England boss Shaun Wane believes centre Harry Newman has mended his disciplinary issues, promising Leeds Rhinos that they will get a better player back after the Tonga test series.
The 23-year old is one of the headline inclusions in the 24-man squad named for the three-match autumn series, despite being warned by Wane only last month that he would not be selected unless his discipline improved.
In the absence of injured World Cup centres Herbie Farnworth – who has stayed in Australia – and Salford Red Devils captain Kallum Watkins, plus St Helens ace Mark Percival also unavailable for selection, the Rhinos star gets his chance to impress on the international stage.
So what has changed Wane’s mind?
“I’ve had a few chats with him, personal chats,” said the England boss.
“He has been honest with me and I have been honest with him. We all know what a talent Harry is.
“He can play and is a great ball carrier, he can defend and is very competitive – sometimes over-competitive.”
Leeds Rhinos to get ‘better’ Harry Newman back after Tonga test series, vows England boss Shaun Wane
Newman’s explosive rise to prominence at Headingley has been stalled by a succession of injuries.
He suffered a double leg break in 2020, and has made just 48 appearances across the last four seasons, including just seven last year due to multiple hamstring issues.
This season, he missed two months with another hamstring injury, returning in August against Warrington Wolves and quickly re-discovering his best form.
It was during the climax to the regular season, in which Rohan Smith’s Leeds missed out on a play-off place, that Wane became concerned about his discipline during games.
But since chatting to the player, Wane is confident that Newman will mature quickly.
“Hopefully we have sorted him out and we want to see the best of Harry in this three-test series.
“From our chats, I’m very positive that he is going to turn a corner and Leeds will get a better player back.”