SIX Leeds Rhinos players have been included in Wayne Bennett’s England train-on squad ahead of the Four Nations.
Centre Kallum Watkins, wingers Ryan Hall and Tom Briscoe, second-row Brett Ferres plus transfer-listed full-back Zak Hardaker are named as expected.
However, there is also a place for Stevie Ward, the uncapped second-row who has recently returned from 12 months out following a knee reconstruction.
The 22 year-old played the last four games of the season for Leeds and will now get chance to work his way into Bennett’s squad for the Test against France in Avignon on Saturday October 22 before their tournament begins against New Zealand at Huddersfield a week later.
Ten players have reported for duty so far with the others being Huddersfield Giants duo Jermaine McGillvary and Leroy Cudjoe, Castleford Tigers’ scrum-half Luke Gale and Widnes Vikings stand-off Kevin Brown.
So far, the squad, under the watchful eye of new England assistant Paul Anderson, the former Huddersfield head coach, is merely from UK-based clubs not involved in the Super League semi-finals.
Any contenders from the losing semi-finalists Hull FC and St Helens plus Saturday’s Grand Finalists - Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves - and the NRL are yet to be added.
The final 24-man squad will be named on Monday.
England train-on squad: Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Brett Ferres (Leeds Rhinos), Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos), Tom Briscoe (Leeds Rhinos), Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos), Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings).