Bennett adds former Bronco to Cup squad
Former Brisbane Broncos winger Greg Eden may link with Wayne Bennett again after being chosen by the England coach in an extended squad to prepare for the Rugby League World Cup following his try scoring feats in Super League.
Eden, who played two seasons under Bennett at the Broncos before returning to home to Castleford this year, has scored 13 tries in the past four matches to take his tally to 28 from 17 appearances for Castleford.
Despite only giving Eden six starts in the NRL and mostly confining him to play mostly for Wynnum-Manly, where he scored 17 tries in 22 matches in 2015, Bennett has been in keeping tabs on him through Castleford coach Daryl Powell.
"Myself and the staff are monitoring and watching players every week," Bennett said.
"We ask them to do their best for their club, improve as a player and work on the little things that will have a big difference come October."
After scoring four consecutive hat-tricks for the Super League competition leaders, Eden was one of four new faces named by Bennett in a 27-man elite performance squad ahead of the World Cup.
Castleford hooker Paul McShane and the St Helens pair of winger Tommy Makinson and prop Alex Walmsley were the other additions, while eight other players drop out of the initial 31-man squad which met in February and May.
Secondrower Joe Greenwood is now playing for Gold Coast Titans but the World Cup aspirations of Wigan fullback Sam Tomkins, Hull hooker Danny Houghton and fullback Jamie Shaul, Leeds forwards Brett Ferres and Kyle Amor, Huddersfield centre Leroy Cudjoe and St Helens halfback Matty Smith appear over.
The 13 Super League players who came to Sydney for the recent Pacific Test against Samoa have been included and Bennett said he wanted them to "share their experiences with other members of the squad.
"It was an extremely positive and productive camp which resulted in an impressive display," Bennett said of England's 30-10 win at Campbelltown stadium.
"I mentioned this straight after the Samoa game, but from the team I left after the Four Nations last year to the squad I'm seeing now, there is a lot of confidence in the group and individuals which is very pleasing ahead of the World Cup."
It is anticipated that there are places for 16 Super League players in England's 24-man World Cup squad, along with St George Illawarra five-eighth Gareth Widdop, Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson and second-rower Elliott Whitehead, Canterbury prop James Graham and South Sydney's Burgess brothers, Sam, George and Tom.
The Wigan trio of John Bateman, Liam Farrell and George Williams are also likely to come under strong consideration after missing the Pacific Test, along with Warrington and former St George Illawarra forward Mike Cooper.
The players in the elite performance squad will come together three times before now and September, enabling players and staff to benefit from guest speakers, strengthen relationships and work closely on the World Cup program.
Once the World Cup squad is finalised after the Super League grand final, the players will go into camp in Perth and play a warm-up match against Affiliated States before their tournament opening clash with Australia in Melbourne on October 27.
England Elite Performance Squad
Greg Eden, Luke Gale Zak Hardaker, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers); Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants); Scott Taylor (Hull FC); Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Kallum Watkins, Johnny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, James Roby, Alex Walmsley (St Helens); Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves); John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin, George Williams (Wigan Warriors).
This article first appeared on rlwc2017