Coote and Galloway in frame for Scotland’s 2016 campaign

Scotland coach Steve McCormack has asserted that he will have a strong squad of players available to him when the Bravehearts rise to the challenge of the 2016 Four Nations.

The Scots will face the might of Australia, England and world number one side New Zealand in the tournament, which will be held in the UK in the autumn.

Two NRL veterans in particular are likely to be wearing the Dark Blue, when the tournament finally rolls around, with prop Keith Galloway (now at Leeds) and North Queensland Cowboys full-back Lachlan Coote close to being confirmed.

“I met both of those players in Sydney last year,” McCormack told Love Rugby League.

“Keith was a player we’ve spoken to over the past couple of years but he’s got a couple of injuries late in the season which has stopped him representing Scotland.

“Obviously, he’s moved to Leeds now (from Wests Tigers). He’s a fantastic individual. He’s played a lot of games in the NRL.

“He’s somebody we’re in discussions with, I know he’s got family in Scotland and he’s very proud of that.

“I did speak with Lachlan. He was outstanding last year, and he’s the type of player that we’d like to get on board.

“Nothing is confirmed with either of those yet, but they’re the type of players we want.

“With the Four Nations and the World Cup over the next two years, those are the two premier international competitions that anyone can play in.

“So it would be good to get players of that calibre of those two involved.”

Other NRL players are also expected to return to the colurs in 2016.

“We’ve got Luke Douglas, who had an outstanding season, and Kane Linnett,” McCormack added.

“It would be great to have Peter Wallace back in the squad. He was a stand out in the World Cup and is an outstanding player on and off the field.”

Ian Henderson has moved back to Sydney Roosters, so he’s a player that we’ll be in contact with.

“If you add to the 2013 World Cup squad with a few additions.

“We had a great World Cup in 2013 getting to the quarter-finals, and if we can improve the squad with a few more individuals, then I’m sure we’ll do well.”

Scotland played a largely experimental side in the 2015 European Championship, and ended up finishing bottom of the tournament the year after winning it.

The team that takes the field in the Four Nations will be a very different animal, however.

“There’ll be a massive difference,” McCormack explained.

“Our hand wasn’t forced to a certain degree with last year’s team – we made a conscious decision to play a younger team.

“It’s difficult for senior pros to play season on season, back-to-back seasons, and we were aware that some of our players had done that since prior to the World Cup and during the World Cup.

“So the team this year will be totally different from the team that played in the European Cup this year.

“But, to be fair, some of the younger players that played in the European Championship this year have put their hands up.

“We had some good performances in there, and it’s increased our player pool.

“If you bring in the players that we already know, who play at the top level in Super League and the NRL, then we’re quite confident that we’ll have a good squad.”

There could be other players from Super League making an appearance for Scotland too, such as Castleford forward Frankie Mariano.

“I spoke to Frankie last year,” McCormack confirmed.

“He had a season disrupted with injury, but he was interested last year.

“But his priority was getting fit. He’s certainly a player who’s on our radar.”

One player who won’t be playing is former New Zealand stand-off Benji Marshall, who did meet with McCormack in Sydney last year too.

“I haven’t commented on the Benji Marshall story, and I won’t do,” McCormack said.

“All my initial thoughts and concentration is on the players who want to play for Scotland, are eligible to play for Scotland and will show pride in the shirt.

“There’s a lot of other players who have put their hand up, and over the last couple of years we’ve got a good culture and a good ennvironment, and a good set of players who want to play for Scotland for the right reasons.

“Hopefully that will continue over the next couple of years.”

Unfortunately, McCormack does not yet know where his team will be playing in the Four Nations yet.

Scostoun Stadium, the home of rugby union’s Glasgow Warriors, has been mooted as a possible venue.

McCormack is hopeful that the Bravehearts will get at least one chance to turn out in front of a passionate Scottish home crowd.

“There’s nothing decided yet, we’re in discussions with the RFL and Four Nations,” he explained.

Scotland are actually a guest of the tournament, so the other three countries involved decide where and when the games are played.

“The television wil dictate that too. We don’t have any decision-making powers within the tournament, but we’re quite happy with that.

“At the moment, the Four Nations are in discussions with the people up in Scotland in the relevant places.

“It would be great if we could get a game in Scotland. Playing any of three countries would be massive draw in Scotland.

“I think we’ve earned the right and deserve the right to play up in Scotland too.

“We’ve had experience of playing at Scotstoun too, we played Ireland there a few years back.

“It’s a great stadium. I know that’s one of the venues in discussion.

“But the venues are decided by the other three nations.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.