England Community Lions PDRL Head Coach, Michelle Melling, has selected her first 20-player ‘train on’ squad as she looks forward to playing two international fixtures against Wales this Autumn.
The two-game series will be the pinnacle of this year’s international programme, with the squad selected off the back of the newly-introduced development days and domestic representative fixtures. These came as part of a new international programme developed to incorporate a more inclusive approach to representative PDRL.
Melling and her coaching team extended invites to all eligible players with a registered interest in the England set-up. They also welcomed players from the Welsh squad in a bid to continue developing the international game.
The development days brought together players from last year’s winning World Cup squad and a wider number of players from the league, along with prospective players new to the Rugby League variant. The selection process culminated in two domestic representative fixtures, which saw players split into two teams and given the opportunity to test themselves out on the pitch.
England Community Lions PDRL Head Coach, Michelle Melling, says:
“It’s been a pivotal and exciting year for the sport. The physical disability game is still in its infancy, so it’s key to keep up the momentum of the international programme following the success of the World Cup.”
Looking back on the year so far, England’s Connor Lynnes adds:
“Taking part in the development sessions and representative fixtures has been such a fantastic experience. Getting called back up to the squad is an absolute honour – the sport is growing rapidly, so the player pool is only getting stronger meaning more competition to earn that shirt.”
The newly named squad, along with all development participants, will get together for a team building day later this month – sponsored by the leading West Yorkshire Indian restaurant Prashad – ahead of their next training camp.
Melling has been at the forefront of the rejuvenated international programme and her work with Wigan Warriors PDRL and LDRL recently earnt her a nomination in the Positive Role Model category at the 2023 National Disability Awards.
“The performance at the World Cup put us at the forefront of the international game, but we’ve got to keep pushing forward if we want to keep it that way.
“PDRL and the other Rugby League variants, including the Women’s and Wheelchair formats, have brought a new level of inclusivity to our sport, and a new wave of energy and excitement to the game.”
PDRL is a full-contact version of the game with non-contact roles, adapted for ambulatory participants with a physical disability. England’s 20-player train on squad is drawn from 6 Super League clubs foundations: Castleford Tigers; Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos; Wakefield Trinity; Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.
England Community Lions PDRL squad
Jamie Barnett (Warrington Wolves), Steven Bates (Leeds Rhinos), John Clements, Darren Dean, Adam Fleming (all Wakefield Trinity), Scott Gobin (Leeds Rhinos), Mark Gummerson (Castleford Tigers), Nick Horner (Leeds Rhinos), Nick Kennedey (Castleford Tigers), Nick Leigh (Leeds Rhinos), Connor Lynnes (Hull KR), Ben Nicholson (Wakefield Trinity), Steve Mort (Wigan Warriors), Callum Parkinson (Wakefield Trinity), Tommy Pouncey (Leeds Rhinos), Harvey Redmonds (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Reynolds (Wakefield Trinity), Ben Seward, Lee Thornton (both Wigan Warriors), Sam Zeller (Leeds Rhinos)