HUDDERSFIELD Giants star Leroy Cudjoe and other emerging England talents should have only one thought on their minds this year – winning the 2013 Rugby League World Cup on home soil.
That’s the view of retired Australian legend Darren Lockyer, who believes England have a realistic chance of lifting the trophy for the first time since 1972.
Homegrown centre Cudjoe, of course, is coming into the prime of his career, having not missed a game for the Giants last season and playing in all three of England’s Autumn internationals, when coach Steve McNamara felt performances put them on the right track for the bigger tests ahead.
Lockyer agrees, especially as McNamara has had unparalleled access to his Super League-based players throughout the last two years and, in addition to once more tapping into the state-of-the-art facilities at Loughborough, is set to take his elite squad back to South Africa for high-altitude training on the eve of this year’s tournament, which kicks off on October 26.
Huddersfield’s Eorl Crabtree and Danny Brough also played for the senior England side last year, while Michael Lawrence, Jermaine McGillvary, Larne Patrick and Joe Wardle were in the Lions squad.
"England had some injuries, particularly to their players in Australia, and that allowed new talent to come in and for Steve McNamara to look at them," said Lockyer, a 2013 World Cup ambassador. "I look back at the 2009 Four Nations final where Australia ran away with it in the last 15 minutes. From an English point of view, they’ve got to find that 15 minutes and, if they bring the players in that were missing last time, they’re right in there.
"It would be a massive boost to the code if England were to win the World Cup.
"Australia will be motivated by losing in 2008, but the Kiwis are the holders and England are the home team so that’s a great little mix."