Leigh winger, a former Wigan Warriors star under Shaun Wane, and formerly of the Warrington Wolves, is in sensational form.
He is also chasing Danny McGuire’s record number of 247 Super League tries with Charnley becoming only the second player to pass the 200 marker last season.
He scored twice on Sunday against Wakefield Trinity but he also came up with two assists. His best came when teeing Lachlan Lam up for a try with a sensational break.
Charnley had set up Gareth O’Brien up for the opener after getting on the outside of Wakefield.
The stats back Charnley up even more. He is of course the league’s top try scorer with 12 but that is an average of 1.33 per game.
He is also third for average metres behind Paul Vaughan and George Williams with 1325 which is an average if nearly 150 metres per game.
He is also in the league’s top 13 for tackle busts with 32. He is also 11th for average gain per carry at 9.25 metres per carry,
It is important to note that only Nene MacDonald, Liam Marshall and Matt Dufty have a higher average when 100 carries or more have been done with the top five occupied by players who have only carried the ball 30 or less times.
Charnley leads the league for clean breaks at 13 as well.