While it is Yorkshire Day, we have decided to pick out a potential XIII for the White Rose county.
In recent months we have seen rumours fly around on social media of a potential return of the War of Roses clash between two of England’s greatest regional rivals, Yorkshire and Lancashire. The domestic clash, although it was played almost every year between 1895 and 1991, eventually ran into problems with a lack of support and interest.
However, from a financial standpoint and the spectacle that could be made of a new series, it does not take a far amount of excessive imagination to think if handled correctly then it could be a fresh and entertaining addition to the RL calendar.
Now, to kick off a new part to the Dream XIII series, we are going to have a look into potential sqauds for both sides. It is fair to say though that with the prospective return of the series there will have to be other factors to consider especially with player eligibility. Now, for the purposes of this little experiment we will use similar rules that are implemented by the NRL and the State of Origin. So, place of birth, eligibility to play for England and youth career will all be looked at.
Without any more beating around the bush let’s get started with a Yorkshire team…
Full-back: Ben Jones-Bishop
Born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Jones-Bishop has spent most of his professional career in Yorkshire. The 29-year-old rose through Leeds Rhinos academy before making his professional debut in 2008 for the Rhinos first team. Now, currently playing for Wakefield, Bishop has endured somewhat of a career renaissance with Trinity becoming an integral part of the squad finishing as the club’s top try scorer last season.
Wing: Ryan Hall
Is there any other winger that could fill the void for a Yorkshire XIII? It could be fair to say that Hall has been one of Super League’s most dominant wingers since its inception in 1996. The former Oulton Raiders and Leeds Academy graduate made his professional debut for the Rhinos in 2007 and has gone from strength to strength ever since, winning six Super League titles in the process.
Centre: Michael Shenton (C)
Pontefract-born Shenton possesses all the qualities to be a true leader for a potential Yorkshire team and ever since his return to the Castleford Tigers has become a key and inspirational figure for the West Yorkshire side. In 2017, he would lead the Tigers to their best season to date, making their first Grand Final appearance.
Centre: Jake Connor
A creative and versatile player has seen his stock rise continuously rise throughout his time at both Huddersfield and Hull FC this season. Now, after receiving his first England call up, the sky is seemingly the limit for the Halifax-born centre.
Wing: Jermaine McGillvary
The 30-year-old has been a shining light for a back and forth Huddersfield side since 2010. An incredible ability to scores tries in the corner is justified with 144 tries in 204 appearances for the Giants which has also seen him climb the ranks, arguably as England’s number one winger.
Stand-off: Danny Brough
Yes, this is certainly a questionable one and there will be those who stand defiant and strongly disagree with this one but here me out. Despite turning out for another nation other than England, Brough could still be an eligible candidate for a potential War of the Roses revival if the State of Origin rules were followed. Despite the controversial star turning out for Scotland, he would still be eligible due to it only being a tier-two nation. Now, Brough’s character certainly fits the bill for this fixture and yes, despite on and off field issues, it is hard to question however the fact that the Huddersfield man could certainly be one to light a fire in the Yorkshire team’s bellies. He will never be one afraid to get stuck in and his kicking and playmaking should never be underestimated either. All in all, with Brough on the field it may be one lively affair.
Scrum-half: Luke Gale
Another graduate of the Leeds academy has without a doubt made a name for himself since joining Castleford Tigers in 2015. A Man of Steel award and a Super League Grand Final appearance later and the 30-year-old has developed into one of Yorkshire and England’s top half-backs due to his exceptional ability to create something offensively along with his performances with the boot.
Front-row: Scott Taylor
A tough and gritty prop forward has endured a fine amount success in recent seasons for Hull FC and has earned himself a first England cap in the process. A nightmare for opponents on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball, he has a selection of trophies to his name already with a Super League title alongside three Challenge Cups.
Hooker: Daryl Clark
A very tough choice to be honest, but Clark just edges out Danny Houghton. Residing from, Castleford, West Yorkshire, Clark spent some time of his amateur career turning out for Castleford-based Fryston Warriors before making his professional debut for the Tigers in 2011. After a selection of inspiring performances in 2014, he would claim the Man of Steel award in his fourth and last season with the club before joining Warrington Wolves.
Front-row: Alex Walmsley
Maybe a surprise entry to some, but Walmsley resides from Leeds and spent his entire youth career in the West Yorkshire town. Despite injuries, Walmsley has stood out as one of St. Helens and the Super League’s top prop forwards alongside Taylor. His bulldozer-like running ability has seen him continuously rack up the metres in contact and cemented himself as the Saints’ top metre-maker last season.
Back-row: John Bateman
The former Bradford Dudley Hill and Bradford Bulls second rower was expected for great things in the sport after collecting the Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year medal in 2012 and after signing for Lancashire giants Wigan in 2014 has reciprocated that. The 29-year-old has experienced his biggest successes with the club winning the Super League title in 2015 with the Cherry and Whites.
Back-row: Stevie Ward
The potential to be a future leader for the Rhinos in years to come is certainly there to see. Even despite injury setbacks when Ward is fit and healthy he is undeniably one to watch out for. Similar to Taylor, Ward’s toughness is unquestionable and seemingly perfect for this inter-county clash.
Loose forward: Adam Milner
After shifting positions to loose forward in 2016, Milner has played a starring role for Castleford in recent seasons thanks to inspiring and key performances. At only 26 years of age, Milner has plenty of experience under his belt after already making 200 appearances for the Tigers. If you look at his great motor at the number 13 position along with his defensive prowess, he possesses all the traits to be a force for a Yorkshire side.
Jamie Jones Buchanan