FIT-AGAIN Brett Ferres has told England chief Wayne Bennett he will prove he is worthy of a place at the 2017 World Cup.
The Leeds Rhinos second-row suffered disappointment as a calf injury – suffered when training with the national squad – forced him to pull out of this autumn’s Four Nations on the eve of the tournament.
Ferres played all three Tests during the 2015 series victory over New Zealand under Steve McNamara and had been hoping to impress the new coach.
However, he was left a frustrated spectator instead this time around and is looking for a big season with Leeds in order to ensure he does not miss out on next year’s trip Down Under.
“The calf’s fine now but it was really difficult at the time,” Ferres told the YEP.
“Coming off a fairly tough season with Leeds, then going into a fresh international camp... it’s always a real buzz playing for England and very exciting.
“So, to fall at the first hurdle – it was the first session – was really disappointing. I’d been a little tight previously in a couple of the fall-out sessions – before the full squad assembled – but thought I’d be all right.
“Then I trained on it in that opening practice and it proved a little bit too much.
“We had the scans and they showed a bit of damage and we decided it wouldn’t be worth the risk while that was the only time we could change the squad, too, and get a fresh body in.
“But, as I said to Wayne, as much as I was gutted and disappointed it means I’ll have a nice off-season, a decent break and get back in with Leeds firing, ready to work hard to try and get a spot in the England squad for that World Cup.
“I told him I’d be fighting to get back in and get another opportunity.”
Ferres, 30, actually made his international breakthrough when debuting during the last World Cup in 2013 and has gone on to score three tries in a dozen Tests for his country.
He is back in full training at Rhinos and looking ahead to the new campaign with Brian McDermott’s side.
Having been bought from Huddersfield Giants at the start of this year, it was a turbulent debut campaign at Headingley as the defending champions spent most of the season at the bottom of Super League and were forced to fight for survival in the Qualifiers.
But the ex-Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity forward produced some decent form, finishing with five tries from 26 games, and is confident of improving both personally and as a squad in 2017.
However, it remains to be seen whether Ferres will feature in the opening friendly against Wakefield on Boxing Day.
“I’m a bit old for that,” he joked.
“I might be able to play the old man’s card but it just depends on the way Mac wants to go.
“I’m sure we’ll put a very competitive squad out there but if there’s snow on the ground..!
“We’ll see what happens. I’ve come in a little early (training) with no England involvement and there’s a great environment here so it is exciting.”