The success of the State of Origin in Australia led to a reboot of the old War of the Roses matches in 2003 but it is time to try again? You can read my article on revisiting the old rivalry here. Regardless of whether it is needed or not, I’ve already put together the Lancashire side I’d pick, which you can see here, and I’ve now assembled my Yorkshire team. Let me know who you’d have in your team and keep a close eye on The 18th Man to see the match-up of the two sides (on paper anyway) and my prediction as to who would win.
Full Back: Jamie Shaul.
The lively full-back has been electric for Hull FC this season, racking up 16 tries in all competitions for the black and whites this season. Shaul’s lightning pace has allowed him to score some fantastic long range tries, notably outwitting Sam Tomkins and Josh Charnley in one memorable solo effort at the DW back in May.
Winger: Jermaine McGillvary.
Despite Huddersfield’s poor showing this season, McGillvary has continued to impress in Claret and Gold. The Huddersfield born winger’s size means he carries the ball like a forward at times, which only helps him consistently get over the try line. Last season’s Super League top scorer earned himself a place in the 2015 Dream Team and now an England international, his credentials aren’t in any doubt.
Centre: Leroy Cudjoe.
The Huddersfield and England centre has been one of the few players the Claret and Gold has been able to rely on this season for consistent performances. Cudjoe is a real asset to any team due to his impressive skill set, with the local Huddersfield centre known for his interception tries, passes out the back of the hand, as well as the ability to get his arms out if the tackle and offload.
Centre: Ryan Atkins.
The Pudsey born centre has played for Warrington since 2010, after a move from Wakefield, and has been one of the Wolves’ key players ever since. Named Super League’s Player of the Month for July, Atkins has put his good form down to new found maturity and having a full pre season behind him.
Winger: Ryan Hall.
The powerful Leeds and England winger has been a mainstay on Leeds’ wing for 9 years now and despite a shaky season for the Rhinos that has seen them drop into the Middle 8s, Hall remains a class act. With some high profile performances behind him, the local Leeds lad would surely relish an opportunity like this to leave his mark on another big game, much like he did against Huddersfield in the last minute of the 2015 Super 8s to clinch the League Leaders Shield for the Leeds Rhinos.
Stand Off: Gareth Widdop.
Halifax born Widdop moved over to Australia at the age of 16, where he made his way up through Melbourne Storm’s academy before breaking through in 2010 and earning himself an England call up. In 2013 he made the permanent switch to five-eighth and has proved himself as one of the top ranking halves in the NRL, a reputation which now sees him captaining the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
Scrum Half: Luke Gale.
The Castleford Tigers playmaker is the most creative force in Super League, with 44 try assists to his name this season, whilst also having scored the most goals in Super League .The Leeds academy graduate has worked his way up to the top the hard way, with stints at Doncaster and the London Broncos before impressing at Bradford and getting a move to the Tigers, where he has really kicked on as the focal point of a free scoring Cas side.
Prop: Alex Walmsley.
Walmsley’s rise to become one of the most revered props in Super League is a remarkable one as he was studying at university just four years ago before being approached by Batley. The Dewsbury born prop was the Championship’s Young Player of the Year in his first season at Batley and was quickly snapped up by St. Helens. Walmsley has excelled ever since his move and was the top metre-maker in Super League last year and finds himself second this year, so expect to see his name around the top of that leaderboard for many seasons to come.
Hooker: Josh Hodgson.
Hooker is the most hotly contested position in this team with Danny Houghton and Daryl Clark pushing Hodgson close but the Canberra Raiders man comes out on top after an unbelievable season in the NRL that saw him in contention for the Dally M Medal. After only managing 2 appearances at Hull FC, Hodgson moved East of the River Hull and earned a name for himself, particularly after a memorable 2013 and a 2014 that saw him co-captain Hull KR. Since his six figure transfer to the Raiders, Hodgson has gone from a virtual unknown in the NRL to a household name and the lad from Hull comes up against Cameron Smith and is even tipped to come out on top in that match up which exemplifies his truly meteoric rise.
Prop: Scott Taylor.
The Hull born prop started out at Hull KR but after stints at Wigan and Salford, Taylor is now back in East Yorkshire now playing for boyhood cub Hull FC. On the back of a fantastic season at Salford, Taylor has since impressed in black and white as the spearhead of a formidable pack for the Airlie Birds. Taylor’s superb season has not gone unnoticed and a place in the Super League dream team is widely expected, with a potential England call up also on the cards.
Second Row: John Bateman.
The Bradford born England international never seems to be too far away from controversy but his class can’t be denied. After breaking through at the Bradford Bulls, Bateman moved to the Wigan Warriors for the 2014 season where he’s impressed in cherry and white, on the pitch at least. Still only 22 years old, Bateman is still one of the hottest prospects about and if he can continue to improve there’s no stopping how far he could go.
Second Row: Elliot Whitehead.
After coming through the ranks and impressing at the Bradford Bulls, Whitehead moved to the South of the France and really kicked on, becoming one of the most exciting properties in Super League. The Bradford born second row made his England debut against New Zealand before moving to the Canberra Raiders for the 2016 season, where he has continued to make a name for himself and no doubt he will continue to impress.
Loose Forward: Sam Burgess.
Sam Burgess is very much rugby league’s prodigal son after his time in rugby union, where he was scapegoated and very much underappreciated but he has been welcomed back with open arms and it’s great to see him back where he belongs. Originally from Dewsbury Burgess’s quality is plain for all to see and as a natural leader and winner, he’d put it all on the line for a Yorkshire side.