All great sides have a great spine.
Melbourne Storm were led around by a trio of Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk in their hayday.
Leeds Rhinos had Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow whilst St Helens have had James Roby, Jonny Lomax and Lachlan Coote in recent years prior to Jack Welsby stepping in.
But when we look to the successful Wigan side under Shaun Wane, their spine evolved but produced three brilliant players in Sam Tomkins, George Williams and Michael McIlorum.
The three came through the Wigan academy under Shaun Wane, became a part of the Wigan spine under Wane as they won trophies galore before heading on to pastures new.
A part from each other they may not have won the trophies they did at Wigan but all three are special players and have been reunited under Wane at England.
Many questioned their inclusion, especially Williams’ after his Warrington side finished 11th in Super League this year, but after a stellar performance from Williams today, Wane revealed that his inclusion was “never in doubt” as he noted the trust he has in that ex-Wigan trio: “I’ll be honest with you, he [Williams] was never in doubt. It might come across as arrogant or cocky, but I don’t really care.
“I know what he can do, I know what Sam can do, I know what Micky McIlorum can do. I have known them since they were kids. They turn up when the pressure is on, when the heat is on they turn up. I knew they would perform.”
That said, he knows he and the others can get better: “My mentality is I’ll be happy, but I will never be satisfied. I’ll always want him to talk more, I’ll always think Sam can do more. We’re not the sort of people who go round and pat ourselves on the back.
“We know Samoa can play better than what they did today. A lot of that was the way we defended and attacked, but we’re not going round thinking we can’t improve and ‘look out for us.’ We have to improve and we will improve.”
The question remains, can this trio complimented by the likes of Welsby and a sprinkling of NRL talent lead England to the World Cup trophy? Time will tell