‘He has been a real standout forward’: Leigh Leopards powerhouse scoops quartet of accolades as England return confirmed

Ben Olawumi
Robbie Mulhern and Shaun Wane

Robbie Mulhern has been recalled into the England camp by Shaun Wane - Alamy

Leigh Leopards ace Robbie Mulhern has been hailed as one of the ‘standout forwards’ in Super League by England boss Shaun Wane, making his long-awaited return to the Three Lions camp ahead of the autumn test series against Tonga.

The big front-rower has been mightily impressive during his debut year with the Leopards on their return to Super League, featuring 31 times.

Love Rugby League picked him out as Leigh’s unsung hero at Wembley in August as Adrian Lam’s men lifted the Challenge Cup, while pundits have raved about Mulhern throughout 2023, including Channel 4‘s Kyle Amor and Sky Sports‘ Barrie McDermott.

Internationally, the Leeds-born 28-year-old has mainly represented his heritage in playing for Ireland, including an appearance against Lebanon for the Wolfhounds at last year’s delayed World Cup.

He has though previously represented England Knights, and pulled on a Three Lions shirt at senior level once, that coming in October 2018 against France. Five years on, he’s now firmly back in contention having been recalled by Wane.

Leigh Leopards powerhouse recalled into England camp

As confirmed in a press release on the RFL’s website, Leopards star Mulhern has been added to Wane’s ‘Performance Squad’, from which he will choose his final 24-man squad.

Having fallen at the first hurdle in the Super League play-offs with their clubs, Mulhern and Three Lions captain George Williams headline the current squad alongside players from the teams who didn’t manage to finish in the top six.

Williams won’t be involved in the first of the three meetings with the Tongans, serving a one-match suspension handed to him by the Match Review Panel following Warrington Wolves’ defeat at St Helens.

Head coach Wane will name his finalised pack for the three-match battle with Tonga on October 16, the Monday following the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford. The first game then comes on October 22 at the Totally Wicked Stadium, followed by clashes at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium and Wigan’s DW Stadium.

Mulhern scooped four accolades at the Leopards’ end-of-season awards evening earlier this week. He was named Player of the Year in all four of the following categories – ‘White Card Membership, ‘Gold Card Membership’, ‘Platinum Card Membership’ and ‘Leigh Independent Supporters’ Association’ – and could well add further England caps to his cabinet come the end of the month.

Three Lions chief Shaun Wane heaps praise on ‘standout’ Robbie Mulhern

Having added Mulhern, Wane praised the big prop. He said: “I have been really impressed with Robbie Mulhern this season. He has been a real standout forward, not only for Leigh but across the Super League competition.

“We have several strong forwards in the squad who are all vying for a position to line up against Tonga in that first game at St Helens and Robbie only adds to that competition for places.

“With two weeks of the Super League season remaining, there are still opportunities for players to force their way into my final squad ahead of that first game at St Helens.”

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