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Five NRL stars named in England squad as Farnworth ruled out

NRL stars Dom Young, Victor Radley, Elliott Whitehead, Tom Burgess and John Bateman headline a 24-man England squad for the historic Test series against Tonga.

However, Broncos centre Herbie Farnworth is among a number of players ruled out with injury, while former Raiders halfback George Williams - the England captain - is suspended.

Williams received a two match ban for a shoulder charge in Warrington's finals loss to St Helens but the extent of his involvement in the three Test series could be determined at an appeal hearing on Tuesday night.

Victor Radley and Elliott Whitehead are among five NRL players in the England squad to play Tonga
Victor Radley and Elliott Whitehead are among five NRL players in the England squad to play Tonga ©Getty Images

“I’m really pleased with the 24 players coming into camp as we look to beat Tonga in this three-game series," England coach Shaun Wane said.

"All of the players included have impressed me throughout their respective Super League and NRL campaigns and are worthy of representing their country in this historic series. 

“We’ve got a real strong mix of experience and youth combining players who featured in last year’s World Cup, this year’s mid-season international and some who are returning to the international frame. 

“My message to the fans now is: come out and get behind this team in St Helens, Huddersfield and Leeds in the coming weeks."

This historic series – the first between the two nations and their first meeting since the epic 2017 World Cup semi-final in Auckland – will begin on Sunday at St Helens.

Dom's Delight: A record breaking season

The second Test will be played at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, October 28 and at the AMT Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds, on Saturday, November 4.

The England squad includes the leading tryscorers in the NRL - Young - and Super League - Catalans winger Tom Johnstone.

Since moving to Perpignan, Johnstone has put behind him two career threatening ACL injuries behind him to help the Dragons to last Saturday’s Super League grand final against Wigan Warriors.

Young  Bateman, Burgess, Radley and Whitehead were all members of last year's World Cup squad. 

Wigan’s Grand Final-winning captain Liam Farrell returns to the squad for the first time since 2021, alongside teammates Tyler Dupree, Toby King and Harry Smith. 

And after being called up to the wider performance squad just a fortnight ago, Leigh Leopards forward Robbie Mulhern also earns a call-up following an impressive season which saw him lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley Stadium in August.  

Elsewhere there are four St Helens players selected – among them Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel nominee Jack Welsby.

Saints came, saw and conquered

Chris Hill, Harry Newman and Mikey Lewis represent Huddersfield Giants, Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR respectively. 

Several players are unavailable for selection because of injury, including Dolphins-bound Farnworth.

Wane said that all Super League and NRL clubs had been helpful and supportive around the availability of their players for international duty, and where necessary there have been detailed and confidential discussions around individual players involving England’s Chief Medical Officer.

In those instances where players have been withdrawn from the selection pool, there has been strong medical evidence to support those decisions. 

England squad to face Tonga 

  • Matty Ashton (Warrington Wolves)
  • John Bateman (Wests Tigers)
  • Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  • Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves)
  • Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)
  • Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors)
  • Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)
  • Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants)
  • Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons)
  • Toby King (Wigan Warriors)
  • Morgan Knowles (St Helens)
  • Matty Lees (St Helens)
  • Mikey Lewis (Hull KR)
  • Tommy Makinson (St Helens)
  • Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons)
  • Robbie Mulhern (Leigh Leopards)
  • Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos)
  • Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters)
  • Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors)
  • Danny Walker (Warrington Wolves)
  • Jack Welsby (St Helens)
  • Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)
  • George Williams (Warrington Wolves)
  • Dominic Young (Newcastle Knights) 
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