Mac - Flanagan is in the mix
Former Wigan loose forward Mark Flanagan could be a surprise inclusion in England's squad for the Four Nations series.
Last Updated: 30/09/10 5:55pm
Mark Flanagan could be a surprise inclusion in England's squad for the forthcoming Four Nations series.
Loose forward Flanagan made only 11 first-team appearances for Wigan before deciding to try his luck in Australia with Wests Tigers.
The 23-year-old has been excellent during his debut NRL campaign and his form Down Under has caught the attention of new England coach Steve McNamara.
"Mark is in the mix," he admitted. "He's had a good season across there and we'll make some decisions over the weekend."
McNamara is certain to name Flanagan's West Tigers team-mate Gareth Ellis, who has proved his fitness, in his 24-man squad along with two other Australia-based players - Gareth Widdop and Sam Burgess.
"Gaz is fine," he said on Ellis' status. "He was struggling for a couple of weeks with a back injury but he's through the other side of that now."
There are currently 19 players in England's train-on squad, though that doesn't include anyone from losing semi-finalists Leeds and Huddersfield.
Wigan and St Helens, who meet in the engage Super League Grand Final on Saturday, are also not yet represented, though McNamara insists Four Nations places are be up for grabs in Sunday's warm-up fixture.
Bradford prop Andy Lynch has been appointed captain for the Garry Purdham Memorial Match against Cumbria at Whitehaven.
"There are quite obviously some players who, if they come through the weekend's Grand Final, will be selected and there will also be some players from Leeds and Huddersfield," said McNamara.
"But there are also a lot of players within this group who have got strong claims to be on that plane and the game against Cumbria gives them another opportunity.
"We'll sit down as a group of staff on Sunday night after all the games have finished and make our decisions."
On his choice of captaincy for the game, he added: "Lynchy is one of the senior players within the group in terms of age.
"He may not have played as many times for his country but he is hugely respected by every player in the competition. There were a couple of other serious candidates within this group but Andy was the one who stood out."
England team for Garry Purdham Memorial Match at Whitehaven:
C Riley (Warrington); P Fox (Hull KR), M Shenton (Castleford), T Clubb (Harlequins), T Briscoe (Hull); P Sykes (Bradford), R Myler (Warrington); A Lynch (Bradford, capt), M Higham (Warrington), L McCarthy-Scarsbrook (Harlequins), J Westerman (Castleford), B Westwood (Warrington), J Langley (Bradford).
Replacements: N Scruton (Bradford), G Carvell (Warrington), J Broughton (Salford), R Atkins (Warrington), B Harrison (Warrington), S Murrell (Hull KR).