LoveRugbyLeague have picked out the six stand-out England players who Australia should be really worried about ahead of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final.
The Three Lions face the Kangaroos in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final on Saturday at the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 9am kick-off.
You can watch it LIVE on the BBC or Premier Sports.
GARETH WIDDOP (ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS)
The 28-year-old has been phenominal in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. He was great at half-back at the start of the tournament and has since moved to full-back, where he has made the position his own. He has been a real asset to the Three Lions.
Widdop has made 556 metres in the tournament and is England’s highest points-scorer with 41 to his name. He has scored two tries, 16 goals, one drop-goal and grabbed seven assists. The Aussies will know all about him because he was the best half-back in the NRL last term.
JAMES ROBY (ST HELENS)
The Saints stalwart has recently turned 32 but plays with the energy of a 21-year-old. He wasn’t even in England’s Elite Performance Squad but has repaid Wayne Bennett’s faith with some brilliant displays at the World Cup. He has made 152 tackles so far.
Roby is expected to play the full game in the final though due to Josh Hodgson being ruled out with an ACL injury. We all know he has the stamina to play the 80 minutes and loves to catch defences offside with runs from dummy-half. His clash against Golden Boot winner Cameron Smith is mouth-watering.
JERMAINE MCGILLVARY (HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS)
Are there any words needed on McGillvary? He was just pipped to the Golden Boot award by Cameron Smitha and Jason Taumalolo, who came in second. The 29-year-old has been one of the best players at the tournament and has been nothing short of sensational.
He has played made a staggering 1,024 metres from 86 carries. A staggering stat. He isn’t afraid of taking the ball in and doing the hard work but he is a brilliant finisher as well. No wonder NRL clubs are snooping around the Super League star.
SEAN O’LOUGHLIN (WIGAN WARRIORS)
The Wigan Warriors and England captain always seems to go under the radar when it comes to people dishing out credit. He is a natural leader and there is a big difference in how England play when he is on the field compared to when he is having a breather.
He may be 35 now but he is still at the top of his game and would be one of the best players in the NRL if he went over there. He has played over 400 games for Wigan and has bags of experience in big games. He is apparently 50-50 for the final after picking up a knock last week but he needs to play. England need him. One of the best players to have ever played in Suepr League.
RYAN HALL (LEEDS RHINOS)
Due to England’s other winger, McGillvary, grabbing the headlines in the tournament, attention has eased off Hall a little. But in the last couple of weeks, England’s back three of McGillvary, Widdop and Hall has performed incredibly well against France, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
Hall, a Leeds legend, has made 548 metres from 53 carries in the World Cup so far and is safe as houses under the high ball. He’s got two tries to his name as well. The 30-year-old has been brilliant in defence on the left side along with his centre partner, John Bateman.
SAM BURGESS (SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS)
Last but certainly not least, we have selected Slammin’ Sam Burgess. The 28-year-old was unlucky to miss a few games in the group stage but has returned and has been fantastic in the back-row. Due to O’Loughlin playing at loose forward, England boss Wayne Bennett shifted Burgess into the back-row and it has turned out to be a great decision.
He has still good burst of pace, adds extra strength to the defence on the fringes and like O’Loughlin, is a good leader for the team and a great character to have in the sheds. The Aussies will already be aware of him due to Burgess being one of the best forwards in the NRL for the past five years or so.
To be honest, Australia should be doing research on all 17 of England’s players. It’s the best Three Lions side in years.
Do you agree with our six picks? Or should someone else be in the list for who Australia should be worried about? Let us know in the comments below.