CHIEF EXECUTIVE Gary Hetherington is “surprised and disappointed” more Leeds Rhinos players weren’t named in England’s Four Nations squad – but reckons it is good for the sport.
Full-back Zak Hardaker, centre Kallum Watkins and winger Ryan Hall are all in a 24-man squad for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, which begins later this month.
Winger Tom Briscoe and forwards Carl Ablett and Jamie Jones-Buchanan were not selected – despite being in England’s training squad – but are on stand-by in case of injuries in Saturday’s Super League Grand Final.
Hetherington said: “I think the real surprise omission is Carl Ablett and it is disappointing for Tom Briscoe and Jamie Jones-Buchanan as well.
“But what is does illustrate is that the England coach has got a great depth of talent there. The squad is getting more competitive and that is good.”
The squad includes players from eight different Super League clubs, plus four in Australia’s NRL.
Hetherington added: “The squad has been spread around more clubs and that is good as well and it is encouraging for fans of English rugby league.
“It shows the talent base in our game is growing and – while it is disappointing for the players who have not been selected – that is a positive for the sport as a whole.”