With Scotland’s first appearance in the 4 Nations only 6 months away, I preview a potential ‘best case scenario’ 17 that could line up for Scotland against England, New Zealand and Australia.
Scotland’s lack of large scale domestic competition mean that this team is heavily dependant upon heritage players, but if this group can be used to grow and support the game in Scotland then perhaps it is a good thing?
The pacey winger/fullback has been on top form for the Wolves this year and would have carried that through to Scottish internationals if not for injury towards the backend of the past two seasons which have kept him out.
2. Curtis Rona
Now this is one of the more ‘left-field’ selection options available to Steve McCormack. Although Rona was selected in New Zealand’s 2015 touring side, he didn’t feature in any of the games and faces tough competition in the kiwi backline for a place. Perhaps the temptation of international tournemant experience may be enough to lure Rona to the Bravehearts camp.
3. Kane Linnett
A Grand Final winner with the Cowboys last season, Linnett has already expressed a desire to represent Scotland again and help them to put in a good dig at this years 4 Nations.
4. Joe Wardle
An easy selection, Wardle has been a consistently strong player for the Giants for the past few seasons and followed Danny Brough’s example of scrapping an off season to represent Scotland in 2014; showing an obvious commitment to the cause.
5. Jake McManus
This is a team based on selecting the best available players, so if McManus can overcome his huge injury problems then he must undoubtedly make it close to Steve McCormack’s squad.
6. Danny Brough (c)
Although 2016 has hardly begun in sterling fashion for Danny Brough and the Huddersfield Giants, he is without doubt the most important element in Scotland’s recent rise and will be crucial to any success they have in the 4 Nations. Brough has repeatedly shown his commitment to the international game by giving up his off season and captaining The Bravehearts which should be commended and will guarantee that he is the first name on the Scottish team sheet.
7. Peter Wallace
Despite a commendable performance from Oscar Thomas over the past couple of seasons, if Scotland are going to be competitive in this years series they will need as many NRL players as possible. Peter Wallace certainly provides this and complimented Brough when they played together in the 2013 World Cup.
8. Ben Kavanagh
Widnes’ strong start to the season ensures Kavanagh gets his spot in this team. Quality props are such an important force in any rugby league side and the Vikings man fits the bill.
9. Ian Henderson
The horrific leg-break Ian Henderson suffered while recently playing for the Roosters in the NRL looks to have set him out for a significant period. If he is fit to return for the 4 Nations however, his experience and ability will be invaluable to the Scotland team.
10. Keith Galloway
I go with Galloway because, despite several lacklustre and penalty strewn performances for Leeds this season, his proven ability is clearly there and if he can channel his energies for Scotland he could be an influential figure for many of the younger players.
11. Luke Douglas
The Gold Coast Titans man played for Scotland in the 2013 World Cup and just as is with England the NRL player tag almost guarantees a place in the squad.
12. Dale Ferguson
Ferguson will provide Scotland’s pack with the grit any good forward pack has. Hopefully he will be able to transfer his strong running and tough defence onto the international stage.
13. Danny Addy
A second Bradford Bull completes the XIII for Scotland. The talented Addy who is also a capable ball player must be considered a talent to be nurtured at the international level and hopefully will continue to play for The Bravehearts for many years.
14. Liam Hood
15. Adam Walker
16. Jonathan Walker
17. Oscar Thomas
The bench has a youthful look to it but could add plenty to the team in terms of go forward and covers all positions.
Could this team challenge the big 3?