London Broncos duo Jordan Abdull and Rob Butler have been called up to a revised England Knights Performance Squad to prepare for this autumn’s historic international fixture against Jamaica at the Emerald Headingley Stadium and are joined by Leeds centre Harry Newman and Huddersfield forward Oliver Wilson, who were both members of the England Academy team who beat the Australian Schoolboys last autumn.
(Details of Jamaica fixture here – https://www.rugby-league.com/article/55309/england-knights-to-play-jamaica-in-october)
Abdull, 23, has relished the responsibility he has been given since joining the London Broncos this season, while Butler, 21, the Kent born prop started playing Rugby League with the Medway Dragons community club, and is one of a number of youngsters from the south of England who have impressed with the Broncos in 2019.
Abdull told us, ” I am over the moon to be picked for the Knights and represent my country at the end of the year. I have been pretty happy with my performances this year and now this just makes it all even better.”
“I would like to thank all the players, coaches and staff at London Broncos for helping me all year and for bringing out the best in me. Also I would like to thank my family who have supported me in what was a big move for me back in November. I am so glad it has all paid off and now I look forward to playing a strong Jamaican squad at Headingly.”
Butler also spoke to us and said, “Being called up to the England Knights squad is a massive privilege and an opportunity I am very grateful for. Representing my country is something I have always dreamed of doing and it is fantastic knowing I now have that chance.”
“Getting to this point has been an incredible journey for me and I am indebted to those who have helped me along the way. My family have been incredibly supportive in so many ways in getting me to this point.”
” I am also very lucky to have had the coaching and the support of the coaches here especially Danny Ward and Jamie Langley who help me push myself to become a better player every day.”
Butler & Abdull are joined in the squad by former Broncos players Mike McMeeken & Alex Foster with McMeeken recalled to the KPS after injury.
Newman, 19, has scored eight tries in 14 appearances since making his senior debut for the Rhinos in March, while Wilson made his Betfred Super League debut for the Giants earlier this month after making the short move from Bradford Bulls, where he had come through the Academy.
The Wigan forward Joe Greenwood and Hull KR’s Robbie Mulhern have also dropped down from the England Elite Performance Squad, while the Hull FC prop Josh Bowden receives his first Knights call-up.
Oliver Holmes, Adam O’Brien, Oliver Roberts, Dean Hadley and Harvey Livett are omitted from the first KPS of 2019 that was announced in March.
The revised 37-man squad includes 19 players who experienced last autumn’s two-match trip to Papua New Guinea. They will meet in Leeds in August and September before the Knights head coach Paul Anderson trims the squad to prepare for the fixture against Jamaica on Sunday October 20.
“It’s important that we revise the Knights squad on the basis of 2019 form, and it’s good that the guys now have the focus of the Jamaica game,” said Anderson, who has combined his role this year with a position as Warrington’s Academy Head Coach, and will again be assisted by Paul Sculthorpe in his role as the RFL’s England Pathways Coach.
“All five new faces have earned their call-ups with their club performances in 2019 – Jordan Abdull and Rob Butler for London Broncos, Josh Bowden for Hull FC, Harry Newman for Leeds and Oliver Wilson for Bradford and Huddersfield.
“Harry and Oliver have moved quickly from the Academy squad who did so well last winter to the Knights set-up, and that’s exactly how we want our Pathways to work. There’s so much exciting young talent in the domestic game, and I’m really looking forward to working with this group for the rest of the 2019.”
A revised 27-man England Elite Performance Squad will be announced later today.
England Knights Performance Squad (all players listed with professional and community clubs):
Alex Foster (Castleford Tigers, Wetherby Bulldogs)
Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers, Staines Titans)
Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers, Wetherby Bulldogs)
Matt Whitley (Catalans Dragons, Bold Miners)
Matt English (Huddersfield Giants, Stanley Rangers)
Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
Darnell McIntosh (Huddersfield Giants, Dewsbury Celtic)
Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants, Greetland All Rounders)
Chris Atkin (Hull KR, Liverpool John Moores University)
Robbie Mulhern (Hull KR, Normanton Knights)
Josh Bowden (Hull FC, Hull Wyke)
Masimbaashe Matongo (Hull FC, West Hull)
Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos, Newsome Panthers)
Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)
Cameron Smith (Leeds Rhinos, Lock Lane)
Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)
Jack Walker (Leeds Rhinos, East Leeds)
Jordan Abdull (London Broncos, Skirlaugh)
Rob Butler (London Broncos, Medway Dragons)
Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils, Siddal)
Josh Jones (Salford Red Devils, Blackbrook Royals)
Jack Ashworth (St Helens, Rochdale Mayfield)
Matt Lees (St Helens, Rochdale Mayfield)
Danny Richardson (St Helens, Halton Farnworth Hornets)
James Batchelor (Wakefield Trinity, Crigglestone All Blacks)
Toby King (Warrington Wolves, Meltham All Blacks)
Tom Lineham (Warrington Wolves, York RUFC)
Dec Patton (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Giants)
Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves, Culcheth Eagles)
Danny Walker (Warrington Wolves, Rylands Sharks)
Joe Bullock (Wigan Warriors, Blackpool Scorpions)
Tom Davies (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Joe Greenwood (Wigan Warriors, Saddleworth Rangers)
Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Dom Manfredi (Wigan Warriors, Leigh Miners)
Sam Powell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)