After Newcastle Knights winger Dom Young pledged his allegiance to England, there could be eight NRL players in Shaun Wane’s squad for the World Cup.
Wane has until September 24 to name a 24-man squad for the tournament, which they kick-off against Samoa at St James’ Park on October 15.
Here are the eight players currently plying their trade Down Under in the NRL tipped to make the cut.
Dom Young (Newcastle Knights, winger)
Young, 21, is set to make the cut after positive talks with Wane, having previously been expected to line-up alongside brother Alex for Jamaica in their inaugural campaign.
He said: “It is really hard to turn the Jamaica opportunity down but I just felt like, at the end of the day, I’m born in England, I’m English.
“The opportunity to potentially win a World Cup, especially in front of friends and family, is special.”
Young moved to the NRL from Huddersfield ahead of the 2021 season and has scored 18 tries in 26 appearances, including 14 in 20 this year.
That’s despite the Knights having a disappointing year and finishing third bottom in the table.
Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, prop)
There were three Burgess brothers at the last home World Cup in 2013, but in 2022 there will likely be just one – Souths prop Tom.
The 30-year-old has maintained his place at one of the NRL’s top clubs, while twin George has struggled with injuries in recent years, including during a failed stint with Wigan in Super League.
He has made 20 or more appearances in seven of the last eight seasons in the NRL and earlier this year, reached the milestone of 200 appearances for the Rabbitohs.
Both Tom and older brother Sam were in Wayne Bennett’s squad for the 2017 tournament in Australia.
Luke Thompson (Canterbury Bulldogs, prop)
Thompson perhaps hasn’t hit the heights that were expected of him when he made a big money move to the NRL from St Helens in 2020.
But he has still been a solid performer, despite a struggle with concussion earlier this season.
He featured 13 times for the Bulldogs this season, averaging 42 post contact metres per game.
Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders, back-rower)
The Canberra captain is surely as close to a shoo-in for selection as you can get, even if back-row is arguably England’s most stacked position.
The former Bradford and Catalans back-rower has just completed his seventh season in the NRL, where he has been a virtual ever present since arriving in 2016.
It will be his first home World Cup, having only made his England debut back in 2014 and he has gone on to win 20 caps so far, plus four for Great Britain.
Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane Broncos, centre)
Farnworth could finally make his international debut after playing his way back in to Shaun Wane’s good books.
After first being named in the England elite performance squad back in 2020, the Lancashire-born back was dropped a year later for “failing to meet standards off the pitch”.
But he was brought back in to the fold earlier this year during a season where he scored 10 tries in 12 appearances for Brisbane Broncos.
Wane said back in April: “I watch him play every week and he’s doing well with Brisbane. He’s a talent and a good athlete and he’s playing really well. I can definitely see him playing in the World Cup.”
Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters, loose forward)
Big headline news in recent months was that Sydney Roosters star Victor Radley had put his hand up to represent England.
He said: “It was a feeling in my chest, I could not look away from it. It’s years of Yorkshire blood in me and it’s coming out. I have made this decision because I want to bleed for England.”
Radley first hinted at choosing to play for England back in 2018 and he made the call in June to turn his back on Australia and make himself available for Shaun Wane.
The two-time NRL winner has already racked up 96 appearances in the NRL at the age of 24, after making his debut at 19.
Ryan Sutton (Canberra Raiders, prop)
There might be an injury doubt over Ryan Sutton, but he will likely be on Shaun Wane’s list for inclusion if fit.
Sutton’s NRL season was ended prematurely by a hand injury, and he is on the move over the off-season, swapping Canberra for Canterbury.
It was Wane that brought Sutton through the ranks at Wigan, where he earned his move to the NRL ahead of the 2019 season and has suitably impressed.
He was one of Canberra’s best in 2021, making 22 appearances, and despite a brief fall-out over his planned move elsewhere, Sutton still managed 16 games in 2022.
Oliver Gildart (Sydney Roosters, centre)
Gildart’s first season in the NRL probably hasn’t panned out how he might have expected.
He played in all but one of Wests Tigers first nine games, tasting defeat eight times, but then fell out of favour and played in the NSW Cup.
But he ended the season on a positive note following an unusual loan switch to Sydney Roosters, where he played off the bench in two matches.
His selection for England might be a surprise, but given his previous working relationship with Wane and England’s lack of fit options at centre he may make the cut.
Who would you like to see in Shaun Wane’s 24-man England squad for the World Cup? Let us know in the comments below.