England head coach Wayne Bennett has named his nineteen man squad for Saturday’s first test match against New Zealand at Hull FC’s KCOM Stadium – with two notable absentees.
Despite scoring a debut hat trick for his national team last week, Wakefield Trinity’s Tom Johnstone misses out as Australian Bennett instead opted for Tommy Makinson as his second winger, the St Helens man set to line up on the opposite flank to Jermaine McGillvary. Stefan Ratchford, the man of the match in this year’s Super League Grand Final, has also been left out of the nineteen. The Warrington full-back started the Denver test against the same opponents in June but has been left out, leaving Sam Tomkins and Jonny Lomax as the full-back options for the first test. Monday saw Bennett suggest that Lomax is likely to start the match in the number one jersey.
Johnstone’s Wakefield teammate Reece Lyne – formerly of Hull FC – is another to not be selected. Richie Myler, a late call up following the withdrawal of 2017 Man of Steel Luke Gale due to injury, has been included in the nineteen but Castleford’s Adam Milner has missed out. Jake Connor is the sole Hull FC representative in the provisional squad and, if selected in the matchday seventeen, will make his third England appearance at his home ground.