How Yorkshire could line-up if War of Roses returned

Drew Darbyshire
Yorkshire Dream Team graphic

Since it is Yorkshire Day, we’ve decided to put together a Dream Team of what they could look like if the War of the Roses concept ever made a comeback.

The War of the Roses was the inter-county matches between Yorkshire and Lancashire. The series initially started in 1895 and was last played in 2003.

The most recent concept of the Yorkshire-Lancashire clash was revived in 2001 under the name of the County of Origin series, which was inspired by the success of Australia’s State of Origin between New South Wales and Queensland. However, the War of the Roses matches were discontinued after three years due to failing attendances.

August 1 annually marks Yorkshire Day, so we’ve decided to have a look at a potential Dream Team of how they could line-up if they were to take on their Lancashire rivals once more.

How Yorkshire could line-up if the War of Roses returned:

1. Jake Connor (Hull)

Jake Connor Hull FC Super League

The Halifax-born full-back came through the ranks at Huddersfield before moving to Hull in 2017. Connor, who is also of Trinidadian heritage, has won five caps for England and three for Great Britain.

2. Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield)

Jermaine McGillvary

McGillvary was born and raised in Huddersfield and has made almost 300 appearances for his hometown club. The 34-year-old has won 21 caps in total for Great Britain and England. McGillvary represented his Grenadian heritage for the Combined Nations All Stars in 2021.

3. Zak Hardaker (Leeds)

Zak Hardaker Leeds Rhinos
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

The 30-year-old hails from Pontefract. He began his professional career at Featherstone before going on to play for Leeds, Penrith Panthers, Castleford and Wigan. Hardaker returned to the Rhinos earlier this year. He has won eight caps for Great Britain and England.

4. Harry Newman (Leeds)

Harry Newman Leeds Rhinos

Newman was born in Huddersfield but came through the ranks at neighbours Leeds. He has already made more than 50 appearances for the Rhinos despite only being 22. He will be hoping to play in his first World Cup this autumn.

5. Ryan Hall (Hull KR)

Ryan Hall Hull KR

Hall was born in Rothwell in the south east city of Leeds. He won six Super League titles, two World Club Challenges, two Challenge Cups and two League Leaders’ Shields with the Rhinos between 2007-18.

Hall then spent two years in the NRL with Sydney Roosters before returning to Yorkshire with Hull KR.

6. Will Pryce (Huddersfield)

Will Pryce

Bradford-born Pryce is regarded as one of the hottest talents in the British game. The England Knights international is the son of former Great Britain international Leon Pryce.

7. Mikey Lewis (Hull KR)

Mikey Lewis Hull KR

Like Pryce, Lewis is another player with a huge future ahead of him. The 21-year-old is currently living his childhood dream with his boyhood club Hull KR.

8. Alex Walmsley (St Helens)

Alex Walmsley St Helens SWpix
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Walmsley was born and raised in Dewsbury – but has spent most of his professional playing career on the other side of the Pennines! He has won four Super League titles with St Helens as well as a Challenge Cup.

9. Micky McIlorum (Catalans Dragons)

Michael McIlorum

The England and Ireland international was born and raised in Leeds, although he has never played for a Yorkshire club.

McIlorum came through the system at Wigan, making more than 200 appearances for the Warriors before jetting off to the south of France to play for Catalans Dragons.

10. Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Tom Burgess South Sydney Rabbitohs PA

Dewsbury-born Burgess made 45 appearances for Bradford before making the move over to the NRL in 2013. He has played more than 200 games for the Rabbitohs since and has won 29 caps in total for Great Britain and England.

11. Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)

Elliott Whitehead Canberra Raiders PA

Whitehead is a proud Bradfordian. The 32-year-old played more than 100 games for his hometown club before spending three seasons in France with Catalans. Whitehead has since made more than 150 NRL appearances for Canberra.

12. Joe Batchelor (St Helens)

Joe Batchelor St Helens

Batchelor hails from Wakefield – but he didn’t start his professional career at Trinity like his brother James.

The 27-year-old began his professional route at League 1 side Coventry Bears before spending two seasons with Championship club York. He was then spotted by St Helens, where he has since gone on to win international honours with England.

13. John Bateman (Wigan)

John Bateman Wigan

Bateman is another proud Bradfordian, with the strongest Yorkshire accent you’ll ever come across! He played 35 games for boyhood club Bradford before the club’s financial worries saw him join Wigan in 2014.

The Great Britain and England international is a firm fan’s favourite at the Warriors now. He even had a successful two-year spell Down Under with Canberra.


14. Paul McShane (Castleford)

Paul McShane Super League

McShane has played for five Yorkshire-based clubs during his career – Leeds, Hull (loan), Hunslet (loan), Wakefield and now Castleford.

The 32-year-old was named Man of Steel in 2020 and is a current England international.

15. Morgan Smithies (Wigan)

Morgan Smithies Wigan Warriors

Smithies has played 79 first team games for Wigan despite only being 21 years of age. He is one of the best young forwards in Super League. Smithies has represented England Knights on the international stage.

16. George King (Hull KR)

George King Hull KR

The Huddersfield-born forward has developed into one of the most consistent front-rowers in Super League since arriving at Hull KR in 2020.

King qualifies to play for Ireland through family heritage and has won 10 caps for his ancestral homeland thus far. He has been named Ireland captain ahead of this year’s World Cup.

17. Liam Watts (Castleford)

Liam Watts Castleford Tigers SWpix
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Watts was born in Featherstone and came through the ranks at Castleford before going on to have spells in East Hull with KR and FC.

The 32-year-old returned to the Pontefract area in 2018 when he re-joined boyhood club Castleford.

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