England Pathways manager Paul Anderson makes four changes to the 21-man Lancashire side which won the first encounter 56-34 at Widnes last month and eight to the Yorkshire side hoping to equalize the series at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Anderson brings in players from Super League heavyweights Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors, as well as Championship clubs Bradford Bulls and York City Knights. Among the newcomers is Hull FC’s powerful outside defender, Manoa Wacokecoke, a Fijian-born player who played his junior rugby league for the Cottingham Tigers.
St Helens duo Ellis Archer and Jon Vaughan, Ellis Archer and Jon Vaughan, Jamie Reddecliff of Warrington Wolves and Zach Eckersley of Wigan Warriors join Shane Eccles’ Lancashire side for the first time. Head coach Eccles has been a long-time member of the Wigan Warriors scholarship and academy systems, and will again be assisted by Warrington Wolves duo Tyrone McCarthy (scholarship head coach) and Liam Myler (strength and packaging).
The Yorkshires are coached by Leeds Rhinos Academy coach and former England and Great Britain player Chev Walker. Alongside Walker are Huddersfield Giants duo Tom Tsang and Adam Megretton.
Paul Anderson, Head of England Pathways, says:
“The first game was a high scoring affair, but there were periods of real intensity – especially at the start. The challenge for these players is to maintain that intensity throughout.
“I had individual criticism with every player who took the pitch at Widnes. There were positives in every individual performance, but the players are responsible for themselves for the 80 minutes. As part of their development, all players need to show they have what it takes to perform at this level and understand what it takes to be an England player.
“I’ve also made some changes this time around which means other players have the opportunity to come in and show what they can do. As the series progresses we’ll see more cohesion and connectivity on the pitch, and a greater sense of togetherness through residential camps in Warrington and Leeds.It is important that our top players are exposed to the camp environment they might encounter at senior level and can better understand the requirements and expectations involved.
“Additionally, all training sessions before each Origin game will take place at Leeds Beckett University – a world-class campus that reflects the ambitions of our development program.”
Lancashire 21-man squad
Ellis Archer, McKenzie Buckley (both from St Helens), Jack Darbyshire (Wolves of Warrington), George Delaney, Kalan Devine (both from St Helen), Aiden Doolan (Warrington Wolves), Jacob Douglas, Zach Eckersley (both Wigan Warriors), Ben Hartill, Leon Hayes (both Warrington Wolves), Sam Haynes (St Helens)Harvie Hill (Wigan Warriors) Ben Lane, Ciaran Nolan (The Two St Helens)Richards Nsemba (Wigan Warriors), Jamie Reddecliff (Warrington Wolves), Jack Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Jake Thewlis, Nolan Tupea (both Warrington Wolves), Jon Vaughan, Leunbou Bardyell Wells (both from St Helens), Max Wood (Wigan Warriors)
Squad of 21 Yorkshire players
Kai Armstrong (Hull FC), Bailey Arnold (Bradford Bulls), Denive Balmforth (Hull FC), Connor Barley (Hull Kingston Rovers), Alfie Edgell (Leeds Rhinos), George Flanagan Jnr (Bradford Bulls), Harrison Gilmore (Leeds Rhinos) , Lucas Green (Warrington Wolves), Jake Higgins (Leeds Rhinos), Ellis Hobson (Wigan Warriors), Adam Holroyd (Warrington Wolves), Joseph Kellett (Bradford Bulls), Matt Laidlaw (Hull FC), Myles Lawford (Bradford Bulls), Riley Lumb (Leeds Rhinos), Lewis Martin, Sullivan Medford, Charlie Severs, Nick Staveley, Manoa Wacokecoke (all Hull FC), Toby Warren (York City Knights)
Origin Academy returned to its three-game format this year this summer after the entire 2020 schedule was forced to be canceled and a reduced 2021 due to Covid. Academy Origin II follows Salford Red Devils’ home game against Wakefield Trinity, which kicks off at 3pm. The third and final meeting will take place in Wakefield on Sunday July 24th.
The England RL Academy is part of the RFL talent trail, which also includes the England Knights and the senior men’s team. Several members of the England team recently named Shaun Wane have graduated from this path, including Mikolaj Oledzki of Leeds Rhinos and Matty Lees of St Helens.