Harry Sunderland trophy winner Jonny Lomax and fellow St Helens star Mark Percival have been ruled out of the England squad for the World Cup.
Lomax, 32, has been a virtual ever present for Saints as they won a fourth consecutive Super League crown, but hinted in the aftermath of their latest triumph that he may be in doubt for the tournament.
He said after his man of the match performance in the final: “I don’t know decision wise what’s going on or anything like that.
“I’ll speak to the medical team here (at St Helens). Everyone will have a review that might be involved in it in the next few days and we’ll go from there.”
Fears he would miss out have now been confirmed by England officials, with Salford’s Marc Sneyd and Wigan’s Harry Smith among those speculated to be lined up to replace him. Sneyd is expected to get the nod, alongside Salford team-mate Andy Ackers.
Former Man of Steel Jackson Hastings, who missed the end of the NRL season through injury, is not thought to be in contention despite having declared his allegiance by representing Great Britain back in 2019.
A brief England statement read: “After ending the Super League season with injury concerns, Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival will not be named in the England squad when it’s announced on Friday.”
Coach Shaun Wane has confirmed that Salford’s Kallum Watkins and Brisbane Broncos centre Herbie Farnworth will be in his 24-man squad which will be announced at an event on Friday morning.
They will help to fill the void left by Percival, who only returned from a long injury lay-off for St Helens’ play-off semi-final win against Salford a fortnight ago.
He had been missing since May due to a bone bruising injury, that the club had monitored closely throughout the season and had taken longer than expected to heal.
For the first time, squad numbers will be used at the World Cup with player names also appearing on shirts to aid with player identification.
England kick-off the men’s tournament against Samoa at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Saturday October 15.