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McNamara announces team to face Samoa

Sean O’Loughlin will not be fit enough to face Samoa on Saturday as a quad injury has denied him the chance to captain England in their Four Nations opener.

James Graham will skipper the side in O’Loughlin’s absence as the NRL Grand Final runner-up looks to end his season in a high.

“It is a shame that Sean (O’Loughlin) misses the match with a problem with his quad,” said England coach McNamara.

“The Samoa match has come too soon, but we remain confident he’ll be ready for Australia the week after.

“James Graham will take over the captaincy for this game. He is a great leader and we saw that with the Bulldogs this season in the NRL where he single-handedly led them to a Grand Final.

“He leads by example and gives 100 per cent effort in everything he does. He inspires everyone around him to follow his lead.”

It is a new look England side which features four debutants, including Sean O’Loughlin’s replacement Joe Westerman. Along side him Matty Smith, Josh Hodgson and Daryl Clark will all make their first appearance for their country.

“We have four players in the squad making debut. They are ready. They’ve been in our system for a long time. All four have been in great form during the Super League season.

“There is a slight evolution to the squad this year with some new faces on show. The debutants are exciting and they can prove themselves on the international stage.”

The back row consists of Wigan Warriors forwards Liam Farrell and the returning Joel Tomkins who starts his first England match since returning from Rugby Union.

England side to face Samoa on Saturday 25th October at the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Kick-off 4.00pm (local):

Sam Tomkins (New Zealand Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers, Upton)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross)
Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook)
George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Josh Hodgson (Hull KR, East Hull)
James Graham (captain) (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Joel Tomkins (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Joe Westerman (Hull FC, Featherstone Lions)
Daryl Clark (Castleford Tigers, Fryston Warriors)
Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers)
Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)

My name is Sean Hayes. I am from Widnes, England. I am currently studying journalism at Salford University. Aspiring sports journalist and rugby league fanatic whether it is watching, playing or writing about the greatest game! Follow me on twitter @SHayesNBL

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