On the back of this morning’s squad announcement, England head coach Shaun Wane has confirmed that a quartet of Super League stars have missed out through injury, two from Wigan Warriors and two from St Helens.
Wigan duo Jake Wardle and NRL-bound Kai Pearce-Paul will not be involved having picked up knocks in their Grand Final triumph on Saturday at Old Trafford.
Wardle picked up the Harry Sunderland Trophy with a Man of the Match showing against Catalans Dragons, and spoke post-match about his Three Lions selection chances, saying “That’ll take care of itself.”
Along with teammate Pearce-Paul, who is making the move down under and joining Newcastle Knights, he will not play any part in this autumn’s three-match international series.
The towering forward was involved in a tip tackle which saw Dragons ace Adam Keighran sin-binned midway through the first half at the Theatre of Dreams, though it’s not known whether that’s how he picked his injury issue up.
England boss Shaun Wane confirms injuries to Wigan Warriors and St Helens duos
Elsewhere, veteran St Helens pair Jonny Lomax and Alex Walmsley have also missed out with knocks, and won’t be building on their combined 18 appearances for the Three Lions against former club coach Kristian Woolf’s Tonga.
Again, there’s no real indication of what type of problem utility Lomax has picked up, but prop Walmsley is believed to have a hamstring issue.
The powerhouse had recovered from what was thought to be a season-ending injury picked up in Saints’ Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Leigh Leopards to play a part for Paul Wellens’ side at the back end of the campaign, but has now suffered a further setback.
National team boss Wane confirmed that all four of the listed absences are injury-related in today’s press conference at the Totally Wicked Stadium, saying: “They’re injury pullouts, we have a real good strict process with our doctor and he’s put a process in place dealing with clubs.
“They’ve been honest with him and I’m happy with the way it’s gone. I’m happy with the 24 players I’ve got. Without sounding nasty, I’ve forgotten about them now.
“They can’t play, it’s all about the 24-man squad I’ve picked. We’ll see what happens next year for Samoa.”