Many of those included for the three-day camp at Loughborough University starting June 15 are unlikely to feature when it comes to the actual business side of their trip Down Under.
McNamara, in all likelihood, will show faith with the bulk of a 24-man squad that went so close to reaching last year’s World Cup final and a large number of those were not even named yesterday due to commitments in the NRL.
However, the England chief has, pleasingly, rewarded those who have started this Super League campaign in fine fettle, in particular some young, ambitious players.
It is no surprise to see a trio of Castleford Tigers players included. If Daryl Clark, Craig Huby and Michael Shenton continue the stunning form that has under-pinned their club’s rise to third, there would be no arguments if they were also elevated into the final squad come the end of the season.
Their former Castleford team-mate Rangi Chase is the one glaring, but not shock omission.
Once the maverick stand-off was left out of the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand it seemed his international career was finished and his form since for hapless Salford Red Devils has only made McNamara’s decision easier.
There is no recall either for Gareth Hock who was axed for disciplinary reasons on the eve of that tournament, but there is for Zak Hardaker, even though the Leeds Rhinos full-back, in stunning form this term, has a Rugby Football League invesitigation hanging over him for allegedly making homophobic comments to referee James Child in Friday’s defeat at Warrington.
He is one of six Leeds players retained from the World Cup, the only absentee being the currently injured Rob Burrow, though Jamie Jones-Buchanan ensures the Headingley club maintain seven representatives in total.
One of those – Carl Ablett – has accepted a two-game ban for kicking Joel Monaghan in that game with Warrington.
Hull FC’s Joe Westerman has warranted his call-up, as has Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson, while in-form second-rowers that McNamara encountered as youngsters at Bradford – Catalan Dragons’ Elliott Whitehead and Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman – are other worthy inclusions. Sydney Roosters assistant McNamara will fly in to lead the camp.
Today his former club Bradford get their opportunity to argue a case for having all six points re-instated when their crucial appeal against the penalty deduction for entering administration is at last heard by an independent tribunal.
Hull KR’s Australian prop Michael Weyman has been handed a second two-match ban in his first season in the First Utility Super League.
He was found guilty of using foul and abusive language to referee Tim Roby during Rovers’ 54-12 defeat at Castleford.
Wakefield prop Richard Moore will miss his club’s home game against London on Friday week after picking up a one-match ban, for a Grade B striking offence against Bradford.