A PASSING comment from Catalans Dragons’ Laurent Frayssinous on Thursday night got me wondering if, following this unusual start to Super League, there will be any similarly unusual names in the England reckoning imminently.
Obviously, with Wayne Bennett taking over from Steve McNamara, there is certainly going to be some alterations to the status quo.
However, with the likes of Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants – who contributed six of the 23-man squad that overcame New Zealand in McNamara’s final act – faltering so badly, and other teams taking a lead, if it is on form there could be some significant changes.
Frayssinous, for instance, lauded the display of Richie Myler as his scrum-half utterly mastered Hull KR with a brilliant performance at Craven Park.
Myler, of course, has represented England before but not since 2012 and rarely did he ever look an international player just as he rarely looked a game-controller during his six years at Warrington.
However, the move to the south of France last winter seems to have brought the very best out of him. Certainly, who knew Myler had such a distinguished and varied kicking game as the one he showed in dissecting hapless Rovers time after time during Thursday’s 40-0 rout that sent the ruthless Dragons up into second?
Now 25, maybe Myler has simply matured but being away from the constant Lee Briers references that plagued him with the Wire must also have lightened his load.
That said, he has to join an orderly queue when it comes to N0 7s Bennett can peruse – whoever thought that sentence would ever be written again? – given Castleford’s uncapped Luke Gale has only enhanced his reputation this term having been an unused member of McNamara’s squad in the autumn.
Wigan’s Matty Smith won man-of-the-match in the third and deciding Test against the Kiwis having replaced club-mate George Williams but both may well be worried about retaining their spot in Bennett’s regime.
Elsewhere, there have been some fine performances in the opening 10 rounds of Super League, not least from Wakefield Trinity’s refreshingly dazzling young winger Tom Johnstone who has all the attributes of an international wideman, if not now then certainly in the future.
Tom Lineham has developed since moving from Hull FC to Warrington where the monstrous second-row Ben Currie, like Gale, has shown he is ready to step up from the backbenches of England’s 23-man squad.
Before injury struck him down, Kevin Brown, the stand-off harshly discarded by McNamara after one tournament in 2010, was leading Widnes Vikings’ charge to the top of Super League and few could argue if he was given a belated second chance.
Daryl Clark, the 2014 Man of Steel when at Castleford, is recapturing some of that form in his second season at Warrington and he will look to reclaim a hooking berth with England.
However, that will be no easy task given James Roby’s consistent class and the fact Josh Hodgson, the former Hull KR rake, is not only leading the race to be Bennett’s England No 9 but also for the Dally M Medal – the NRL’s Man of Steel – following some virtuoso displays with Canberra Raiders.
England having options? Wow.