Shenton admits confusion over England situation

Castleford Tigers centre Michael Shenton has admitted to feeling some confusion over the way in which the England national team is currently being organised.

Shenton was set to travel to Dubai with Wayne Bennett’s squad for a training camp this month, but the event was called off by the RFL.

“I was told about a month before that I was involved,” he told Love Rugby League.

“So I was really excited to be back in the mix. It was frustrating that it got cancelled.

“It was my first chance to meet the new staff, I hadn’t been involved since it had had a bit of turnover.

“So I was just looking forward to working hard, because I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, after having a year off.

“It’s difficult to come out and speak about it, because I don’t know the full facts, I haven’t sat down with anyone from England and had a conversation about why it was cancelled.

“I got the phone call from them, then called the club to check it wasn’t a prank phone call!

“They said, ‘Yeah, it is cancelled, you don’t have to go and pack your bags.'”

Shenton also felt that the concept had a major flaw, in that no NRL-based players would have been involved in the camp in the Middle East.

“For me, it was a bit frustrating that it was just the Super League-based players,” he said.

“I think the clubs might have bought more into it if it was going to be a proper England camp, that could have done some good work building for the World Cup.

“I’m not sure how much work we would have got done without the NRL players, who are a massive part of the England team.

“So that was the bit that confused me. Obviously, there’s reasons behind that that I don’t know about.

“I found out from social media, like anyone.

“But it’s difficult for me to comment.”

Shenton watched England‘s performances in the Four Nations with a keen interest, and felt that adopting an Australian style was perhaps not making the best use of English resources.

“I would like to see us open up a bit more,” he said.

“I was frustrated because I’m biased towards Luke Gale, and I know what he’s capable of and that he can lead a team round.

“I wanted him to get a better service.

“I’d like to see us play a bit more expansively. Super League is a different competition and we should be proud of it – I really think we should.

“I don’t think we can copy what the NRL do, because our players don’t play like that every week like their players do.

“I think we could really challenge them with the way we play. I think Super League has a brand of rugby that, when we’re on, we can do it.”

But the current structure of the Super League season is also holding the national team back, according to the Castleford centre.

“But there’s extenuating circumstances that don’t help our international game,” he added.

“The Super League structure at the moment means we play 10 more games than the NRL players, and it’s diluting it a little bit for me.

“That connection between the RFL and the players at the moment – I’m not sure if the clubs are passing what they should onto the boys.

“But there’s been a lot in recent years about that Easter period and how it’s tough for the players.

“There’s evidence out there about the weekend after, and how appalling the games are, and the injuries and all that.

“All of sudden, they throw two in – there’s two of those double weekends now.

“That’s the frustrating thing for me in the game at the moment.

“You want to to grow the game, but we’re the ones taking the field – is there any chance of having a voice in all of this? And can they explain some of the decisions they are making?”

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