ENGLAND meet up today and, with Easter finished and 13 rounds played, it is a good time to start thinking who might be involved on that Great Britain tour at the end of the year.
There’s been some great performances from a number of players so far with, not surprisingly given they’re the top two teams in Super League, the majority of which come from St Helens and Warrington Wolves.
Jonny Lomax has been really impressive so far; he plays a big role in how Saints are playing. He was outstanding against us on Easter Monday and, for me, he is a real stand-out.
Someone who has perhaps gone under the radar a little – at least until the last couple of weeks – is Morgan Knowles.
People are starting to take a bit of notice in him now but for a couple of years I think he’s been a good up and coming player.
I don’t see him every week but, with the performances I have seen, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has tipped the scales on that selection.
He’s not English but one player I have enjoyed watching is Blake Austin who has been outstanding for Warrington.
He scored a couple more tries yesterday and it’s great to see someone like him – an Australian player who was playing regularly in the NRL – be enticed over here and then play so well.
Austin has really added value to the competition and has consistently been really good for Warrington but that’s what great players do.
That’s what I’ve been speaking a lot about to the Hull lads when there’s been indifferent performances.
I tell them that not every player feels good every week but the really great ones are those that somehow muster up a performance – find some energy – to put in a performance.
The international players do that; you’ll never see them drop below a seven out of 10.
You might get a nine out of 10 when he’s feeling good but, when he’s carrying a knock or feeling some fatigue, those are the weeks when they consistently deliver come what may. They always get that seven at least.
Another player who I think has excelled is Stefan Ratchford. When it comes to England, he’s probably been on the fringes a bit but I think he’s the stand-out full-back in Super League currently.
Then, of course, there is John Bateman who is having a terrific season.
Obviously, he’s not here in Super League but in the NRL and doing incredibly well there.
Bateman’s playing 13 or back-row and that’s great to see.
That’s where he plays his best rugby.
For a few years, at times, England have played him out of position at centre.
Every year we seem to see players playing out of position but hopefully that can change this time around, the fine Super League form can continue and we can see the likes of Bateman, Lomax and Ratchford all playing in their proper places.