Right now Morgan Knowles is no doubt devastated.
Super League’s best loose-forward having been named at 13 in the Dream Team for the fourth year in a row will not feature on the grandest stage come Saturday night as his St Helens’ side look to claim a record fourth consecutive title after he played in the previous three.
This because he picked up a two match ban for a tackle on Chris Atkin in the Saints’ semi-final win over Salford which also led to a yellow card and in his absence Saints conceded a Kallum Watkins try as the game spiced up.
Saints appealed the ban last night but were unsuccessful with Knowles subsequently coping a £500 fine but avoided an extra game being added to his ban for it being a frivolous appeal.
Of course his focus will be on St Helens this weekend even though he won’t feature in the game, but what does this mean for his World Cup campaign?
Well in fact it means very little. He will of course miss Saturday’s Grand Final against Leeds in the first game of his ban and his second game will be served when England play Fiji in their World Cup warm up game.
This means he will be available for the opening game against Samoa at St James’ Park in a game England will need all their quality given the star studded squad Samoa have with Sydney star Joseph Suaali pledging himself to the country this morning.
Knowles will battle it out with another Sydney player, Victor Radley, for the number 13 shirt at the World Cup with Shaun Wane having good options in the role.
Both will be needed against Samoa with John Bateman unavailable after a three-match ban was his punishment last night for a late hit on Aidan Sezer which ended Sezer’s season and hopes of playing for Leeds in the Grand Final.
Bateman, like Knowles, will miss the game against Fiji but will also miss the opener against Samoa. However, his punishment will end there after he was named in the England Knights squad meaning he will serve one of his games through Paul Anderson’s side.