Wayne Bennett rewards commitment as Castleford Tigers star steps up to the elite level

Castleford Tigers' Adam Milner: Has made the step up.
Castleford Tigers' Adam Milner: Has made the step up.
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CASTLEFORD TIGERS forward Adam Milner is the only new face in the England elite performance squad which will begin preparations for four Test matches this autumn.

Milner, who has made a successful switch from hooker to loose-forward, is one of three Castleford players and 10 from Yorkshire clubs in the latest group named by England coach Wayne Bennett.

The 14 Super League players that travelled over for the Denver Test have been selected, including Jake Connor and Luke Thompson, who were promoted from the England Knights performance squad and proved their commitment and value to the squad.

Wayne Bennett

England will play France in a warm-up game at Leigh on October 17 before a three-Test series against New Zealand which begins at Hull’s KCOM Stadium 10 days later.

Bennett has kept faith with the team that beat New Zealand 36-18 in Denver in June but has also demonstrated loyalty by including long-term injury victims Kallum Watkins, Ben Currie, Alex Walmsley and Luke Gale.

Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone and St Helens prop Luke Thompson, who was 18th man in Denver, will be both hoping for big finishes to the season with their clubs to earn their first caps.

“Myself and the staff have been monitoring players every week throughout the season so far,” said Bennett, who is also coach of Brisbane Broncos in Australia’s NRL.

“The 14 Super League players that travelled over for the Denver Test have been selected, including Jake Connor and Luke Thompson, who were promoted from the England Knights performance squad and proved their commitment and value to the squad.

“It was a very positive and productive camp which resulted in a great performance against the Kiwis and I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made so far this year.

“The door will remain open for the remainder of the season as we head towards the series against New Zealand,” added Bennett.

England elite squad: Luke Gale, Mike McMeeken, Adam Milner (all Castleford), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Jake Connor, Scott Taylor (both Hull FC), Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Kallum Watkins (all Leeds), Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Alex Walmsley (all St Helens), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield), Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford (all Warrington), John Bateman, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Tomkins, George Williams (all Wigan).

England Knights squad: Greg Minikin, Jake Trueman, Oliver Holmes (all Castleford), Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield), Brad Fash, Dean Hadley, Masimbaashe Matongo, Jamie Shaul (all Hull FC), Chris Atkin, Robbie 
Mulhern (both Hull KR), Ash Handley, Mikolaj Oledzki, Liam Sutcliffe, Jack Walker (all Leeds), James Cunningham (London Broncos), Niall Evalds (Salford), Matt Lees, Danny Richardson (both St Helens), James Batchelor, Max Jowitt, Reece Lyne (all Wakefield), Jack Hughes, Harvey Livett (both Warrington), Tom 
Gilmore, Danny Walker, Matt Whitley (all Widnes), Tom Davies, Oliver Gildart, Joe Greenwood, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton (all Wigan).