England Knights stars eyeing up World Cup spots says Leeds Rhinos’ Jack Broadbent

LEEDS RHINOS’ Jack Broadbent reckons some of the current England Knights squad will be knocking on the door when coach Shaun Wane selects his senior team for next year’s World Cup.

By Peter Smith
Monday, 18th October 2021, 5:45 am

Broadbent bagged two of Knights’ 10 tries in their 56-4 win over Jamaica at Castleford on Friday.

The 20-year-old centre opened the scoring and crossed again just eight seconds into the second half as a young Knights outfit showed Wane what they are capable of.

“It’s always nice to score an early try in a game,” Broadbent said.

Leeds Rhinos' Jack Broadbent celebrates scoring England Knights' first try in their 56-4 victory over Jamaica on Friday. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

“It was really enjoyable.

“We had a good camp and I think we’ve come together really well on the back of a good week’s training.

“We are a young squad, I think the average age is 21 and we’ve gone out and put a great performance on.

“It is something to build on when we get back together again.”

Leeds Rhinos' Jack Broadbent goes over to score England Knights' first try against Jamaica. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

The 2025 World Cup is the main target for the current Knights group, but some of them could force their way into contention for next year.

“It’s always in the back of your mind,” Broadbent said of his prospects of being called up to the senior squad.

“There’s some good centres in front of me, but I am just building nicely.

“I have done a bit more than I expected this year and hopefully I can carry on progressing at the rate I am.

“I would be really happy with that, but this has been a top year for me and I’m really happy.”

Last Friday’s game brought Broadbent’s season to an end and he plans to have a break before Rhinos resume training next month.

“I’ll have a bit of a rest and then get back on it,” he said.

Though he is looking to add another outside-back to his squad, with New Zealand Warriors’ David Fusitu’a among the potential targets, Rhinos coach Richard Agar will have options in the centres next year, despite Konrad Hurrell’s exit.

Harry Newman is fully fit after the broken leg he suffered 13 months ago and Liam Sutcliffe will be back in the equation following a knee injury, alongside Broadbent and 17-year-old Levi Edwards, who trained with Knights last week, but did not play against Jamaica.

“I am probably third-choice centre,” Broadbent admitted.

“Liam Sutcliffe had had an op’ on his knee so he might not be back for the start of pre-season and I can go in and put my hand up for a starting spot.

“Sutty is a great player and a good one to learn from.

“Obviously he and Harry are ahead of me and I have just got to challenge them.”

Broadbent can also play full-back, wing or in the halves.

“I will put my hand up for anything,” he added.

“I just enjoy being on the pitch.

“I’m not bothered where – as long as I’ve got a ball in my hand and I’m playing, I am happy.”

Broadbent’s second try against Jamaica was one of the fastest seen at the start of a half in rugby league, the Leeds man gathering and going over after Jordan Turner had spilled Mikey Lewis’ kick-off.

Broadbent said: “He [Lewis] has been practicing his kick-offs and hanging them up high.

“I said to Will [Pryce] I am going to catch this.

“He [Turner] ended up dropping it and I got on it.

“I told Will I was going to get it and I scored, so that was a good way to start the second half.”

His opener was a length of the field interception and Broadbent said: “It was good to get an early touch and show my pace.

“I was striding it out, I knew I would get there.”

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