England captain Sean O’Loughlin could miss the remainder of this autumn’s test series against New Zealand, coach Wayne Bennett has admitted.
The loose forward, who renewed his Wigan contract this week, will miss Sunday’s game at Anfield with a calf injury, and according to his coach it will be “touch and go” for a return in time for a potential decider at Elland Road on the 11th November.
The experienced James Graham will take over the captaincy as England try to cement a series win, following their victory over the Kiwis 18-16 in Hull last weekend.
Graham will lead his country out in his home city, and Bennett said that: “With Sam [Burgess] not here, James was a pretty straightforward choice. There’s not many more passionate Englishmen.”
Castleford’s Adam Milner is named in the 19-man squad to replace O’Loughlin, and is in line to make his England debut at 26.
New Zealand are likely to name an unchanged side and, despite losing the first game, will kick off as favourites to set up a decider in Leeds.
The Kiwis have been preparing at Liverpool football club’s Melwood training ground, where they performed the Haka for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
WHAT A SIGHT!! 😛
The Haka is always special to witness…especially in the canteen at Melwood!@NZRL_Kiwis called into the Reds’ base for a warm-up session ahead of Sunday’s match against @England_RL at Anfield: https://t.co/QhQkNT1Raz pic.twitter.com/qhgqLKW228
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 30, 2018
Words: Matthew Smith Subbing: Charlie Bradley