Winner duo Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival, who won the St Helens Grand Final, were left out of the England team for the World Cup.
Lomax played under duress for most of the Super League season after suffering a bicep fracture in April while leading Saints to their fourth straight Grand Final triumph.
The veteran half-back was man of the match in his side’s 24-12 win over Leeds at Old Trafford on Saturday but hinted at the post-match press conference that he might not be available for the World Cup.
The confirmation of his absence is a huge blow to England but likely good news for club-mate Jack Welsby, who has followed in Lomax’s footsteps for the mid-season game against the Combined Nations All Stars and could now play alongside George Williams in the opener against Samoa.
England manager Shaun Wane will also have to consider his center options as Percival has not recovered sufficiently from the knee injury that kept him on the touchline for most of the second half of the season.
The double injury damage follows the loss of another centre, Harry Newman (Leeds), as well as strikers Alex Walmsley (St Helens) and Liam Farrell (Wigan).
On the plus side, Brisbane’s English-born center Herbie Farnworth will be called up to Wane’s 24-man squad when he is unveiled at a press conference in Worsley on Friday morning.
A gifted sportsman who was once on the Manchester United books, Farnworth started the NRL season in sensational form but has not played since June after suffering a bicep injury.
However, he never gave up hope of recovering in time for the World Cup and will make his debut against the Samoans at Newcastle’s St James’ Park on October 15.
His center partner could be former Leeds favorite Kallum Watkins, who proved a revelation when he played back for Salford in 2022.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/st-helens-kallum-watkins-leeds-super-league-shaun-wane-b2178802.html Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival are left out of the England team for the World Cup