Thornley, fresh from winning the Super League Grand Final with Wigan Warriors, will line up against Samoa in the first of two international friendlies to be played at Salford on Saturday October 19, and believes that, given his opponents’ high number of NRL-based players, it will be a challenging encounter.
“It is definitely a big game against Samoa, they have got a lot of NRL players in their side. It is going to make it a bit more interesting and it is going to be a tough test,” said Thornley, who is one of six fall-out squad players – players delaying meeting up with the Knights due to involvement in the Grand Final.
“It is a new challenge for me and it is a great honour to be chosen to play for the England Knights team.
“I am looking forward to meeting the lads tomorrow, I like meeting new team members. We have a training session tomorrow (Friday October 11) and it is a chance for the guys who played in the Grand Final to meet the rest of the lads.
“We then have to be in Loughborough by Sunday night, where we will spend a few days in camp, until Wednesday, so it will be a good chance to get to know everyone in the squad.
“It is going to be a good side, a higher-quality side playing for the Knights and it is definitely a great chance to impress Steve McNamara.
“There are a lot of games in Rugby League World Cup 2013 and if anybody gets injured and has to come out of the squad, then it is a good opportunity to get in his plans.”
The England Knights setup was formed only a couple of years ago, with the aim to develop a stepping stone for the best young English talent from club and international age-group Rugby League, to the full international side.
“There has been a positive progression with the players and the game against Samoa is going to be their toughest test,” said England Knights coach Kieron Purtill when he announced his 19-man squad last week.
“They will definitely be able to handle the test. You only get picked for the Knights if we think you can handle international Rugby League.”