The end-of-season Great Britain tour is drawing ever-nearer, so we’ve picked out six dark horses to make the final squad.
Lachlan Coote (St Helens)
He’s been setting Super League alight during his first year in England, so it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility to see Scottish international Lachlan Coote handed a spot in the Great Britain squad.
Coote, who made three appearances for the Bravehearts during the 2016 Four Nations tournament, is arguably the best full-back in the competition at present. He has stepped seamlessly into the big shoes vacated by Ben Barba, amassing 29 tries and assists in Super League this campaign – more than any other player.
With Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford returning from an injury lay-off and Saints team-mate Jonny Lomax shining in the halves, the way could be paved for Coote to get his call-up.
Josh Charnley (Warrington Wolves)
Admittedly, England are blessed with a number of options on the wing, but Warrington flyer Josh Charnley could certainly add a new dimension to GB’s attacking play.
The England international is prolific; his record speaks for itself. With 206 tries in 224 career appearances in rugby league, he is certainly an adept finisher with pace to burn, much like many others in his position. However, with three Grand Final wins, two League Leaders Shields and a further two Challenge Cup trophies to his name during his time at Wigan, he is clearly capably of stepping up in the big games.
The mid-season England Performance Squad certainly gives him a chance to impress Wayne Bennett before October rolls around. With his club form remaining so consistent, the 27-year-old’s name will surely be in the mix for selectors.
Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils)
Another player who qualifies for Great Britain through his late grandmother, Jackson Hastings is more-than-deserving of his chance after some spell-binding performances for Salford in recent months.
Following his game-changing display against Wakefield, Hastings is currently tied for second on the Man of Steel leaderboard and is one of the main reasons why the Red Devils are in the hunt for a play-off spot. He seems to be rejuvenated following his unceremonious departure from the NRL little over 12 months ago and is undoubtedly going to be the subject of interest at the end of the season, with Wigan touted as a possible destination.
Great Britain need to consider all heritage players when the time comes. Hastings is unlike any other half-back in the current England team, and with a point to prove back home he could prove to be a major asset for Wayne Bennett if chosen.
Marc Sneyd (Hull FC)
He’s yet to be capped by the England national team, but could Bennett be tempted to give Marc Sneyd a shot in the GB setup?
The 28-year-old epitomises composure. His game management is up there with the best in Super League, but his 18 assists in 19 games for Hull FC this year is testament to the creativity he possesses.
Every good international half-back partnership needs the right balance of flair and level-headedness. With players like George Williams, Sam Tomkins, Jake Trueman and possibly even Blake Austin capable of producing moments of magic, Sneyd could be the calm figure the Great Britain side are looking for, should Gareth Widdop fail to return from his serious shoulder injury in time.
Josh Jones (Salford Red Devils)
His consistent performances for Ian Watson’s side have already earned Josh Jones a lucrative move to Hull FC for next year, and the 26-year-old will no-doubt be eyeing up a place in Wayne Bennett’s final squad.
The second-rower has ran for over 2000m this year, bettered only in the Salford setup by the aforementioned Hastings. Leeds’ Trent Merrin and Castleford’s Liam Watts are the only two men to have made more offloads than him this term, and Great Britain will undoubtedly need someone in the ranks who isn’t afraid of chancing his arm and keeping the ball alive at times.
Like Sneyd, the Red Devils star is yet to be given a chance in an England shirt. However, given his impressive 2019 season to date, it would be foolish of the GB selectors not to consider bringing someone of Jones’ quality into the mix.
Ryan Sutton (Canberra Raiders)
The only non Super League player on the list, Ryan Sutton should be the recipient of a call-up to the GB squad following his excellent debut season Down Under.
The 23-year-old has endeared himself very quickly to NRL fans after a series of promising displays. He is one of Canberra’s top metre-makers and tacklers this year and has developed immensely under the guidance of Ricky Stuart.
There will inevitably be a lot of debate over Bennett’s forward pack selection, regardless of who he decides to go with. He will no-doubt have been impressed by Sutton’s club form, but will that be enough to move him further up the pecking order on the international scene?