LEEDS RHINOS forward Brett Ferres says he has no complaints about being dropped from England’s elite performance squad.
A groin problem kept the 31-year-old, who was forced to withdraw from last year’s Four Nations due to injury, but had been included in the year’s first elite performance group, out of Rhinos’ opening five matches of 2017.
After just three appearances he was sidelined again by a six-match ban and admitted he has not played enough to justify an England place.
“They rang me and said I’ve not been playing,” he said. “I said ‘I’m not being funny, but I didn’t expect to get picked’. You shouldn’t be getting picked for something like that if you’re not playing.
“I don’t mind it. It is one of those things, the door’s not closed and it’s up to me to stake a claim to be back in there. The main thing is getting some consistency for Leeds now. I think I’ve been all right in a few games, but I’m probably not where I want to be yet.
“That’s the goal and if I play well for Leeds it’ll give me a shot at getting in the World Cup squad.”
Ferres is set to make his sixth successive appearance when Rhinos visit Wakefield Trinity on Saturday.
“I feel a lot better,” he said. “I am getting some decent minutes under my belt.
“It is just getting some cohesion and getting going again. It is tough with no training base whatsoever. Mac [coach Brian McDermott] has been smart with me in training and I think I have been doing all right – slow and steady, but I will get there.
“I am looking forward to a big push now at the back end of the season.”
Ferres and his fellow Leeds forwards will have their hands full in Saturday’s fourth versus third Betfred Super League showdown.
“They’ve been going great,” Ferres said of Trinity, who are one of his former clubs.
“They are in the top four, they’ve consistently been playing well and they are on a fair run now of seven wins.
“It is a good challenge for us this week and it is a big game. It is a derby as well and we are going to a Wakefield ground that’s a tough place to play.
“We had a half-decent bank-holiday period and came out of it pretty unscathed so we are looking forward to this one.”
Rhinos will have had a full week to prepare for Saturday’s game after a testing spell of three matches in eight days.
That produced four points – from wins over Warrington Wolves and Leigh Centurions and a defeat at Widnes Vikings – and Ferres reckons those victories were vital.
“Those weeks are important because they can make or break a season,” he said.
“If you lose three games you can drop places pretty quickly in the league table. We are quite happy where we’re at.
“We had a big slip-up at Widnes on the Monday, but we backed up with a decent win over Leigh on the Friday so we’re not in bad shape. There’s plenty to work on and for us we want to replicate the form from the Warrington game.”
Meanwhile, former Rhinos winger Ben Jones-Bishop has agreed a new three-year contract with Wakefield and the club hope he will put pen to paper when the players return to training today after being given two days off.