As another Super League season draws near, excitement grows and expectations are set, as fans across the country fasten their seatbelts; ready for what their club has in store for them this year.
2022 promises to be a bumper year for those fans, who also have a World Cup to look forward to at the end of the year.
The delayed tournament kicks off in October, giving players the next 10 months to stake their claim to a shirt at the tournament.
With the added incentive for an international call-up, we’re looking at a player from each club who’ll be looking to catch the eye of the onlooking international coaches.
Castleford Tigers – Paul McShane
Starting with Lee Radford’s new side, Paul McShane will look to earn a call-up to the England squad for only the second time in his career.
At 32-years-old, this will be McShane’s last chance to introduce himself to the global stage.
The 2020 Super League Steve Prescott Man of Steel winner earned a call up to Shaun Wane’s first England training squad, before playing against France in last autumn’s friendly.
McShane has tough competition to wear the number nine shirt for England, but if he finds the form which he was in back in 2020, it’s hard to see how he wouldn’t play in his first World Cup.
Catalans Dragons – Arthur Mourgue
Another player who made his international debut in that game is 22-year-old Arthur Morgue.
The French full-back, who can also play in the halves, enjoyed an impressive season last time out, and will be looking to catch the eye of Laurent Frayssinous again this year.
In October’s international against England, Mourgue played in the centres, but will surely be looking to impress in his favoured full-back position.
As Catalans’ number one this season, he’ll provide tough competition to Morgan Escare, who’ll be battling to keep his place in the national side.
Huddersfield Giants – Jermaine McGillvary
A more familiar name on the international scene this time, as Jermaine McGillvary will be looking to fight his way back into the England side.
McGillvary has seemingly been out of favour since Shaun Wane took over as England manager, however an appearance and a try for the Combined Nations All Stars against England, may give Wane food for thought.
Now aged 33 years old, McGillvary’s best years may be behind him, but one last stellar season could see him force his way back into the national side.
Hull FC – Jake Connor
Jake Connor is a player who will almost definitely be going to the World Cup with England, what role he will play during it is another question.
Connor’s favoured position is full-back and will be looking to impress as Hull FC’s number one this season.
However, the competition in that position is fierce, so Connor will have to be relentless if he is to make the number one jersey his own for England.
Hull KR – Jordan Abdull
Jordan Abdull is another player who made his England debut last autumn against France.
The half-back enjoyed a fantastic season for the Robins as they reached the semi-finals of the play-offs, before losing to Catalans.
Abdull also finished as runner-up in the Man of Steel awards last, so if he finds the same vein of form as he did last year, Wane will surely be looking to include him in his squad.
Leeds Rhinos – Harry Newman
Youngster Harry Newman hasn’t had the best of luck with injuries, recently suffering a broken leg which denied him of the chance of a call-up to the England side.
This season he will look to put those injury troubles behind him and force his way into Wane’s plans.
Newman has already been called up to the training squad, so he is a player who is highly thought of in the England set-up.
If he can find his best form again this season, you can expect to see him feature in the World Cup in the autumn.
Salford Red Devils – Morgan Escare
Again, we focus on the battle for France’s number one shirt, as Morgan Escare is out to prove himself as the country’s best full-back.
Now in his second season at the Red Devils, he will look to ensure that he holds on to the position in which he started in for last autumn’s friendly against England.
However, it looks pretty certain that Escare will play a part in France’s side in some capacity, so he won’t be fighting for a spot in the side, just the spot in his favoured position.
St Helens – Jack Welsby
At just 20 years of age, Jack Welsby has had a pretty successful career so far. It might just be time for him to make his mark on the global stage.
After playing in two Grand Final winning sides, scoring the winner in the first one, Welsby has nailed down the number one shirt for the start of the 2022 season.
Another successful year for the Wigan-born full-back could see him break into the national side for the first time, just in time for the World Cup.
The competition will be tough; however, we have seen before that Welsby has the quality to produce on the biggest of stages.
Toulouse Olympique – Paul Marcon
The newly-promoted French side will be looking to prove themselves as a side ready for the top level, and that will be no different for their winger, Paul Marcon.
Marcon has already played four games for the French side, however he dropped out of favour for their clash with England last year.
A strong showing from him in Super League could well see him fight his way back into the international side.
He will have a point to prove, as he competes for a spot on the wing with the likes of his team-mate Mark Kheirallah and Catalans’ Fouad Yaha.
Wakefield Trinity – Tom Johnstone
If it wasn’t for injuries, Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone would more than likely be one of the first names on the teamsheet for Shaun Wane’s men.
The prolific winger has the talent, but a number of injury setbacks have halted his progress into the international set-up.
If he performs to his best this season, and avoids any injury troubles, we can expect to see him in the white shirt this autumn.
Warrington Wolves – Gareth Widdop
Warrington’s seasoned half-back Gareth Widdop was unlucky not the make the England side last autumn.
His impressive performances for Warrington caused pundits to call for a call-up to the national side; those calls weren’t answered.
If Widdop can find that rich vein of form again, it would be hard for Wane not to include him in his England side.
At 32-years-old, this may be Widdop’s last chance of winning a major tournament at international level.
Wigan Warriors – Zak Hardaker
Wigan Warriors full-back turned centre Zak Hardaker made his first England appearance since 2015 last autumn.
He had, however, played twice for Great Britain in that period in between, and he will now be hoping to nail his place down for the World Cup.
Hardaker is another player who will probably feature in one way or another for England, however, a starting place won’t be guaranteed.
With fierce competition at both full-back and in the centres, Hardaker will have to be at his absolute best to secure his shirt for the tournament.